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If you haven’t been living under a rock, you might have noticed the shift in consumers to start purchasing more sustainable beauty products in the past year. Think about the products you used up in the past year – how many of your products were made of plastic? How many of them did you recycle, refill, or reuse their packaging?
Now more than ever, people are starting to care about not only what goes into their products, but what their products are hosted in and if their packaging is recyclable. We’re asking more questions, like, is the process of the product being made sustainable? Are the people who make the product being treated ethically and paid right? Is this product environmentally friendly? According to Teen Vogue, “the beauty industry contributes 120 billion units of packaging a year, according to some estimates, and the shipping industry, an integral part of the process, contributes more than 1 billion tons of CO2 a year.”
Consumers are asking brands to be more sustainable – whether that be refillable products, recyclable packaging, less shipping waste, products without packaging, etc.
I’ve definitely started paying attention to what brands say they do to be more sustainable and what they actually do. (looking at you, glossier hand cream). It definitely has started to make an impact on whether I purchase from a brand, and I have been starting to do research into what brands are being transparent about their sustainable beauty practices and if they have programs to send in your products to be recycled, if their products can be refilled, if they’re giving back to the environment, etc.
While my beauty routine is far from 100% sustainable, I do think there are simple swaps you can make to your routine to make it better for the environment and might even save you money in the long run. Keep reading to see my tips for creating a sustainable beauty routine!
This was something I thought I would never do. I use so many toners and micellar waters and I always need cotton balls or cotton pads on hands to remove makeup and apply skincare products. I also run out of them super quickly, so I was constantly repurchasing the jumbo packs to restock. After doing more research and deciding I was wasting way too much money and creating too much waste, I decided to order these reusable bamboo cotton pads in February.
It’s been about three months of using them and they are still in great condition! They come with a mesh bag that you can use to just toss them into the washer with a load of clothes. I don’t do anything special for them in the laundry and just wash them in with whatever setting my load of laundry is, and they come out fine! They feel super soft on my skin and don’t absorb too much product. I think this is one of the easiest swaps you can start with if you find yourself going through cotton beauty products super quickly.
Tip #2: Reusable cotton buds (q-tips)
I haven’t 100% made the switch to this yet (still have q-tips on hand) but this is such a good idea! These silicone-based cotton buds are a sustainable beauty swap for Q-tips that can be washed with soap and water. You can use these the same way you use q-tips – the possibilities are endless. Also love that they are double-sided with different tips – one side for makeup and one side for ear-cleaning. I don’t know about you, but even though they say not to use q-tips for ear cleaning I will never stop. It’s necessary!! LMK if you have a better alternative.
Tip #3 Mouthwash tablets
I came across Package Free Shop when they were having a sale a few weeks ago, and noticed these mouthwash tablets. The way they work is you drop them in water, let them dissolve, and then you gargle like a normal mouthwash. They don’t have alcohol in them, which is the number one thing I avoid in mouthwashes because it hurts! Not only are they good for the environment, but they’re also portable.
I also have my eye on this mouthwash tablet container situation from by Humankind. I love that its refillable and it comes with its own cup – once I run out of my other tablets I think I’m going to purchase.
Tip #4: Solid shampoo + conditioner bars
So I haven’t made the switch to these yet because I’m still doing my research – I also have a gigantic bottle of shampoo and conditioner to finish before I even think of purchasing more hair products. But, if you are in the market for a new shampoo or conditioner, I highly recommend checking out brands that make them in bar form. Not only are they convenient for travel, but they also come without packaging. I see these being all the rage super soon.
Tip #5: Buy from sustainable beauty brands that offer refillable packaging and recyclable products
Start doing your research into the company you are giving your money. There is power in where you spend your dollar, so start supporting smaller brands that give back to the environment and have sustainable beauty business practices.
Some things to look for: does the brand have refillable products? If the products aren’t refillable, is there an easy way for them to be recycled? Does the brand offer a program to send back the items to be recycled? Are their employees treated well? Once you start asking these questions it will help you determine where you purchase from and where you don’t. I listed some brands that you should look into and why.
Versed: This new clean skincare brand has committed to being carbon neutral, gives back to the environment, and uses reusable plastics. They also have a comprehnsive recycling guide on how to recycle their products on their website.
Lush: Many of Lush’s products can be recycled and a lot of them are also packaging-free (like their bath bombs, shampoo bars, etc.)
Package Free Shop: I could seriously get lost on this website. There are so many sustainable, zero waste swaps on their site for everyday items, like ziploc bags, plastic wrap, and even floss – seriously, take a look!
Tip #6: Repurpose products that didn’t work for your face
This is a big one for me. As a blogger/micro-influencer, I get sent a lot of products to try. It definitely isn’t necessary for me to have SO many beauty products on hand, and I can’t use them all. So, I’ve started to repurpose products that didn’t work for my face on other parts of my body. For example, if I get sent a moisturizer that didn’t work for me, I’ll use it on my neck, chest, and hands. If I get sent a facial oil that makes me break out, I’ll use it in my hair, cuticles and dry spots.
Of course, you could also repurpose old products by giving them away to friends. When I was still living on campus, I regularly would fill up a box of products and items that didn’t work for me for my friends to pick through. You could also see if anyone is accepting donations. Anything is better than tossing them!
Tip #7: Overall, BUY LESS.
The first step in reduce, reuse, recycle, is REDUCE. If you want your beauty routine to be more sustainable, you need to start by reducing the amount of product you buy and the waste you create. Take it from someone who gets it – it’s so easy to fall for marketing and always feel like you need to constantly be purchasing new things and trying new products. But you don’t!
Something that works for me is the one in, one out concept. Only when I run out of one of a certain product will I buy another – one moisturizer done, another one in. There’s no reason for you to have 10 of one product on hand at any given time. Spend more time doing research into the products you use so you only buy what you really love and don’t collect excessive products.
Are you down for making taking your sustainable beauty routine to the next level? What’s one thing you already do to make your routine less wasteful? Let me know in the comments below.