Plastic-Free Beauty Swaps
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July is Plastic Free July, a campaign that challenges you to give up single-use plastics so I thought I would go through some easy plastic free beauty swaps to help you reduce your plastic usage.
Our problem with plastic.
We can't ignore the catastrophic effect our addiction to plastic is having on the earth anymore. From that Blue Planet II episode to the video of the straw being pulled out of a turtles nose, the reality of the plastic problem has hit us hard. But with plastic playing such a big part of our daily lives it can be rather overwhelming trying to figure out how to reduce our plastic use. It can feel that anything you do is too small to matter. Especially knowing that a truckload of rubbish is being dumped into our oceans every single minute. But every little bit makes a difference. Hopefully, you already have reusable bags for your supermarket shop and use your reusable takeaway cup and water bottle but there are other ways you can cut your plastic usage, especially when it comes to your beauty routine. Read on for some ideas on plastic-free beauty swaps.
1. Save with Shampoo
How many bottles of shampoo do you think you go through in a year? Wouldn’t it be great to reduce that plastic and save some money? Lush is leading the way when it comes to plastic free beauty products. Their popular shampoo bars are said to do the job of 3 x 250g bottles of liquid shampoo! Lasting between 80-100 washes! You can also get conditioner bars and deodorant bars. Lush also has a cute little tin to store the bar in, which is perfect for travelling (and means you can bring more liquids through security!)
Another option is Ethique shampoo and conditioner bars. I love their trial packs so you try out different options to see what works best for your hair.
2. Swap your Shower Gel
Like using shower gels for their cleansing abilities and smell? How many plastic bottles do you think you go through? Ethique again has some great plastic-free beauty options. Their bodywash bars create just as much foam (without drying the skin) and come in a range like Lime and Ginger or tea tree and spearmint. Or you could just use soap? Remember that?
3. Change your Razor!
Shaving is still the most popular hair removal option and it's having a big impact on our environment. It's estimated that 2 billion razors are thrown away every year just in the USA! Switching to a safety razor means you can say goodbye to all that plastic and you'll get a better shave as well. How pretty is this one from Muhle? (Never thought I would call a razor pretty…) it's a bit on the expensive side but you can get safety razors in most pharmacies or barber shops.
4. Say Hello to Bamboo
Bamboo is an environmentally sustainable wood source, that has many different uses. Bamboo toothbrushes last the same amount of time as normal plastic toothbrushes (3 months) but will break down in about 6 months! So 1/1000th of the time it takes for a plastic toothbrush! If you're going to make the switch make sure you get one made from organic bamboo and comes in compostable packaging. Unfortunately, the bristles will be made of nylon, they haven't figured out a different source for that yet. When you are finished with the toothbrush, pull out the bristles and dispose of the handle in your compost bin. Simple!
5. Clean your mouth with Toothpaste Tabs
Nowadays you can go completely plastic-free with your dental hygiene products. Conventional toothpaste is predominantly packaged in plastic-coated, aluminium-lined tubes that are rarely recyclable. Lush comes to the rescue again with their toothpaste tabs and toothpaste powders and they have them in a whole range of flavours. Unfortunately the bottle they come in is plastic, but it can be recycled and you can return the cap to Lush to be reused.
If you really want to up your gain have a look and see if there are any zero waste shops or markets you can bring your own containers to. Many of these have toothpaste tabs for sale like Minimal Waste Grocery . And you never have to be guilty of forgetting to put the cap back on the toothpaste again! You can also get mouthwash tabs and compostable floss to complete your plastic-free dental hygiene.
6. Biodegradable Cotton Buds
Cotton buds are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. Often wrongly flush them down the toilet and they end up passing through the sewage system and into the sea. They can be deadly to the unfortunate marine life that ingest them. Keep an eye out for bamboo cotton buds which are biodegradable ( but still can't be flushed down the toilet!) you can find them popping up in most pharmacies and drug stores.
7. Change to a Menstrual Cup
Okay so not really a beauty item but changing to a menstrual cup also called a moon or diva cup is one of the best swaps I've made and has made dealing with my period so much easier (and cheaper!)
Some facts for you, A good menstrual cup will last about 10 years, in the same amount of time the average women will go through 2640 pads and tampons… and 11,000 in their lifetime!
The cotton used in tampons is mainly non-organic, meaning it has been saturated in pesticides and insecticides. Most tampons also contain a chemical call dioxin which is released when they sit in landfills, causing air and groundwater pollution. Then there's all the period products that are flushed down the toilet. In the UK 2 BILLION end up in the toilet and eventually make their way into the ocean.
If you're not a fan of tampons, there are many other products available such as reusable pads and period underwear.I got mine from https://www.organicup.com/I have never looked back!
8. Break up with your Makeup Remover Wipes
Our relationship with makeup remover wipes is having a big impact on the environment. Do you know a lot of makeup remover wipes contain plastic? I didn't either till about a year ago. Wet wipes are the same. They are usually made from a combination of plastics, wood pulp and cotton. This material is hard to break down and can float about our sewers and seas for years if flushed down the toilet (which most of us are guilty of). Even if you throw them in the bin, they can't break down because of the chemicals in them.
Another good reason to give up the makeup remover wipes, they're not the best for your skin. Makeup wipes don't really clean your skin. Mostly, they smear around whatever makeup, dirt, and dead skin is hanging out on your face, leaving a trail of irritated skin in their wake.
I've been using the cleanse off mitt for awhile now and I love it! All you need is water and it takes off all your makeup - even waterproof mascara. It has tiny little loops which "scope the debris from the pore". I love it so much it's one my beauty heroes!
If you need to have the occasional one night stand, make sure to choose wipes that are fully compostable. My go-to ones are from the Yes To Range, in particular, the Yes To Cucumbers wipes. They are made with compostable, FSC certified fabric and are SLS Paraben Free and Cruelty-free.
Beauty brands are starting to respond to our desire to cut down on plastic. One of these ways is with refillable products. There are a number of brands that now offer refills one these being Kjaer Weis makeup. I'll admit I haven't used their products but they are getting great reviews and I am very impressed with the number of products they offer refills for. Did you ever think you could get a refill for a mascara? Kjaer Weis are doing it. A lot of their products are now on my never ending to get list and I would love to know if you have used them. The refills of products also tend to be a lot cheaper than the original so it ’s win win!
10. Choose glass.
Glass can be recycled infinite times, unlike plastic. Most of my beloved The Ordinary products come in glass products (which I reuse as vases) and can easily be recycled. Other brands like BiBy operate a return and reuse programme, where you can return used products for free and they get reused. Other brands are using recycled materials in their packaging. While it's better to not have plastic at all, the next best thing is using recycled plastic. Ren, a favourite brand of mine, have a number of products which are in recycled plastic, they have also pledged to be waste-free by 2021.
I hope these suggestions have encouraged you to make some changes to reduce your plastic impact. Once your eyes have been opened to the amount of plastic we use and throw away in our daily lives you can't close them again. It can become overwhelming and frustrating trying to reduce the amount we use. But don't give up, the biggest influence we have is choosing where and how to spend our money. So choose wisely, share your what you know and why you are passionate about a plastic-free future, and maybe, just maybe we can turn the tide.
If you want to know more and do more there are lots of campaigns you can get involved in.
And most importantly talk to your friends and family, write, email, tweet at the big companies who can make a difference like supermarkets, coca-cola, big beauty brands and of course your government. Because nothing will change unless we demand it.
Tell me what you are doing in the comments below. Together we can all make a difference.