I’ve learned a lot while staying home, like how to bake a legitimately good-tasting loaf of bread and propagate a hanging plant, but perhaps the most important discovery I’ve made is that my daily beauty routine isn’t that friendly to Mother Earth. In fact, she’d probably really hate it.
Between the single-use products and not-so-clean ingredients, I realised that much of my routine wasn’t ideal for the environment or my skin. So, I decided to make some minor — and major — adjustments to how I approach my own routine that, hopefully, will inspire you to revitalise yours with some cleaner alternatives, too.
Considering the climate and ecological crisis we’re in, it would be foolish of me not to consider the benefits of seeking out vegan alternatives to a lot of things in my life, beauty included. While a vegan diet has been said to reduce your environmental impact, vegan beauty products have a more personal effect. Turns out, some of the vegan products I’ve opted for lately really complement my sensitive skin and cater to its finicky needs — while also minimising my carbon footprint.
Since vegan products don’t rely on animal byproducts, these plant-derived formulas tend to be double-packed with minerals and antioxidants to better treat skin. My latest go-to includes the SkinLongevity Long Life Herb collection from bareMinerals, which utilises clean botanical and vegan ingredients to promote stronger and smoother skin. Who knew I could feel so ethically conscious when focusing on wrinkle prevention? It doesn’t hurt that the three products in the collection — the SkinLongevity Long Life Herb Serum, Night Treatment, and Eye Treatment — make my skin look soft and radiant without using any harsh ingredients. As an added bonus, the products are all housed inside new recyclable glass packaging that allows me to cut down on waste (and also looks really good on my vanity).
The beauty of mineral makeup is that you rarely have to worry about ingredients because there often aren’t all that many in the formulations. For example, the bareMinerals Original Loose Mineral Foundation SPF 15 only uses five, none of which include unnecessary additives, fillers, or talc. To be honest, it feels like mineral makeup and my skin were made for each other, and you may agree. Not only is mineral makeup noncomedogenic, but it’s friendly for sensitive skin types, lasts all day without fading, and usually includes active minerals, like zinc oxide, for built-in sun protection. (The Original Loose Mineral Foundation SPF 15 uses both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for physical protection from the sun.)
I never thought I’d be so critical of the kind of tools I used to clean my teeth, but here I am, fully on the bandwagon of natural toothpaste — and floss! But it does make sense, right? Ensuring that the ingredients you’re putting inside your mouth on a daily basis are clean isn’t absurd, which is why finding vegan-friendly alternatives using naturally-derived ingredients that strengthen and clean my teeth is a new goal of mine. It’s an added bonus that some of these dental products are eco-friendly, too. For example, the My White Secret Toothpaste Tablets offer an easy solution to zero-waste oral care thanks to the plastic-free packaging. It’s also becoming increasingly popular for eco-conscious dental brands, like Ben & Anna and Georganics, to adopt glass jars as their main form of packaging to cut down on additional waste.
I’ve used aluminium-based deodorants for most of my life. It wasn’t until I began working from home on a more permanent basis that I decided to make the personal choice of switching to an aluminium-free formula. While there have been a lot of debates about the ingredients found in conventional deodorants, there still isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove if the aluminium found in many traditional products is toxic. Polarising debate aside, I knew the only time I could really make a comfortable switch to an aluminium-free deodorant would be when I didn’t have to go into the office every day (a temporary stinkiness sometimes comes along within the first week or two of using an aluminium-free deodorant).
Making the switch to a natural deodorant has another benefit: many aluminium-free brands, like Wild, offer refillable subscriptions or, like Akt London and Earth Conscious, utilise packaging that’s made entirely out of recyclable material to cut down on waste.
The beauty industry hasn’t totally figured out how to tackle plastic pollution, but one major step includes package-free products. While plastic-free options are slowly becoming more widely available, body soaps, shampoos, and conditioners are just some of the products you can find on the mainstream market these days — and for good reason. Not only do zero-waste products, like the Herbivore Charcoal Cleansing Bar and Ethique Heali Kiwi Solid Shampoo, reduce our carbon footprint, but they also utilise main ingredients that are clean, natural, and effective.
It’s not just certain packaging that can negatively impact the environment, it’s also single-use products that we use once and toss into the garbage — hello to the makeup wipes I would use to wipe off mascara and then throw into oblivion. An alternative: reusable makeup pads, like the plush rounds from Face Halo.