The beauty industry is going through a much-needed makeover with more and more brands moving toward sustainable practices and leaving out ingredients that aren’t great for our skin, or the planet.
But ‘clean’ can be confusing and with a lot of marketing magic and no real industry regulators, making smarter swaps when shopping new brands and products isn’t as easy as it should be. With plenty of healthy debate still going on about ‘toxic’ vs ‘non-toxic’ an easier way to shake up your routine for the good of the planet is to focus on sustainability.
Unlike the choice between natural and synthetic, making sustainable swaps is a quick and easy way to make a big impact on the environment. In fact, a huge way to improve the sustainability of your beauty routine is to simply do and buy less. Read on for a few easy changes you can make today.
Ditch makeup wipes and cotton rounds for reusable products
I’m not afraid to admit that my entire cleansing routine consisted using a makeup wipe every night when they first became popular. Although I can now proudly say I haven’t used a makeup wipe in years, they’re still pretty popular despite causing our environment (and your skin) some serious grief.
There are plenty of options that takeaway the need for makeup wipes and those cotton rounds popular for applying toners and exfoliators that are just as convenient and, in many cases, more effective.
In the place of makeup wipes, Go-To Skincare’s Posh Cloth is a soft muslin cloth that will wipe away makeup with a little cleansing oil or makeup removing liquid. It’s also perfect for removing masks and doesn’t take much effort to care for. You simply toss it in the wash on a gentle setting to refresh it.
Another makeup wipe replacement, Biologi’s new Microfibre Cloths work to remove your makeup simply with water and a gentle scrub thanks to the microfibres that cling to makeup, SPF and anything left over on your skin. They have a very gentle exfoliating effect too when used with a little warm water and a gentle circular motion.
As for replacing your cotton rounds, The Quick Flick Flick Off! Reusable Pads are made from a soft velvety fabric on one side and cotton on the other to both remove makeup and apply things like toner. A simple swap to these could save hundreds of cotton rounds being sent to landfill every year plus they’re machine washable and recyclable.
Look into recycling programs
It’s great to see so many brands switch to post-consumer recycled materials and those that can be easily recycled with household waste. However, there’s a long way to go and even materials that can be put in your recycle bin at home aren’t always given a second chance.
TerraCycle is a great option that’s becoming more readily available in Australia. They’re working with Aussie beauty brands offering a free recycling service that allows you to send back your used products to be responsibly recycled. What’s better, is that many partners offer discounts on your new purchases in exchange for your old products. You can search for participating brands on their website.
Buy direct from brands (Local brands are even better!)
An aspect of sustainability that many don’t consider is the energy required to manufacture and distribute products. The less a product is handled, the better for the environment. So, rather than buying a product that’s been shipped from overseas to a warehouse, then shipped again to a retailer, then shipped yet again to your home, consider buying directly from brands so products are only being shipped twice.
Avoid problematic ingredients
Microbeads. Why do products still contain these? We don’t really know. There are so many physical exfoliation alternatives that don’t involve sending thousands of tiny pieces of plastic down the drain.
Artificial fragrances can be another problematic ingredient as studies have shown they’re causing toxic environments within waterways. Choose naturally fragranced or fragrance-free products where you can and if you’re getting really serious, don’t wear fragrance into the ocean.
Similarly, synthetic sunscreens can have a detrimental effect on the ocean as the chemicals build up and threaten ecosystems. Look for products that are certified reef safe, water-resistant and ideally made from mineral sunscreens including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Use up every last drop before buying new products
There’s nothing less sustainable than purchasing a new product before finishing your last. We get that there are always so many new and exciting releases and products to try, but finishing products helps to extend the lifecycle of their packaging as well as the resources it took to manufacture and distribute the product.
Always shop your own stash before adding to cart. And, if you find you have products that just aren’t agreeing with you, gift them to friends and family or you can even arrange a mini swap meet so you’re getting as well as giving.