How to work towards a sustainable beauty routine
We hope you enjoyed our previous blog post on how to start making eco-friendly choices. Click here if you haven’t seen it yet!
Now that we’ve been introduced to the idea, let’s narrow down our focus and explore how we might move towards a more sustainable, eco-friendly beauty routine. We think it’s likely that many of us would choose eco-friendly options if we better understood our options and what's available.
Is the sustainable option worth the effort?
When it comes to our daily routines, we all want convenience in our lives; we’re busy and many of us don’t have a lot of time to spare. Most of us are aware that the beauty industry generates a lot of plastic waste, but how many of us would be willing to go to a little extra effort if it meant we were choosing the more sustainable and kinder option for our planet?
Sustainable options can involve shopping in stores you might not otherwise visit, or swapping to products that are reusable and therefore require washing. Granted, this takes a little more time and consideration, but the reduction in damage to the planet is something we can’t really afford to ignore.
Customer habits will ultimately dictate the types of product a company will sell, so change needs to come from us, the consumer.
So we come back to the question:
“Is the sustainable option worth the trouble?”
Of course the amount of extra effort will be a huge factor. But in many cases, the extra trouble isn’t always that significant, and perhaps it’s like anything really: once we get used to a new way of doing something, it just becomes second nature.
We think that if a little extra effort means that we can reduce our carbon footprint, or support a company that offers a sustainable version of a product, then yes, it's definitely worth it.
Easy swaps for a sustainable beauty routine
Let’s get stuck into the easy swaps you can make to your beauty routine. A good place to start is to consider your single-use items, i.e. those items you typically use just once before throwing away. For starters, try switching your cotton wool pads/balls to our versatile Reusable Cotton Make Up Rounds. If you use cotton wool to remove nail varnish, perhaps try our Reusable Nail Polish Remover Wipes - both can be rinsed out and used time and time again.
And whilst we’re talking about being kinder to the planet, consider what it means to be kind to your body too. Take a look at the products you currently use on your skin, for example your makeup remover - do you recognise the list of ingredients which will be absorbed by your body every time you apply it? If not, perhaps try a natural alternative like jojoba oil or coconut oil, both are excellent natural substitutes and can be used with our make-up rounds to remove your makeup. The added bonus? Good quality oils won’t come packaged in plastic either.
Cleansing wipes/makeup remover wipes may be convenient, but they’re really not the kindest option for our planet. Especially if you flush them down the toilet: are you familiar with the term “fatberg”? It’s one of those words that really is as revolting as it sounds: look it up at your own risk!
A few years ago, data showed that flushing wipes down the toilet made up around 93% of the material causing sewer blockages (baby wipes are also a massive culprit here). Thank goodness then that there are now biodegradable options available to buy, or you could try our Reusable Bamboo and Cotton Make Up Pads to remove your makeup: you can chuck these in with your washing to be used again and again. We’ve also got Bamboo and Cotton Travel Wipes you can take with you on the go.
Products which are both natural and biodegradable are always a win-win, and we have plenty more suggestions to help you make your routine an eco-friendly one. Rather than use chemical-based body scrubs to exfoliate your skin or items which are made from plastic, you could try our Body Buff None Sponges. We make these with a mix of organic cotton and linen with a plant-based, compressed core.
Or how about our Organic Cotton Bath Poufs? They’re made with 100% GOTS cotton - this stands for Global Organic Textile Standard so you can be assured the cotton has been sustainably processed. Actually you’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to exfoliating, because our 100% biodegradable Exfoliating Loofah Discs are another great option for removing rough patches of skin, and can be put out with your compost once they’re all used up.
Many standard sponges are made from plastic. Over time they break up and small particles go down the drain. And did you know that real sea sponges are live creatures you find at the bottom of the sea? Sadly though they’re not always sustainably harvested, and why risk upsetting an ecosystem for a sponge? Neither standard or real sponges are an eco-friendly option, so step forward our Konjac Sponges. These are made from the root of a konjac plant and remain hard until soaked in water, then they become silky soft. You can also use them with facial washes and for removing make-up.
Consider homemade products
We’re definitely not suggesting that you turn your kitchen into some sort of apothecary - especially if you’re not a fan of mess! But hear us out. Some beauty products can be replicated pretty easily with natural ingredients - think exfoliators, lip balms, face masks and body oils.
Did you know that salt, sugar and even coffee (honest!) can be mixed with a base oil and essential oil to make great, cheap body scrubs which you can store in your own reusable containers?
Here are a couple of our favourite homemade recipes - you might find yourself hooked after you realise how easy they can be:
Homemade Salt Scrub
1 cup of fine Himalayan pink salt (of course you can use standard salt too, but pink does look particularly lovely in a scrub!)
- ½ cup of melted coconut oil
- 5- 10 drops of your favourite essential oil - we love vanilla for a sweeter scrub or grapefruit or lemon for a citrusy fresh feel
Simply melt the coconut oil gently in a clean pan until it liquefies, then add it to the salt and mix well. Add your essential oil of choice and voila - you’re done! Store in an airtight glass container and scrub away….
The Kitchen Face Mask
We’ve called this the Kitchen Face Mask because, well, that’s where you can find the ingredients (all two of them - we told you it could be simple!). Avocado helps to nourish and hydrate the skin, and yoghurt acts as a gentle exfoliator, so this combination is great for this time of year when skin is probably a little dry.
- Half an avocado
- One teaspoon of plain yoghurt
Packaging and refills
Recycling plastics is a bit confusing. There are so many types, and it’s easier on the conscience to chuck it all in the recycling bin and hope for the best. Recently, we came across this helpful site which explains what the different packaging symbols mean.
Recycling plastic is often better than throwing it out, but it’s still not ideal because there’s the carbon footprint to consider. So is there a better option?
In an ideal world, we would choose products that leave no trace of existence once we’ve finished with them. In a less ideal world, we can at least strive towards this same concept. There are many companies now which are taking the naked approach, i.e. they have no packaging at all.
You can also check your local area for refillable stores, they’re starting to spring up in local towns, or often you can find refillable stations in your local health store.
One final thing. Don’t be afraid to challenge companies about their sustainable practices before you buy. Ask questions like:
- What is their approach to sustainability?
- Can their packaging be recycled?
- What packaging do they use when sending items out by post?
- Do they have refill stations?
- Is their supply chain transparent?
As we’ve said, it’s customers that lead the change, and If businesses start to receive lots of questions around the same issue, it’s more likely that they will begin to consider ways in which they can improve their approach to sustainability.
The truth is, we’re all still learning about the best ways in which we can be more sustainable. Noone is perfect, and there are always going to be improvements we can make to our daily routines. If there were just a couple of takeaways from the above, we would encourage everyone to make simple quick swaps and to choose the sustainable option wherever possible, even if it means welcoming just a small amount of extra effort into our lives.
References: Recycle now
If you want to read a little more on this topic, click here for more tips.
Interested in sustainable beauty? Well, have you considered reusable, zero waste Menstrual products?