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Article: How to Make Your Beauty Routine More Eco Friendly

How to Make Your Beauty Routine More Eco Friendly | Stasher

How to Make Your Beauty Routine More Eco Friendly

Sustainable Clean Beauty Guide | Stasher

The benefits of having an eco-friendly beauty routine are practically endless: eco-friendly beauty products are better for the planet (surprise, surprise), tend to be gentler on the skin and hair, often come from small and environmentally engaged brands, have packaging that’s easier to recycle or refill, and more. The downside? Finding those zero waste beauty brands can be tricky, especially if it’s new to you. We live in a world overbrimming with single-use plastic packaging, chemical-laden products, mass production, and mass consumerism, so finding those sustainable beauty brands that truly care about your skin and our planet can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.

At Stasher, it’s our mission to help people make the simple switch from single-use plastic to reusable solutions whenever possible — even when we’re not talking about bags and bowls. In this guide, we’re walking you through how to create a sustainable beauty routine that aligns with your values, budget, and lifestyle, so you can feel good about the beauty products you buy.

Choose Sustainable Beauty Brands

First thing’s first: what is a sustainable beauty brand? There’s no single industry-standard definition, because cosmetic products and ingredients (excluding color additives) don’t need FDA approval before they hit the market and end up in your shopping cart. Instead, it’s up to the individual brand to obtain any eco-friendly certifications (more on that later) and ensure the product is safe for people and the planet. And it’s up to us, the consumers, to do some research on our end to ensure we’re supporting brands with a genuine, tangible commitment to sustainability. 

What Makes a Beauty Brand Sustainable?

So while there’s no clear-cut answer to what makes a beauty brand sustainable, here are some of the conscious business practices that signal a brand is eco-friendly or eco-friendlier:

  • Harvesting and using natural ingredients that come from renewable raw resources
  • Engaging in a transparent, sustainable, and ethical supply chain and labor practices
  • Using upcycled ingredients that would have otherwise been trashed
  • Minimizing waste and water usage during manufacturing
  • Swapping out single-use plastic for packaging that’s made from recycled, compostable, or plant-derived materials (or using post-consumer recycled plastic)
  • Ensuring packaging is actually recyclable and/or refillable to create what’s called a “closed-loop” system or life cycle (a.k.a., when a product is used, recycled, and then remade into a new product again and again)
  • Overall commitment to reducing carbon emissions

How to Discover Sustainable Beauty Brands

Of course, consumers aren’t always privy to the ins and outs of a brand’s manufacturing processes, and there are tons of legal loopholes and marketing methods out there for making products seem a lot more eco-conscious than they actually are (#greenwashing). Here are our tips for making discerning sustainable beauty choices as a consumer:

  1. Look for certifications. In addition to the good practices listed above, there are also certain certifications that eco-friendly beauty brands can obtain that helps signal sustainability. On a sustainable beauty product’s packaging, you’ll likely see symbols for recyclable, cruelty-free (certified by Leaping Bunny), Fair Trade or B-Corp to reflect ethical business practices, and USDA certified organic ingredients. Unlike that vague overarching term of “sustainable,” these certifications come with strict guidelines and regulated application and acceptance processes, showing consumers that a given brand talks the talk and walks the walk.
  2. Shop from beauty stores that specialize in curating clean beauty products. We love Credo Beauty because they only stock eco-friendly makeup brands and eco-friendly skincare choices that are sustainable, clean, and ethical – which they determine based on a set of rigorous, transparent standards.
  3. Follow social media influencers who are passionate about clean beauty. Not sure how to find them? Type “clean beauty” into Instagram or TikTok, and tons of relevant accounts will pop up! You can also follow hashtags like #cleanbeauty or #consciousbeauty to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

Beauty Products in Eco Friendly Packaging

    Choose Products in Eco Friendly Packaging

    Of course, it’s not possible to shop from sustainable brands 100% of the time, which is why it can be useful to keep packaging front of mind. In these situations, consider the following: does the brand use recycled glass or paper packaging? If they use plastic, do they have a refill option? Do they have a free recycling program, like the ones through Terracycle? By considering the outside of the beauty product — not just the ingredients — you can make smarter purchases that you feel good about.

    Choose Refillable Products

    Many brands in the beauty industry have turned to refillable packaging in an effort to conserve resources. Le Labo, Fenty Skin, and Public Goods are some of the refillable beauty brands who’ve gone this route, helping consumers prevent waste before it starts by offering refill packs and reusable packaging that will last for years and years.

    Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!

    If refillable beauty products aren’t viable, you can also make sustainable beauty product choices by buying from brands with recyclable beauty packaging and/or brands that use post-consumer recycled materials in their packaging. Being able to recycle empty, cleaned out packaging after you’ve used up every last drop of product is an important part of bringing your eco-friendly beauty routine full circle. But this doesn’t just mean tossing your empty lipstick tube into the recycling bin – while paper and glass beauty packaging is fairly straightforward to recycle, plastics or packaging made up of lots of different materials can be trickier for standard recycling plants to process. Organizations like Terracycle, LookFantastic, and Credo Beauty are working to close this gap by facilitating the recycling of otherwise hard-to-recycle beauty product packaging. So before you toss an empty tube — or even before you buy from a particular beauty brand — take a peek online to see if that brand participates in a recycling program.

    As an added bonus, look for brands who give you the option to skip plastics altogether. Bathing Culture, for example, lets customers choose from plastic pump tops or plastic-free metal caps on their refillable glass bottles of body wash.

    Ditch the Bottle for the (Shampoo) Bar

    When it comes to sustainable hair care, you can also swamp out your plastic shampoo bottle for a solid shampoo bar (like this one from Hive), which typically comes with cardboard box packaging that’s totally plastic-free. (Plus, they’re great for camping and traveling, too!) This switch to eco-friendly shampoo is a small one, but it makes a huge impact, keeping ever-more plastic bottles out of our landfills and oceans.

    Ditch Disposable Beauty Products

    If you’re making an effort to be a more eco-conscious consumer, then it might also be useful to look outside of your makeup, skincare, or haircare products and think about what you’re using to apply them. While disposable cotton pads, q-tip cotton swabs, and makeup removing face wipes are all convenient (and sometimes necessary!), there are tons of durable and reusable options out there to help consumers produce less waste and save money in the process. Microfiber cloths, machine-washable reusable bamboo or cotton facial rounds (stored in a mesh bag or Stasher bag for safe-keeping), silicone ear swab cleaners, sustainable makeup removers, and biodegradable sustainable makeup wipes are all low-effort, high-impact swaps you can make as a consumer.

    Save Water

    Our last stop in building a sustainable skincare routine is taking a look at the resources we use, like water and energy. If you don’t do so already, turn off the tap water while you’re sudsing up your face as part of your morning and evening skincare routines, or wash your face in the shower while you’re waiting for your conditioner to soak in. Reducing water consumption, like creating a more eco-friendly skincare routine, happens in small ways, but it all adds up in the long run. 

    As you work to make your skincare and beauty routine more sustainable, try to aim for steady progress over immediate perfection: overhauling your entire routine and every product you use in one fell swoop can be overwhelming, expensive, and hard to keep up with. Start with small, actionable steps like buying solid shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo in plastic bottles, and replacing your existing products as they run out with eco-friendly alternatives. Allow yourself to build these habits gradually so that they stick, knowing that in time, being a more eco-conscious consumer will become second nature.

    Want more storage, organization, sustainability, and clean beauty tips? Read More in Stasher Beauty →

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