How to make your beauty routine more eco-friendly

We know settling on the best beauty routine isn’t so simple. There’s skincare, figuring out which cosmetics contain toxins, and the disposal of our products.

Purchasing items that are environmentally friendly is another concern – have the products been made and distributed in an eco-friendly way? Are they cruelty-free? Do they come in a million packaging boxes?

Thankfully, in the 21st century it is not too difficult to find ethical alternatives to your fave cosmetics.

You can also start by incorporating small changes in the home. Here are some ways you can make your routine more eco-friendly.

Read labels

Caroline Jacobs-Graf, founder of conscious shopping retailer, tells ‘Really think about what you use in your bathroom – it’s one of the two places in your home where you’ll find the most unnecessary plastic use. Making sustainable switches here can have a huge impact on not only reducing your environmental impact but also improving your personal health, as sustainable products tend to be more conscious of the planet and human health.’

Start to read product labels and familiarise yourself with the various certifications and accreditation marks, such as B Corp certification – this means businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

Look out for the butterfly mark, which identifies the luxury brands that meet the highest standards of verified innovation and environmental performance, offering transparency. Prioritise these over more generic claims such as ‘clean beauty’ or ‘natural’, which don’t always have any industry-approved measures.

Where products claim to be organic, natural or sustainable, choose brands that can substantiate those claims – do they use 98% natural ingredients, is their packaging 100% recyclable or biodegradable? Brands that can communicate specifics are more likely to be doing the work behind the scenes.

Refrain from excess packaging

Less is more in terms of packaging, so don’t always opt for the product that has gone all out – it’s likely you’re paying for the marketing for that packaging as opposed to what’s inside it. Instead, go back to basics – remember, the definition of packaging is to simply protect what is inside.

Caroline adds: ‘Being a more sustainable or “conscious” beauty buyer does mean putting in a bit more time into researching and choosing our purchases carefully, this might entail reading more about the ingredients that go into the product, to the environmental impact of the packaging, to finding out the causes and initiatives that they support, and whether they align with your values. Brands are being much more transparent about these, so their website and social media are often a great source of information.’


Cosmetic doctor Dr Munir Somji at DrMediSpa says: ‘There are a few changes you can make to ensure your beauty routine is environmentally friendly – more brands are now making their products eco-friendly with zero plastic packaging, and some brands are even going package free.’

If your chosen skincare brand does use plastic, you can recycle the product container or even re-use it. Some brands have incentive-based programmes that accept product containers back which you can drop off at your nearest store, the brand will then reuse them and they give you a money-off voucher for your next purchase.

Mac is one such brand that offers rewards for handing in old makeup.

Bin product, don’t flush it

If you’re emptying out a tub before you pop it in the recycling, don’t flush the cream, gel, or oil down the toilet or drain, as this can clog up your pipes and make potentially harmful products reach our waterways.

Use up all the product if you can, but if it’s gone off and can’t be used, pour into the bin, not the plughole.

Swap products

You can swap items with other products which have sustainable ingredients. The ingredients may be just as effective on the skin but have a better impact on the environment. Look for the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance logos on the packaging which signifies that the ingredients are sustainable.

You don’t have to swap all of your skincare products at once – as one product starts to run out, research alternative skincare products that have sustainable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging, try out test samples and then replace it when your old product has run out.

Look out for ingredients

Look at the product ingredients when purchasing. Ingredients such as marine extracts and algae turn carbon dioxide into oxygen as they grow, and they are excellent for your skin.

Change your brushes

Change your make-up brushes to ones that are made from recycled or environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo, and look for bristles that are synthetic.

Avoid certain products

Try to avoid products that contain microbeads and microplastics. These particles are harmful to the environment and pollute the oceans, and can be ingested by marine life such as sea turtles and fish.

Stop overusing

Don’t overuse product. Not only will this save you money, but it will help cut back on waste. This is especially easy to do during the pandemic – no one’s going to be able to appreciate that expensive serum you may be wearing.


When getting rid of of makeup, we often use wipes and cotton pads, which are not the best for the environment. Instead, you can buy reusable pads, a face cloth or make your own by cutting up an old towel.

Now is a great time to change up your beauty game. Your skin, and the environment, will thank you for it.

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