Beauty Musings

Sustainable Beauty Embraces Minimalism

Sustainable Fashion & Beauty Blogger
Written by Jennifer Nini

As our month long collaboration for #FriendshipFeb continues, Jackie from A Daily Joy blog and I thought we’d each post about our beauty routines to show how easy it can be to 'green' it up.

Whilst I can’t speak for Jackie (head over to her blog to read how she maintains an eco friendly beauty regime) my daily routine can only be described as ‘natural'. I expose myself to cosmetics only for rare occasions: special events, weekly trips into town and photo shoots. But I wasn’t always a make-up free advocate.

MAKE-UP AS A 'FEEL GOOD' DRUG

In my twenties like many women, my self-esteem correlated with what was in my make-up bag. I had so much make-up that I could have started my own Priceline (beauty) store. When I look back, I remember how addicted I was not only to the make-up purchase, but of its application. I thought I looked more beautiful, I got more compliments that reaffirmed this belief and thus I kept applying it. A never ending beauty cycle.

There’s a meme that is making its way around that reads:

Dear girls, 

Make-up is a harmful drug. Once you start using it, you’ll feel ugly without it.

As sad as it is, there is some truth in this. It took me years to 'wean' myself off the habit of 'putting on the face' each and every day. Social expectations, media advertising and peer pressure can affect our body image and self-image. This need to look 'perfect' is a learned behaviour. Therefore we can unlearn it too.

DON'T ACCEPT THE 'GOLD' BEAUTY STANDARD, QUESTION IT

It is only when we start questioning these notions of ‘perfect’ beauty that we begin to understand its absurdity. The Barbie doll, an example of this ridiculous idea of ‘perfection', has hit its third consecutive year of declining sales according to Times Magazine. Although critics may blame a competitive toy market, there are others who believe that with rising awareness of sustainability issues, women are abandoning unrealistic beauty expectations in favour of natural, less toxic beauty.

This is exactly what happened to me many moons ago.

Sustainable Beauty Embraces Minimalism - Eco Warrior Princess

Judge me or don't: this is me au naturale

ECO BEAUTY = SIMPLICITY

I'm often asked about my beauty routine so I'm going to give it to you straight.

First of all, I believe that beauty starts from within and no amount of ‘eco’ beauty products is going to change anything if you don’t feel beautiful from the inside.

I also believe in the less-is-more theory of beauty. If you're adding fake anything, it's not very sustainable is it? Fake eyelashes, fake nails, fake hair sounds like a fabulous way to change it up a bit (and why not if only once in a while), but if you're doing it month-in-month-out, week-in-week-out and dare I say, day-in-day out, I would encourage you to start questioning whether your self-esteem is entirely derived from purely physical attributes.

Furthermore, what are these beauty items made of anyway? Sustainability and minimalism go hand-in-hand so if you want to go eco-friendly, try giving these synthetic beauty additions a miss.

Having said all of that, here are my eco-friendly beauty tips:

What's on the inside counts too.

I'm not talking about your overall attitude and personality (although of course this is important!) I'm referring to what you're eating and drinking. This plays a role in your health and poor health can be physically obvious affecting your 'natural beauty' such as: tired eyes, pimples, limp hair, brittle nails, dull complexion. These may all be signs of poor health. I'd get a check up and then begin addressing any vitamin deficiency ASAP as well as overhauling my health.

As for me, I am an organic food worshipper (and also grow a lot of organic produce myself) with a keen interest in health and nutrition. My routine is as follows: I wake up I drink a glass of water or some hot water with lemon. I also drink a glass before I go to bed. During the day I will drink many glasses. I do some basic yoga poses. I eat vegetarian organic food paying close attention to my nutrient intake. My skin is flawless, my nails are strong, my hair is thick and healthy and I have lots of energy. I don't wear foundation or tinted moisturiser because I don't need to - my skin is healthy and I feel healthy and that's because I nourish myself from within. If you're going to try an eco friendly beauty routine, I encourage you to start below the surface.

