- Main ingredients have low aquatic toxicity
- Box and jar should be kerbside recyclable
- Contains well characterised essential oils
- Comes with a cloth
- Contains BHT
- Multiple ingredients are toxic to aquatic life
The main ingredients in this product are mineral oil, which is extracted from crude oil, and chemicals derived from the wool wax that sheep secrete. These chemicals do not mix well with water. Because of this, they are more likely to cling to bits of dirt or create globules, and less likely to make their way into plants and animals. Tests on these chemicals show that the small amounts that plants and animals could be exposed to are not toxic, and that they should eventually biodegrade.
Some of the other ingredients are cetearyl alcohol and cocoa butter. These ingredients also do not mix well with water and have low toxicity, but there can be environmental impacts during their production. Cetearyl alcohol can be derived from palm oil. There is no information on whether Eve Lom or Space.NK use certified palm oil derivatives. Some have also expressed concerns about deforestation for cocoa crops, due to rising demand and diminishing soil quality, but there is not much information on this either.
This product also contains aluminium stearate. Adding extra free aluminium to waterways can overwhelm the mechanisms that normally keep levels in balance, and too much can be very toxic to aquatic life. However, this chemical is unlikely to release much free aluminium.
There are four essential oils in this product. Unusually, there is good information on these oils. Three of the four oils are toxic to aquatic life, with the fourth oil being harmful to aquatic life. Two of the oils are also not readily biodegradable. This means they are more likely to be released to the environment and, once they are there, that they will not break down for some time – so the toxic effects will be felt for longer.
The preservative is BHT. This chemical is not readily biodegradable and very toxic to aquatic life. Some studies show that it changes into other chemicals in sunlight, but these chemicals do not appear to degrade further and are expected to be just as toxic. There is also information to suggest that BHT, and the chemicals it changes into, may be bioaccumulative. These properties indicate that these could be chemicals of high concern and have significant environmental impacts.
In addition to the cleanser, this product is sold with a muslin cloth. This is made from cotton. Cotton is very resource intensive to farm, requiring a lot of water in particular. Cotton farming is also often associated with the use of a lots of pesticides. Most people will not need a new cloth every time they purchase the cleanser, or will have a cloth at home that they could use, so providing the cloth is wasteful. It would be better to remove the cost of the muslin cloth from the price of the cleanser and sell it separately for those who need it.
The cloth also comes in a plastic pouch that is difficult to recycle. Many kerbside recycling schemes will not accept this type of plastic, but it can be sent to Terracycle for recycling. The main box and jar should be accepted in most kerbside recycling programs.
But does it work?
Considering how well a product works is a big factor in determining whether a product is a good one or not. A product that does not work is a waste.
This product is popular with users – but some who have oily skin have complained that it has caused them to break out, and there so are many other products that have a much lower environmental impact. Head to reviews to find other products that could do the job without compromising the environment.
Image credit: Style Domination