Did you know that upwards of $55 billion dollars (that’s billion with a B!) is spent on cosmetics annually in the United States? The greatest share, more than 25 percent, goes toward skin care products. While cosmetics purchases can make a significant dent in your wallet, they also consume a significant amount of resources that impact the environment.
With Earth Day quickly approaching, it’s a perfect opportunity to review your beauty routine with a “green” eye. Give our planet a gift with these tips for eco-friendly methods to transform your hair and skin care habits.
Stick With What Works
Cosmetics companies invest a bundle in advertising to grab a piece of those $55 billion in sales every year. They promise that each new product is the missing piece that will eliminate blemishes, smooth wrinkles, and take 10 years off your appearance. Don’t fall for these extravagant claims. If you have a good cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen, you don’t need any more bells and whistles. When you find the products that work for you, STICK WITH THEM.
Read The Labels
The terms “natural” and “all-natural” are not strictly regulated so don’t rely on them to ensure the ingredients are actually natural when making a purchase. Cosmetics companies can quite literally put just about any ingredients in their products. Even though just about everyone is exposed to the potentially hazardous ingredients in cosmetic and skin care products, the U.S. government doesn’t require any pre-market testing or health studies of the chemicals that are put into personal care products. The Environmental Working Group maintains a database that rates thousands of products from 0 to 10 in terms of toxicity. In addition, manufacturers are not required to list the chemicals used to create a product’s fragrance, so be on the safe side and choose fragrance-free cosmetics.
- When you purchase a product, use the product in its entirety.
- Buy brands that use either recyclable or very minimal packaging.
- Repurpose empty jars and bottles for other uses.
- If you buy a new lotion or moisturizer and you’re not satisfied with the results, pass it on to a friend or family member to try.
Cut Back on Shampoo
Do you wash your hair every day? Many people wash their hair too frequently and use too much shampoo when they do. Excess shampooing is actually counterproductive, as it strips valuable oils and tends to leave a residue. Two to three times a week is sufficient for most people. If you want to go all the way, check out the “no-poo” trend of washing hair with a gentle alternative to shampoo, such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
Alternatives to Disposables
Instead of using cotton balls, tissues and other disposable applicators, invest in eco-friendly brushes and sponges. There are a number of alternative brushes and sponges that are made 100 percent cruelty-free with bamboo, recycled aluminum and other sustainable materials, which can simply be washed with soap and water and rinsed to extend their life.
Ditch the Bottled Body Wash
Body wash may be convenient, but those plastic bottles clog up many a landfill. Go old school with a luxurious bar of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap that comes in a simple paper wrapper. Castile soap is an eco-friendly, oil-fashioned form of vegetable soap. Dr. Bronner’s also uses fair trade ingredients, which are certified at food-grade organic standards.
Turn Off the Faucet
If you’re not careful, a lot of water can be unnecessarily wasted during your personal hygiene routine. Install water-saving showerheads and turn the water off while washing your face, brushing your teeth, and any other time when it’s not doing anything but trickling down the drain.
Do you need another reason to go green? Using cleaner, natural products that are devoid of chemicals can actually provide better results in your beauty routine. As always, consult your dermatologist for more suggestions about following an eco-friendly beauty routine.