It’s no secret: the beauty industry hasn’t always been great to the planet.
With plastic waste, harmful chemicals, and animal exploitation, makeup has a not-so-pretty past of contributing to damage to the environment, and in the process, many of these products have even contained harmful, irritating ingredients.
However, the sustainability movement has been on the rise in the past few years, and it’s rapidly expanded into makeup and skincare.
With the growing number of brands offering eco-friendly options, it’s easier than ever to adopt a beauty routine that’s kinder to the environment.
But we know that adopting a new lifestyle is always tricky; that’s why we’re here this Earth Day with 6 tips for a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.
While adopting all of these habits is stellar, it might be overwhelming to make so many changes at once, so don’t go crazy! Just taking on one or two can make a huge difference, and you can always add on more habits as you go.
1. Recycle the Empties
We realize that this one’s a given, but it’s worth reminding ourselves to recycle our empty makeup containers. This is because even if we do normally recycle, it’s more so with food containers, where recycling is more accessible. But when you run out of makeup, it’s all too easy to just toss it in the bathroom wastebasket without thought.
If you find yourself doing this, consider placing a bin in your bathroom just for empty beauty containers. Nowadays, there are even dual bins with a section just for recyclables!
2. Sustainable Tools
Of course, sustainable beauty isn’t just about the makeup itself; brushes and applicators are also a factor.
If you find yourself going through makeup brushes a little too often, try investing more in ones that are built to last. And to minimize your plastic waste, brushes with a wooden handle make a great alternative; the same goes for hair brushes, too!
Besides brushes, you can also replace cotton pads with reusable ones made of terry cloth, and there are plenty of makeup sponges available that are built to last.
3. Stop Using Makeup Wipes
Makeup wipes can be super convenient for those nights when you’re too tired to wash your face, but we hate to say it: makeup wipes do far more harm than good.
Face wipes are non-recyclable products that contain plastic, and they’re responsible for 93% of sewage blockage. On top of that, over 9.3 million wet wipes are flushed down toilets every day.
And to make matters worse, face wipes aren’t very good for your skin, either. Most face wipes, even those claiming to be “gentle,” contain harsh chemicals that strip your skin of its natural oils. Plus, dragging a wipe across your skin can irritate and damage the delicate capillaries in the skin.
Instead of makeup wipes, try using a double cleansing method to remove makeup, dirt and sweat. To do so, start with an oil-based cleanser or cleansing balm, and follow up with a foaming, water-based or gel cleanser. And for those nights when you just need a quick fix, a reusable cotton pad with micellar water makes a great replacement for wipes.
4. Opt for Reusable Bags
Reusable shopping bags have gotten a lot more popular in the past, but they’re not just for groceries!
If you’re already bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, expand this practice taking them when you’re shopping for makeup. Plus, there are bags available in all shapes and sizes, so when you’re traveling, you can replace your disposable plastic bags with reusable ones.
5. Choose Cruelty-Free
If you haven’t already, start opting for cruelty-free beauty.
While more brands are turning to cruelty-free practices, there are still all too many that follow conventional methods of testing. And in these cruel practices, chemicals in cosmetics are tested on rats, rabbits, cats, dogs, and monkeys, who spend their entire lives suffering in cages.
These methods are savage and outdated, as there’s technology now that allows us to test without torturing innocent creatures.
When you choose cruelty-free, you’re not supporting these practices, and you’ll find that the formulas are more gentle while still effective.
6. Use Mineral-Based SPF
Out of all the things you can do to prevent aging, sunscreen is the most recommended.
However, sunscreen has a dark side: most conventional sunscreens use a chemical formula, which uses chemicals like oxybenzone and homosalate. And while these chemicals are effective at preventing sun damage, they can be incredibly damaging to our planet and our bodies.
A lot of residual sunscreen winds up in our oceans, and there’s strong evidence that oxybenzone contributes to coral reef damage, while homosalate may work as an endocrine disruptor.
The next time you shop for a new sunscreen, try a mineral-based or “physical” sunscreen. These sunscreens protect your skin from the sun with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are gentle on skin and aquatic life.