With each passing year, the climate crisis comes into ever sharper focus. And no matter how small they may seem in the face of the Herculean challenges we as a society confront, our individual actions do matter. In that spirit, one pillar to consider is your beauty routine – what you buy, how often you buy it and whether it ends up in landfill. With reports emerging that 76% of consumers are now seeking out sustainable products, this is the year to examine your relationship with what goes in your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet.
As someone who lives and breathes beauty, this is a tough one! It's definitely a little easier, though, once you consider the impact of your buying habits. In an era of elaborate skincare routines involving dozens of steps, perhaps reduce your selection to a few essentials and some clever multitaskers. Curbing excess can not only help reduce the amount of packaging and water going into your routine, but it'll also help you be more mindful of what you choose. The key is to slow down and carefully consider your purchases, and always use up what you have before you buy a replacement.
Founded in 1995, Lush has been passionate since the get-go when it comes to cruelty-free, fair trade and fighting over-packaging.
Its Charity Pot, $12.50, is a soothing body lotion that also helps fund small-scale organisations and campaigners in animal protection, human rights and the environment, while haircare products like Big Shampoo, $33.90, for high-volume hair, and Wasabi Shan Kui Shampoo, $39.90, with fresh horseradish, are unique and work like a charm.
Consider products that have minimal or no packaging, like shampoo and conditioner bars from brands such as Garnier. Blended with 94% plant-origin ingredients, Garnier Hair Food Shampoo Bars, $17.99, last the equivalent of up to two bottles of shampoo. Or opt for products with refillable packaging, like those from New Zealand waterless wonders Dust & Glow, whose Powder Based Conditioner, $44.99, comes with home-compostable refills, $39.99.
Vegan-friendly products are made without ingredients derived from animals and/or animal by-products.
But what kind of ingredients in beauty aren't vegan? Common ones include dairy, honey, carmine, marine collagen, silk and snail extracts. Other ingredients can be derived from either animal or vegan sources, such as lactic acid, squalane, biotin and peptides. Kosas 10-Second Eye Gel Watercolor Eyeshadow, $25, is lightweight and water-based, adding soft, diffused colour, while the brand's The Big Clean Longwear Volumizing + Lash Care Mascara, $42, is a green beauty-approved mascara for instantly big, fluffy lashes. Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara, $50, is another top pick, while The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation, $49, comes in an amazing 40 shades.
Hate all the plastic bottles but love the feel of a liquid shampoo? Ethique has the ideal solution. The Nourishing Shampoo Concentrate, $15, is perfect for balanced-to-dry hair and the box makes 350ml of liquid shampoo to add to your choice of empty bottle. Great hair without the plastic waste!
Makeup wipes are said to be one of the worst-ever creations for the planet. Instead, invest in cleansing rounds like the award-winning Face Halo, $34 for three, which doesn't even require a cleanser. Non-toxic, reusable and great for travel, just one replaces up to 500 single-use wipes.
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