You’ve read about the devasting impact the beauty industry is having on the environment, you’ve heard about the harmful effect toxic chemicals have on the oceans and you’ve seen the phrase “single-use plastic” more times in the last year than in your entire life.
And when it comes to the climate crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the negative headlines thanks to a constant stream of scary statistics via social media and instant news updates.
But how can we, as individuals, make a difference? Simple. Overhaul your beauty habits from top to toe and what may seem like a tiny step in a much bigger picture will contribute towards a more sustainable future.
In the UK alone the beauty industry contributes 2.7 billion plastic bottles to landfill every year. We’re all guilty of throwing away our empty shampoo bottles instead of recycling them and getting rid of unused products if we simply can’t be bothered to find another use for them.
In short, it’s time to change our habits, and quickly! With a few small changes and substitutions, you’ll be on your way to a cleaner beauty footprint in no time. Here are some simple and effective steps you can implement now:
We can all do our bit to help limit the use of single-use plastic and one of the easiest and most satisfying ways is to invest in refillable products. The amount of “recycled” plastic that ends up in landfill is far greater than we might think. So rather than buying new products that might contribute to the waste, look to brands who offer an economically-friendly refill.
Trailblazers of the refill are L’Occitane who create some of their best-selling products in a handy refillable format that uses 90% less plastic. Rituals, REN and The Soap Co have also created refillable alternatives that encourage you to reuse pumps, lids and plastic tops which are often nonrecyclable.
Like the sound of eco-friendly beauty that actually saves you money? Overhaul your perfume collection and try alternatives who offer handy refills. Thierry Mugler, the creator of the cult Alien fragrance, has a range of refillable options while Le Labo offers a 20% discount when you refill a bottle of their cult perfume. Saving money and helping to save the planet? That’s a win in our books.
Donate or sell unwanted products
If we looked through our makeup bags and bathroom cabinets we’d all find a myriad of beauty products, unwanted perfume, and unused sachets from the odd magazine. And while it may be tempting to throw them out altogether in a bid to declutter the house, it’s no surprise that this will have a nasty environmental impact.
Instead of throwing them away, try to sell or donate your unwanted beauty products. After all, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.
Unwanted products, so long as they’re unused, can be sold on eBay, Depop and Amazon Marketplace or donated to a charity such as Dress for Sucess.
For makeup and beauty that’s used but in good condition, find your nearest charity or collection point at DropPoint where you can find out where to send your unwanted goods.
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Responsibly recycle your empties
If you’re serious about cutting down waste, there are a host of alternative recycling schemes to keep your conscience as clean as your skincare routine!
The Body Shop has a new in-store recycling scheme where you can drop off empty plastic bottles, tubs, tubes and pots, no matter what the brand. Visit the Body Shop website or find out more in store.
Old straighteners lying about? Send your unwanted hair styling tools to Cloud Nine where they’ll be recycled and sent to #HairStraightenerHeaven.
Looking for an incentive? These brands are rewarding now:
- MAC – Head to any MAC store with six packaging containers and receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice as a thank you.
- Lush – take home a free face mask when you return five empty black pots.
- Kiehl’s Recycle & Reward – Return your empty Kiehl’s product packaging or shop with a Kiehl’s reusable bag for 1 stamp on your loyalty card! 10 stamps = 1 complimentary Kiehl’s travel size product.
- Origins – return empty products for a free sample in store.
Look for eco-friendly packaging
One of the best ways to support eco-friendly beauty brands is to buy products made from all or mostly recycled materials. Here are some of our go-to favourites:
- Tata Harper
Alternatively, ditch the plastic altogether and opt for package-free beauty such as shampoo bars, shower gels, facial oils and good old fashioned soap. Discover Lush’s naked range which is 100% packaging free and natural-based.
Ditch disposable razors
Around 2 billion disposable razors are thrown away globally each year. But one of the easiest ways to reduce your plastic footprint, without compromising on your grooming routine, is to switch to a reusable razor.
Brands such as Harry’s who offer a men’s razor subscription service, make it easier than ever to keep on top of grooming while saying goodbye to single-use razors. Not only will you significantly cut down on the amount of plastic you throw away, but reusable razors also make for a closer and more even shave.
But what about the disposable heads? Send them to TerraCycle who have already teamed up with the likes of Gilette to recycle razors and other used beauty items. Guilt-free shaving has never been easier!
Invest in reusable cotton pads
Makeup wipes, cotton pads and cotton wool are notoriously bad for the environment as most are virtually non-biodegradable.
Switch to reusable cotton pads and you’ll save yourself time and money in the long run, as well as cutting down on unnecessary waste. Most reusable cotton pads cost around £10 for a pack of twenty (look online to find the best deal), meaning you could save around £50 a year!
Once you’ve got to grips with reusable alternatives, go a step further and do your research on feminine hygiene products too. There are a whole host of eco-friendly period brands that make biodegradable tampons and sanitary towels as well as reusable menstrual cups.
Learn to love your makeup tools
Makeup brushes looking a little worse for wear? Guilty of using a brand new sponge every month? If the answers to these two questions are yes – you’re not alone.
Learn to love your makeup tools and they’ll last for months with a little TLC. While it’s easy to buy a new Beauty Blender or makeup sponge when they get a little bit gross, it’s even easier to clean them properly and restore them back to life.
And the same goes for your makeup brushes. Ideally, they should be washed once a week to get rid of old makeup and bacteria so incorporate this into your weekly routine. Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the ends and they’ll look and feel brand new!
Related post: Discover Sustainable Beauty