If you’re trying to develop a more eco-conscious lifestyle, your beauty routine is a great place to start. With the beauty industry producing over 120 billion units of packaging annually, your everyday self-care rituals can have a significant impact on the environment. Fortunately, creating a conscious beauty routine doesn’t need to be difficult. Simple changes, such as switching to reusable beauty products and using plastic-free shampoo, can reduce your environmental footprint and help you save money in the process. Here are seven useful tips for making your beauty routine greener and healthier for you and the planet.
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- Ditch the disposable wipes
Disposable products such as face wipes and makeup wipes are trendy and convenient, but they come at a high cost to the environment. Those single-use wipes generally aren’t recyclable or compostable, which means that millions of them go to landfills every day. Swear off the disposable wipes for good and get yourself a set of reusable cotton rounds made from soft bamboo and cotton fibers. Bamboo cotton rounds are ideal for all skin types, gentler on sensitive areas (like the eyes) and can be reused hundreds of times before being composted back into the soil.
- Look for package-less products
Take a quick peek inside your shower or bathroom drawer and chances are you’ll find bottles upon bottles of plastic. One easy way to cut down on all that plastic waste? Opt for beauty products that come package-free. For example, you can swap shampoo and conditioner bottles for plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars that come in compostable cardboard packaging. (As a bonus, they usually contain potent, plant-based ingredients to make your hair look healthy and feel unbelievably soft!) Lotion, serums and even sunscreen can also be found in solid form these days, making it easier than ever to kick wasteful packaging to the curb.
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- Recycle whatever you can
Because our recycling system is fraught with problems, it’s always better to go plastic-free whenever you can. However, if you can’t find a suitable plastic-free replacement for your favorite beauty products, recycling is still the next best option.
To recycle your empties properly, keep the following tips in mind:
- Check with your local municipality first to find out what types of plastic can go in your recycling bin (e.g., plastic containers with a number 1 and 2 can usually be recycled, whereas number 5 can be hit or miss for some recycling programs).
- Leftover residue in plastic containers can contaminate other recycling materials, so make sure you clean your empty beauty products before you recycle them.
- If you’re not sure if a beauty product can be recycled and you can’t find the answer anywhere, don’t attempt to recycle it. This bad habit is called “wish-cycling,” and it can cause more harm than good by messing up the entire recycling process.
- Reach for reef-safe products
With temperatures steadily rising, you may be in the market for a reliable sunscreen to help keep sunburn (and wrinkles) at bay. Before you grab any old sunscreen off the shelf, though, make sure you’re buying one that won’t harm coral reefs and marine life. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), certain chemicals in sunscreen — most notably, oxybenzone — are highly toxic to young coral reefs and other marine life, increasing susceptibility to coral reef bleaching, DNA damage, endocrine disruption and gross deformities of baby coral.
Covering up with SPF clothing and swimwear is arguably the most eco-friendly course of action. But if you must use sunscreen, look for one with a reef-safe label and a minimal number of ingredients.
- Rethink your deodorant
For something we use every day, it’s vital to consider the environmental impact of deodorant. Deodorant (and antiperspirant) containers are extremely difficult to recycle because they’re made of several different types of plastic: the protective cap, the casing and the adhesive label on the front. Thankfully, many brands have come out with plastic-free deodorant, typically housed in compostable cardboard that goes right back into the Earth. Most plastic-free deodorants also contain all-natural ingredients, which generally means fewer harmful chemicals going on your skin or leaching into the environment. That’s a win-win for everyone!
Source: The Earthling Co
- Think intentionally
Once you start paying closer attention to your plastic waste, you quickly realize how unnecessary many beauty products are. Think about it — do you really need to use a face mask in the evening after cleansing, exfoliating, toning and applying multiple serums and moisturizers? Is a $20 lip scrub worth the damage to your wallet and the environment when you can make a DIY version with olive oil and sugar?
Challenge yourself to simplify your beauty routine and whittle your stash down to the basics. Look for multi-use products that can be used on multiple areas of the body (i.e., a blush cream that doubles as a lipstick). Most importantly, stop impulse buying! Shop intentionally and use the extra money you save to treat yourself to a relaxing massage or a fresh haircut.
- Use every last drop
Given how expensive and wasteful beauty products can be, it’s important to use up every last drop of product. But what if you can’t reach the remaining residue still clinging to the sides of the container? A cotton swab will usually do the trick (bonus points if it’s a reusable cotton swab). But if that doesn’t work, there are also beauty spatulas designed specifically to reach the bottom of tall and short beauty product containers, allowing you to get the last little bit! If you have tubes of lotion, you can cut the inside of the tube and scoop the remaining bit out with your finger.
Every Action Counts
Small changes to your beauty routine will add up quickly and go a long way in helping you lower your ecological footprint. It will also make you feel more beautiful, knowing that your changes are healthy for you and the planet. Start by making one or two convenient changes (hello, shampoo and conditioner bars) and work your way up to the big stuff. Remember: Every little bit counts!