By Jessica Haley

The beauty industry is enormous and grows bigger every year. The rise of social media influencers and so-called “beauty gurus” in recent years also prompted many changes in the beauty industry. The market has never been more saturated with different products, and new brands seemingly pop up overnight. Beauty routines are also becoming increasingly complex, whether it be a full face of “natural glam” makeup or the rising popularity of the 10 step Korean skincare routine.

However, this crazy beauty industry growth has also led to the enhanced awareness of its negative effects on the environment. Thankfully, both brands and consumers seem willing to meet this challenge head-on and shift to a more eco-friendly focus.

We can all do our part to help by simply incorporating the “3 Rs”—reduce, reuse, and recycle—into our individual beauty routines. Let’s explore some of the ways we can all change our beauty routines to help the planet.

Say No To Single Use Disposable Makeup Wipes

If you wear makeup every day, odds are that you amassed a huge pile of cotton balls or disposable makeup wipes to remove it each night. Single-use makeup pads are terrible for the environment since the amount of trash builds up very quickly. Luckily, alternative solutions are available. Consider switching to reusable makeup wipes such as Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Eco Pads that can stand up to 1,000 washes. 

Another popular option is a microfiber cloth like The Original MakeUp Eraser, which is equal to 3,600 makeup wipes and can last you 3 to 5 years! Not only will you be saving the Earth, think about how much money you can save by switching to reusable wipes.

Check If Your Containers Are Recyclable

Don’t just throw away your empty containers in the trash; always check if they can be recycled first. Some brands use specifically recycled materials for their packaging. Examples include Tara Harper’s bottles made entirely from reusable, recycled glass. Ren Skincare uses ocean plastic as part of its pledge to become zero waste by 2021, and WE ARE PARADOX uses no plastic in its packaging, opting instead for easily recyclable aluminium. 

You can also get creative and upcycle some empty containers with DIY crafting. Store bobby pins in an empty lipstick tube or turn empty shampoo bottles into a makeup brush holder adorned with your own unique designs. Old mascara wands can also have a second life as an eyebrow brush or be donated to help clean rescued wildlife. Cute eh?!

Refill Beauty Products

More and more beauty brands are subscribing to the green idea of refillable products. This option dramatically reduces the number of packages going to waste since the same container remains in circulation. Lush is famous not only for its incredibly sustainable packaging and ethical ingredients, but it also introduced a program of getting a free face mask after returning 5 empty pots to encourage recycling. 

BACK 2 MAC offers a similar incentive of a free lipstick when customers return 6 empty containers. L’Occitane started its TerraCycle initiative accepting not only their own empty containers but any brand’s with the customer receiving 10% off their next purchase for bringing them to the store.

Buy Green Sustainable Brands

Besides the many excellent recycling programmes out there, there are other things that constitute a “green” beauty brand. There is a large push towards sourcing ethical and sustainable ingredients. This includes buying products with natural, organic ingredients and paying attention to how they are sourced, like avoiding inhumane child labour in illegal mica mines

Some of us are also opting for vegan and/or cruelty-free makeup to help put an end to animal testing. Numerous lists of cruelty-free makeup brands exist online, and we can now check packages for the Leaping Bunny Logo that officially certifies a certain product was not tested on animals. It’s that easy!

Cut Back On Waste

Ultimately, we can all help to cut down on waste as individuals. This can be as simple as turning off the tap when washing your face or using one product at a time and finishing the whole thing before buying a new one. Using multipurpose beauty products can also help reduce the number of products and packaging in your beauty routine. Finally, zero-waste products that get rid of packaging altogether, like shampoo bars, are also gaining popularity, as are using homemade remedies.

The beauty industry is constantly evolving, and there are many ways it can become more eco-friendly. The growing trend towards sustainable or “green” beauty is encouraging, and we should all help this trend continue long into the future. It doesn’t necessarily need to involve a massive overhaul, but little changes here and there will massively benefit the environment. And that’s a truly beautiful thing.