You must have heard a hundred times, following a sustainable lifestyle is an extremely fulfilling experience. But, if you’ve ever tried to switch to sustainable living, you’ll agree with me that it’s not easy!
As you can imagine, I was very excited when I finally took the plunge and dived headfirst into the world of green beauty and skincare products. I gradually transitioned to a more sustainable beauty routine, taking baby steps as I started my research.
I’ll admit—It was a frustrating experience in the beginning with all the terms, ambiguous information, and greenwashing.
I kept my eye on the prize and chugged on, but believe me, I came this close to quitting many times! I’m still going through the transition, learning through trial and error, and refining my beauty regimen in the best interest of our planet.
But don’t fret! You can bypass all the frustration and hard work because, in this blog, I’m going to break it all down to some fundamental steps that’ll help you switch to a sustainable and eco-friendly beauty routine smoothly.
1. Adopt Minimalist Skin Care Routine
A minimalist skincare routine is best for preserving natural beauty. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson much later during my transition to sustainable beauty. However, I feel it’s a fundamental change and should be at the top of our priority list. Shifting to a minimal skincare routine was the final nail in the coffin of my eco-unfriendly grooming habits.
Our skin is a unique organ. It’s delicate, yet it’s tough and protects us from the daily wear and tear from the outside environment. That’s why it requires special care. You must have seen and felt confused (like me) about the extensive morning, afternoon, and night skincare routines endorsed by various celebrities and bloggers. Most of these routines showcase elaborate processes involving dozens of products with complex ingredients.
Over the years, I’ve realized that the more products we use, the more chemicals seep into our skin and speed up aging. A simple skincare routine with fewer products not only allows our skin to breathe naturally but it’s light on the pocket as well. It also means I’ve to research fewer products and save my sanity and pocket from greenwashing.
Here’s a simple skincare routine I follow:
- I use a good cleanser to clean off the dirt and makeup.
- I use serums for an even tone. You can use special treatment for even tone, dark circles, or wrinkles if you require them.
- Finally, I moisturize my skin with a moisturizer suitable for my skin type.
In addition, I keep a scrub for exfoliation and try to apply a face mask at least once a week.
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash
2. Keep An Eye on Water Consumption
Perhaps the easiest way to save the environment is to conserve water. It’s so easy and cheap; many people underappreciated the importance of lowering water consumption.
I know how important it is to keep your skin hydrated. Of course, taking a bath and keeping yourself clean is basic hygiene, but we need to be really thoughtful about how much water we spend. Research shows that every household wastes 2.5 gallons of water per minute during a single shower.
Did you know this much water can source a small village for at least a day!
The first step is to keep the tap off when we’re not using the water. It’s alright to fill a tub and enjoy a soak once or twice a week! Showers are the most wasteful way of taking a bath. How about using a bucket instead?
3. Use Biodegradable Tools Only
Sponges, brushes, blenders; guess where they go once we’re done with them? Yup, in the landfills and oceans leaching cancer-causing chemicals in our waterways. Unfortunately, most of these tools have a short life. Moreover, many of them are single-use plastic products.
Of course, we can’t do away with all these tools! They’re essential for any beauty regimen. However, we can minimize the amount of waste we send to landfills. These plastic brushes and sponges may seem too small to make any difference, but they add up real quick.
That’s why it makes sense to buy biodegradable makeup and skincare tools so we can spruce up ourselves without robbing our planet of its beauty. For example, Elate Cosmetics has completely replaced plastic in their products with wood, glass, and metal.
Similarly, some brands produce plant-based sponges and blenders that decompose quickly without giving off any harmful chemicals.
Here’s a handy list of eco-friendly makeup brands that offer biodegradable makeup and skincare tools so we can beautify ourselves responsibly.
4. Switch to Ethical Beauty Products
Now, this is the tricky part. Finding ethical beauty products that are produced sustainably requires a lot of careful research. You’ll encounter greenwashing, false claims, and insufficient information.
Most people know that brands test beauty products on animals like rabbits and guinea pigs before launching them in the market. For us to look fabulous, thousands of animals every year are subjected to cruel testing at the hands of big and small brands.
These chemicals cause burns, rashes, hair loss, and many other horrible reactions in these animals. Most of them are then left to die a slow, miserable death.
The good news is, ethical beauty products are produced without testing them on animals.
Luckily, the beauty industry is becoming eco-conscious rapidly. A sustainable lifestyle is in vogue, and big brands are shifting towards a sustainable and green business plan.
Here’s an excellent list of 50 world-famous brands that still perform animal testing, and we should avoid them. I was surprised to see some of the renowned names on this list. However, it’s a great resource because it also mentions ethical alternatives, so I don’t have to look high and low for buying sustainable beauty products manufactured with kindness.
5. Choose Brands with Eco-Friendly Packaging
Even when I switched to sustainable products, my heart wasn’t at peace. After hours of research, I’d order my favorite shades to make sure I buy responsibly, only to receive an ugly plastic package full of bubble wrap so the delicate beauty products won’t break.
It felt ridiculous. Why would anyone wrap a sustainable, eco-friendly product in layers of pollutant plastic!
I understand the company’s dilemma. They want to support the environment, but the truth is beauty products are delicate and can break in transit.
But the bottom line was, despite my best efforts, I was still contributing to plastic waste!
Fortunately, more and more brands are tackling this issue and making efforts to ship their products in eco-friendly packaging. They use wood pulp or straw to replace bubble wraps and paper, cardboard, or locally sourced leaves and straw baskets. These packaging materials are compostable and biodegradable.
Some brands allow us to choose between eco-friendly packaging or no packaging at all. Souè and Alima Pure are two of my favorite brands that reduce plastic waste through sustainable packaging.
6. Use Refillables As Much As Possible
Single-use plastic containers are perhaps the worst offenders. Imagine how many empty bottles, containers, and tubes are discarded every day. That’s why many brands have introduced refill packs so we can reuse our empty bottles over and over again.
Big names like Fenty Beauty by Rihanna have various products that come with refill pouches. So once the bottle is empty, we can get the refill to fill up the bottle again. Similarly, brands like Kjaer Weis, Zao Organic Makeup, and Jane Iredale also offer refills for their products, making it easy for their consumers to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
Some local stores collaborate with the brands and keep their products in a dispenser from which we can get as much product as we require in any container we bring with us. For example, we can order our monthly supply of liquid soaps, shampoos, or lotions from Fill and Refill or find their local branch near us.
7. Reuse What Can’t Be Recycled
I know some things still need to get thrown. I get it!
Biodegradable products are easy, right? We can toss them in our compost and forget about them. But on our journey to sustainability, we can come across plastic jars and containers from time to time. They’re like our nemesis rearing their ugly head now and then.
But don’t give up!
Recycling is an integral part of transitioning to a sustainable beauty routine. Collect all the plastic bottles, sponges, and tubes and drop them at the local plastic recycling plant. If, for some reason, something cannot be recycled, we can try to reuse them. We can use them to store other products or make decoration pieces out of them.
Rather than throwing away empty glass jars or plastic containers, I use them for making photo frames and storing dry flowers, spices, and seeds.
Those of us who’ve ever tried to transition to a green lifestyle will testify that it becomes harder before it becomes easier. But believe me, in the end, it’s all worth the effort. We’ve trampled our Earth for centuries to bring it to this point. So naturally, it will take at least decades of consistent effort to revive it back to a clean, healthy environment, free of pollutants. Remember, it’s not a race—it’s a marathon! So just keep chugging and never stop the effort to live a sustainable and eco-friendly life.
Read 2 comments and reply