Whether you wholeheartedly embrace the natural beauty trend or not, there are still plenty of ways you can make your beauty routine more environmentally friendly.
Waste within the beauty industry is a big issue. According to Zero Waste, in 2018 more than 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging were produced around the globe; the majority of which were not able to be recycled. However, it’s not all doom and gloom â€“ there are plenty of innovative beauty brands out there who are dedicated to minimising the beauty industry’s impact on the environment. Plus, there are a few simple steps you can take yourself to make your routine more environmentally minded.
Stop Using Single-Use Products
We will admit that at the end of a long day or a big night a thorough beauty routine can seem like a bit of a chore. The easy option is often reaching for a make-up wipe that will quickly get the job done without fuss. But while disposable make-up wipes might be fuss-free, they’re certainly not doing any favours for the environment. Disposable, single-use cotton pads and cotton balls that we use to apply make-up remover pose a similar problem.
While a trusty face cloth will get the job done, there are now a plethora of beauty brands that are producing eco-friendly reusable cotton pads. They’re perfect for soaking with micellar water and whisking away the day’s impurities and can also be used for treatment products, such as chemical exfoliators, that would traditionally require a disposable cotton pad. Once you’re done, just pop them through the washing machine and they’ll be as good as new.
Try: Our beauty editor’s favourite Skinsmiths Reusable Cotton Pads.
Reach for Naked Products or Ditch Plastic for Sustainable Alternatives
Plastic bags might have attracted all the attention as far as headlines are concerned, but the beauty industry has a long way to go before it can declare that it’s doing its bit to rectify the world’s plastic problem. Fortunately for those looking to make their beauty routine a little greener, there are plenty of brands out there using plastic alternatives or getting rid of packaging entirely.
Lush is undoubtedly leading the way as far as “naked” beauty is concerned. Everything from their facial serums to cleansers are now simply wrapped in paper â€“ which of course, is made from recycled materials. According to the brand, around 90 per cent of their packaging is recycled. Lush has also been the first to open a Naked shop, which is one of the world’s first plastic packaging-free cosmetics shop.
If going naked with your products doesn’t work for you, try looking for products that are housed in glass or aluminium as both are recycled much more effectively than plastic. It’s also a good idea to expand your thinking beyond the pottle that ends up on your bathroom shelf. Superfluous packaging, think fancy yet unnecessary boxes, is a problem in the beauty industry. Look for brands that employ a barely there approach where packaging is concerned if you want to reduce your impact on the environment.
Don’t Leave the Water Running
There’s a reason why waterless beauty products are set to become one of the biggest trends in beauty in the coming years: many countries will face water shortages in the not-too-distant future. Plus, there’s also the fact that water is the beauty industry’s most used resource.
While most of us are probably guilty of mindlessly using too much water when it comes to our beauty routine, there are simple things you can do to reduce the impact that your beauty routine’s water usage has one the planet. The first simple step you can take is instead of leaving the tap running when you’re washing your face, turn it off. If you’re really serious about conserving water, look for beauty products that take a sustainable approach to how they use water in their products and their production lines.
Try: New Zealand’s world-famous ethically minded beauty brand, Ethique, which not only reduces plastic waste but takes a smart approach to water consumption.
Pick Ocean-Friendly Sunscreen
Plastic microbeads might have been banned but there are plenty of problematic beauty ingredients out there with the potential to wreak havoc on the environment. One of them is Oxybenzone, which is a chemical that is often found in sun creams. It is extremely harmful to coral reefs and oceanic ecosystems and scientists have found that up to ten per cent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.
Lawmakers in Hawaii ruled to ban the sale of sunscreens containing Oxybenzone throughout the state as of January 2021, so there is hope that if other countries follow suit, this chemical will no longer be used.