With months of extreme and devastating weather events in Australia, a movement that has become globally recognised as the Greta Thunberg Effect, and an increasing awareness for the planet Gen-Z is to inherit…sustainable choices are at the forefront of consumer’s minds. While many industries are yet to make moves, major and minor players in the beauty industry are making leaps and bounds in sustainable practices and products. And while no company is perfect, there is an urgency driven by consumers, especially those within the Gen-Z bracket, that means these players are offering increasingly sustainable purchasing options.
Here are some easy and immediate changes and choices you can make as a consumer to make your beauty routine as sustainable as possible.
1/ Use a reusable makeup remover
We know, we know, it’s the end of a long day (or a big night) and it would be so much easier to take your makeup off with a wipe you can throw away. Not only is this no good for your skin, but it’s a hard-no for the environment as well, as it contributes to landfill with the disposal of single use products. The solution? Investing in a reusable makeup towel or pad. This will not only reduce the cost of your Priceline shop long term, but your skin will love you for it. Products such as the Face Halo replace up to 500 makeup wipes, last over 200 washing machine cycles and can be up-cycled when you’re ready for a new packet. While you can use the product with a cleanser, these pads are just as effective with water.
2/ Buy a bamboo toothbrush
Possibly the cheapest and easiest way to make a sustainable change to your routine— replace your plastic pack of toothbrushes with a bamboo one. Grants of Australia bamboo toothbrushes (also available in packs) are made from 100% biodegradable and sustainable bamboo and recyclable nylon bristles. While the bristles still need to be removed from the handle for each part to be effectively disposed of, the handle by itself will break down completely.
3/ Where you can, buy products with limited or no packaging
As the only brand making moves in completely eradicating packaging, LUSH is truly pushing the boundaries with what is possible in sustainability for the beauty industry. What started as a concept purely reserved for soap (of the body wash variety), LUSH has expanded to naked foundation, highlighter, concealer, shampoo and conditioner, amongst other products. However, if naked beauty isn’t your thing, there are still brands doing really well in offering limited packaging for their beauty products. rms Beauty is a good example. Not only is the brand a leader in natural and organic formulas (and has been for years), but their motto is minimal, recyclable or reusable. While a few products (eyeshadow palettes) are housed in plastic, the majority of the brand’s offerings are packaged in glass and aluminium, which are both recyclable.
4/ When you can’t, look for products with sustainable packaging
As mentioned above, no packaging isn’t always possible. Whether you have easily irritated skin or travel frequently, sometimes it’s necessary in modern (and first world) life to have a pump or a tub to throw in your toiletries bag or have lined up in the shower. A few of our favourite brands and ones that do this particularly well include skincare brands Tata Harper and BYBI. Tata Harper products are, for the most part, housed in recycled glass— and while that means you may have to be a little more careful when transporting, it’s worth it. They have minimal plastic included in the functionality of the packaging and it’s only included on a need-to-use basis. Using plastic resin derived from corn instead of petroleum means the plastic is produced from a renewable resource. BYBI Beauty is relatively new on the scene but is also making waves with those paying attention. The product itself is 100% vegan, natural and cruelty free but on top of that, the packaging is glass, bioplastic derived from sugarcane and grass paper. According to the BYBI website, this packaging uses 80% less energy to produce than its counterpart, wood pulp. That’s worth talking about.
5 / Refill and recycle finished beauty products
Subbing sustainable and environmentally conscious beauty products into your routine is all good and well but cutting down on excess purchases is also a huge way to contribute. We’re not telling you to stop buying your favourite products or to stop experimenting with your beauty looks, but keeping empties of products you consistently purchase could be a good way to help the environment, and your bank account, at the same time. The BACK TO M.A.C initiative encourages consumers to return six empty M.A.C products in exchange for a free lipstick. The empty containers are then sorted by M.A.C to be turned into asphalt, cement or to be used in the manufacturing of new products.
6/ Buy from brands that employ sustainable production practices
When none of the above is possible, buying from brands like Alpha-H means you can still take steps and contribute to sustainability in the beauty industry. From supporting local industries when sourcing ingredients, to the exclusive use of Hybrid cars and trucks in delivering product, to using solar power to heavily reduce emissions in production (almost 67,000 kg a year to be specific), Alpha-H is one of the good guys. Oh, and Liquid Gold is pretty damn good too.
Similarly, luxe Italian haircare brand Davines consider themselves to be at the forefront of sustainability and have done so for 20 years. Powering plants and offices with renewable sources, as well as the implementation of the “Zero Impact” policy means the production of packaging is carbon neutral and works to protect forests in Italy, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Madagascar.
While the attitude is often that sustainable practices will break the bank when it comes to beauty, some simple changes in routine will have you and your wallet feeling so much better in the long-term. You can thank us later.