When it comes to purchasing sustainable beauty products, navigating around a sea of brands all claiming to be “the best” can be a tricky task for even the most experienced makeup lover.
Sustainable beauty items have begun to make their mark on the industry, with women (and men!) looking for products that enhance their life – rather than hinder it. The October issue of Women’s Health proved to us that more people are looking towards the ingredients inside their makeup and beauty supplements, as opposed to just trusting that they are ‘green’ or ‘organic’ when told by the brand.
If you’re in the market for new, sustainable products but aren’t sure where to start, we’re sure that these tips will help:
Those plastic balls in face scrubs found their way into waters, fish, and now us. Last year Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act, banning manufacturing of the ingredient by next year. Look for products with jojoba wax instead – a plant-based ingredient that is biodegradable.
Recycle Through the Brand
Some companies have created programs that make recycling easier than ever. Burt’s Bees has a program for all of its lip-care products – and you can print a prepaid mailing label from their website.
Look for Refillable Containers
Using the same bottle or container eliminates even the energy it takes to recycle. Makeup compacts are the easiest place to make the switch. Some boutiques sell products out of giant vats and into a bottle that you can continually reuse. Check out Common Good, which has 200 refill stations nationwide.
Be Water-Wise with Concentrates
Avoid buying skin products where water is listed as the first ingredient. Balms and serums can deliver ingredients into skin without the need for water. The United Nations estimated that 1.8 billion people will live in regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025 – so wasting a drop on your beauty routine is practically a crime against humanity.
Check the Seal
Look for labels that say Ecocert, Cradle to Cradle, Fair Trade Certified, or Rainforest Alliance. Any of them mean these products went through a third-party vetting process to prove they meet sustainability guidelines.
Cleansers and cleansing wipes eliminate the need for water – and you can trash them.
Be Careful with Glass
In theory glass can be recycled, but the reality is that different colors don’t always get sorted, and transporting them can increase CO2 fumes. To be sustainable, buy glass items with longer shelf lives, like fragrances, or products made in small batches to minimize waste.
Plastic Isn’t Always Bad
It’s light-weight, which means fewer CO2 emissions when shipped than glass – and at least a portion of many bottles consist of post-consumer recycled content (PCR). Some brands use 100 percent PCR plastic recovered from the ocean.
Don’t Always Assume Natural is Better
If the only way to get the natural version is by schlepping to some far-flung place – which could take more energy and release more CO2 emissions – it could actually make more sense to use a synthetic version. When you do opt for a natural product, look for local, sustainably-grown ingredients.