This is the second instalment of how to create a green beauty routine that looked at ways to look your best without burdening the environment.
We talked about the importance of sticking loyally to a few products, pitfalls of hoarding, and tricks that manufacturers play with wordings on the labels. We also learned about reusable products, refills, and how packaging matters in the sustainable and green business.
Here are more ways to create a green beauty routine.
1. Eco-friendly dental routine
A simple action like turning off the water during brushing and turning it on when it’s time to rinse, reduces water footprint.
There’s more to an eco-friendly dental routine.
For toothbrushes, substitute the plastic handles with bamboo handles and use environmentally friendly bristles. Natural bristles can come from the hair of boars so the choice of using it is up to you depending on where you stand with animal products.
A great alternative is plant-based bristles like 100% bamboo viscose.
As for the paste itself, try some DIY. Coconut oil and baking soda make for the best or at least the most tried and tested combination. Or, if you are a little iffy about your ability to fashion a homemade paste that works, go for companies that offer organic toothpaste, like Dr. Bronner’s.
Look for natural ingredients to use for you dental routine. For example, one of coconut oil’s many benefits is that it is an effective mouthwash in combination with baking soda.
You can also endorse toothpaste companies that package their product in recyclable and refillable containers.
2. Salon size cuts down on waste
Buying in bulk slows down your environmental footprint.
Look at elements you will be making redundant – production and manufacturing costs, shipping and packaging expenses.
This also does away with the need of several bottles, cans and jars of the same product. Buy once, buy big, and make it last.
3. Eliminate aerosol sprays from your routine
Aerosprays may contain the best smelling products out there but that should not excuse them for being a terror to the environment.
Manufacturers will tell you that they are aware of the dangers and have done everything to make the safest product possible. Their efforts may be sincere but these products still need compressed gases to function and they are the source of the problem.
The hydrocarbons in these cans, when released into the atmosphere, contribute massively to the carbon footprint.
These gases are one of the causes of smog and respiratory conditions like asthma. They also make their way into water supplies and are responsible for the size of rain droplets becoming smaller.
You can swap aerosol sprays for powered dry shampoos and stick deodorants. These days you can get solid deodorant free of harmful chemicals, such as Wanderlightly’s Deodorant Balm.
4. Pull back on the hot showers
Everybody loves a hot shower. There is something extremely comforting about them.
But they come at a price.
We are not recommending that you never ever take a hot shower again. A cold shower on a January morning is just inhumane. Unless you want to test your threshold to freezing water in which case the blame is on you.
Just don’t overuse water heaters. They expend energy plus too many hot showers can strip the skin of healthy natural oils leaving it dry and itchy.
Give it a break when it does not need to be used. Not only does this small action benefit the planet but it also ensures that the appliance serves you for a long time.
You should also make it a habit to the plug off the socket whenever water heaters are not in use. Plugged-in appliances tend to consume power, also called vampire power.
5. A patient and calculated approach
We understand that there are some products with which you have a deep loyalty. But what of other products you don’t mind
hoarding buying from different brands?
Here’s what we can do:
One invaluable tip is that when such products are about to finish, research and look for sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives. For example, soaps and washes are easy to replace than say a moisturizer or an exfoliators.
You can begin your research while your products still a long way from finishing. Say days or even weeks in advance. This gives you the time and opportunity to visit the stores and try out several sustainable alternatives, not just for one but for several products.
This is one of the best ways to replace non-sustainable but much loved products that you think are irreplaceable.
Take the slow approach. Start with one product and take your time!
(You might also be interested in reading why there’s no such thing as 100% green product.)
6. Recycle your beauty products
The first aspect of recycling products is to buy those that are made of recyclable material. Metal and glass come readily to mind. Once you’ve done that, you can allocate a bin in the bathroom where you can recycle your bottles and your tubes.
These days, there are many stores that actually provide incentives to return their bottles after use so they can be recycled. Here, it is up to the customer to make sure that the containers are washed after use and other parts like tops and lids and not thrown away.
Let’s quickly look at some of these companies…
Loop (a venture of TerraCycle) offers customers the chance of purchasing beauty products from several companies while renting the package. Ren Skin Cleancare offers six of its most popular products in label-free and glass bottles.
Once you pay for the content and the bottles the product is delivered to you through carbon-neutral transport. How neat is that?
Other companies like The Body Shop and Pantene are also involved in this Loop initiative.
