Whether you keep your skincare routine to the bare minimum or are a die-hard supporter of the 10-step Korean skincare routine, there is no doubt that your beauty stash contributes significantly to global waste. Just think of all the packaging used in the manufacturing of beauty products, from bottles to tubes to jars. And to make matters worse, most of this packaging is made of plastic, a material which can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Imagine the gigantic mountains of plastic waste that will accumulate over time!
Plus, product packaging is not the only waste the beauty industry is contributing to. Certain beauty products even contain plastic components in the products themselves such as microbeads in body and facial scrubs.
With the exponential amount of waste the beauty industry generates every year, some brands have taken the initiative to reduce their own waste by taking the sustainable route. This can be in the form of using recyclable or compostable packaging, creating refillable products, or doing away with packaging altogether.
However, the responsibility of reducing waste should not only fall on the beauty brands themselves. As consumers, we also play a part in the amount of waste being contributed to the landfills. We buy products to replace the ones we have used up in our routines, spend on new product launches, and throw away those we failed to use before their expiry date.
If you are keen on giving your beauty routine a zero-waste makeover, here are a few tips to get you started:
Purchase Package-less Products
Buying beauty products that do not come in any packaging might seem almost impossible. Do such products even exist in the first place? While the majority of products sold in the beauty industry are still sold with packaging, there are definitely package-less alternatives in the market to help you in your zero-waste journey.
For instance, when you were younger you probably used soap bars rather than shower gels that come in a plastic bottle, right? How about ditching your bottled shower gels and going back to the good old soap bar in your shower routine? Now, you might be thinking, “Don’t those soap bars come in packaging too?” Well, the good news is, there are brands now that produce their own line of naked soap bars — in other words, the soap bars are not sold in any sort of packaging. You can find these soap bars at Lush as well as sustainability store The Green Collective. All you have to do when purchasing these bars is to bring your own packaging or bag and voilà! Zero packaging wasted.
And that’s not all. Soap bars are not the only thing you can include in your zero-waste shower routine. Did you know there are even shampoos and conditioners that come in bars too? These bars are usually more concentrated than their bottled counterparts, which means they will last for a longer period of time. And once you have used up these bars, there is absolutely nothing to throw away.
Go the DIY Route
A quick search on Pinterest of DIY beauty products and you will be flooded with a plethora of blog posts and videos of various beauty concoctions to inspire you to begin your own DIY adventure. While it might be a hassle to create your own products, you can save a ton of packaging from being thrown away. And if that is not convincing enough, DIY products tend to be much cheaper than buying commercial ones in the market as most of them involve using basic ingredients you can either buy from the grocery store or in bulk.
For instance, you can create your own moisturiser by mixing coconut oil, vitamin E and your preferred essential oil. Coconut oil will provide you with glowing and youthful-looking skin, while vitamin E will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you want to make your own face mask, simply mash some avocado and mix a dollop of honey to create a moisturising mask. Wish to create a body scrub? Just combine either coconut or olive oil with granulated sugar and you have got yourself a perfectly good scrub.
Buy Refillable Products
If you are unable to find package-less or DIY beauty products to replace those in your current beauty stash, opt for those that are refillable instead. If there is a bulk store near you that sell beauty products in loose form, fill them up in your own containers or jars. Thus, when you run out, you can simply refill your own containers instead of purchasing an entirely new packaged product. Some products that are sold in refillable form include shower gels, safety razors, and even dental floss!
Avoid Making Online Purchases
We don’t have to tell you that shopping online involves extra packaging, what with the boxes, bubble wrap and packing peanuts that come with each delivery. Add to that your packaged beauty products, the amount of packaging that results from every online purchase you make can be significant. Therefore, try to avoid buying your beauty products online as much as you can, or minimise your online purchases to only when necessary.