No matter how much you want to do it, when it comes to making sustainable switches in your life, it can seem completely overwhelming. You start looking around at what you use, and the waste you produce, and you realize how many things you need to change. I felt that same way earlier this year when I committed to changing my habits. To ensure that I would make progress, I decided to break it down into smaller sections and focus on one area of my life at a time. My daily shower/beauty routine seemed like the perfect place to start, not only because it was an area in which I produced a lot of day-to-day waste but also because I tend to purchase these products frequently (every couple of months). While I still have a long way to go, here are the simple, sustainable beauty switches I have recently made:
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1. Soap Bar: Probably the most accessible switch for everyone to make, opting for a soap bar instead of a body wash is an easy way to reduce your plastic waste. Not only are there way more unnecessary chemicals in body wash than in soap, but they also tend to be more expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of choices of soap bars on the market, and I think soap makes a great eco-friendly travel souvenir. Some of my other favorites include Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Bar Soap and the Seaweed Bath Co. Exfoliating Detox Body Soap.
2. Shampoo Bar: After a couple of not-so-great shampoo bar experiences, I have finally found one that my hair loves, the Lush “Godiva” Shampoo Bar. This one moisturizes the hair with nut oils and shea butter. It also lathers easily, smells heavenly, and my hair feels exceptionally clean afterward. There are lots of different shampoo bars available, so it may take a little trial-and-error until you find one that works for you – but stick with it! Shampoo bars are gentler than their liquid counterparts, plus they are perfectly travel-friendly and have minimal impact on the environment thanks to their lack of plastic and packaging. Start by looking at Lush’s and Ethique’s offerings. While it is slightly pricier, I have heard that Cristophe Robin’s Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera works wonders for all hair types.
3. Conditioner Bar: To go along with my shampoo bar, I am also currently using a Lush conditioner bar, the “American Cream” one. This straight-up smells like a milkshake, which feels very luxurious when I use it each morning. Generally, I stroke the conditioner bar right onto my hair because I feel like this works the best, although it does produce a decent amount of lather (not as much as the shampoo bar). Both the shampoo and conditioner bars last me over two months, and that is with 3-4 hair washes a week. Other highly-recommended options are the Honey Silk Solid Conditioner Bar by Beauty and the Bees and the Solid Conditioner Bar from Aspen Kay Naturals.
4. Facial Cleansing Bar: When you think of face wash, you probably imagine some gel or foam that comes with a plastic dispenser that never lets you get the last bit of product out from the bottom. Right? Well, a facial cleansing bar lets you use all of the product. Just like any other style of cleanser, different ingredients work best to address different skin issues. The Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar is a classic go-to for all skin types, while the Ethique Bliss Cleansing Bar is better suited to those with dry skin thanks to its coconut butter and Kaolin clay ingredients. Currently, I am using a charcoal cleansing bar that I picked up while in Milwaukee, BeautyCounter has a similar one.
5. Moisturizer Bar: Another Lush favorite, I am now on my second bar of the “Banana Skin” Facial Oil, which leaves my skin incredibly moisturized and soft. Out of their range of facial oils, this is their most moisturizing, which means that it may be too greasy for some people. Personally, I love as much moisture as possible, particularly during the winter. On the other end of the spectrum is the “Light Touch” Facial Oil, which is the least greasy and also incorporates a toner. I think my next purchase is going to be the “Amazon Primer” Facial Oil to use as a primer under my daily make-up.
6. Deodorant Bar: My most recent switch! After finishing up my Kopari deodorant, I knew that I wanted my next one to be more sustainable, so I opted for the Ethique Deodorant Bar in Botanica. I have only used it for a couple of days, so I am not ready to give a full review, but so far, so good! It does feel a little strange to be using a bar on my underarms, but, as with the rest of the switches, I am sure I will quickly adapt. Lush has the “Aromaco” deodorant bar (the tag-line is “for happy, hippy ‘pits” LOL), and Island Deodorant has one with probiotics. Another option is a refillable deodorant, such as what Myro offers. The brand’s products are free from nasties like parabens and silicones and packed with good-for-you ingredients.
7. Reusable Cotton Rounds: It takes a lot of water and a whole lot of chemicals to produce cotton, which is what is used to create makeup removal pads and buds. If you are anything like me, these are things you use every day. One of the easiest switches to make, moving from single-use cotton rounds to reusable ones, makes a significant difference in the bathroom waste you create each day. A few months ago, I bought the Green Estate Reusable Makeup Remover Pads, and I haven’t looked back. The pack includes 14 reusable pads that you can throw in your washing machine/dryer and use over and over again. These are the equivalent to thousands of disposable single-use makeup wipes, pads, or cotton balls. I like these specifically because you can use the black-side for make-up removal and the white side for toner!
8. Safety Razor: I didn’t know too much about safety razors before buying one, but I did know that I hated constantly spending money and then throwing away plastic razors. After a little bit of browsing, I opted for the Baili Rose Gold Safety Razor, mainly because it was such a pretty color (who says we can’t be sustainable and stylish?!). Safety razors are so easy to use, you need to add a blade and then shave as usual. (Hold the razor at a 30-degree angle to get the closest shave and make sure you don’t press too hard, else you risk nicking the skin.) A single blade tends to last me about ten days (I don’t shave too often), and they can be recycled when you are done. Not only does this significantly reduce your plastic waste, but it is also far more cost-effective. WIN-WIN!
9. Bamboo Toothbrush: Bamboo is compostable and biodegradable, and it grows at around 3.5 feet per day, making it a totally viable and extremely eco-friendly alternative to plastic. So, I said goodbye to plastic toothbrushes and hello to a bamboo one.
10. Bamboo Cotton Buds: I love to clean my ears and was using a couple of cotton swabs each day. Making the switch from ones made from plastic to ones made from bamboo was a no-brainer.
Have you made any sustainable beauty switches recently? Any of these you are thinking of trying out? Let me know in the comments below!