Trying to live plastic free is often about avoiding the single-use plastic items or those plastics that can’t be recycled (think mixed-materials plastics) but surely being environmentally friendly is more than just plastic use? The single-use of any item can have an impact on the environment, especially when that item cannot be recycled, because the result is an increase in what is sent to landfill. And where else is this more prevalent than our beauty regimes?
Whether it’s single-use face wipes or cotton pads to our sanitary towels, there are easy swaps that we can make which will not only help the environment, but could help with the finances in the long run too. Who doesn’t love money saving tips?!
Reusable Cotton Pads
How many of us use cotton pads as part of our beauty regimes? They are so useful for applying make-up, removing make-up and washing our face with cleanser or toner. Whilst cotton pads themselves may not contain much, if any, plastic, they usually come in plastic packaging. They are also single-use and can’t be recycled once soiled and therefore go straight to landfill. Reusable cotton pads have been around for a while now and can be found in most health and beauty stores. They work just like cotton pads and then are washed afterwards. The initial costs may be more than the price of traditional cotton pads, however, in the long-run you will save money and the environment, win-win!
Cotton Buds (q-Tips)
I always forget that in the UK, cotton buds are often found in the baby section of the supermarket but cotton buds have such a wide ranging use. Many people use cotton buds to clean out their ears, for cleaning nooks and crannies in their homes and for applying or removing make-up. If you want the ultimate eco-friendly cotton bud then this one by Bamboo mood is a winner. They are washable and plastic free and come in a magnet bamboo case. If you would prefer to stick to single-use buds, then these ones by Johnsons are a good option and the packaging is 100% paper. Other plastic-free brands include Eco Living bamboo cotton buds. Eco Living also boasts to being a carbon neutral company.
For me, switching to more eco-friendly make-up is one of the more difficult things to do in my beauty regime. Often, the products come in plastic containers, particularly mascara and, again, recycling soiled items is much more difficult as they are often discarded at the recycling centre. More and more companies are using glass containers for their foundations, for example, Estee Lauder and Clinique have their own as do some of the more affordable products such as this one from The Body Shop. However, there are also brands popping up which stock sustainable products across the whole make-up range such as Antonym which can be found in the US and Zao in the UK.
Shampoo and Conditioner
One of the first changes I made to my beauty regime was switching to plastic free shampoos and conditioners. There are so many options out there for shampoo and conditioning bars which are usually always plastic free. The other great thing about these bars is that they are often toxic-free too (you can read more about toxic-free health and beauty here). Faith in Nature are a well-known brand who have bar-versions of their shampoo and conditioner. For a household brand you could try Garnier who launched their new bars in Boots in 2020. And for the male readers, you have not been forgotten! L’Oriel Men Expert have launched a bar which acts as a shampoo and wash bar for the hair, beard, face and body.
Razors are often used universally by all. Whether they are used to shave facial hair, neck hair, under our arms or our legs, they are often a staple in everyone’s beauty regime. The majority of people I know use either an electric razor or one where you change the razor heads as soon as they get blunt. For those still using the disposable razors, I would use up what you have left and then never buy any again! They are definitely one product where it is better, and cheaper, to use reusable products. I don’t know about you but I do get a better shave from my reusable razor than the disposable ones. However, unless you are using an electric razor, all other razors have some disposable element to them and, if you have a plastic-based reusable razor, the chances are the disposable razor head is going straight into landfill. My recommendation is to swap to a metal razor like this one from Shoreline Shavers. They are a family run business and have an amazing starter pack which includes toxic-free shaving soap, all for an affordable price. Alternatively, if you are US based, you could try this razor from Leaf Shave that has an adjustable head. The one thing I would say about metal razors, however, is that they often use safety blades. This can take some getting used to and you may have to adjust the way you shave but once you do, you won’t look back!
Making your beauty regime as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible is easier than you think. Gone are the times where we have to use single-use products and the variety available is getting bigger and bigger. I love popping down to my local health and beauty store to see what’s available but the internet is great in finding a plethora of products available.
One of the last products I have switched out to become plastic-free was my razor. I had hung on to it for so long and I guarantee many of you are the same! I wonder if it is also one of those products we don’t even think of as being either plastic, or a problem to our environment.
Hopefully this article has inspired you in some way and, like me, you’re now ready to make the final push to a more sustainable and eco-friendly beauty regime!
If you’re asking yourself the question, now how do I make my health regime more eco-friendly then check this article out. For toxic-free health and beauty, we have you covered here.