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Humans are creatures of habit, that much we can all understand. But sometimes we get so caught up in routines that we don’t stop to think about how the products we use or habits we form impact the world around us. For the most part, this is because our actions have indirect effects on animals and the environment that we don’t get to see firsthand.
One routine that you’ve probably never thought about in the context of its impact on the planet is your beauty routine. As Green Monsters, we like to purchase products that are cruelty-free whenever possible, but are those same products planet friendly? It is estimated that in an average beauty routine, we apply 500 different chemicals to our bodies! While we should be mindful of how these chemicals affect our health and the health of the environment, if you take another step back, you’ll notice another problem with the daily beauty routine: packaging waste!
Just think about all the different plastic bottles you have in your bathroom. Lotion bottles, shampoo and conditioner, face wash, face lotion, hair product, shave gels, the list goes on and on! To make matters worse, all of these bottles and tubes get replaced on a monthly basis in most cases. If you only have five products in your beauty repertoire, that can easily add up to 60 plastic bottles a year, in a house with four people, that’s 240 bottles. It’s a wonder we’re not swimming in plastic. Luckily, there is a solution! Swapping out all your wasteful, chemical-laden beauty products for simple, waste-free alternatives you’ll not only shrink your environmental footprint, but you might just save some money and become a little healthier for it!
What You’ll Need to Start
The first step to making your beauty routine waste-free is replacing all your plastic tubes and bottles with glass counterparts. Go through your daily beauty routine, from brushing teeth, washing face, showering, post-shower and beyond and count up all the different items you use. You will need that many glass jars, in a variety of sizes depending on the item. For example, for small cosmetic items, you’ll want a jar that can be comfortably held in your palm, but you might want a bigger larger size to accommodate larger volumes of liquid.
Many of the items you pay hand over fist for can be easily made at home with a few simple ingredients. Once you’ve got your jars, you’re ready to start!
Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Did you know that the average person will use around 389 tubes of toothpaste in their lifetimes? Might not seem too terrible, but remember, you’re not the only one upholding this stat. Plus, many popular toothpaste brands have gotten a lot of flack these days for containing chemicals like triclosan and plastic microbeads.
Making your own toothpaste is a great way to skip all the chemical and plastic nonsense (tube and microbeads included). Plus, it is incredibly simple to do.
Check out this recipe for basic instructions on how to make your own using baking soda, Bentonite clay, sea salt and peppermint oil. You can also add a tablespoon of coconut oil to this recipe for added benefits!
Chances are you have a plastic toothbrush too! Don’t think that those get off scot-free. Check out this guide for sustainable toothbrushes made of renewable materials. We promise these options do not include chewing on tree branches.
Antiperspirants and deodorant are filled with toxins that you probably don’t want to be putting on your skin anyway, but they also come in plastic packages (even some of the natural deodorants). The good news is, making your deodorant is much easier (and effective) than you think. Using baking soda as the based for your natural deo is the key as it will help absorb odors and keep those pits dry. Check out this recipe for a four-step deodorant that will keep you fresh and happy.
Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash
There are a few routes you can take to make your hair care/body routine waste-free. Either you can make your own shampoo and conditioner.This recipe recommends combining castile soap, coconut milk and essential oil to cleanse and moisturize. This simple recipe can also be used as body wash, or just try castile soap and skip the other ingredients. Since you will likely only be able to find castile soap in plastic bottles, go for the large bulk size. While this is not a 100 percent waste-free option, you will end up saving a ton of smaller plastic bottle by opting for this.
If making these products isn’t up your alley, don’t fret you can also buy some. LUSH makes great waste-free, cruelty-free and palm oil-free shampoo, conditioner, body wash AND face wash! You can purchase shampoo and conditioner bars in the store along with a reusable metal tin to hold your new beauty bars.
Body lotion is a must in the wintertime, but really is useful any time of the year. Lucky for you, there is no need to suffer through cracked, itchy skin when going waste-free! In fact, to make your own all you need is shea butter, coconut oil, the essential oil of your choice vegetable glycerin and kitchen mixer. Check out this recipe for instructions!
Ditch the aerosol cans and replace your old shaving cream with a rich bar soap, natural plant oils or Castille soap instead. Check out this article for five simple, natural shaving cream alternatives. Gentleman, check out this article for a skin-soothing after-shave cream.
Selecting a natural hair product to replace the many gels, mousse or creams you currently use might require a little trial and error, but after a period of adjustment, you’ll get it! In the long run, your hair will thank you. You can use a lemon base to make volumizing hairspray, shea butter based mousse to tame curls and condition or even try a molasses based pomade. Check out this article for instructions on how to make these DIY alternatives. You can also try aloe vera gel to help with frizz, you can find whole leaves in most grocery stores, just squeeze a little bit in your hands and smooth on wet or dry hair.
If you’re looking for DIY natural hair tips for guys, click here.
Believe it or not, making your own cosmetics can be done. Switching to a DIY cosmetic routine will save you money, keep tons of questionable chemicals off your delicate face and quite frankly, make you feel really accomplished. Check out the Free People blog for great tips on how to make everything from powder foundation using cocoa powder to cheek stain and lip color comprised of beets!
A waste-free cosmetic routine does not end with the products themselves. Take into consideration the Q-tips you might use or the cotton balls for makeup removal. Try and wean yourself off Q-tips and use a fine makeup brush instead of applying liner or eyeshadow. For makeup remover, ditch the single-use cloths and try coconut oil and a cotton washcloth. Trust us, it works wonders!
Green Monsters! Do you have awesome waste-free beauty routine ideas? Tell us about them in the comments!
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
Image source: FreePeople