Besides making an effort to recycle the plastic and cardboard packaging that comes with buying new cosmetics, having an eco-friendly beauty routine can be taken much further than that. Everything from what goes into the cosmetics we use to how we plan on using them has an impact on the environment.
Here are a few different ways to revamp your makeup bag and beauty habits with personal health and environmental sustainability in mind.
Everything from body washes and hand soaps to shampoos and facial moisturizers are fragranced these days. They may smell great, but they also contain hundreds of different chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, disrupt hormonal health and don’t readily breakdown in the environment. When purchasing cosmetic products, it’s worth avoiding anything that includes the word “parfum” or “fragrance” in its ingredients.
Say No to Microbeads
There are all sorts of cosmetic products out there–including exfoliants, body scrubs and even toothpastes–that contain tiny little microbeads. They might seem harmless, but they’re actually proving to be a big environmental issue. Once they’re washed down the drain, they eventually make their way into our rivers, lakes and oceans after failing to be captured by wastewater facilities due to how small they are in size. And because they’re not very biodegradable, fish and other animals mistake them for eggs and end up eating them. Just say no to anything with microbeads.
Stop Using Makeup Wipes
It’s tempting to use tissues, cotton balls and even those fancy pre-packaged makeup wipes to remove makeup at the end of the day. But they all end up in the trash, and if you remove makeup every day, then that’s a lot of paper products being sent to landfills. A paper-free and all-natural solution is to use coconut oil, olive oil or mineral oil by applying it to the face and removing makeup with a damp washcloth. The oil also acts as a natural and effective moisturizer.
Choose Eco-Friendly Makeup Brushes
Makeup brushes are easy to forget about when it comes to going green. The bristles of many makeup brushes are actually made from the hair of squirrels, badgers, goats and even ponies. If you’re looking to purchase some new brushes, make sure you look for brushes that have been made from sustainable materials like bamboo and synthetic bristles. Some people claim that these Earth and animal-friendly brushes do a better job at blending.
Skip the Shower Every Other Day
The general trend these days in modern society is to take a shower every day, but from a hygienic health perspective, we’re really overdoing it, and we’re definitely not doing the environment any favors either. In addition to completely drying out our skin, longer and hotter showers mean more wasted water and energy. A faucet left to run for just five minutes uses just about as much energy as a 60-watt bulb left on for 14 hours. Almost everyone could benefit from showering just every other day.
Dive Deeper into the Ingredients
We’ve already covered the fragrance portion of cosmetics, but there are hundreds of other nasty chemicals lurking in cosmetics known to be hazardous to human health and the environment. Parabens, triclosan, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, sodium laureate sulphate and other PEG compounds are just a few to avoid. To make it easier in pinpointing how eco-friendly a particular product is, consider checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database, which includes ratings for over 60,000 cosmetic products.
As a last tip, consider researching cosmetic companies that sell the most eco-friendly products. Safe Cosmetics has a list of 500 companies that have made substantial progress in banning harmful chemicals in their cosmetics and working toward a higher standard for personal care products.