Why yes, a low-waste beauty routine *is* actually doable

How to shop for eco-friendly beauty products you'll love.

We all want to use beauty products that are gentler on our skin, have less impact on the planet and still, you know, work. Here's exactly what to seek out when you're shopping for your next batch of eco-friendly faves. But your new mantra? Less is more. Resist the impulse to buy yet another gloss you won't use and instead, think about what you really need.

Ditch unnecessary packaging

Take a peek in your makeup bag—we're betting there's a whole lot of plastic containing not a lot of product. Luckily, some brands are ditching the mega wrappers in favor of more barely there options. No tube, no problem!

Axiology Lid-to-Lip Balmies, $36 for three

Choose *truly* sustainable skincare

It's time to do your research (it'll be fun, we promise). Before you toss something in your cart, go to the brand's website and search for meaningful clues that the product is as Earth-friendly as it claims. Think: carbon-neutral, recycled materials, green energy and safe sourcing.

BYBI Super Greens Purifying Face Mask, $23

Sparkle safely

Not-so-fun fact: Glitter is made up of itty bitty pieces of plastic. And when you wash those down the drain, they can get into the ocean, harming our food and fish. We'd never tell you to say sayonara to sparkles, but seek out a biodegradable, plant-based alternative that breaks down over time.

EcoStardust Peacock Biodegradable Glitter, $24

Spray smarter

Hair products that come in cans often send harmful chemicals into the ether. We're now using dry shampoo that's propelled by nitrogen, which is better for the air than other options. Bonus: Blasting on some dry shampoo between washes means you're wasting less water in the shower.

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Dry Shampoo, $7

Nix one-time items

It's easy to swear by single-use products like cotton rounds or razors, but once you break the habit, we bet you'll never look back. DIsposable makeup pads are an easy item to swap out for resuables. Instead of tossing them in the trash, you throw 'em in the wash in a mesh bag and wash them with the rest of your laundry. Genius.

Versed Down to Earth Reusable Cotton Pads, $20 for 14

Curb containers

Big shampoo and conditioner bottles not only use a lot of plastic, they take up a ton of space in your shower. And you can never really get down to the last drop. Solid bars do the same job without creating more waste. Rub a super concentrated shampoo or conditioner bar over your wet hair to get a lather going, then distribute it through your strands and rinse like you normally would.

HiBar Volumize Shampoo Bar, $14

Brush responsibly

OK, so you're not throwing your hairbrushes in the trash on the reg but, when you do, they're super hard to recycle because they're made up of a bunch of different materials. The next time you buy a brush, consider investing in one that's composed of better-for-the-planet materials like bamboo or recycled options. (This one has a handle made with cornstarch fibers, a biodegradable rubber cushion and recycled nylon bristles, so you can safely toss it when it's time.) 

Kitsch Consciously Created Paddle Brush, $16

Upgrade your sheet mask

We love a good sheet mask—but you can only use them once before tossing and they typically come in individual wrappers. As they're basically paper covered in serum, opt instead for a silicone sheet mask that you can rinse and rewear. Plus, you can choose your own serum or moisturizer from your stash. One mask, endless possibilities.

Honest Beauty Reusable Magic Silicone Sheet Mask, $15

Refill whenever you can

One of our fave ways to cut down on waste? Opt for reusable packaging. Instead of pitching stick after stick of deodorant (or bottle after bottle of lotion), you'll be popping the new product into a case you keep. Yes, it's a bit more money upfront, but it'll pay off after a few years.

Dove Refillable Deodorant, $15

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that a version of this story originally ran in our April/May 2021 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Slider image: Drew Graham on Unsplash
Top image: Treading My Own Path
All GIFs via Giphy


by Erin Reimel | 4/22/2021