Green is the new black, not just in fashion—where bamboo and vintage finds are in, fast fashion is out—but also in the beauty industry.
More and more consumers are looking for ways to make their skincare and makeup routines environmentally friendly. That means using products that use low-waste packaging, non-harmful chemical ingredients, and local suppliers.
Here are some ways to make your own beauty routine more environmentally friendly.
Go to the bar
No, not your local drinking establishment. Bar soap and shampoo bars are in and they don’t come in plastic bottles, which reduces waste. “Not only do bars use way less packaging, but they’re also produced with a lot less water,” wrote The Cut.
Bar soap has come a long way since our parent’s Ivory soap days. There are dozens of luxurious, delicious-smelling bar products that leave you feeling squeaky clean. Try the Mutha exfoliating body bar or the Vogue-recommended Abhati Suisse shampoo bars.
Read the label
There are plenty of brands out there using words like “clean” or “natural” to describe their products. These labels can be misleading, since so-called “clean beauty” is largely unregulated. It’s up to you to read the label and research beauty companies to see what their products are made of.
“On a sustainable beauty product’s packaging, you’ll likely see symbols for recyclable, cruelty-free (certified by Leaping Bunny), Fair Trade or B-Corp to reflect ethical business practices, and USDA-certified organic ingredients,” wrote Stasher.
To achieve these certifications, products must adhere to strict guidelines — meaning you can be assured they’re actually good for your skin and the planet.
Use what you have
“There’s often this impetus in anything new people undertake, but especially in sustainable living, that in order to ‘do it right,’ you have to rid your life of all the old, bad, plastic-cloaked stuff and go out and buy all new eco-friendly stuff,” said Ashlee Piper, author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet. “That’s simply not true; in fact, it’s worse. I always encourage people to work with what they have.”
Try to use your skincare and makeup products down to the very last drop. Or, if something doesn’t suit you, try to donate or resell the item to a local shelter, on a neighborhood Facebook group, or via a site like Poshmark.
Consider this: The beauty industry creates 120 billion units of packaging per year. That’s a ton of waste.
Lower your personal impact by buying fewer products and using refillable packaging as much as possible. One way to cut down on the number of products you buy is to look for multiuse items: such as Ilia’s Multi-Stick or NARS’ The Multiple. These items can be used as blush, lipstick, highlighter — you name it. Buying less means you also throw out less, too.
Finally, support your local businesses and avoid the environmental impact of shipping products to your home. It’s not about transporting a product from point A to B. Shipping beauty products requires a fair amount of materials: the shipping container, packing paper, receipt, label, tape, etc. Shopping locally cuts down on all the waste and helps you support your community.