How can you best approach a more sustainable beauty routine? Here’s a simple and achievable go-to guide with the best practices to become zero waste in your bathroom using ethical, cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly make-up and skincare!
Most people don’t think twice about the eco-friendliness of their makeup and skin care routine – they simply apply the products and get on with their day. However, beauty products have a relatively large carbon footprint.
Over 120 billion units of makeup packaging were produced worldwide in 2018, most of which were derived from plastic.
Since recycling rates are much lower than previously believed, the beauty industry is considered a significant contributor to climate change and pollution.
Fortunately, consumers can purchase sustainable makeup and skin care products to reduce their environmental impacts. These four sustainable beauty tips will help guide your transition to eco-friendly alternatives.
1. Purchase Sustainable Brands
The most obvious way to lead a greener beauty routine is to purchase products from brands committed to sustainability. According to sustainable hair care company weDo, 61% of consumers can’t tell if their shampoo is eco-friendly or ethical by the packaging – this can also pertain to cosmetics and skin treatments.
There are ways to determine if a product is, in fact, green. For instance, any text or label indicating an “organic” beauty product refers to both ingredients and production.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture deems cosmetics organic if they maintain a minimum of 95% organic materials, use few synthetic chemicals, have zero genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and are produced using low-emission manufacturing processes that don’t damage the environment.
It’s best to research your favorite brands to see if they’re sustainable. Look for those with low-waste product lines using little plastic packaging and include sustainably sourced ingredients and small-batch production.
Just be sure to watch for standard greenwashing terms – unofficial cruelty-free logos or phrases like “green” and “all-natural” – that are unregulated and make products seem more sustainable than they are.
Shopping locally for cosmetics at vendor fairs or small boutiques is a much more dependable way to buy sustainable beauty brands.
2. Check the Ingredients
Have you ever read the ingredients list for your foundation or facial cleanser? You’ll likely be unable to pronounce most of them – some might even sound frightening.
Often, labels use scientific names for natural ingredients, so it’s helpful to learn a few. For instance, Melaleuca Alternifolia is simply tea tree oil – a natural element that contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties to alleviate acne. However, there are several cosmetics and skin care ingredients you should avoid.
Palm oil is prevalent in skin care products, but its cultivation has destructive effects on the rainforest, endangered species, and global warming. According to Rainforest Rescue, biofuels from palm oil plantations create three times more fossil fuel emissions than conventional sources.
Other ingredients to look out for are microplastic beads in exfoliating skin care products. Currently, wastewater treatments cannot filter the beads, which enables them to work their way to our oceans and harm marine life.
Additionally, sunscreens with oxybenzone destroy coral reefs – scientists discovered that sea anemones turn the UV-exposed chemical into a toxin by adding sugar. Hawaii was even the first state to ban sunscreens with oxybenzone in 2018.
Your best bet is to look for natural beauty ingredients that are truly natural, like shea butter, coconut oil, oatmeal, or green tea.
3. Choose Reusable and Recyclable Products
You probably already use reusable products more than you realize, but they’re worth pointing out. Reusable products are items that help to cut back on single-use and disposable waste.
When adopting a sustainable makeup and skin care routine, consider forgoing cotton balls for removing or applying cosmetics and creams. Instead, opt for a reusable makeup remover cloth that you can launder after a few uses.
You can also reuse your makeup brushes and applicators by cleaning them with soap and water, saving money and preventing more landfill waste.
If it’s too difficult to reuse makeup and skin care products, look for items that come in recyclable and biodegradable packaging.
Buy Refillable Items
A study by the Netherlands-based LCA Centre suggests we could eliminate 70% of carbon emissions from the beauty sector if we use refillable containers for makeup.
Many companies have begun manufacturing refillable items. Take, for example, the Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleaner, which reduces your carbon footprint by 70% with its refillable jar and refill pods.
Sisley Paris’s Phyto-Rouge Shine also comes in 11 shades of refillable lipsticks you can pop directly into the tube casing for continuous use.
Even longstanding brands like L’Occitane have leaned green, offering a 17-ounce refillable pouch for its Almond Shower Oil – saving 78% of packaging waste over repurchasing a standard bottle.
Sustainability Is a Thing of Beauty
Transitioning toward a sustainable makeup and skin care routine can take time and effort. Slowly work The Face Shop Korean skincare, along with other environmentally friendly brands, into your preferred products to help the planet and improve your skin.