How to Create an Eco-Conscious Skin Care Routine

You’ve heard the buzz about “going green,” seen Sephora transform into the Whole Foods beauty department overnight, and been subjected to Facebook ads with Gwyneth Paltrow trying to sell you a $150 organic, eco-friendly cleanser. You’re exhausted.

You want to love your planet as much as your body, but you struggle to figure out how to start. How do I even get started with an eco-conscious skin care routine? What if I can’t afford to change everything at once?

With all of this stuff floating around in the virtual cloud and so many unanswered questions, one can’t help but ask How can I take care of my skin while also giving some T.L.C. to planet Earth?

For starters, let’s talk about what it means to be sustainable.

While sustainability has many definitions, the foundation is quite simple: ensure that everything from sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, and selling the product to the product’s afterlife is made with and leaves the tiniest possible impact on the environment.

Contrary to common belief, sustainability is not only for the people who are living in tree houses and canning blueberry jam using water pumped from their outdoor wells.

Sustainability is for everyone. It is as easy as blinking and includes actions that you are very likely already doing.

We’ve all heard the phrase reduce, reuse, recycle, and a few of us probably even remember the cute jingle that went along with it. What we were taught those many moons ago is as relevant—and even more crucial—today as it was then.

And it has never been simpler, less time consuming, or inexpensive to invest in a healthier environment with a safer habitat for animals, plants, and humans, alike.

So, whether you want to simplify your skin care or dip your toes into sustainability, we’re here to share with you some eco-conscious skin care solutions.

Eliminate expired and toxic products

Expired and toxin-filled products not only are bad for your skin and overall health but also can cause more harm than good. Be sure to dispose of them properly at local disposal centers or hazardous waste programs. Flushing them down the toilet or pouring them down drains affects the water supply, which in turn affects plant, animal, and human life, not to mention the Earth’s core.

Donate unused products

Did you ever toss unused products and literally cringe as you were doing it? We know the feeling. While there are not many options currently available to donate your perfectly packaged products, we recommend throwing a beauty swap party with your friends or donating to your local women’s shelter.

Reuse containers

Skincare packaging is so beautiful! So why not reuse that hand-blown glass moisturizer jar as a vase or that cleanser pump as a soap dispenser? Our go-to? Using empty eye cream pots as travel containers. Regardless of how you decide to reuse, the ideas are truly endless!

Look for the check

Whenever you buy skincare products, it’s so important to look for the recycle symbol. This will let you know whether the container can be recycled into something else if you decide not to reuse it. And that will be one less item negatively affecting Mother Nature!

Simplify your skincare routine

Did you know that, on average, women have approximately forty skincare products taking up space in their bathroom vanity? Yes, 40. We’ve all heard the saying less is more, and in this case, it could not ring more true. Simplify your skincare routine by only buying what you absolutely need and investing in multitasking products, such as moisturizers with SPF, cleansers and exfoliators in one, and blush/eyeshadow combos.

Dive into DIY

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to whip together a DIY skincare product. The majority of build-your-own beauty uses simple, staple ingredients that we promise you have lying in your cupboards. If you’re not sure where to start, a simple Google search for ‘DIY Natural Skin Care’ or ‘DIY Sustainable Skincare’ will provide inspiration.

Break up with makeup wipes

We do not have enough time to count the ways in which traditional makeup wipes are harmful to the environment. Do yourself—and Mother Nature—a favor and invest in reusable cotton pads. These inexpensive, non-toxic pads are sustainable and long lasting and come with a cute bag for laundering. If you must have your wipes, we beg you to try these biodegradable ones. Trust us, the planet will thank you!

Shop sustainable brands

Look for brands that have the Leaping Bunny logo, which certifies that the product was not tested on animals, and the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance logos, which indicate that the ingredients have been sustainably sourced. We also recommend doing a bit of your own recon by checking out the brand’s website for a more in-depth look at their sustainable methods.