5 Simple Sustainable Beauty Solutions – Vol. 2

Sustainable Beauty SwapsSustainable Beauty Swaps | How to Make Your Beauty Routine More Sustainable

I’ll be the first to admit that being environmentally conscious and being addicted to beauty can lead to a ton of internalized guilt. Despite being an avid beauty lover, there are things I can do to lessen my environmental impact.

Please keep reading for five simple sustainable beauty solutions that you can implement in your personal care routine.

Helpful Sustainability Vocabulary

Before diving into this post, it is important to define certain terms  that are typically associated with eco-friendly marketing.

  • 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 which 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

5 Sustainable Beauty Solutions

The sustainable beauty solutions below may seem simplistic, but they are often aspects of a persona care routine that are glazed over. 

1 | Swap plastic beauty tools & brushes for sustainable alternatives made with bamboo and other bio-degradable materials

If you’re anything like me, then you likely didn’t realize that makeup sponges and tools can be a major contributor to plastic waste. For example, I sponges, which are typically made of non-biodegradable, non recyclable, foam,  are my preferred way of applying complexion products. Recently, I picked up a the Total Perfecting Blender sponge from EcoTools, which is made out of 70% plant-based, biodegradable material.

2 | Swap Twist-Up or Retractable Pencil Products for wooden alternatives

The plethora of twist-up or retractable pencil products cased in plastic is disheartening. Why are these so ubiquitous?? One small way to make an impact, is to ditch the plastic-cased pencil products for traditional, wooden pencils. Side note: pencils that require sharpening may still actually be plastic-based rather than wood-based…. again… why???

3 | Purchase single powder product pans instead of plastic-packaged pre-made palettes or singles

Please don’t come for me on this one, y’all. I am SO guilty of purchasing pre-made palettes and I have an insane collection. That being said, buying a single pan can not only  lessen your waste, but can often be more financially friendly in the long run. How so?? Often times, there are filler shades in palettes that buyers may not enjoy or may not be drawn towards. By buying single shadows, you know you’re only buying colors that you’ll reach for.

Some of my favorite makers of single shadows are Clionadh CosmeticsColourPop, Devinah, JD Glow, Looxi Beauty, and Ofra.

4 | Consider purchasing from a Clean Beauty brand over a “traditional” beauty brand

Again, please don’t come for me on this one. I know that I have a very small collection of clean beauty products, but I am trying to transition more of my beauty in this way. What is clean beauty? Personally, I go by Sephora’s Clean Beauty standards.

To be a certified clean beauty brand means that products do not contain Parabens, Sulfates (SLS & SLES), Phthalates, Mineral Oil, Formaldehydes, Formaldehyde-releasing agents, Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone,  Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclosan, Triclocarban, and Undisclosed Synthetic Fragrances* Synthetic fragrances,

Not only do clean brands contain less harmful ingredients for us, BUT many of the clean brands at Sephora are also more environmentally conscious.

5 | Re-Home Gently Used Makeup Products or Tools

Rather than chucking your gently used makeup in the trash, consider re-homing those less-loved items. Whether you donate to a shelter or charity, gift a product to a friend, or sell a gently used powder product, re-homing beauty is one easy way to reduce beauty waste if you’re an over-spender like I am. Read my full post on where you can re-home beauty.

Considerations Before Making the Swap

Before throwing out all of your makeup or beauty tools, please consider the following:

  • 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 which means that major corporations can use these terms to advertise their products without offering a solution that is actually better for the environment.
  • Be Price-Conscious | In other words, don’t spend beyond your means. Sustainable options are often more expensive than more traditional goods because they are investments that will last a long time. Although it may be tempting to make sustainable purchases all at once, don’t spend beyond your means.
  • Think About What is Feasible For You | Think about your abilities and your lifestyle. Deep down, if you know in your heart-of-hearts that something won’t be a good fit for you, don’t buy it.
  • Don’t Just Toss Out Your Unsustainable Goods | It is much better to use up what you already own and then buy a sustainable alternative than to buy something sustainable and toss out the less sustainable options you already own. For example, if you already own a ton of single-use cotton rounds or makeup wipes, use up what you own AND THEN incorporate your new sustainable alternatives into your routine.

Takeaways on these Simple Sustainable Beauty Solutions

I fully recognize that many of these swaps are easy to write about, but not as easy to implement. A sustainable option may not be easily accessible to you or may extend beyond your comfort zone.

