I have a confession: There’s plastic in my skincare routine. And that’s not all -- there are other ways our skincare routines may be harming the planet.
Do you ever feel a little icky that we spend billions on protecting and beautifying our skin while the global beauty industry wreaks havoc on our planet? I’m not here to judge. I use (or have used) many of these products for years because I either didn’t know the impact they were having or there just weren’t any viable alternatives.
Here are the Facts:
- The global beauty industry, which includes skincare and cosmetics, produced 76.8 billion plastic packaging units in 2017.
- Body wash has a 25% larger carbon footprint than bar soap.
- Palm oil production is estimated to be responsible for 8% of the world’s deforestation from 1990-2008. And it’s nearly impossible to find liquids like soaps and cosmetics made without it.
- Half a million animals are used in cosmetics tests every year.
In addition, there are tons of wasteful skincare products like single-use face masks and disposable make up removing wipes… and most cleansers come in a plastic bottle and are diluted with water. This has to stop. But what are our options?
It all starts with a clean slate.
Make up remover
If you’re wearing a light amount of make up, facial cleansing bars are usually a-okay to get the job done, but what about those days when you’re wearing a full face and thick waterproof mascara?
Some people swear by coconut oil, though others feel it leaves their pores feeling clogged. Some find jojoba oil to be more gentle. I’ve found this makeup remover in a glass bottle to be fine for light makeup but more difficult on heavy makeup. Urban Oreganics offers a makeup remover in a glass bottle that I’m eager to try next. What works for you?
Makeup removing pads
It’s funny to me that there are single-use cotton rounds when we can easily just use reusable cotton rounds. I don’t know why they’re not just reusable from the start! I bought these on Amazon a long time ago and they’re still going strong. I just pop them in the laundry with my towels. Mine came in a synthetic laundry bag, but by the description, it looks like they’re no longer using plastic packaging.
Kick the plastic bottle to the curb and opt for a facial cleansing bar. etee’s facial bars come in options for oily skin as well as all skin types. 100% plant-based ingredients. Palm oil-free. No water taking up extra space. No more plastic packaging.
One customer says, “This soap really cleans and my face doesn’t feel dry [...] Also I have sensitive skin and this product doesn’t bother me at all.” - Ker
I haven’t tried this one myself, but Urban Oreganics’ facial cream is on my list. I’ve been looking for something with a wetter texture than a bar as that’s usually easier to apply to the face. The facial cream comes in a glass jar with a metal cap. Have you tried it yet? Let me know in the comments.
If you have your specific Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin C, etc serums that you like, there are plastic-free, or at least plastic-reduced options out there. The Ordinary is a great place to get potent formulas in glass jars and they’re comparatively cheaper than the competition. The droppers are glass, though the screw top is plastic. My Hyaluronic Acid serum lasted me almost an entire year so it was money well spent.
If you’re more into natural, plant-derived oils, LOLI has everything you need. Not only do they use natural, organic ingredients. They’re also “raw, fair trade, non-GMO and upcycled from food”. How cool is that?! I tried their Plum Elixir and Tea Seed Elixir -- they felt great on my skin and smelled so good I wanted to eat my own face.
Bulk soap is everywhere, but I had a hard time finding one that actually worked -- ya know? Oftentimes it seemed like there was hardly any soap coming off the bar, and I didn’t feel, or smell, clean afterwards. etee’s body bars actually work. With natural and organic ingredients, you can reduce your body soap’s carbon footprint and feel confidently clean at the same time.
Melissa C says, “This is the best bar soap I have ever tried [...] Every other bar I tried made my skin incredibly itchy, but not Etee’s! Give it a try; you won’t be disappointed.”
Great for hands and feet after all that washing, grab a lotion bar with natural ingredients. etee’s comes in a natural tin and lasts for months.
The thing to know about sunscreen is you don’t want to mess around with oils or homemade things on Etsy. While Zinc Oxide is a common ingredient in natural sunscreens, it needs to be activated -- not something that can be done at home.
Some folks claim that coconut and other oils work, but they actually do very little. Dermatologists usually recommend an SPF of 30 or higher -- this will block 97% of the sun’s rays. Coconut oil blocks a mere 20%.
I’m still using up a (plastic) bottle of sunscreen, but I’ve heard good things about All Good’s Sunscreen Butter that comes in a metal tin.
Pro tip: I use this app to tell me when I need to put on sunscreen based on the expected UV forecast for the day.
Ditch the plastic tube -- etee’s jumbo lip balm comes in a paper tube and works like a push pop -- minus the plastic and sugar -- and lasts for so long.
What plastic-free products do you use in your skincare routine?
Make your skincare routine more sustainable