Don't be heavy-handed with make-up.

Unless you've got a good reason for having an inch thick of makeup on (you're in theatre, you're a circus performer, you're a drag queen) lighten the load. My usual make-up bag of tricks is as basic as they come because I don't like to slather on chemicals or additional ingredients however natural if I can do without. My usual routine? I define my eyebrows and line my eyes and that's it. If you're wondering, I use Australian eco-friendly make up brand Adorn Cosmetic & Nude By Nature (only because it was a recent gift from a friend).

Sustainable Beauty & Fashion Blogger - Jennifer Nini

My make up routine is simple: applying eco-friendly make up products to my eyes, eyebrows and some lip balm.

Coconut oil as leave-in conditioner.

I haven’t brushed my hair in a couple of years as I revealed in my previous post. However if I feel like pampering myself I'll apply coconut oil to the ends of my hair as an eco friendly alternative to leave-in conditioner. I wash it out and it always smells beautiful and feels luxurious afterwards. No one has ever suspected my hair hasn’t been brushed – the coconut oil helps make it look silky and lush.

Apple Cider Vinegar as toner, blemish treatment & detoxifier.

A few years ago my face exploded with adult acne. It seemed to have come from nowhere as I had never been afflicted with this skin condition before, not even as a teen. Both my naturopath and doctor put it down to hormones.

My naturopath's wife (who had suffered adult acne when she was pregnant with their first child) recommended I mix one part apple cider vinegar with 3-4 parts water. She advised to drink it (to detox and cleanse) as well as use it as a topical acne treatment. I followed her advice and my skin cleared in weeks. This is a cheap DIY beauty treatment that works - I swear by it!

Sustainable Beauty is Minimalist

Beeswax lip balm for a perfect pout.

From time to time I get dry lips which is the only reason I use lip balm. I have used a variety of different natural lip balms from Palmers Cocoa Butter, Body Shop, Burt’s Bees - you name it I’ve tried it. Then along came Eco Store Beeswax Lip Balm - and now I am hooked. It is fragrance-free and is made with plant based ingredients that is biodegradable. I will eventually make my own lip balm once we have a ready supply from our bee hives but until then, this is my lip balm of choice.

Now it's over to you: What does your beauty routine entail? Do you worry about the toxic chemicals you expose yourself to each time you apply beauty and make-up products? Do you wear too much and want to cut down? Would love to hear your thoughts so please post a comment below.

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About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she began this blog to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she's not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.

14 Comments

  • Great read! I started using natural shampoo last year. now I simply wash my hair with 1 part bi-carb soda 3 or 4 parts water, and the same ratio for ACV and water for the conditioner – adding in some essential oils to the ACV. I also make my own deodorant – a mix of bi-carb soda, cornstarch and coconut oil (and an essential oil). I’ve never felt better!

    • Hi Beth – Fantastic that you make your own shampoo and deodorant! I don’t wear deodorant myself but will need to make my own as I do go to fashion events + parties and always feel paranoid if it’s a warm day and I’ve been sweating! I also plan on making my own shampoo however have been gifted with a few different shampoo brands, one that I really like is Eco Store’s one as it doesn’t leave my hair feeling oily. Once I get through them then I will have the opportunity to finally create my own 🙂

  • I definitely agree with drinking more water. I strive to check on my water intake, not only for beauty but for headaches. I’ve cut back on coffee and only allow myself to have it on the weekends (if I drink it all during the week). Although I still eat meat, it’s usually only one meal a week. I love eating vegetarian and feel more energized and stomach is much happier when I stick to this routine.

    I haven’t tried Apple Cider Vinegar, but I have friend who also takes it for stomach problems and her acid reflux and swears by it, so I’ll have to try it soon!

