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 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 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, nonrecyclable, foam, are my preferred way of applying complexion products. 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 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.
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.
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.
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.