Ever heard of the old saying, “You are what you eat”? To paraphrase it - you are the products you use. And that goes for all kinds of consumer goods, from the food you buy to the skincare routines you implement. But these days, more and more research is starting to point out the impact that skincare products have on both their users and the environment.
Even regulators are beginning to take note of this phenomenon. For instance, Hawaii - a state where sunscreen is obviously a big deal - has begun banning sunscreen products that contain chemicals proven to be harmful. On the other hand, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom have all outlawed the sale and production of any cosmetic products containing microbeads made of plastic. With all of this in mind - what can you do to make sure your skincare routine is as green as possible? Read on to find out.
Learn About the Ingredients
The beauty industry is privy to the shifting winds and people’s rising awareness of harmful chemicals. That’s why many companies resort to “greenwashing” their products; in other words, representing them as green via marketing, without truly making a change. So, before you start applying everything required to give your body the polish it deserves, especially after invasive things like a bikini zone treatment, familiarize yourself with the list of ingredients as well as the symbols representing recyclable packaging and animal testing.
The number of harmful chemicals found in some skincare products is long, but the main ones to watch out for are chemical preservatives, artificial colors, phthalates, plastic microbeads, and parabens. Many of the abovementioned chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors, they can be bad for the environment in general, or they could even be carcinogens and skin irritants.
Luckily, your skincare routine doesn’t have to become overly complicated and expensive if you want it to be green. For example, there are very simple swaps that can allow you to achieve the same effect you would with commercial products; baking soda may easily exfoliate the skin and natural oil products can moisturize and cleanse it.
Of course, not everything is about harmful chemicals in the products themselves; you could also make your skincare routine greener by reducing the number of different products you use. That’s also a form of waste, as all of these products have different packaging. So, you can simplify your skincare routine by intentionally using double-duty beauty products. Plus, it’ll be a great relief for your budget as well.
There’s no need to buy a separate bubble bath and shower gel; you can get a 2-in-1. And only a spoon of brown sugar separates your shower gel from becoming a great exfoliator as well. You can also find 3-in-1 solutions that act as a foundation, moisturizer, and sunscreen at the same time. When it comes to makeup, you can always use a highlighter or blush that doubles for an eye shadow, or a blush-and-lip duo. Of course, not all the double-usage products are of particularly high quality, so you need to be careful to choose the ones that won’t damage your skin or have any adverse effects.
Regardless of whether you buy commercial beauty products or make your own at home; you want to get face masks that are purely made from plant-based ingredients. Plants will provide you with the highest number of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals; along with beneficial enzymes that your skin needs to be at its best. If you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll realize that organic is far more than a mere buzzword; herbs and plants that are produced organically have far more potent effects than their counterparts laced with pesticides.
The same goes for all the serums and moisturizers that your skin absorbs in beauty treatments. If you don’t have a huge budget for your skincare routine, but you’ve got a garden, that’s one problem solved! You can always cultivate your own aloe vera plants, representing an economical option when it comes to face masks. You just need to extract their juice by slicing the leaves, and then apply it on your skin and rinse after 20 minutes.
You should be mindful of how much waste your skincare routine creates. For instance, it’s a good idea to choose products that don’t have any plastic in their packaging, or products that have no packaging at all. You’ll reduce a lot of your personal carbon footprint that way, and the negative environmental impact you leave will be lessened. There are plenty of brands out there that sell solid conditioning and shampoo bars without packaging, and you can easily use a tin case to store your skincare product there. That further eliminates any need to open mini toiletries that hotels provide.
Additional low-waste or waste-free options are biodegradable toothbrushes; the ones made from bamboo are all the rage these days. Furthermore, you can opt-out of using cotton wool, and instead, find facial pads that are reusable. If you’re ready to pay a higher price for your beauty products, you’ll find some encased in metal boxes instead of plastic packaging; there is even lipstick encased in aluminum tubes.
Lastly, there is one more thing to point out - some companies take their green initiatives more seriously than others. For some, this is just a PR stunt; while for others, it’s a long-term policy designed to help preserve the public health and environment. With that in mind, we recommend that you give credit where credit is due by supporting only fair brands. Plus, if you know that a company uses organic and locally-produced ingredients, that’s even better; that’s a great boost for the economy.
You can easily apply the same ethos when it comes to local farms and beauty brands; many of the organic-minded ones sell their wares at whole food stores and markets. And if you inspect the packaging, most companies that operate with ethics in mind are proud to advertise that on their labels. So, you can simultaneously clear your skin and your conscience - and contribute to the preservation of Earth!
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