For the average beauty consumer, these sustainable beauty solutions may not seem mind-blowing. However, as someone who purchases a lot of makeup, these are swaps that I can implement to lessen the impact I’m making based on my beauty consumption habits.

Rather than feeling guilty or disheartened, I recommend evaluating your current beauty routine buying habits or your beauty collection. Determine a realistic step that you can take to make your routine slightly more sustainable.

P.S. fight the urge to toss out or sell all the products that may not have been sustainable. Unsustainable items that have already been purchased should be used, otherwise it makes their purchase even more frivolous.

Did you find this list of 5 simple sustainable beauty solutions? Check out the first sustainable beauty solutions post in this series.

Let’s connect on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin’ | Influenster

Disclaimer: Please note, these sustainable swaps may not be viable for everyone due to personal finances or ability-status. I am in no way passing judgment on anyone’s habits or purchases. I am sharing this post to inspire those who are able to make more sustainable choices.


Have you tried any of these sustainable beauty solutions or would you consider implementing any of these sustainable beauty solutions in the future? Let me know in the comments below.

17 thoughts on “5 Simple Sustainable Beauty Solutions – Vol. 2

    1. I need to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to these swaps because these are things that I struggle with when I’m buying beauty products. I won’t toss what I own and waste it, but I need to be better moving forward.

      One thing I have been changing has been my makeup tools – sadly, though, I don’t find that my eco friendly sponges work quite as well for my preferences. Going to try to stick to them though!

  1. All these tips are super helpful, though I must admit it will be hard for me to implement them.
    I am way too much of a beauty hoarder and just love (almost) everything beauty that gets inside my door. Maybe a bit of Marie Kondo might help, just to find out what sparks joy, and what doesn’t 🙂

    1. Honestly, I’m the same way – I’m such a beauty addict. These tips will be hard for me too, but I hope that I’ll be able to challenge myself to make small adjustments where I can.

      A declutter does feel good!!

  2. I loved reading these! I try to look for sustainable options and refrain from those that are not, but I definitely am not perfect and do sometimes purchase things that might be a bit more wasteful. I think it’s better to at least be sustainable when you can, and if there’s something you REALLY want that’s not sustainable, it’s okay to splurge on without feeling guilty about it.
    Anyways, I really love purchasing from EcoTools for my brushes/blenders. I feel like they work so well and am happy that they are mostly made out of biodegradable material. I need to look for better pencil products though-I think most of the ones I have are made out of plastic, although I’m getting close to using mine up.
    I’m also glad you mentioned that people shouldn’t just throw out their unsustainable products…it’s already purchased, so you might as well use it. Otherwise, it’s not even going to get the one use out of it that it was intended for.

    1. My beauty collection needs a major overhaul to be more sustainable… and my purchasing habits need to slow down, but I completely agree that if I were to throw out all my unsustainable products then I’d be doing even more harm.

      Finding wooden pencils that can be sharpened is so hard nowadays because most brands use retractable pencils or pencils that are still made of plastic. I need to do more research the next time I buy a pencil product.

      I’ve been buying more from EcoTools lately too – I hope to eventually transition over to all EcoTools blenders, but I wish they were a little softer.

  3. Oooh! I love the different ways to practice sustainability in beauty. I try to reduce my waste as much as possible. I like the idea of buying a bamboo brush. I need to look into this for my next brush! I try to avoid plastic waste as much as possible, this includes passing on the samples. YESSS on doing a lot of research! Thanks for sharing all of these tips :).

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  4. Thank you for sharing your tips! I think it’s really important to do whatever we can to lessen our evironmental impact and it’s something I’m passionate about, even though I can definitely do better. I never thought about my sponges being non recyclable!

    1. I never thought about my sponges until recently and then it hit me that these are made from foamy plastic that cannot be recycled! I’ve been trying EcoTools lately and while they are stiffer than BeautyBlender or realTechniques, they do get the job done.

      1. I recently (well not super recently, about 4 months ago I guess) I started using a new beautyblender so I’m not going to throw that one out right now, but next time I’m in need of a new sponge I’m going for the EcoTools one!

      2. Same – literally I bought a pack of realTechnique sponges right before I made my realization lol! But I wash my sponges so frequently (yay breakouts lol) that I don’t mind having a few to alternate between right now!

  5. Love these tips for sustainable solutions! I also appreciate your honesty when it comes to doing x vs y haha. Yess to the bamboo brush, I’ve been seeing these a lot more. There are ones you can buy that have funds that go to helping the amazon rainforest so they can also go to a good cause!!

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