Let’s face it: we all need to do more to reduce our environmental impact.
One way to start is to think about your beauty regime. According to one report, the beauty industry generates more than 120 billion pieces of plastic packaging every year, each taking up to a shocking 1,000 years to decompose.
And as they do, toxic chemicals from packaging and our cosmetics themselves are entering oceans, damaging the ecosystems and causing death to aquatic species. What’s even more concerning is that, according to Garnier, more than half of Brits don’t recycle bathroom products as we think it’s “inconvenient” to do so.
Simply put, our habits are simply not sustainable and must change.
Although we can’t get you to become totally plastic or toxin-free overnight without making some significant compromises, we can offer some tips on lowering your carbon footprint when you’re applying moisturiser, putting on makeup, or taking a shower on a morning…
Cut your water usage
The average Briton uses more than 140 litres of water per day – all of which goes down the plughole. One report suggests that we could save six gallons of water by cutting our shower time by just three minutes, helping to save resources and raise awareness of the importance of clean water. One in ten people around the world still lacks access to a basic water supply.
When you’re brushing your teeth or washing your face, turn off the tap. Not only is it better for your water bill, but it avoids unnecessary water waste. Splash your face when you apply a cleanser, and only turn the water back on when you’re ready to rinse your face. It’s simple.
Switch to eco-friendly products
The beauty industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. You can do your bit by buying from small, independent companies that produce natural, eco-friendly alternatives to your favourite products. Rather than buying a face cleanser from the supermarket, shop at stores like Lush, which makes face washes from natural ingredients and without plastic packaging.
Instead of buying disposable plastic toothbrushes, opt for bamboo alternatives, which are longer-lasting and better for the planet. Makeup can be bought from brands like Dirty Dippie and BareFaced Beauty, and facemasks can be homemade with oats, lavender, and clay.
If you’re used to heading to a cosmetics clinic for botox or other beauty treatments, consider less invasive solutions that you can try at home. They’re not only cheaper and safer, but they avoid excess plastic pollution. The Oralift anti-ageing device, for instance, is a mouthguard that is worn for short periods of time with rest breaks. You can reuse your Oralift for months on end to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, gently rinsing it between uses.
Buy in bulk when you can
Do you head to the high street to buy makeup and skincare products individually? You can reduce your environmental impact by buying beauty products in bulk – resulting in fewer car journeys. Every time you buy online, you’re contributing to global warming, as a warehouse has to store your item, and a distribution company has to physically collect those goods and deliver them to your home. Research shows that the average commute is 11 minutes longer than it should be because of the number of delivery trucks on the road, all polluting the air.
Cut down on the number of times you buy online, and when you do, stock up. It’s not only good for the planet, but you’ll likely access some bulk buying discounts, and you’ll never run out of your favourite moisturiser or cleanser, even when they’re temporarily out of stock.
Spend time out of makeup
Though we’re not suggesting that you abandon your makeup and beauty regime, you should consider cutting down on the number of days you wear makeup. Every time you wash off your makeup with a wipe or over the sink, you’re releasing harmful chemicals into our lakes, streams, rivers, and public water systems, permanently damaging our wildlife. Spending just one day per week out of makeup reduces the number of chemicals and toxins significantly.
Wearing makeup all day, every day is also bad for your skin, causing dryness and redness. That, in turn, encourages you to use more moisturiser and gentle cleansers which add to the number of plastic bottles you dispose of. Challenge yourself to go makeup-free and see what happens – your skin will be grateful, your purse will be heavier, and you’ll help out the planet.
Finally, consider reusable beauty products where possible. One of the beauty industry’s biggest problems is in that most products are disposable and designed for one-time use. From cotton pads to plastic tubs, we throw away so many items that we could easily reuse.
Look out for products sold in reusable or optional packaging (Lush is the most obvious one here, but there are many independent online retailers who offer such products). And where there isn’t an option, get inventive and look for ways to reuse your jars, glasses, and bottles for growing plants, storing jewellery and making some at-home face masks and cleansers.
Reusable cleansing pads are also a great investment. You can remove your makeup and apply toner in your usual way, and pop the pads into a washing machine for reuse. Data from WWF suggests that the amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of cotton is the same amount of water one person would drink in three years. Pads also wreak havoc with your drains, forming giant balls which trap odours and cause blockages in your pipes.
There you have it – five ways to make your beauty regime a little more sustainable. Do you have any other tips? Let us know and check back soon for more from the team at Oralift.