If you look at the beauty landscape today, it certainly seems like there are more beauty brands than ever. From celebrity-owned lines that became the new celebrity fragrances around the early 2000s, to a new skincare, makeup, or haircare product that pops up on your For You page every day, check out the brands you you want to support may feel like a full-time job.
This is where Instagram accounts love Estee Laundry Detergent Come in. A self-proclaimed “beauty collective” that launched in April 2018, the page has been hailed as something of a quasi-watchdog for the beauty community, making it a point to hold the industry accountable. From calling out cultural appropriation to spotlighting beauty executives displaying problematic behavior, an Instagram post to Estée Laundry’s nearly 200,000 followers has the power to spark a conversation about n’ any topic that might otherwise go unnoticed.
While the beauty industry has made strides in the right direction since the page’s inception, the truth is that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Beauty is one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste, with many companies still imposing outdated and harmful beauty standards in their marketing materials, and the mistreatment of employees continues behind closed doors. That’s why Estée Laundry shares the most common do-good beauty brand markers you can look for when shopping — so you can feel good about the products you add to your cart.
Tip 1: Pay attention to brand inclusion efforts
The collective has metrics that help you narrow down the next brand you want to support. Chief among them? Inclusiveness and sustainability. “In addition to creating innovative, well-made products, brands need to ensure they are conscientious,” Estée Laundry told POPSUGAR. “In the past, ‘exclusive’ was considered synonymous with luxury, but times have changed and inclusivity is paramount.”
Gone are the days when Instagram feeds or ads only featured one skin color or one body type. Now, beauty brands have a responsibility to play their part in giving visibility to marginalized communities otherwise excluded from the conversation. “Thinking about diversity, for example, it’s no longer enough to use a few BIPOC models that conform to Eurocentric beauty ideals,” says Estée Laundry. “Brands that meaningfully include people with different body types, genders, and disabilities are the ones that drive the conversation forward.”
However, doing just enough to hit the mark isn’t enough, and consumers can easily spot a brand that isn’t really committed to the job. “Brands that achieve these metrics are the ones that set new standards,” says Estée Laundry. “It’s not enough if you do the bare minimum. It’s about finding ways to go beyond that.”
Tip 2: Look for authenticity
One of the easiest ways for a brand to serve its customers better is to be more authentic. “Being open and honest is always a great strategy,” says Estée Laundry. “If a brand is working on a metric, they can be upfront about it. Customers love transparency and are willing to support brands that accompany them on their journey.”
Tip 3: Note when brands recognize their mistakes
One of the most common mistakes the collective sees brands making is not admitting their slip-ups. “No brand is perfect and they’re all bound to make mistakes, but the best way to deal with a mistake is to recognize it and act on it, not just hope it fixes itself,” says Estée Laundry .
Take Ulta Beauty, for example, which sent a marketing email with a poor choice of words in its subject line. Instead of sweeping the incident under the rug, the retailer addressed it head-on: “Ulta Beauty acknowledging and apologizing for an insensitive choice of word to describe a Kate Spade product was a great example of a company assuming a potential oversight,” says Estée Laundry.
Another way to see if a brand recognizes its mistakes is to listen to its customers, and not just when it comes to product feedback. “The way Estée Lauder fired executive John Demsey for his racist meme a few months ago was a great example of a brand taking immediate action to prevent things from getting worse,” Estée Laundry said. “They listened to their consumers’ concerns and were praised for their quick decision-making.”
Tip 4: Notice when brands take a stand
When brands make a point of listening to their customers, Laundry often receives positive feedback as well. “There have been so many positive comments about Elf Cosmetics’ decision to take a stand on reproductive rights,” Estée Laundry said. “They stood firm despite being tracked by anti-abortion groups and their clientele loved it.”
While no brand will ever be perfect, using your money to support businesses that align with your ideals is a way to amplify the causes you care about. So before you head out on your next shopping spree, keep these tips in mind.