When we think about reducing our daily plastic use, we often consider investing in reusable coffee cups, saying no to plastic straws and buying loose produce from the supermarkets. But living sustainably can start even before we leave the house. Take a look in your bathroom, open the cabinets, and un-zip your makeup bag – how many of your much-loved daily products are packaged in plastic? From shampoo to shower gel, razors to your favourite red lipstick, when you really pay close attention, it is astonishing to realise just how much plastic we hoard in our beauty cupboards. If you are looking to make some changes, here are our top five sustainable beauty cupboard swaps to give you some inspiration to ditch the plastic.
GO PACKAGING NAKED
We go though bottle after bottle of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel every year. Each one packaged in a plastic bottle, which if you take the time to wash out and recycle, still places another piece of plastic into the already overwhelmed system. Consider going packaging naked by trying out solid bars. Retailers are slow to the trend, but places like Lush produce solid shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bars which look and smell divine. In addition to this, the bars often last longer, making them a more cost effective option too. Simply wet them under the shower, lather up against your hair or skin and rub down as you normally would.
INVEST IN A SAFETY RAZOR
When I step back and think about it, I can’t believe the amount of plastic disposable razors or razor heads I was throwing away on a weekly/monthly basis in an effort to keep my pins hair free. In an effort to get that silky-smooth effect, we are throwing away astronomical amounts of plastic disposable razors every year, because of its cheap convenience. This is a highly wasteful solution to a, (quite literally), growing problem; which is where a metal safety razor could save the day. Using a safety razor involves just two elements, your sturdy reusable metal handle and head, and replaceable single blades which you switch out as and when required. They are a little intimidating to use at first and there is a bit of a technique – but it is a very small price to pay for the end result. A single blade means for an even closer shave and it is a fraction of the cost of constantly buying new disposable ones. The blades can be recycled and as long as you look after the handle, you won’t have to buy a new one for many years. Trust me, you will never go back.
CLEANSE WITH REUSABLES
Shout it louder for the people at the back – face wipes are terrible for our environment! Quick and easy we know, but Mother Earth is not a fan. Instead consider investing in some reusable alternatives such as washable cotton rounds or muslin cloths. Soak a cotton round in some makeup remover or take off your cleanser with a damp muslin cloth. Not only will these take off your makeup more effectively, but they are actually better for your skin and the environment. If you want to go one step further, look into Microfibre Cloth Makeup Removers. These claim to remove all your stubborn makeup with just water reducing the need for lots of different cleansers in plastic packaging.
Ladies, most of us bleed at least once a month, which means a lot of period products, which means a lot of money and plastic is spent on ‘down there’. Many mainstream sanitary products contain a lot of fragrances, dyes, bleach and chemicals which clearly can’t be good for our bodies. Moreover, they all tend to be wrapped in plastic films or wrappers adding to our plastic footprint on the planet. Enter Totm, whose sanitary products are made from 100% organic cotton, use no nasty chemicals and are all wrapped in either a biodegradable and compostable film or paper. Another honourable mention is Ohne who produce 100% organic tampons which are biodegradable and don’t include that dreaded tampon tax. If you are feeling braver and want to skip out monthly sanitary purchases altogether – look into investing into a Mooncup. This reusable cup reduces the need to buy tampons every month and cuts down on your plastic use significantly.
I’m sure we would all be horrified if we counted up the amount of foundation bottles, lipstick cases and eyeliner pens we have thrown away in our life time. It seems like an entirely vicious cycle which is difficult to break. However, one thing which might be worth the time investing in are refillable makeup products. For example, the sustainable, luxury, yet affordable brand Kjaer Weis, stocked at Cult Beauty, offers refillable blush, foundation, lip tints and powders all incased in sturdy metal compacts that will stand the test of time. Some major brands are also getting on the hype, for instance Charlotte Tilbury and Hourglass now offer refillable versions with several of their best selling lipsticks. Personally I love the idea of having a premium case for all my makeup which can be refilled, it has a certain luxury and premium feel about it, whilst also cutting down on all that cheap looking plastic.
It can be hard to make the swaps all at once, but changing one thing or trying out one new plastic free product can make a world of difference. With a collective effort we can turn the tide on our plastic consumption, and you might even find you prefer the alternatives!