Green Chemistry Principles and Why We Follow Them to Help the Earth

One of our main missions here at Youthforia is to reduce our down the drain impact. We do this by using what's called green chemistry (sometimes referred to as sustainable chemistry), which is a concept based on 12 core principles aimed at preventing pollution and one's carbon footprint. 

One of the 12 principles of green to use renewable ingredients whenever possible. For makeup brands like us, this means we do our very best to not formulate with fossil fuels, as the chemicals released from them during the synthesizing process directly results in pollution. Many brands use fossil fuels in their formulas because it's the cheaper option, but it doesn't have to be done this way.

"In following the principles of green chemistry, we simply don't use fossil fuels if there's a natural or naturally-derived synthetic ingredient that we can use instead," explains founder and CEO, Fiona Co Chan, matter-of-factly. "It's a super different way of looking at chemistry and what happens at the atom level when we make new chemicals to try and avoid making more hazardous waste, and I really think it's the future."

Moreover, in green chemistry, there's a term known as "biobased" — sounds kind of complicated, but it simply refers to the percentage of a formula that's made without fossil fuels. So in other words: When we say our Dewy Gloss is 100% biobased, it means that it's made entirely with renewable ingredients — and 0% fossil fuels. Additionally, BYO Blush is 98%, biobased, meaning only 2% of the formula uses fossil fuels.   

Instead of chemical synthetics, we rely on plant-based synthetics derived from nature to achieve the same (if not better!) luxe textures that we love using so much. For instance, rather than use polyisobutylene – a common ingredient in lip gloss that's made from fossil fuels — we opted to use castor oil instead. Not only is it renewable and thereby better for the planet, but it also gives our glosses the next-level shine we were looking for. 

Now, here's a full breakdown of the 12 principles of green chemistry.

  1. Prevention of Waste — It's always better to prevent waste in the first place rather than try to clean it up after.
  2. Atom Economy — When using synthetic methods, ALL materials should be used in the process to produce a final product. 
  3. Minimize Hazardous Chemical Synthesis — We spoke about this one above! Whenever possible, synthetic methods should use practices that aren't toxic to human health or the planet. 
  4. Design Safer Chemicals — This one pretty much speaks for itself. If you're going to be using synthetic, at least ensure they're safe for humans and the Earth.
  5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries — The use of unnecessary or extra substances should be avoided as much as possible to reduce waste. 
  6. Design for Energy Efficiency — This means that chemical processes should be recognized for their impact on the environment and therefore should be minimized whenever possible. 
  7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks — The use raw materials (like castor oil) should be renewable rather than depleting.  
  8. Reduce Derivatives — When possible, avoid derivatization, such as the temporary modification of a chemical process, as these extra steps create more waste. 
  9. Catalysis — Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.
  10. Design for Degradation — Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function they break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the environment.
  11. Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention — Methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.
  12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention — Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.

Curious to learn more about biobased beauty, and our down the drain impact? Hear from Fiona herself in the video below.