By Fredrica Syren:
When you start a zero-waste life style, the bathroom can be the trickiest place to go green and stop using disposable items. I say that going zero waste means both reducing waste as well as chemicals, especially when it comes to beauty routines. You can, of course, buy eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and makeup. Although being green, they’re still in disposable packaging — so then, the question is “What’s the point?”
Here are some ways to “green” and to “zero waste” the beauty routine.
Shampoo & conditioner: I buy my shampoo and conditioner in bulk and implement reusable bottles for them. There are also online options for buying refillable vegan shampoo.
Hair Shine: I have curly hair and sometimes need something to “tame” my wild hair and make it look shiny, so I use coconut oil. It’s cheap, contains no chemicals, and a little goes a long wayJ
Hair Ties: Let’s face it, hair ties are bad for the environment for so many reasons: they usually are made of synthetic materials that contain chemicals; they are sold in plastic packaging; they don’t last very long; and they become rubbish as soon as they break. The problem is that, if you’re like me and have lots of hair and sometimes need a quick hairdo in the morning, hair ties might seem like a necessity. So, here is a link to some smart ways to fix your hair without hair ties, and here is a link to making your own eco-friendly hair ties. Still want hair ties? Ok, here are hair ties made with organic cotton and rubber, which are sold in 100% recycled and/or biodegradable packaging.
Brush and Comb: I use brush and comb made from natural bamboo.
Makeup is one of the easiest things to change, and it makes the biggest difference! Of course, one option is to stop wearing makeup, but for me that is too extreme. Think about all the plastic that is in your makeup bag right now. Imagine all the trash you have created over the years, as each supply of makeup runs out shortly after being purchased. Try creating your own makeup at home with some of the ideas below!
If making your own is too much hassle then the good news is there are actually make-up brands that are zero waste: zao’s
Makeup removal: Forget old fashioned makeup remover in bottles and wipes; instead, say hello to super easy DIY makeup remover. First, you can try the old trick of a wash cloth with water and some bulk soap. If that does not work, you can use homemade makeup removal pads. I use this recipe from CoconutMama.com:
- 1 –4-ounce jar
- small cloth wipes (I use cloth wipes I cut from an old t-shirt)
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons of Fractionated Coconut Oil (like this)
- 1 teaspoon of castile soap
- Distilled Water
- 2-4 Drops of essential oils (Optional – Lavender is a great essential oil to use on your skin)
- Place cotton pads in the glass jar.
- In a small bowl, mix the fractionated coconut oil and castile soap together.
- Pour mixture over cotton pads.
- Press down on the pads so the soap and coconut oil evenly absorb into them.
- Pour distilled water over pads, just enough to wet the pads.
- Place the lid on the jar and shake (this helps to evenly distribute the liquid over the pads).
Skin-foliate, facemask and moisturizer:
Moisturizer: Coconut oil is a wonderful, light, natural moisturizer, as is shea butter. Be sure to find organic, unrefined and fair trade products in glass jars so that you may reuse/refill them.
Face Mask: It’s super easy to make your own face masks from things you can eat and usually have in your kitchen. Here are two of my recipes for facemasks.
Nail Care: I use a stainless steel nail clipper and file, and use a few drops of oil for healthy cuticles. Unfortunately, there are no bulk nail polishes, but if you really want nail polish, choose safer nontoxic nail products on the market.
Deodorant: It’s been almost 3 years since I stopped buying deodorant and started making my own. It’s so easy and works like a charm. The best part is that I make it with ingredients found in the kitchen — coconut oil, baking soda and arrow root — so it also saves me lots of money. The majority of store bought deodorants contain chemicals like aluminum, paraben and propylene, which are harmful to your body and the planet; plus, they always come in plastic packaging. Here is my YouTube video on how to make your own deodorant.
Shaving: I simply use a reusable metal shaver and soap.
Perfume: Perfume is a tough area to go zero waste because there are no bulk options (that I know about, at least). You could choose non-toxic perfumes, although I simply decided to nix it in favor of a few drops of essential oils mixed with a little oil instead. Perfume is filled with so many toxins that seep into your skin and eventually into your bloodstream. The toxic chemicals are also deeply inhaled into your lungs when you give yourself a spritz. Try one of the more natural aromas below!
Teeth: Forget plastic toothbrushes in favor of organic bamboo brushes that are chemical free and compostable. When you’re finished with them, you can throw them into the compost. For dental floss, I use a biodegradable and compostable natural silk floss, and I make my own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda, among other things. It’s a recipe from Wellness Mama. Most toothpaste contains very harmful chemicals and sometimes even micro beads and, of course, always is in a plastic packing, so it’s definitely not zero waste.
Changing everything in your beauty routine to zero waste may seem like a huge task but, believe me, once you have done it, it’s super easy to maintain and not a lot of work at all. And the benefits are tremendous. We should never use skin care products with synthetic chemicals and preservatives because they contain chemicals that are harmful for both our bodies and the planet, and they may disturb our hormone system. Remember that our skin is our biggest organ; anything that comes into contact with it is absorbed directly into our bloodstream. As you achieve zero waste beauty, you will love the feeling not only of having saved money but also of having reduced your waste.