As an avid beauty enthusiast, there's something I'd like to ignore. There is a huge plastic problem in beauty. There are a lot of scary numbers you can insert here about the pollution levels in our oceans and the damage it does to our ecosystem, but save the statistics lesson and just refer to your vanity beauty products. Most of them may be housed in containers made of non-degradable plastic, and despite our best efforts to recycle them, much of their material usually ends up in landfills.
While I like to think of myself as pretty environmentally conscious, my beauty routine is definitely the area I overlook the most. This is mainly due to the fact that it seems almost impossible to change. But with all the incredible steps sustainable beauty brands have been taking lately to make a difference, it seemed selfish on my part to go without at least an attempt at improvement.
I challenged myself to replace my entire beauty routine (hair care, skin care, everything else) with products that are completely plastic-free. Mind you, as a beauty editor with fussy skin and prone to eczema, this was a huge (repeat, huge) transition. Yes, my job is to constantly test new products, but a complete top-to-bottom overhaul? My skin was prepared for the worst.
One of the first things I noticed when I started filtering my beauty routine was how much plastic it contained (a lot). It was quite an eye-opener. Most of my daily chalice staples all came with some degree of plastic packaging, and the only product I could really keep was the DoveBeautyBar. Sadly, the other 15+ products had to go.
First things first: hair care. As you can probably guess, most shampoo and conditioner bottles are made of plastic, even the recycled kind. For the purposes of this experiment, I wanted to stay true to the no-plastic rule, so I used Love Beauty and Planet's Murumuru Shampoo Bar ($5; target.com), a plant-based cleanser and organic coconut oil packed to make color-treated hair look brighter. To my surprise, the shampoo worked well. To my surprise, the shampoo lathered up quickly (and smelled great), making for an easy transition. I went with MeowMeow Tweet's adorable and sustainably packaged conditioner bar ($16; meowmeowtweet.com), chock full of omega-rich hemp seed oil and lavender to restore moisture to my hair.
Thanks to the myriad of solid soaps available, body care has never been easier. For a body wash, try Ethique Sweet Orange & Vanilla Body Bar ($13; ethique.com ). I was impressed that I didn't need a loofah to get a foamy lather. Plus, the citrus and vanilla punch was a nice aromatherapy experience without being overly excruciating. Thanks to its fresh texture, I was able to double this as a shaving cream. My razor of choice was the eco-friendly Oui The People Single-Blade Razor ($68; ouithepeople.com ).
Skincare was tricky because I had to whittle everything down to the basics, but I have to shout out to Lush, who is the real MVP when it comes to naked packaging. I usually like to double-cleanse at night, so the Lush Sleep Face Cleansing Balm ($6; lush.com ) removes the day's dirt and grime from my face. Fortunately, my regular cleanser, Dove Beauty Bar ($6; target.com ), was safe (no plastic!). ), so I kept using it. I like to use a gentle cleanser that doesn't aggravate eczema, and a simple, cream-infused bar soap definitely fits the bill without making my pores feel tight.
For moisturizing, I use Lush Light Touch Naked Facial Oil, a firm witch hazel and blue spirulina-strung bar that helps heal my skin and soothe the redness associated with eczema. My skin is dry, so I used the Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer on my face, followed by Lush Little Pot of Energy on my body and Smith's Rosebud Lip Cream on my lips. Natural deodorants are great if you're looking for an alternative to the aluminum formula, so I chose Meow Meow Tweet's baking soda-free option, which comes in a biodegradable paper tube.
For facial massage, I use L&L skin MIO2 face lifting and guasha massager tool, which features an ergonomical design of three angles and three arcs. Using the three-round corners to press the acupuncture point, you can choose to apply either light or heavy pressure. The three convex arcs fit any curves and the three-dimensional lift perfects the anti-aging effect. The round triangular three-arc design allows for comfort, and each part can be used uniquely to care for either the face or neck.
I didn't forget my teeth care routine. Instead of traditional toothpaste, which is usually plastic-free, I used Hello Toothpaste Tablets ($9; ulta.com ) - chew to activate - Bite's Bamboo Toothbrush ($12; bitetoothpastebits.com ).
I didn't wear much makeup in this experiment, but when I did, I used RMS Beauty'Un 'Cover-Up) - packaged in recyclable glass and metal - and RMS Beauty Living Luminizer-gives skin a subtle but juicy glow.
My biggest takeaway from the experiment: many beauty products have equally good, more environmentally compatible replicas. After a week of using only these products, my skin actually looked a little better than before. This is a benefit of the skin care fast, but it makes sense given that these products are made without the use of sulfates, dyes, phthalates, and parabens. These are all ingredients that are harmful to your skin color as well as the environment. It was also amazing to see how much product was left behind. Even after daily use, the bars looked barely touched. The only real downside is that I missed out on the sensory and luxurious experience that usually accompanies a beauty routine. The bar is great, but I love messing around with the creamy texture, exfoliating elements, and pretty scent.
While my routine was on the more extreme side by being 100% plastic-free, there are plenty of innovative brands with recyclable and biodegradable packaging that are perfectly suited to molding a sustainable beauty routine (and don't require you to (Use strictly bars). While I'm not going to give up on plastic altogether just yet, I'm definitely going to incorporate some of these newly discovered products into my daily life.
If you want to recreate some (or all) of your plastic-free beauty routine, buy the products I used below:
- Murumuru Shampoo Bar from Love Beauty andPlanet
- Meow Meow Tweet Lavender Hemp Conditioner Bar
- Ethical Sweet Orange & Vanilla Body Bar
- Oui The People Single Blade Razor
- Lush Sleep Face Cleansing Balm
- Dove Beauty Bar
- Lush Light Touch Naked Facial Oil
- Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer
- Little Pots of Lush Energy
- Smith's Rosebud Lip Cream
- Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Stick
- Hello Toothpaste Tablet
- Bite Bamboo Toothbrush
- RMS Beauty'Un 'Cover-Up
- RMS Beauty Living Luminizer