We can all agree that our beauty routines are important. They help give our days a little more structure while also doubling as a form of self-care — something that we need now more than ever. But with a mounting climate crisis on our hands, we can also no longer ignore the massive amount of beauty waste our daily routines produce. The beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of plastic packaging every year, the majority of which isn’t recycled.
The good news is that there are a few small swaps that can make a big difference. Read on for a few practical and easy ways you can transition to a low-waste beauty routine.
Just admit it: You’ve always wanted to try a shampoo bar. These small but mighty bars have been having a big moment lately, and it’s not hard to see why. Shampoo bars are loaded with nourishing, plant-based ingredients and work like a charm on all hair types. They’re also lightweight and convenient for travel (read: no leaking in your gym bag or carry-on). But the best part? Thanks to their plastic-free design, they’re also good for Mother Earth. Complete the combo by picking up a conditioner bar and say goodbye to plastic bottles altogether.
Cotton rounds are a big part of skin care routines. If you’re a toner aficionado or a makeup lover, it’s probably safe to say that you go through a lot of them on a daily basis. Luckily, there’s a ridiculously easy swap that can drastically reduce — if not completely eliminate — the number of cotton rounds going into your wastebasket. Reusable cotton rounds are designed to be washed and reused, making them a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to regular cotton rounds. You can use them to clean off nail polish, apply face toner and remove your makeup. In addition to greening up your beauty routine, they can also save you money!
If there is one skincare essential that no true beauty enthusiast can go without, it’s an effective moisturizer. But in case you hadn’t noticed, the majority of moisturizers come in plastic bottles these days. Even worse, they usually have pumps that can’t be recycled. The solution? Switch to an equally effective oil that comes in a recyclable glass bottle. From jojoba oil to rosehip oil, there are plenty of face oils that are great for all skin types (yes, including oily skin!). Swap your moisturizer with a face oil and you’ll be hooked in no time.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to give up your favorite weekly self-care activity. Sheet masks are honestly pretty amazing, and you can keep them in your beauty routine — with one minor adjustment. Instead of buying single-use sheet masks that end up in landfills, opt for a reusable sheet mask made from silicone. Not only are silicone sheet masks more environmentally-friendly, they’re also more effective for your skin! That’s because silicone sheet masks are better at locking in hydration and decreasing evaporation. It’s a win-win for your skin and the environment.
There may be some beauty essentials that need to be in liquid form, but lotion definitely isn’t one of them. In fact, switching to a lotion bar makes a lot of sense if you stop and think about it. Like shampoo bars and conditioner bars, lotion bars are convenient for travel. They work just as well — if not better — than the liquid stuff and are far more eco-friendly. Plus, there’s something relaxing about the idea of gently massaging a lotion bar into your skin after you get out of a steamy shower.
If you’re like most makeup enthusiasts, you probably toss your “empties” in the trash after you’re finished with them. And, to be fair, makeup products can be pretty difficult to recycle since they tend to contain different materials that may not be recyclable at all. Why not avoid the hassle altogether by looking for refillable makeup products that are more sustainable? The market for refillable makeup products has taken off in recent years, with many beauty companies now offering a range of refillable lipsticks, blush, makeup palettes, foundation and more.
Got a little downtime on a Saturday? Use it to whip up your own beauty remedies at home. Making your own beauty solutions — like this homemade hairspray that uses only two ingredients — is a great way to avoid plastic packaging and lower your environmental impact. Plus, you’ll save money in the process! While some recipes may be more difficult than others, the benefits you get in return are definitely worth the extra effort.
If you haven’t made the switch to a stainless steel safety razor yet, it’s time to seriously consider it. Disposable razors are meant to be tossed in the trash after only five to seven shaves. Talk about wasteful and expensive! Instead, get yourself a double-edged safety razor made from stainless steel. Not only are stainless steel safety razors built to last, they’re also fully recyclable. And even though the upfront cost of a safety razor is generally much higher than a pack of disposables, the blade refills tend to be cheap.
Finish What You’ve Already Got
As you can see, adopting a simple, low-waste beauty routine doesn’t need to be difficult. Truthfully, one of the hardest parts is figuring out what to do with all of your single-use makeup wipes, bottled shampoos and other beauty products that now seem incredibly wasteful. Whatever you do, avoid tossing them in the trash! Try to use up your remaining beauty products so that nothing goes to waste.
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