December 02, 2018 6 min read 0 Comments
Beauty routines have become a valuable self-care ritual in our crazy, fast-paced lives. We often don’t think twice when we buy new products or add another step to our regimen. Trying out different products is fun and relaxing! It’s a great way to figure out what works best, and that packaging just makes everyone feel so glamorous. Very seldom, do we think about how our purchases impact the world.
Imagine if we kept on buying more and more new stuff. What would the world look like? When we look at our world right now, about 300 billion tons of waste are generated from industrial and agricultural wastes a year (Mellou, Varvaresou, and Papageorgiou, 2019). All of this waste comes from the production and processing of raw plant materials into their final products. And that’s only one component of the production process.
There are many parts that contribute to sustainability, but the main goal is simple. Sustainability aims to preserve. Thankfully, the knowledge of sustainability is expanding in the beauty industry and companies are working harder towards more eco-friendly options. We can’t completely control what the companies do, but fortunately, there are ways you can independently work towards being less wasteful and becoming more environmentally conscious.Use Less Water
This is a big one. I am always especially mindful of my water use because I know that water is a shockingly scarce resource. Nearly 70% of the earth is covered by water, but only 2.5% of that is fresh water. And only 1% is accessible, as most is trapped in glaciers and snowfields.
Not to mention so many people already live without access to clean water, and we’re currently using more than can naturally be replaced. So, it’s a pressing issue that we all need to care about.
Because water is so scarce (don’t let your on-demand tap fool you), we need to avoid wasting it as much as possible.
Taking measures like installing low-flow shower heads can make a big difference, saving gallons of water. But on top of that, look at water use elsewhere in your skin care routine.
For example, a lot of people leave the water running while they’re washing their face. I prefer to get my face wet and then shut off the tap while I lather up. Depending on how thorough I’m being, this could be several minutes of saved water.
Another option is choosing a waterless alternative; there are many waterless cleanser options available, which also includes oil-based products.
In my humble opinion, you cannot have an eco and sustainable skin care routine unless you check your water consumption.
Indirect Water Use
Let's dive a little into indirect water use. Indirect water use is the water that comes from the manufacturing of goods that we consume. Specifically, the water used to grow food we eat is an example of indirect water use. We aren’t able to control these as much. However, we can be more mindful of our purchases the next time we go grocery shopping. Some simple ways to reduce your indirect water use are the following: eat less meat, switch to drinking tea rather than drinking coffee, skip the processed foods, or buy more local produce. All of our choices can make a lasting impact.
Be mindful of the material the packaging is made out of. The next time you think about purchasing a product, it may be helpful to ask yourself these questions prior to buying: How much plastic is being used? Is this product recyclable? Are there better eco-friendly alternatives to this product that will still suit my needs? Could I buy a refill to save on packaging? Can I opt for a package-free option? Does this company have an incentive for recycling or returning empty containers?
More companies are making changes to have sustainable packaging, but it’s not only up to them to make a difference. You have the power to put your money towards brands that are working towards sustainability!
Think about your skincare routine for a minute. Do you keep a trash bin nearby to throw away items? What items are you throwing away? Maybe you thought of cotton pads, makeup wipes, sheet masks or Q-tips. Whatever the case, the convenience of a cotton pad and the refreshing pick-me-up of a sheet mask isn’t worth the amount of waste it creates.
Try reusable and washable pads instead. If you can’t resist using sheet masks, limit use according to your preferences. Keep in mind, even though sheet masks are a great boost, having a consistent skincare that promotes hydration or applying a serum with the same benefits will be more beneficial to your skin in the long run.
The next time you finish a product, think about what other ways you could possibly repurpose the container. For example, a high quality glass elixir container can be used to freshen up plants. Since it is glass, it can also be recycled! Simple decisions like choosing glass over plastic can make the greatest impact over time. Glass can be 100% recycled endlessly, but not all plastics are recyclable.
Read more about Banish’s recycling programhere! Watch this video to learn more about how Banish encourages recycling!
Skincare tools that require charging should be considered when trying to develop a sustainable routine.
These tools should be kept unplugged and charged fully before using, to maintain optimal life and to limit energy use. Keeping most items plugged in means they’re constantly pulling energy, which adds up over time and still impacts our resources.
While leaving these tools plugged in constantly may simplify things for you, is it a change you can make toward more eco skin care?
It may seem like such a small and insignificant thing to change, but every little bit really does help in reducing the demand and strain on our resources.
I love products that really pull their weight.
Eyeshadow that doubles as blush? A moisturizing sunscreen? A treated face spray that also happens to set makeup like a dream? How about an acne treatment you use for your face and body acne?
Using double duty products means that you’re buying less and wasting less, both of which are major players for an eco skin care routine.
It has become a natural habit to buy items without putting much thought into purchases. By practicing the habit of making mindful purchases, you can support and advocate for brands that align with your values. Before you make your next purchases, whatever that may be, take a second and ask yourself these questions: Do I need this? How does this company treat their employees and customers? Does this company have a mission that I support?
Making mindful purchases may be challenging at first, but over time, change becomes easier and the pathways to living more sustainably are much more easy to navigate.
Last, but certainly not least, if a company you love seems excessively wasteful, and you have practical suggestions on how they could shift something to be more sustainable, you can let them know!
If a company is worth anything, they should care about what their customers have to say and give them a platform to do so.
Ask the company to make a change that means something to you – You’d be surprised who might be willing to listen when you speak up.
Remember, your voice and your dollar are everything as a consumer. You decide the kind of tomorrow you want to live in, so if a company can do something to improve their eco skin care status, let them know.
I think I can safely say that most of us would want a more ecofriendly and sustainable skincare routine, so thankfully there are steps we can all take to make this happen.
You have the power to make a change! We are all responsible for the decisions we make with our purchases. Making small, intentional changes over time can reduce your carbon footprint and create a lasting impact on our world and generations moving forward.
Glasses Packaging Institute. Glass Recycling Facts. https://www.gpi.org/glass-recycling-facts
Mellou, F., Varvaresou, A. and Papageorgiou, S. (2019). Renewable sources: applications in personal care formulations.Int J Cosmet Sci, 41: 517-525.https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12564
Reset Digital for Good. Save Water: Reduce Your Water Footprint. https://en.reset.org/act/save-water-reduce-your-water-footprint
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