From conscious sourcing callouts to “clean” beauty labels, eco-friendly choices are growing in popularity. But it can be hard to know what products are actually sustainable versus which are “greenwashed,” just trying to come off as eco-friendly. This is especially true in the beauty industry.
With lengthy ingredient lists, it’s hard for the typical consumer to know what exactly they’re buying. Being in the know on what to look out for can help you make smarter, greener decisions. Here are a few eco-friendly beauty practices to consider incorporating into your routine.
Any good beauty routine relies on healthy skin as the foundation. But finding products that fight breakouts, redness, and wrinkles while still being clean is hard. Luckily, there are small changes you can make to help your skincare routine be more sustainable.
One of the best ways to shop more eco-friendly is to skip in-person shopping in favor of a digital experience. Hop online to read reviews, compare prices, and determine the best options for your skin needs. You’ll save time and emissions from transportation not going to a store. And knowing exactly what you want can help prevent wasted products. While you’re avoiding burning unnecessary fuel, you can get prescription skincare online to avoid a trip to the pharmacy too.
You can also explore different eco-friendly programs brands run. A buyback program, for example, allows you to return the packaging when your product is empty, often for a discount. Purchasing in bulk can also help reduce shipping emissions and packaging. These offerings are great to take advantage of when stocking up on skincare to save money and be more green.
2. Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Sunscreen is an essential part of a skin protection routine. But when you apply sunscreen and hop in the ocean, you introduce chemicals to the ecosystem. These chemicals can harm coral reefs and disrupt natural reproduction and life cycles. So, how can you protect your skin, while also protecting the ocean and other bodies of water?
Because the issue arises when chemicals find their way to the ocean, it’s important to remove the harmful chemicals altogether. The best way to do that is to use reef-safe sunscreens. Specifically, it’s important to choose options that use physical UVA and UVB protection versus chemicals. This eliminates the harm to the water’s ecosystem without leaving you at risk of a nasty burn.
When shopping, look for brands labeled as “reef-safe.” If that’s not clearly stated on the package, review the ingredient list for harmful chemicals. Popular ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, nano titanium dioxide, and nan zinc oxide are ones to avoid. When in doubt, opt for mineral and biodegradable sunscreens since they’re the better choice for the environment.
Possibly the most difficult beauty products to find that are organic, sustainable, and get the job done are makeup. Especially because long-lasting products typically require chemicals to make them stay on the skin or eyes for so long. The good news? Beauty doesn’t have to mean compromising on your eco-friendly goals.
There are a few things to look out for when shopping for new, sustainable makeup. For one, you’ll want to check the packaging of a product and look for recyclable options. Another thing to consider is the ingredient list. Look out for parabens, which are used as preservatives in cosmetics, since they could be hormone disruptors. Lastly, ensure you’re buying cruelty-free products, meaning they don’t test on animals.
One brand that stands out among the rest of the clean beauty industry is Honest. While it’s not perfect — they still have plastic packaging — the 3,500 ingredient ban list is something to appreciate. And their products have rave reviews for staple makeup like mascara, tinted moisturizer, and setting powder. Plus, Honest is a more accessible brand since it’s sold at major retailers.
4. Hair and Body
The world of beauty products goes well beyond your face. There’s an entire section of the industry dedicated to hair and body products. And with your skin being your body’s biggest organ, it’s not something to overlook. But hair and body products can also be riddled with undesirable ingredients and unnecessary fragrances.
You’ll want to stay away from products and treatments that have harmful chemicals. While a Brazilian blowout may give you shiny, healthy looking hair, treatments often use formaldehyde to make the look last. A known carcinogen, this is an ingredient you’ll definitely want to avoid.
It’s best to look for hair and body products that have ingredients that align with your sustainability goals. Keep an eye out for natural oils like coconut or avocado for moisture. Different antioxidants are great, too. Vitamin E, for example, can help protect your skin from pollutants and environmental stressors. Any combination of these ingredients should help lead you in the right direction for a greener routine.
A More Sustainable Lifestyle
If you’re hoping to live a more organic, clean lifestyle and are revisiting your beauty choices, know you’re not alone. Many of your favorites may not be the best for your body or the environment, so making a change takes time. Ideally, you’ll try out products that are made with better ingredients but still give great results.
Challenge yourself to find one swap in your routine, then two, and so on. Before you know it, you’ll be using cleaner products each day. And that’s something your body and the planet will be grateful for.