    • You should definitely try Apple Cider Vinegar, I’ve been drinking and applying it and couldn’t say better things about it!! Yes water is extremely important – I rarely get headaches and if I do, I drink lots of water and this often relieves the pain. Also I learned that if you look at the colour of your pee (yes it is weird but I do it because I take my nutrition and health seriously as a vegetarian who had issues many years ago with near anaemia and low blood pressure) and it darker yellow, you need to hydrate. Clear pee is a good sign. Thought I should share that wisdom that I learned in my early teens 🙂

      • Good information to share. My mom, who is also a nurse, also told me about that. I’m definitely going to try the Apple Cider Vinegar. I was told to use Organic, but I’m guessing you already do that! Great post!

        • Hey lovely! Definitely go with ACV. I live in a shared household so I use whatever is in the house but of course if I am shopping, I try to buy organic or as close to what’s available at the time. Let me know how you go with it, I recommend it as a detox, works amazingly for me, if you can get passed the flavour (which I really like believe it or not!) xx

  • Such a wonderful post! I completely agree with nourishing outer beauty from within. Healthy food, plenty of water, and being at peace with who you are, is the best combination for beauty. I’ve never worn a lot of makeup, but in my early 20’s, I would never have left the house without my signature ‘doe eyes’. lol I was a master of eye shadow and liner! Now, I hardly every wear any makeup except the occasional swipe of mascara or eyeliner. Plus, lip balm, because the climate here is so very dry, especially in winter.

    • Ahhh I have seen a pic of you and you definitely don’t need to wear makeup! I stopped wearing it when I broke out in adult acne a couple of years ago and only wear it now for events and other special occasions. But lip balm is definitely a must, I’m outdoors a lot as you know and whilst I often wear a hat, my lips do get dry. The other thing I should have noted was sleep. They don’t call it ‘beauty sleep’ for no reason! xx

    • Hi Myra!
      It’s interesting how much time you spend on appearance in your 20s, and then as you get older you realize how much more important it is to take care of yourself! There’s so many things I used to do, like staying up super late, skipping breakfast, and not drinking enough water, that would not work for me now! And, I never thought lip balm would be important, but having been in so many dry and sunny climates, I need it!

  • I started weeding out the chemicals in my skincare regime years ago and it’s still a work in progress. It has taken me a long time testing and comparing products to determine what worked best for me. Now I am down to Sukin products as face and body cleansers, natural oils (Jojoba and Vitamin E) as moisturisers, and coconut oil as a shaving cream, hair conditioner and all-rounder. Still working on a shampoo I am happy with as my hair seems to change dramatically every time a relocate (about every 2 years). I might have to give the bi-carb soda a go!

    • Thanks for sharing Zoe – I had used Sukin for many years but stopped using it the last 2 years as I got adult acne and avoided make-up and other ingredients, however natural. If I wore makeup then I used the WotNot natural wipes but apart from that I just used Apple Cider Vinegar – it eventually helped with restoring my skin to its original state. Yes I hear vinegar and bi-carb soda is great as shampoo but still haven’t had the opportunity as yet to create my own as I am gifted with a lot of different brands of shampoo and once I get through them all, I will them be able to make my own 🙂 I use bi-carb as a standard cleaner though – it always works a treat! Let me know how you go and with making your own shampoo! xx

  • Love this post, so strange as i’m writing a post at the moment about my beauty routine!
    I’ve not used Apple CV on my face before, do you use it as an everyday toner?

    • Hey hun, we’re on the same wave length then! As for ACV I don’t use it everyday – probably once a week. Most of the time the only before bed and morning beauty routine I use is… water! That’s it. Unless I do myself up which is hardly ever these days. My skin is flawless so its definitely happier with less ‘beautifying’ xx

  • Hi, I am very happy to find this blog, I can find benefit information, you are beautiful, can you tell me what you using for moisturizing youre face and skin, I’m dealing with acne almost 5 years, thank you.

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