"Is your beauty routine approved by Mother Nature? Unless you’re making a conscious effort to be eco-friendly, the answer is probably no."
Guest blog written by Charlotte Murphy
Is your beauty routine approved by Mother Nature? Unless you’re making a conscious effort to be eco-friendly, the answer is probably no. It may surprise you to hear that the beauty industry Is considered one of the most harmful around when it comes to the environment, and as consumers, we have our own role to play in improving the situation.
The beauty industry causes damage to the planet in many ways: toxic ingredients, animal testing, unnecessary plastic packaging, and greenhouse-gas-emitting international transportation are just some of the high-stakes problems that need to be urgently addressed. It may seem out of our control, but we can’t just wash our hands (or our face!) of the issue.
Here are 5 ways you can make your beauty regime a little greener and start saving the planet, one shower at a time! There’s nothing more beautiful than caring.
1. Recycle your containers
What happens to your jars, tubes, and bottles when you throw them away? More often than not, they’re headed straight to landfill. You can easily see why this has become an urgent concern for environmentalists. According to Zero Waste Europe, the beauty industry creates a shocking 120 billion units of packaging every year.
Thankfully, some companies are starting to recognise the need for change. Nordstrom has introduced a recycling program, for example, and they’ll accept packaging from all brands – not just their own.
By participating in programs like these and encouraging others to do the same, you can reduce waste and make your beauty behaviours a little more sustainable.
2. Be water-conscious
Be honest – how long do you spend in the shower? One of the unexpected ways that the beauty industry causes environmental damage is by using water inefficiently, one of the planet’s most precious assets.
Organic Spa reports that water shortages are expected to seriously impact 2 billion people by the year 2025, so time is running out to reverse our wasteful water habits.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up washing. Instead, look for smarter methods of water management to maximise natural resources. According to Tanks for Everything, rainwater harvesting systems can be used to reduce the amount of mains water used by your household. Don’t worry, it’s safe to wash with!
3. Look for reusable and refillable items
We might consider single-use beauty products convenient, but convenience comes at a very high cost. Environmental organisation 1 Million Women has warned that the average makeup wipe takes 100 years to decompose, so a great start to a sustainable beauty routine would be to pledge never to buy them ever again!
Cotton wool pads are similarly damaging. Instead, look for products that can be reused when it comes to washing your face. Microfibre or muslin cloths are excellent alternatives.
It’s not just products that can be reused; packaging can be too. As reported by Allure, many brands are now developing refillable versions of their products. By taking advantage of these options, you prevent unnecessary pollution when you make a purchase.
4. Opt for natural products
What’s in your beauty products? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. After all, you’re not just applying them to your skin – you’re also applying them to the environment. When you wash them away in the sink, they’re sent back into the water. It can be a damaging cycle!
Brightly recommends avoiding the following ingredients to make a positive impact: oxybenzone and octinoxate, parabens, triclosan, fragrance, sulfates, and microplastics.
Given that many of these ingredients have also been linked to long-term health problems by Medical News Today, you may find that switching to natural products is better for you as well as the planet!
5. Support brands making positive changes
We can’t necessarily force beauty companies to do better when it comes to sustainable practices; however, we can certainly apply pressure using wallet-power! Supporting the brands that do make an effort for the environment is one way to prove to others that consumers expect more from the industry.
A little research can go a long way. Sites like Ethical Consumer are designed to provide information and advice so you know which brands are behaving responsibly and which should be avoided.
Insiders at Cosmetics Design Europe have stated that the beauty industry has been “heavily affected” by the rise in this kind of conscious consumerism, so don’t think that you can’t make a difference!
Yes, it is possible to enjoy both clear skin and a clear conscience. By making small but impactful changes, you can minimise the negative effects of your beauty regime.