I am the first to admit that as an beauty consumer fuels, I feel a pang of guilt whenever I make purchase decisions that are not sustainable. Although I attempt to makeup for this area of wastefulness in other aspects of my life, there are things that I can do within my beauty routine to reduce my environmental impact. Keep reading today’s post for 5 ridiculously easy ways to make your beauty routine more sustainable.
Before we dive into today’s post, let’s define some key terms that are typically associated with ‘eco-friendly’ or green marketing.
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
Clean:a label which refers to beauty products that are formulated without ‘bad-for-you’ ingredients. The term ‘clean’ is similar to buzzwords such as ”natural” or ”organic” in that there are no legal definitions that qualify a brand’s use of such marketing terms.
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
5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Make Your Beauty Routine More Sustainable
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, complexion sponges, which are typically made of non-biodegradable, non-recyclable foam, are my preferred way of applying complexion products. However, recently I picked up 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 sheer volume of twist-up or retractable pencil products cased in plastic is disheartening. Why are these so ubiquitous?? One small way to make a positive 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. But 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.
4 | Consider purchasing from a Clean Beauty brand over a “traditional” beauty brand
Again, please don’t come to 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. Check out this post on 10 dope clean makeup brands I want to try.
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. Donate to a shelter or charity, gift a product to a friend, or sell a gently used powder product. No matter what you do, re-homing beauty is one easy way to reduce beauty waste if you’re an over-spender like I am. Check out this post for tips to start a successful Poshmark business.
Considerations Before Making the Swap
Before throwing out all of your makeup or beauty tools, please consider the following:
1. Always do your 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Evaluate 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. Are you really going to bring a set of bamboo utensils with you when you eat takeout?
5. First, Use What You Own!
Stop. Do not just toss out an item because it is unsustainable. Instead, continue to use up the items that you own before investing in more sustainable alternatives. Overall, it is much better to use up what you already own than to dump more trash in a landfill to justify buying something new. For example, instead of tossing out all of your single-use cotton rounds or makeup wipes, continue to use up what you own. Then, purchase a reusable alternative.
If using up your unsustainable products is not a viable option, consider donating the items to people or charities in need. Heck, even try giving those items to a family member!
Final Thoughts on these 5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Make Your Beauty Routine More Sustainable
I fully recognize that many of these swaps are easy to write about, but not as easy to instantenously implement. Furthermore, sustainable options 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 my negative impact.
Additionally, always chose hope over guilt. Rather than feeling guilty or disheartened, evaluate your current beauty routine, your buying habits, and the state of your current beauty collection. Determine a realistic step that you can take to make your routine more sustainable.
P.S. fight the urge to toss out or sell all the products that may not be sustainable. Unsustainable items that have already been purchased should be used. Otherwise, those purchases become even more wasteful.
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 can 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.