You can live sustainably by recycling items or purchasing your produce from local farmers instead of opting for fruits and vegetables that get shipped from other countries. It’s also smart to think about how your beauty regimen could become more sustainable. Here are nine easy ways to start the transition.
1. Think about your top reasons for making the switch
Often, people feel compelled to make changes to their habits after a matter close to their hearts spurs them on. Ponder the relevant issues that may be pushing you to start using sustainable beauty products. Maybe you’re concerned about plastic packaging ending up in oceans and hurting marine life. Or perhaps it bothers you that a brand you use still carries out animal testing.
You may also be alarmed that many beauty products contain potentially hazardous ingredients that could enter the bloodstream through the skin. Once it becomes clear why you most want to use sustainable products, it’ll be easier to decide on your next actions.
2. Set a budget and timeframe for your transition
Since sustainable beauty products are not as widely available as conventional ones, you’ll likely find some of them are more expensive than you expected. It’s not always feasible to do a sustainability switch all at once. Instead, figure out how much you want to spend on the products and how often. For example, you may set a limit of $25 every two months.
If your budget doesn’t allow for much discretionary income, think about dropping hints to your friends and family near your birthday or the holiday season so they know you’d love some sustainable beauty products as gifts. Some companies also offer samples or travel sizes in airline-approved containers that may be more affordable, but check that the packaging is recyclable if low waste is important to you.
3. Create your own beauty products
You may already have some beauty products made for cleaning or comlimenting your face. Fortunately, there are recipes to make your own cleansers, masks and more. Plus, by creating products yourself, you have the option to use non-GMO or kosher ingredients. Knowing where you source your products also helps make sure the products are sustainable and ethical.
Keep in mind using products for more than one purpose is at the heart of many sustainability practices. Tall glass bottles that once held lotion can eventually become vases for flowers after cleaning them. Alternatively, you can just make more lotion and refill the bottle!
4. Remember, sustainability takes many forms
Companies define sustainable practices in a variety of ways so they account for at least one of the four pillars of sustainability. Environmental sustainability is one type, but there are human, economic and social sustainability too. You may find your favorite beauty brand hasn’t yet focused on environmental sustainability, for example, but has a program that empowers disadvantaged people to earn incomes when other employment opportunities are few and far between.
Many companies have sustainability sections on their websites that detail their respective initiatives. Check out that information as you decide which products to buy.
5. Gradually eliminate certain ingredients
One of the easiest ways to purchase cosmetics that are more sustainable is to become familiar with ingredients that could harm you. For example, evidence shows synthetic antioxidants known as BHA and BHT — common preservatives in products like lipsticks — disrupt the endocrine system.
For help cutting out ingredients, use EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It allows users to search by product, ingredient or company, then gives information about the potentially dangerous components of items based on open scientific studies. Plus, you can find out why researchers consider specific ingredients toxic, such as by learning that they could harm the reproductive system.
6. Think about cutting out disposable makeup wipes
Moving toward using sustainable cosmetics often means doing away with practices that are convenient, but wasteful. It’s easy to grab a pre-moistened makeup wipe and enjoy a clean face in a minute or less, but it’s not so pleasant to think about how you’re throwing it away immediately after.
Most wipes end up in landfills, and they’re not biodegradable. However, a variety of makeup wipe alternatives exist for you to discover. Many of them are soft products you can toss into a load of laundry after use, and they’re easy to take along during travel. Considering you likely buy at least one pack of makeup wipes per month, going with something reusable also makes sense for your budget.
7. Spread the word about the green beauty products you love
It’s undoubtedly helpful to make personal changes to become a more sustainable makeup wearer, but you can also encourage your friends to follow suit. Discuss why you decided to purchase different products and share recommendations about the most impressive stuff.
Then, go beyond the people you know and give positive feedback on cosmetics review sites or brands’ social media feeds. Many individuals visit those places before buying items. By weighing in about favorable experiences, you could be a direct influence on whether people try the products.
8. Sign up for an eco beauty box subscription
Have you ever thought about signing up for a beauty box subscription? By doing that, you’ll get deliveries of specially selected products directly to your doorstep, usually once a month. There are eco-conscious options to consider, and it’s a good idea to ponder if one of those subscriptions might fit into your monthly “splurge” budget.
Some beauty box subscriptions give discounts on the full-sized versions of the products. That perk makes the subscriptions more economical overall because you get to try the products first and see if you like them, plus spend less on the items than a non-subscriber would. Some services also offer seasonal products or make their boxes follow a theme.
9. Explore the specialty sections of well-known stores
Since an increasing number of people are realizing they’d prefer more sustainable beauty products, many popular and mainstream stores are filling the need in the marketplace.
For example, Sephora recently launched a Clean Beauty section, plus a Clean at Sephora label that highlights products with ingredient formulations that are likely to be better for you than some conventional options. Ulta also stocks numerous natural beauty brands. By looking for sustainable products at the places you already shop, you can save time and get satisfying results.
10. Bookmark online stores devotes to clean beauty
If finding research is an issue, check out clean beauty websites such as Nourished Life and conscious.kin and bookmark them. You can rest assured they’ve done much of the screening for you (although you’ll still need to read and check that the ingredients work for you and that the brand aligns with your values). These green beauty sites are also easy to navigate, have great search criteria if you’re after organic, vegan, cruelty-free, and they stock a wide range of eco-friendly beauty brands producing makeup, skincare, sunscreen, haircare and more.
Remember, start small and stay upbeat. Making a complete and immediate transition to sustainable products can be expensive and overwhelming. Fortunately, this list of tips gives you meaningful ways to do it over time. Then, you can stay focused on your goal of using only that kind of merchandise.
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Feature image via Nourished Life.