Whether you’re a beauty junkie or a make-up minimalist, we bet there are a few eco-friendly beauty tweaks you can make to your routine. We’ve put together some tips to help you reduce your environmental impact without breaking the bank.
Reusable Cotton Pads
The increased popularity of micellar waters for removing make-up means that people are using cotton pads on a daily when before they might have used a facecloth. While they’re better than make-up wipes (most of which are partly made of plastic), they are still a single-use item which will usually end up in landfill. The solution? Reusable cotton pads! These work like a soft mini facecloth and are perfect for taking off make-up or applying product like toner. After use you simply wash them in the washing machine. We’ve found that they don’t always come out looking spotlessly clean but we prefer not to wash things at higher temperatures to save energy. Four months in they are still doing a great job and have saved multiple cotton pads from going in the bin.
Use every drop
One of our favourite tips is a super simple one. When a tube of product is nearing its end, cut the top off to ensure you are able to use every last drop. You’ll be amazed at how much can be left in the tube when you thought it was finished. Doing this will mean you won’t need to buy a replacement quite so soon. That’s good news for your wallet and the environment! Afraid the product will dry out? Keep the ends closed with a clothes peg or keep it in a sealed plastic box until it’s finished.
Consider the packaging
If you’re trying to reduce how much plastic you use, beauty products are a good place to start. We recommend buying soap instead of hand gel (and the less packaging, the better). Not only will you be amazed at how long it lasts, you’ll have fewer plastic bottles to recycle. Bear in mind that the pumps in bottles of hand gel aren’t recyclable, either. Health food shops and local markets are great places to stock up on artisan soaps with minimal packaging.
Other products that essentially packaging-free are solid shower gels and moisturisers from companies like Lush. Can you get a cardboard box of cotton buds rather than a plastic one? What about a face oil that comes in a glass bottle rather than a plastic one? Hard plastic bottles are more widely recycled than softer tubes so bear that in mind when shopping.
Better cotton buds
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again- cotton buds with paper stems are an easy swap that everyone should make. A lot of major brands have now switched from plastic stems so make sure you check the packaging before you buy. And it goes without saying but make sure you never flush them after use. No one wants to see used cotton buds on the beach- or call a plumber to deal with a blocked toilet, for that matter! We like these cotton swabs from Hydro Phil.
Bamboo and wooden toothbrushes have become more popular and are a fantastic alternative to the usual plastic ones. Check the packaging carefully to see how to deal with it after use. You’ll need to remove the bristles from some (as they can’t be recycled or composted) but you can compost the handle. Others have compostable bristles. There even exists a toothbrush subscription service which will regularly (but not too regularly!) send you eco-friendly toothbrushes. However, bear in mind that the packaging and shipping so increase the carbon footprint. If you’re able to source them near where you live, even better. Just don’t rush to throw out your plastic toothbrush before its life is over as that defeats the purpose. Use it until it needs to be replaced and then say goodbye to plastic toothbrushes and hello to an environmentally-friendly smile!