Sustainable skincare and zero-waste living go hand-in-hand; a sustainable skincare routine generally would involve minimising as much waste as possible, and of course forgoing the use of plastics and other materials that aren’t environmentally friendly. However, although many people incorporate sustainability into their everyday lives, sustainable skincare isn’t always at the top of the priority list. This could be due to lack of awareness as to how to minimise waste, given that so many products come in single-use plastic packaging.
Is it truly possible to get the benefits you seek from skincare products without harming the environment in any way? We are certain that it is. In fact, we have built an entire skincare brand on this principle! In fact, it may be easier than it seems to take care of your skin and produce minimal waste at the same time.
This article aims to highlight the best ways to get a sustainable skincare routine, free from plastics and without any nasty chemical additives that damage your health.
Why is a sustainable skincare routine important?
Plastic alone is a major reason. We generate around 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, which is a mind-blowing amount. It’s easier to imagine when you consider just how much food packaging waste a single household generates each week.
Of this, only 9% gets recycled, which is somewhat shameful! A further 21% gets incinerated, while the remainder sits in landfills, tips, or worse still – out there in nature. If you are serious about sustainable skincare, it means minimising or completely eliminating all waste from your skincare routine.
Our six best sustainable skincare tips
1. Purchase reusable skincare products
The skincare industry continues to produce unfathomable amounts of single-use packaging that only ends up in landfills. This includes everything from razors to cotton buds and face wipes, but of course empty shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles get thrown out every day too.
It is much more ethical to purchase refillable skincare products, or products with ecological, biodegradable packaging. At the very least, the plastic packaging should be recycled, but this is not reliably eco-friendly, according to the recycling statistics we shared earlier.
The zero-plastic movement is thriving, fortunately, with so many more people embracing degradable packaging. Paper packaging, recycled packaging and reusable packaging are becoming more and more popular. However, it is still important to check whether the paper packaging is definitely recyclable. If it is coated in shiny plastic, it won’t be.
If it is a choice between glass and plastic, always choose glass, and refill or reuse it. This can improve the shelf life of your product, and of course zero-waste skincare is the ultimate aim.
2. Read the labels - even on 'natural' skincare products
You will also need to pay careful attention to the ingredients in your products, because any serious skincare brand that cares about the Earth will use organic ingredients. Their labels won’t be hiding a list of questionable - or outright insidious – additives, like microplastics. Believe it or not, even some ‘natural’ products contain microplastics. It’s also a good idea to look for ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ logos on your skin care products.
Granted, skincare ingredient lists can be confusing if you’re not familiar with them. It might not be obvious what you should be looking for, but our guide to the skincare products you should avoid is a good place to start. If you want to dive deeper into this, EWG has a cosmetics ingredients database that will tell you everything you need to know. The reality is that by caring optimally for your skin, you generally do the same for the planet.
3. Buy skincare products without palm oil
There has been a lot of attention on palm oil and its unethical acquisition, which leads to devastated rainforests and wildlife and animals – particularly orangutans, which die of starvation because of this practice. Plantations continue to be established where once the rainforest and its inhabitants thrived. Unfortunately, palm oil is prolific in skincare products and food products all over the world.
Always check the labels and boycott this product if you wish to have a sustainable skin care routine. You should look out for any of the ‘alternative’ names for palm oil, such as vegetable oil fat, palm olein, palmitic acid, palmitate and palm stearin.
4. Buy skincare products made in your country
Shipping is a huge issue of its own, when it comes to sustainability. Think excessive consumption of diesel and petrol, with all the environmental pollution (and cost!) those bring. The nasty pollutants expelled by trucks and ships can detrimentally impact local communities, as well as the ozone layer.
Good zero-waste, sustainable skincare companies will usually offer sustainable shipping. If this is not the case, it is much better to buy skin care products made in your own country – the more locally the better. If we all did this, it would have a very positive effect indeed.
5. Know your own skin
Quite often we are sold on the benefits a product promises – or even the clever marketing or pretty packages. We may not consider our skin type and how this product will work with it. We get home with our promising package and before long we find out it doesn’t do quite what we were hoping for. This may well be because it just doesn’t suit our skin, and so it ends up in a drawer or in the bin. Meanwhile, we end up going out and buying yet another product that may or may not work.
It’s easy to see how a little research into your skin type (and what suits it) could minimise your waste and make your skincare routine more sustainable.
6. Buy from zero-waste skincare companies
There are more and more zero-waste skincare companies today than ever, all producing sustainable, cruelty-free skincare products with natural ingredients. If your chosen skin care brand is creating products that have reusable or degradable packaging, doesn’t add toxins and carefully selects ethical and sustainable ingredients, you have successfully upgraded your sustainable skin care routine.
At Lavandi we do everything in our power to always uphold this ethic. We are always reassessing and refining our product range to be sure we are bringing you the best ingredients, in the most sustainable packaging, and of course we have a sustainable shipping policy. We hope you enjoy our products, and we thank you for caring about the Earth as much as we do!