This year has seen a flood of green knowledge coming our way! While some have been going all out eco for years, others have only begun their journey to reduce their environmental footprint. No matter where your effort level may lie, I’ve got tips and tricks that can help you begin your journey to a green beauty routine.
- Don’t turn a blind eye
The number one rule when it comes to thinking ‘green’ is to open your eyes and ears. Don’t be the girl who doesn’t read the ingredient list, or check the company’s animal testing policy. Beauty brands that follow PROPER cruelty-free regulations will be sure to make it known, and those that don’t will keep quiet and hope you don’t notice.
Well start noticing! Companies like Lush detail every ingredient included in every product on their site, and even provide explanations of what certain ingredients are derived from and used for.
- From bottles to bars
Ditch your shower gel and its plastic home for a good ol’ bar of soap. Opting for a bar doesn’t mean giving up on the luscious scents and silky smooth skin that shower gels provide. So many local brands sell artisanal soaps, like Pink Cosmetics. Not only will you be squeaky clean, but you’ll be all the rage by sticking with the package-free trend.
- Limit water use
It’s a no-brainer! “Don’t brush your teeth with the tap on”. “Don’t shower for an hour”. “Don’t fill your bath to the brim”. “Don’t leave a leaky tap dripping”. You’ve heard it all before, now just do it!
- No lids or straws or plastic bags (okay so not beauty related)
Straws, coffee lids and plastic bags, they’re such unnecessary accessories, and due to how often we unnecessarily use them, they have become one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the ocean… If you need any motivation to go green, Google the video of the turtle having the straw pulled out of its nose.
These little plastic pests are incredibly easy to avoid. If you make a habit of packing a stainless steel straw, reusable coffee cup and fabric tote into your bag, you’ll slowly but surely leave the plastic where it belongs, in the past!
- Synthetic brushes > natural fibre brushes
Synthetic brushes work just as well as their cruel counterparts, and in some cases, they’re even better! Choosing a synthetic brush during your next beauty haul will not only keep your conscience clean and green, but will have your pocket feeling good too. Most drugstore brands use exclusively synthetic materials to create their tools, so make sure to check them out. My current favourites are Cala and Colourpop.
- Microfibre cloths for makeup removal
All those tiny cotton pads you’re using to remove your makeup not only add up on the garbage heap, but also require a lot of water resources to make. Replacing them with a reusable microfiber cloth eliminates them from your routine altogether! Pair your cloth with a cleanser from Lush like Ultrabland or 9 to 5 to get the maximum green benefit and the minimum leftover makeup.
- Reuse containers
Why throw your tubs, pots and jars away when they make such good homes for seedlings and succulents? Give your containers a second chance at life by using them for another purpose. Glass jars and plastic tubs make super plant homes, coin purses, hair tie houses and vases.
- Give back to get gifts
One step up from reusing your containers would be to recycle them. Nowadays brands offer reward systems where giving back a certain number of empty containers results in freebies! Bringing 5 full-sized tubs back to Lush earns you a free fresh face mask (go for Catastrophe Cosmetic) and MAC, while not cruelty-free, also offers a similar service. Now if that isn’t motivation enough to recycle then I don’t know what is.
- Natural products for grey water
The closer your products are to being all-natural the better suited your greywater will be for watering plants. For example, replacing your current shampoos, conditioners, face washes and shower gels with products from eco-friendly brands means your grey water will be perfectly safe to scoop up and feed to your plants!
- Cruelty free brands
This is one I haven’t even fully adopted yet. There’s something so difficult about knowing you’re going to have to forgo your favourite mascara, holy grail foundation, or perfect nude lippy after giving up all non-cruelty-free brands. Honestly, that’s a terrible excuse and really doesn’t justify the suffering of animals involved in the testing process.
The trend of moving towards cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly products has seen many people shift away from the baddies and towards the good guys, brands that have ethical, transparent production methods and ingredient lists. Cruelty Free Kitty has an incredibly comprehensive list of who’s who in the cruelty-free world.
- No packaging
If you’ve been living under a rock, you will have missed Lush’s recent ‘package-free’ campaign. Buying an item that wasn’t tested on animals, didn’t require animal products to make AND comes free of packaging is the trifecta of green beauty purchasing. From shampoo to body lotions, Lush offers a wide variety of products to start your green journey, without needing a container to do it.
My current favourite is the Jason and The Argan Oil shampoo bar that I’ve already reviewed here. This delicious little thing is not only convenient and moisturising, but sees your plastic shampoo bottle becoming obsolete.
- Catch extra water
Is it going to be tedious to brush your teeth over a bucket? Probably. Will it be inconvenient to have a watering can or two in your shower? I guess. But are your plants going to love you for your efforts? Definitely! Catching extra water may seem silly or unnecessary, but every drop saved from the drain means a drop you don’t need to get from the hosepipe at a later stage and another drop that doesn’t need to be expensively treated before coming to your tap again.
- Veg out
If you caught my Insta-rant a few weeks ago, you’ll know that the topic of water use and abuse in the farming sector is something close to my heart. Becoming a vegetarian earlier this year stemmed primarily from environmental concerns and they’re concerns that other members of the general population seem to be unaware of. Approximately 9 463 litres of water are required to produce just 0.450 grams of beef. Consider all the full baths and long showers you could take with 9 463 litres of water?
While the beef, pork, chicken, fish, dairy and egg industry all have horrible environmental impacts, it’s not necessary to become vegan, or even vegetarian. Cutting down on your meat consumption has such a great effect on your water consumption than Meat-free Mondays would be all you need!
- Vegan products
Did you know that cruelty-free does not mean vegan? In fact, a product can be one and not the other, or both, or neither. Cruelty-free refers to products that have been tested without causing harm to animals, while vegan products contain no animal-derived ingredients (such as milk, lanolin, honey or gelatine). Going vegan in your beauty routine is much like going vegan in your eating habits, it takes time, trial and error, patience and commitment to make it work. Again, take a look at Cruelty Free Kitty’s site for a list of 100% vegan brands.
- Convert others
The last and most difficult step is to start converting others. Getting your friends, family members and colleagues to see your point of view when it comes to animal cruelty and environmental health is a challenge at the best of times, so going in with an aggressive or demeaning attitude will definitely not help.
Prepare yourself with facts and figures (that are proven) to answer questions your acquaintances may have about your green way of life. Be quick to offer advice or guidance but be respectful of others opinions and beliefs. The most important thing to remember is that even if it feels like you’re the only one going through all this effort, your effort is still making immeasurable differences to the lives of future generations.
No matter how much time, money and effort you have to give towards a green beauty routine (and lifestyle), there are measures you can take to make sure you’re doing your part. By starting in the bathroom, with your grooming and preening habits, you can begin making a huge difference in the amount of water you use, the plastic waste you create and the type of brands you support.