You don’t need to sacrifice in efficacy or money in order to go green with your cosmetics, as these swaps prove
Green beauty is a great investment. It helps saves the planet, contributes towards a sustainable living environment and gives you that warm feeling of having done something good. But, it can be pricey. Or so you may think. Here at NH, we want to prove that caring for the environment isn’t just limited to what you can afford. The following swaps will leave you feeling and looking beautiful, as well as pleasing your bank balance, and you’ll be doing your bit for the planet in the process.
The temptation to use a make-up wipe for the sake of ease and price is sometimes all too easy to resist. However, a lot of them are predominantly made from plastic, which takes a huge toll on the environment, as plastic is notorious for taking hundreds of years to break down. Avoid them all together and try an oil cleanser. “Natural, cold-pressed organic oils are a great way of lifting grime, dust and make-up off the skin – it’s been done for thousands of years and still works now,” says Lucy Gulland from Pure Potions Skin Ltd (purepotions.co.uk). “Even better, plant-based oils will nourish your skin, leaving it enriched rather than depleted. Use a warm damp washcloth instead of disposable cotton wool and you’re sorted.” You only need a little bit of oil, too, so it will work out more cost-effective in the long run.
While decluttering your beauty shelf may be a task you have been putting off since the start of 2018, let alone 2019, it’s also one that benefits the planet. Lucy agrees: “Consider the environmental impact of buying twenty different products – all in their own little plastic pots and many destined to be wasted, thrown away half-used – for twenty different jobs? Why not just get one and multi-task instead? So many different skincare needs can be met with a simple, old-fashioned salve. Traditional beeswax-based ointments are usually 100 percent natural and don’t need preservatives to keep, so they win the eco-friendly prize over water-based creams full of synthetic ingredients. You can use ointment as make-up remover, lip balm, hand cream, aftershave balm, on cuts, grazes and insect bites, and it’ll even work as a protective barrier against pollen in hay fever season.”
It will come as no surprise to learn that boycotting plastic as much as possible is an ideal place to start in order to give your beauty routine a green refresh. “Look at the environmental impact of the products you use,” says Joy Parkinson, managing director of Faith in Nature. “Our Brave Botanicals shampoo bottles are made from at least 96 percent sugarcane so they don’t deplete fossil fuels.” She also recommends looking for packaging that is labelled RPET – this stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET, and is a strong, durable and recyclable material. Alternatively, look for glass packaging. Brands such as the Organic Pharmacy use glass, and package some of their make-up powders in ‘tree-less’ card made from bamboo, bagasse and hemp, with ink from vegetable dyes, so when the product is finished all of the packaging can be recycled.
“Buy in bulk – you could make an even bigger positive impact on the environment and purchase a five litre bottle of shampoo, reducing the use of single-use plastics in your home,” says Joy. In most cases it works out cheaper to buy a larger quantity of a product, rather than frequently buying the smaller version.
Microbeads may be tiny pieces of plastic but don’t let their size fool you as they have a huge impact on the ocean. They are used in many cosmetics, from scrubs to soaps to shampoos and even toothpaste. Yet thankfully, many beauty brands have found smart (and affordable) alternatives. These include many household objects such as sugar, coffee and salt which work just as well, if not better! You can even make your own, for example, mix together sugar, carrier oil and essential oils for an exfoliating body scrub. “Some brands also add microbeads to mascaras to create a volumising effect on the lashes,” explains Charlotte Vohtz, founder of Green People and pioneer of organic beauty. “These tiny particles can have catastrophic consequences for marine life and, as such, the UK banned the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics in 2018. Unfortunately, mascara is not counted as a rinse-off product, so brands are still legally allowed to use microbeads in cosmetic formulations. Look for a microbead-free alternative such as the Green People Volumising Mascara (£16.50, greenpeople.co.uk) which contains advanced microsphere technology.”
“Aerosol deodorants are a familiar staple in many people’s weekly shops, however, they aren’t actually very sustainable,” explains Laura Rudoe, founder of Evolve Organics and S5 Skincare. “This is because, when being processed, they have to be completely empty, dry and clean which is difficult to achieve. They can also have a harmful impact on the environment as they release CO2 emissions.” Instead, fashion deodorant out of some store cupboard staples. Try applying lemon juice to your underarms, as the citric acid will kill odourcausing bacteria. However, remember that lemons are highly acidic, so be mindful of using them after shaving. Alternatively, you could try mixing one-eighth of a teaspoon of baking soda with a small amount of water to make a paste, and rub this into your underarms.
“More often than not, liquid soap comes in single use plastic packaging which contributes to the planet’s growing plastic pollution,” says Sarwat Jaleel, founder of Kushboo Soap (kushboosoaps.co.uk). “Soap bars use less packaging and are often wrapped in eco-friendly paper. Plus, a soap bar, when dried properly, will last much longer than an average bottle of liquid soap, not only impacting less on the environment but giving you more soap for your money. Liquid soap contains more water, meaning more soap is needed to form a lather, and we tend to use much more than we actually need.”
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