We all love looking, and feeling, our very best. For some of us, this comes with a small arsenal of lotions, tinctures, and tools incorporated into our beauty regimes. But beauty comes at a cost, not only to our bank accounts but the environment as well. All that packaging piles up and chemicals go down the drain and in turn into our lakes, streams and back into our drinking water.
The slogan reduce, reuse, recycle, can be applied to beauty too! From purchasing products with eco-friendly packaging to reducing water consumption, small changes to your daily routine can make a big impact on your environmental footprint. Here are some ideas to help
Make your beauty routine a little more eco-friendly
Do Some Research
This one takes the most time, but is very important. It’s good to be informed not only about the ingredients of the products you use on your body, but the company's sustainability practices as well. Our product consumption makes a massive impact on our biological footprint. By doing the research and using only the products we need, we reduce waste and save money.
Recycled, Eco-Friendly Packaging
Start green, stay green, even beauty companies are taking note! Plastic can take as long as 450 years to decompose, glass bottles can take a million years or more. When you put us all together, the waste quickly piles up. About 1.5 million barrels of oil is burned every year to create plastic bottles and packaging, and even more oil is burned to transport them. Many major beauty companies have responded to consumer demand by using environmentally friendly biodegradable materials in their packaging and rewarding customers for recycling.
Buy in Bulk
An easy way to cut down on packaging and reduce waste is to buy in bulk whenever possible. Many wholesale companies allow consumers to buy their favorite beauty brands in bulk and offer refill options to cut back on packaging and shipping costs.
Skip the Daily Shampoo
Going a few days between washes your hair not only makes for easier styling, but is also great for the environment by saving water, reducing chemicals in the water stream, and eliminating the electricity used for blow-drying. To keep strands from looking oily, spray your favorite dry shampoo near the scalp, tousle with your fingers, style and look effortlessly fabulous all day.
Turn Off the Water
Speaking of water, did you know that for every minute the faucet runs, two gallons (7.6 liters) of water go down the drain? The average eight-minute shower dumps 17 gallons! (64.35 liters) Turning off the water while lathering up or brushing your teeth saves water and energy costs, allowing you to save money on two separate utility bills. As an added bonus, turning off the water during a hot shower also helps to avoid drying out the hair and skin.
Look for Double-Duty products
Many of us have several different products that do the same thing. Products that serve multiple purposes mean more savings for you and less waste for the environment. There are many products available that serve as both a blush and a lipstain, eyeliner and brow duos, even shampoo and conditioner combos.
Raise the Bar
Choosing bar soap over body wash is a great way to not only cut back on plastic packaging but conserve energy as well, Bar soap is generally wrapped in paper which is significantly easier on landfills than plastic bottles. It takes more water, energy and production to create the plastic bottles and pumps used in liquid body washes and hand detergents. These products are often heavily overused; studies show we use as much as 42% more product than we need to, which means we spend more and waste more.
Take a Beauty Detox
Take inventory of your makeup and beauty products. What do you use, what do you not? What has ingredients you don’t want to put on your body? Check expiration dates and toss anything you don't use. This not only reduces clutter in your bathroom but allows you to take note of the products and brands that do the most for you.
Be sure to check the labels for anything you can’t throw in the garbage or recycle bin. Some beauty products like hairsprays, mousse and the batteries in appliances are considered hazardous waste and may need to be disposed of through your local hazardous waste program.
Recycle - and get rewarded!
While recycling is generally easy, recycling makeup containers can be more difficult to navigate. Many recycling companies toss lipstick and mascara tubes because they're so tricky to melt down. Bring back empty containers from any brand to Origins stores for recycling.
Many other companies have followed suit and started offering incentive programs to reward you for bringing your empty packaging in for recycling. MAC, for example, will give you a free lipstick when you return six empty tubes. LUSH, Khiel’s and Aveda offer similar programs.
Use every last drop.
It can be tempting to throw out that tube of toothpaste out before it’s all used up, but get the most out of your products, and your dollar, by squeezing them to the last drop. Set your mascara tube into a cup of warm water to loosen up the remaining product, use a paint tube wringer to squeeze out the last of the toothpaste or the conditioner tube.
A few other ways to use less.
Skip the face wipes. As convenient as they are, makeup and face cleansing wipes add a lot of waste to the environment and they don’t break down easily.
Swap out disposable and refillable plastic razors for a metal razor. The cartridges for metal razors create much less packaging waste. Bypass the blades and go for an electric version, reducing waste entirely.
Trade cotton balls and other disposable applicators for eco-friendly brushes and sponges. Many companies offer recycled, cruelty-free products that are sustainable and designed to help reduce your carbon footprint.
The environmental effects of our beauty routines are far reaching but there are steps we can take to reduce toxins in the environment and scale down waste. Reducing your carbon footprint may not seem easy to do, but a few thoughtful changes to your daily routine can make a huge difference.
What steps do you take to make your beauty routine more environmentally friendly? Let us know!
Until next time,
The BioElementis Team