Kiehl’s has a program offering its customers a free product in exchange for 10 empty tubes, jars and bottles of products bought from the company.
MAC has a similar program where it offers a free lipstick upon return of six empty containers.
Empty plastic containers of Fructis products from Garnier with the TerraCycle logo can be sent back to the company where they are recycled. For this, the company gives two cents to the charity of your choice.
7. Make homemade beauty products
If you are a doubting Thomas unsure about the sincerity of companies offering “green” beauty products then take matter into your own hands. Let that long-dormant creativity out of the cage and indulge in some DIY. There is much you can do.
Honey and oatmeal make for effective face masks, which can be later composted after use. It takes no courage and just a little research to make amazing DIY homemade skin care recipes.
Bamboo, walnut shells and coffee make for excellent exfoliators. DIY coffee scrubs are simple to fashion and offers tonnes of benefits.
For moisturizers and burns, grow aloe vera in your indoor herb garden. And, instead of buying compresses for eyes, opt for the most natural route with cucumber slices and used homemade tea bags.
For underarm deodorant, there are few better natural alternatives than baking soda. One is alum, which should be first wetted in water and then applied on the underarms.
For hair cleaning and nourishment, try this DIY Ayurvedic shampoo.
8. Visit ethical salons
A trip to the salon can be invigorating most times but there is a lot that goes into making you feel that way. No environment friendly soul should turn a blind eye to the possible usage of plastic, paper and other non-green materials.
Find out salons that use sustainable practices. Check out if they are into environmental packaging, judicious with plastic, and use materials that can be recycled.
Or simply tell the salon you frequent that you prefer environmentally friendly salons.
There is no harm in voicing your opinion and, who knows, they may like your idea.
9. Endorse ethical organizations
One of the best ways to promote eco-friendly living is to buy from companies who are sustainable and ethical in their approach. You will not only be encouraging them but taking business away from companies that are not green in the way they go about their business.
And there are lots of good ones.
Amala Skincare from Germany actually supports the community by paying a fair price for plants from sustainable farms.
Juice Beauty uses solar power, does not endorse pesticides, and takes a sustainable approach to fuel transportation.
Credo Beauty provides cruelty-free products and is big on recycling waste.
For more information on products, ingredients and brands, look at the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Using this database you can find out more about chemicals present in ingredients that can have adverse effects on you and the environment.
10. Eat healthy to look better
Natural beautiful skin is not the result of what you apply on your body but what you put in it. A healthy gut is often responsible for good outward appearance. Find out more on how to maintain and restore gut flora.
This may seriously test your resolve but you have to limit the intake of the sumptuous fast food varieties calling you at every street corner. Plus, turning your back on anything “fast” is embracing slow living and that is not a bad thing.
You might also want to limit sugar consumption and last but definitely not the least, drink your daily quota of water.
Eating healthy will also help you smell better naturally.
You might also want to check out how probiotics affect your health and which types you should take.
11. Use travel-size containers
When going on vacation or business trips, it is ideal to have a set of travel-sized containers for your beauty products.
This doesn’t mean buy new and smaller products for your trips.
Invest in reusable travel-sized containers and refill them every time you need to travel for a bunch of days. This also is a great way to reduce plastic waste related to packaging.
Besides the obvious, look for containers that are cruelty-free, reusable and offered in compostable packaging.
12. Build your own palettes
We’ve already covered the many benefits of product refills and some companies that offer them in the previous post.
Did you know you can also create your own makeup palette? MAC Custom Eye Palette, ColourPop, Tarte’s Gift & Glam Palette and Jennifer Lopez x Inglot Freedom System Palette are some of the names that come to mind.
These companies enable customers to make their own custom palettes that are not only cost-efficient but offer the opportunity for a lot of creativity.
You can mix and match as you desire with the shades of your choice and without having to worry about shades you are never going to use.
Some terms to know when you are looking for an eco-friendly product
Cruelty-free: This means that animals were not experimented on when making the product. This does not mean, however, that a product does not contain animal products.
Vegan: This means cruelty-free but there are no animal ingredients on the product. For example, brushes or makeup appliances that contain animal fur cannot be considered vegan.
All-natural: This is an ambiguous area. Companies may tout their products as being all-natural but they may still contain some chemicals in them. To be sure, just read the ingredients.
Which of these green beauty routine tips do you apply in your life? Are there any you wish to add? Let us know in the comments.