As a beauty-lover, I often feel I pang of guilt at how my unsustainable purchasing patterns and personal care habits are affecting the environment around me – and I’m not alone in my thoughts. Research conducted by the leading market research group, Mintel, indicates that sustainability is a growing concern amongst millennial consumers. But what can we do to reduce our environmental impact?
There are many ways we can implement changes to make our Beauty and Personal Care routines more sustainable. Please keep reading for 5 simple sustainable beauty swaps that can reduce the environmental impact of your beauty routine.
Helpful Sustainability Vocabulary
Biodegradable:a term which refers to a product’s ability to break down naturally in the environment via bacteria or other living organisms; note: in the US, this term is not regulated, so many brands can falsely claim they sell biodegradable products
Single-Use: a term that refers to a product which may be used once before being thrown out. Examples include Q-Tips, plastic plates, makeup remover wipes
Sustainable:products that are eco-conscious and focused on maintaining ecological balance through ethical and biodegradable ingredient sourcing that avoids natural resource overconsumption
Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
5 Simple Sustainable Beauty Swaps
1 | Swap single-use cotton-rounds for cloth cotton rounds or face cloths that can be washed and reused
Stop buying cotton rounds that need to be tossed after a single use. Instead, consider investing in multi-use, washable cloth cotton rounds. Alternatively, try a specialty face cloths that are intended for makeup removal.
If all else fails, try to get MORE use from your single-use cotton rounds. Cut them in half, thirds, or fourths. Split them down the seam. Get more than one use out of that single-use product.
2 | Swap single-use facial wipes for cleansing oil/milk, face wash, or micellar water
Consider switching to a more sustainable alternative than face wipes. A cleansing oil, cleansing milk, or cleansing balm, a heavy-duty face wash, or micellar water will effectively remove makeup. Also, these cleansing alternatives are more sustainable. Multi-use cleansers create less waste than a wipe.
3 | If possible, swap makeup removers overall for micro-fiber clothes that only need water to remove makeup
Consider ditching makeup remover and single-use cotton rounds altogether! Instead, invest in a Makeup Eraser (or similar clothes). These only require water to thoroughly remove makeup. Using clothes like this eliminates waste.
4 | Swap individually packaged sheet masks for DIY sheet masks or Bio-Cellulose sheet masks
Rather than opting for a sheet mask, try making your own mask. Find free, helpful online recipes for making DIY sheet masks. Ditch the single-use, individually wrapped masks!
Alternatively, if DIY masks aren’t an option, try using cotton cloths or purchasing a Bio-Cellulose sheet mask.
5 | Swap traditional plastic-based blotting papers for rice or bamboo/plant-based blotting sheets
It never occurred to me that plastic comprised the entirety of my beloved blotting papers. Instead of plastic blotting sheets, consider using a plant-based alternatives. Common alternatives are made with bamboo or rice paper.
Or ditch the wipes altogether. Instead, opt for single-ply toilet paper or tissues. Additionally, it is worth noting that the latter option is more sustainable and more cost-effective.
These makeup remover clothes gently remove makeup with only a little cold water
Considerations Before Making Sustainable Beauty Swaps
Many sustainable beauty swaps can reduce the impact of your beauty routine. It feels tempting to try to make all of these changes at once. Having a passion or sudden interest in making sustainable swaps in your beauty routine is a wonderful feeling. However, there are definite considerations to keep in mind before making any transitions:
Research, Research, Research
Before you buy any new, sustainable goods, conduct your own research to figure out what brands or products will be easiest to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Lookout for Green-Washing
In the US, many terms such as “sustainable,” “biodegradable,” “natural,” and “organic” aren’t officially regulated. This means that major corporations use these terms to advertise without restriction. As a result, these ”green” alternatives may be no better for the environment.
Don’t spend beyond your means. Sustainable options are often more expensive than more traditional goods. They are investments meant to last a long time.
Think About What is Feasible For You
Think about your abilities and your lifestyle.If you know that a sustainable alternative won’t work for your lifestyle, don’t buy it.
Don’t Just Toss Out Your Unsustainable Goods
Use up what you already own; then buy a sustainable alternative. Do not just toss out the less sustainable items you own. For example, if you already own single-use cotton rounds or makeup wipes, use or donate them. Then purchase a sustainable option.
Takeaways on Making Sustainable Beauty Swaps
In the words of my favorite sustainability vlogger, Shelbizleee:
You cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that you can do.
What does this mean? Small changes make a huge impact over time. I may not be the most sustainable beauty blogger. However, here are small changes that I can try. Over time, these changes will make a difference!
Also, don’t feel guilted into making expensive purchases in the name of sustainability. First, think about what you can manage financially. Second, assess what you’ll actually end up using in your daily life. Last, use up what you already own. From there, begin to implement small changes.
When it comes to your personal care routine, make sustainable beauty swaps where and when you can.
Disclaimer: Please note, I recognize that these sustainable swaps may not be viable for everyone. Personal finances and ability-status effect people’s ability to make these swaps. Therefore, I am not intending to judge anyone’s habits or shame them into choosing alternatives that are impossible. Instead, this post is meant to inspire people to make changes however they can.