Simple sustainable beauty swaps for your routine

JTake a look inside your bathroom cabinet. What do you see? Your collection of makeup, skincare, haircare, and other miscellaneous self-care products probably have one thing in common: most of them will be thrown in the trash.

If you are diligent about recycling your empties, kudos to you! But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 70% of the 14.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging generated in 2018 ended up in landfill. Of these 14.5 million tonnes, approximately 120 billion units of plastic are allocated to the cosmetics and personal care industry. TL;DR: It’s a lot of containers of moisturizers piling up at the landfill.

But before you start getting discouraged, take advice from sustainability expert Jhánneu Roberts: Simple, sustainable beauty swaps can make a difference. big difference for the planet, with minimal impact on your diet.

“We can choose products with less packaging and those that are made with renewable materials,” says Roberts. “When we make sustainable choices, we show businesses that we want them to do better, and that can drive positive changes in the marketplace.”

A simple place to start? Opt for more durable materials. Avoiding (or recycling) plastic is a no-brainer, but choosing natural, biodegradable fabrics like cotton in your towels and other self-care products can also have a big impact on the lasting footprint of your beauty routine. (FYI: Most man-made fibers are made from plastic forms.) Keep reading for more planet-loving advice from Roberts, plus some suggestions for sustainable beauty swaps you can easily adopt.

1. Replace your disposable beauty products with reusable ones

Take a second and think about how much waste your beauty routine generates. Whether it’s removing makeup and nail polish or putting on toner, that’s probably a lot. Even though you might be thinking, “aren’t these things biodegradable?” many cheap staples like makeup remover wipes are actually made with synthetic fibers, which means you’re just throwing more plastic in the trash.

Robert’s suggestion? Switch to reusable cotton rounds. “By switching to reusable cotton pads instead of disposable pads, you reduce waste and reduce the environmental impact associated with single-use products,” says Roberts.

If you still love disposable cotton rounds, no worries: just check the label to make sure they’re made with 100% biodegradable cotton instead of synthetic fibers. And while you’re at it, you might as well get yourself a reusable cotton makeup remover towel to replace your usual makeup remover wipes. Extra bonus? There is no need to worry about skin irritation with cotton products as they are hypoallergenic.

Buy reusable cotton rounds

2. Try bar soaps in the shower

Your shower is another place that houses a lot of plastic wrap. Although this one may seem inevitable, there is a way around it: try a solid shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. “Using bar soap eliminates the need for plastic wrappers found in many liquid body washes, reduces plastic waste, and promotes a more sustainable cleaning option,” says Roberts.

The three options listed below (all of which smell delicious, by the way) are made by companies that take their commitment to environmental stewardship seriously. The limited packaging they use is plastic-free, and the bars also last longer than plastic-wrapped shampoos, conditioners, and body washes — they’re all worth around two to three bottles — while costing essentially the same. To save money And the planet is a win-win.

3. Choose beauty products that come in refillable containers

A few of your favorite beauty brands have a lasting secret: some of their popular products are refillable. “Choosing beauty products that come in refillable containers or have minimal packaging helps reduce unnecessary waste,” Roberts says. In addition, it will (again) save you money, because redeeming only the top-up is usually cheaper.

And it’s not just indie beauty brands offering refillable containers, big names like Dior, Charlotte Tilbury, Drunk Elephant and Glossier are doing it too.

4. Opt for deodorant in non-plastic packaging

Another easy change you can make in your beauty routine is to replace your plastic-wrapped deodorant with paper-wrapped deodorants or reusable containers. Roberts recommends Native’s paper-wrapped deodorant, and all three brands below are vegan, aluminum-free, and loved by their users (and did we mention being kind to the planet?).

Making these sustainable beauty swaps might seem like a small way to make an impact, but with 4.9 billion metric tons of plastic already in landfills, every little bit counts. “Sustainable living requires careful consideration of the impact of our actions on the environment and future generations,” Roberts says. “It involves being aware of our consumption habits, reducing waste, conserving resources and choosing environmentally friendly alternatives.” Here’s to a future less filled with plastic.

Buy a plastic-free deodorant


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