Sustainable beauty: 10 ways to make your beauty regime cleaner
120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry each year
The majority of beauty products come packaged in plastic, most of which will take nearly 1,000 years to decompose. Research from Garnier found that over 56% of Brits (that’s 4.5 million people) don’t recycle bathroom products because of the inconvenience.
Here are 10 tips to make your beauty regime cleaner:
1. Start using a bars of soap
Think about how many bottles of shower gel we throw away each year. Bars of soap last for weeks, so you'll really be saving on packaging.
2. Forget the loofah
Loofahs often end up in landfills, after a short lifetime of being less than ideal for skin. Find alternatives in natural sponges or - our favourite - The Soap Co.'s 'Exfoliating Soap Pebble', which is made in the Lake District and cocooned in wool from local Herdwick sheep for natural and gentle exfoliation.
3. Pass on plastic
From polluting our waterways to putting marine life at risk, we should all now be well-versed on the devastating impact plastic is reaping on our planet. Luckily, there's a wealth of plastic-free or minimal-plastic beauty brands. Lush, for example offers a range of entirely packaging-free products, or you could opt for glass vessels rather than plastic ones, like these hand soaps from Cosmydor.
4. Goodbye glitter
We've developed a toxic obsession with glitter, usually made from a microplastic which scientists say easily enter the environment. But if you want to remain bedazzled, try clean alternatives from brands like Ronald Britton, Eco Glitter Fun and Bleach London.
5. Re-use and recycle
Plastic packaging marked 1 or 2 on the bottom can be recycled with other household goods. Be sure to remove caps as they are a different type of plastic and can contaminate the load. Origins, Aveda, and M.A.C. all accept packaging for recycling, including harder-to-recycle plastics. See their websites for details. Top tip: We always wash out our candles and use them to keep make-up brushes in!
6. Take out the toxins
Scan the ingredients and try to avoid the nasties. Some key ingredients to avoid are parabens, phthalates, petroleum jelly, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15, and Hydroxymethylglycinate, and hydroquinone.
7. Go natural
Opt for 100% natural ingredients. Coconut oil and castor oil, for example, are both fantastic alternatives to hair masks (avoid the roots, and stick to the ends).
8. Read the symbols
Check the packaging to see whether the items have been made from recycled materials. The symbol is usually pretty visible, as it brands usually like to boast about their moral compass.
9. Read up on brands
Beautypedia is a database that rates and reviews thousands of beauty brands in an honest and transparent guise. It details everything from ingredient-safety to formula efficiency. Don't go to the beauty counter with it.