If you’re looking to lead a more environmentally friendly life, one area you need to check in on stat is your beauty routine. The beauty industry is jam-packed with single-use plastics, excess packaging, harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients, all of which are harmful to our planet. However, there are many easy ways you can make a sustainable difference in your regimen. We’ve rounded up seven small swaps that you can make without compromise on end results.
Use Coral-Reef Friendly Sunscreen
While most sunscreens protect us from sun exposure, they have the opposite effect on marine life. With 14,000 tons of sunscreen ending up in our oceans each year – causing coral bleaching, damaging the DNA of coral and prompting growth anomalies – it’s time to make the switch to a reef-friendly sunscreen. Look for oxybenzone-free sunscreen (the damaging chemical) and hit the beach this summer, guilt-free.
Switch to Reusable Makeup Wipes
Face wipes may seem like a quick and easy way to remove your makeup, but they aren’t doing your skin – or the environment, any good. Not only do makeup wipes strip the skin of its natural oils and imbalance PH levels, but they’re also non-biodegradable and end up in landfills. Instead of using disposable face wipes, opt for reusable makeup cloths. Similar to a washcloth, all you have to do is wet them and scrub. The cloth will cleanse, as well as exfoliate and remove all your makeup. After a few uses, you can wash, and repeat.
By purchasing beauty products with a longer shelf life as well as refillable options, you can eliminate the need for single-use plastics. From makeup, to haircare, skincare and perfume, there are so many beauty categories that have the possibility of reducing package waste. L’Occitane, Le Labo, OUAI, and Kjaer Weis are just a few beauty brands that offer refillable products.
Buy Products With Sustainable Packaging
While we’ve become accustomed to reusable bags, it’s about time we brought this ethos into our beauty buying habits as well. Being cautious of how your beauty products are packaged could have a significant impact on the environment. By choosing reusable glass containers over plastic, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste created by the beauty industry and there’s a lot! With more and more companies going green with their packaging, this won’t be a hard switch.
Choose a Bamboo Toothbrush
Regular toothbrushes are just another source of single-use plastic. Time to transition to bamboo! Unlike the synthetic, man-made and plastic toothbrushes we use today, bamboo is a natural ingredient that comes straight from the plant. It’s also 100 percent biodegradable, making it a favourite sustainable material – for toothbrushes and so much more.
Use a Metal Safety Razor
Buh Bye disposable razors! Every year, billions end up in landfills, and while their blades can be recycled, their plastic handle can’t. On the other hand, metal safety razors use no guards, plastic bumpers, or plastic handles. Instead, the blade alone is replaceable and doesn’t require you to throw the whole head away. A metal safety razor is a much more sustainable choice that serves exactly the same purpose.
Support Brands That Participate in Recycling Programs
Just because you polished off your go-to tube of mascara, doesn’t mean it has to head straight into the garbage. When purchasing beauty products, shop from brands that actively participate in recycling programs. Plenty of your favourite beauty brands – Lush, Kiehl’s, Aveda and M.A.C Cosmetics to name a few – will take back your empties and recycle them for ya!
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.