Green your beauty routine

Monday, 21 May 2012

Green your beauty routineOn average, each of us uses about 10 different beauty and personal care products a day – which could mean that daily we’re allowing around 125 different ingredients to be absorbed from our skin straight into our bloodstreams.

What’s more, the residue from those products – and the packaging they came in – has a major impact on the environment as well. So overhauling your beauty routine to make it more sustainable could not only help to reveal your own natural health and vitality, but also benefit the planet.

Get label-savvy.

Just as we try to choose wholesome food over junk food, we can learn to read labels to make more-informed beauty choices. ‘Junk’ beauty products are loaded with petroleum by-products, chemicals, preservatives, and synthetic colours and fragrances. Try to choose products with a shorter list of ingredients and fewer chemicals, and particularly avoid those containing sulfates, triclosan, phthalates, or parabens (identified by prefixes like ethyl, methyl, butyl, propyl or isobutyl). Look out for silicone too, traditionally added to many beauty products to provide smoothness on skin, shine in hair, and silkiness in make-up, and identified by ingredients ending in ‘ithicone’ and ‘icate’. Increasingly, responsible manufacturers are replacing silicone with alternatives like proteins and naturally-derived emollients. If you’d like to check a specific beauty product for safety and eco-credentials, safecosmetics.org has an extensive database on their ‘Skin Deep’ page.

Be aware of packaging.

It goes (almost!) without saying that the eco-friendly approach is to avoid products swathed in vast amounts of plastic. Look for minimal packaging and, where possible, choose recycled or recyclable containers like paper boxes or glass bottles. And then don’t forget to follow through by actually recycling them! If you have the option of buying something in a refillable container, so much the better. You might also consider buying economy-size containers of products such as shampoo, conditioner and handwash to decant the contents into smaller refillable bottles. You’ll save money as well as reduce waste!

Use less.

Shower gel can serve as bubble bath and conditioner works wonderfully as shaving cream. You can use the same mild cleanser on your face and body. Multi-task your products wherever possible! Use fewer products, but choose the best you can afford, and use no more than you really need – a pea-sized drop of toothpaste, just a dab of hand cream. Finish what you’ve bought before replacing it.

Substitute!

There are many gorgeous natural products containing botanical fruit oils like lemon, avocado, jojoba, tea-tree and aloe, all rich in nutrients like fatty acids and vitamin E. Organic coconut oil makes a great eye make-up remover and moisturiser, hydrating and balancing the natural oil levels in the skin. Shea butter too is intensely moisturising, and a salve of cocoa bean oil is fantastic for staving off stretch marks and wrinkles. Yoghurt and honey makes a deliciously silky facemask, and a quarter cup of olive oil mixed with half a cup of brown sugar will give you a highly effective (if somewhat sticky!) body scrub. For the real purists among us, good old bicarb can be used as toothpaste, and diluted apple cider vinegar works well to tone your skin (you can add essential oils if you’re worried about the smell!).

Well, okay, let’s not get too carried away. No-one’s suggesting you should instantly abandon all your favourite brands and the products you love, but even a few small mindful changes can make a real difference to our health and to the environment. Certainly, we can be beautiful without risking our future.

IMAGE: BestPhotoStudio/Shutterstock.com

Written by

Fiona Rom, freelance writer and editor, believes that beauty and wellness have much to do with your state of mind, and that a sense of humour is your best defence against almost any challenge the world throws at you. Fiona on Google

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  1. Pseudo_kate

    Perfect tips. We need to be a lot more conscious about the kind of waste that we are encouraging by not thinking twice about what we buy.

    4 years ago •

  1. Firefly

    Very informative article.. Thankyou once again. Going to try out a few home made scrubs and masks from now on..

    5 years ago •

  1. Maddy

    I must confess i love beauty products but i totally agree with the author. its important to use fewer chemicals. I make a point once a week to totally use homemade products which are Good for planet and for the skin too.

    5 years ago •

  1. Charles

    Great article. Thanks for the tips :)

    5 years ago •

  1. julandism

    Great article, Natural products are just soooooo much healthier for your skin not to mention the planet!

    5 years ago •

  1. Guccigirl

    I’m not crazy about the smell of a lot of natural products, so I make my own. It’s a lot cheaper and they are often fun to make.

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    I always read the packaging, it’s so important.

    5 years ago •

  1. Chicara

    Very helpful tips. I’ve used shower gel as bubble bath before.

    5 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    Natural products work best for my skin! So I always choose face mask, face cleansers and moisurizers that are natural

    5 years ago •

  1. Zu

    When it comes to matter like this.. I trust THE BODY SHOP products it is one of the pioneer in the industry as far as i know. Otherwise there is nothing better and more natural than DIY home remedy like using avo, cucumber, honey, sugar, egg, salt and evn mayonaise to name a few. It only involves a lot a effort but its cost effective.
    Tried and tested and certified effective for me.

    5 years ago •

  1. Clarad

    I started incorporating organic products about a year ago (from skincare to hair products). I never looked back. My sensitive skin has never looked and felt better. I am 36 minus 10 years!

    5 years ago •

  1. The Ferosh 1

    Getting beautiful while being environmental concious! I like it

    5 years ago •

  1. sons

    Natural product is kind to my skin. Happy I tried it

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    I find natural products are sometimes more expensive. But like Inoxa says: First do no harm!

    5 years ago •

  1. Debsie

    Green is the way to go AND saver. Cost effective cause a little goes a long way. Having a son with eczema a learned organic products is the best

    5 years ago •

  1. julandism

    It is a pity that there are so any harmful ingredients in products today, next time you go in to the shop, just read the back of the label, you will be surprised on how many products contain differant types of Parabens.

    5 years ago •

  1. honey_child

    Such a relevant article….my company holds an environmental awareness week every year and I hope that one year we get to feature “green ” beauty products…

    5 years ago •

  1. Michelle Powell-Marinus

    I find the natural products are not only cost effective but are sensitive on my skin too.Its really convenient and my skin feels more nourished and has a natural glow.Drinking plenty of water has also help and is a natural anti-oxidant and detoxis the body as well.

    5 years ago •

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