If you take a look inside your beauty cabinet, you’d probably be blown away by the sheer amount of unnecessary stuff in there, right?
At times, it can seem impossible to avoid the amount of waste involved in having any kind of beauty or skincare regime – even if you’re not a total junkie, who has to buy all the latest products as soon as they comes out (and then bin the remains of your old ones).
We’re becoming increasingly aware of the impact of things like single-use plastics on the environment though, and the beauty industry is definitely guilty of contributing to these issues (as are we, consumers!).
The question is, how can you make small changes to your daily routine to reduce the amount of waste you produce? Here, Isa Lavahun from Cosmetify.com gives us the low-down on how to be more eco-friendly with your beauty products…
1. Switch out bottles
Getting a reusable water bottle is just the beginning of your eco-journey – the next step is thinking about all the other single-use bottles you can replace.
And yes, this means taking a long hard look at all your shampoos, conditioners and moisturisers. "In some cases, the alternative is obvious (for example, swapping a soap dispenser for a bar of soap), but there is actually a wider range of alternatives that you can try," says Lavahun.
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are growing in popularity, and you can even make your own moisturisers to store in glass jars. With the bars, Lavahun advises getting a tin to keep them in – "so that you can take them home from the shop when you need a new one".
2. Invest in a reusable razor
Once you make this swap, you’ll never look back. "While plastic razors are a much cheaper product to purchase initially, the price does add up and, worse still, they are extremely difficult to recycle, with most ending up in the rubbish," Lavahun explains. "Swap out the disposable razors for a refillable, metal razor, or consider a change of pace with an electric shaver."
There are so many plastic-free shaving options out there, which are environmentally-friendly and have the added bonus of giving a better shave and looking much prettier in your bathroom cabinet. For example, take Friction Free Shaving, which is the first shaving subscription service exclusively for women.
3. Opt for greener make-up brushes
It’s quite daunting how many of the products we regularly use are made of plastic. Luckily, a lot of them can be easily swapped for something more sustainable – like make-up brushes.
Lavahun recommends trying products from So Eco as a replacement – the brand does "a range of make-up brushes made from renewable bamboo, packaged in tree-free paper".
4. Buy sustainable products
It’s a good idea to get to know the products you’re buying, so you can make more conscious choices. There are so many great vegan brands out there now – like B. Cosmetics and Milk Makeup, to name just two – that it’s no longer so hard to shop ethically.
Lavahun says: "Not only are vegan products cruelty-free, they are usually packaged from recycled materials, as vegan brands are known to be highly conscious about how they package their products."
5. Streamline your beauty cupboard
It’s tempting to buy the latest releases and coolest-looking new ‘miracle’ products, but how many of them do you actually use up? Streamlining your beauty cupboard means you’re cutting down on a whole lot of waste (and money).
"Consider switching out the bathing products you use for more environmentally-friendly alternatives," Lavahun says. "For example, rather than exfoliating with body lotions and scrubs, choose a dry body brush that you can use repeatedly without causing any additional waste."
"Not all make-up items will be recyclable, but things such as aerosol cans and most plastic and glass containers can be; look out for the triangular recycle symbol, and ensure that they are empty before doing so," Lavahun says.
She also points to the companies out there which offer incentives if you return empty container to them, like Lush and MAC. For example, if you return six MAC empty containers, you can pick up a brand new lipstick for free – good for the environment, as well as being a bonus for your beauty box.
7. Make everything last as long as possible
PSA if anyone has a dried out mascara put a few drops of eye drops in the tube and it's literally like new again 🙃— Kalicia (@kaliciadoles) September 10, 2016
Sometimes, simple advice is the best. This definitely rings true for the old adage, "use every beauty product like it’s about to run out". It’s actually quite shocking how much longer you can make toners and moisturisers last when you apply this mindset, meaning you don’t need to replace them as often.
Lavahun also has some great hacks for getting the most out of your products. "When your mascara begins to dry out, a really useful tip in order to make it last longer is to apply a few eye drops or saline solution into the tube, which helps to prevent it from drying out," she suggests. "Similarly, if your nail polish starts to become gloopy, you can add some nail varnish remover, which will thin it out so that you can use it again."