I have always been passionate about moving the beauty industry into a happier, healthier place and since the beginning of my professional career, it stood out as obvious that there were some blatant missteps within cosmetics that could be easily fixed. I spent the last few years working with corporations on how to be more diverse and inclusive, after I personally met with barriers due to my own gender expression. But I believe in turning these situations into a positive outcome, and so I took that experience and began to guide cosmetic corporations on how to offer support within the beauty industry for LGBT people, and we’ve seen some powerful changes.
However, there are other issues that have an unnecessary impact, particularly on the environment and that falls into how we create products, what ingredients we use and what packaging we use. Our skin is the largest organ in the human body, it is a sponge for external pollutants. We use occlusive and abrasive cosmetics externally, that would poison us if we ingested them. We often enter into product development with a trial and error methodology and we don’t apply the lessons we learn from nutrition. It’s a strange disconnect for me, we don’t think about whether micro particles that we wash away at the end of a busy day, can poison something else. This is a chain reaction and it always comes back to us, we need to begin to think about how these problems can be solved.
Single use plastics is something that I am extremely concerned with, after working with the United Nations on an ocean environmentalism campaign I chose to cover this area because I feel that with simple adjustments in design, we can reuse the expensive, engineered shell and just sell the usable product as refills. Why hasn’t that been a more sustainable choice from the start? It would surely make more economic sense to do so? So my methodology is to point to the obvious. My goal is to create the next innovation in cosmetics whilst considering these fundamental, and easy changes that can make the industry of beauty, a little cleaner and less ugly.
Joseph Harwood, beauty expert, award winning artist and social pioneer