13 Mar Zero Waste Around The Home - Beauty
In this guest blog series, Chloe Sharman takes us through a virtual tour of a zero waste home with tips and tricks, highlighting the different options available to live a greener lifestyle starting with beauty products.
The term ‘beauty’ can be applied to many different luxuries in our daily lives and for me, ‘beauty’ means all things makeup and skincare, and those much needed pamper sessions. If you’re looking into adopting a more zero-waste lifestyle that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice feeling pampered! There are plenty of handy reusable items that you can swap out for your old disposable ones once you have used them up – and even natural skincare products and recipes to help you feel fabulous while taking care of yourself, the environment and of course the animals too! (That means no animal tested products or animal ingredients).
It is important to realise however that we do not yet live in a perfect world but we do have the power to change the negative impact we are currently having on our environment, one simple swap at a time. Together we can all make a positive difference to becoming less wasteful and more sustainable. Remember that just because an old container is plastic – doesn’t mean you can’t reuse it. It is much more sustainable to reuse the containers you already have until they are completely unusable, than to dispose of them and buy glass or metal containers. Zero waste and sustainable living are not trends designed to appear a certain way – they are the conscious actions and choices of those to reduce the negative impact that disposability and single use items are having on the environment.
With that being said, let’s dive into some of my favourite zero-waste and environmentally-friendly beauty alternatives which all help to create a sustainable future, featuring some of my favourite products from Wearth – a company that makes ethical and sustainable shopping that little bit easier.
1. Cotton pads and face wipes
Probably one of the cheapest beauty products for removing makeup – either you use a face wipe or something like micellar water and a cotton pad, and a perfect swap for these are face cloths! One of the easiest things to get your hands on and much like towels, they will last a long time and can be reused and rewashed over and over again. If you’re looking to be a little more sustainable in your purchases and are concerned with the ethical production of such material possessions, you can make your own face cloths at home using an old towel (if you don’t have one, many charity shops will have donated towels for cheap!). Simply cut up an old towel into squares and sew around the edges to avoid fraying. This is especially effective as one standard sized bath towel can provide you with around 32 reasonably sized face cloths – meaning you could quite literally use one per day without the need to wash them more than once a month, amazing! If I’m being totally honest when I remove my makeup there is still plenty of clean cloth space for around 4-5 days’ worth of makeup removal. I’d recommend finding a nice organiser or drawer to keep them in folded Marie Kondo style so they are kept neatly and out of sight as there will be quite a lot! Another benefit of using old towels/face cloths is that the majority of towels are made using 100% cotton – a natural material that will be a lot kinder to your skin than chemically composed face wipes that ultimately leave your skin feeling dry.
The key benefits of using face cloths:
Good for exfoliation of the skin to help remove tough makeup.
Cheap to make/buy.
A sustainable alternative to disposable face wipes and cotton pads.
Will help you save some money in the long run.
If you do not own an old towel, cannot find one second hand or simply do not wish to make your own face cloths – then Wearth has you covered for plenty of sustainable options, including an option for nail polish remover pads:
Reusable Face Wipes – 100% hemp and organic cotton fleece (direct alternative).
Reusable Makeup Pads – made from organic bamboo and cotton (direct alternative).
Reusable Face Cleansing Pads – 100% premium cotton.
Reusable Cotton Face Cloth – 100% recycled cotton yarn.
Reusable Nail Polish Remover Wipes – made from bamboo, rayon and felt.
2. Toothbrushes and floss
You’ve probably heard by now the craze over bamboo toothbrushes. They are lightweight making them perfect for travelling – and made from 100% bamboo meaning they are fully biodegradable and contain zero plastic. The bristles are great for cleaning teeth, while actually being softer on the gums than most plastic toothbrushes. They are a kinder choice all round, and on Wearth you can find a range of coloured brushes in adult and children’s sizes – so everyone in the family can be eco-friendly.
Did you know generic floss is made primarily of plastic? Ever wondered why it sometimes hurts your gums when you floss? Well that’s probably the reason! For me at least, I found myself never wanting to floss because my teeth are positioned really close together which makes flossing difficult to begin with, but also whenever I would use a generic floss it would honestly hurt my gums and often caused them to bleed. I’m so glad I found this plastic free dental floss from Wearth! Since this first time I flossed with this I knew I’d never buy regular floss again. Opposite to how you might think, the floss is made from charcoal infused bamboo fibre and is incredibly soft! When flossing with it I couldn’t even feel it against my gums, which was such an improvement from generic plastic floss. And to top off this plastic free theme – the packaging is made using a glass jar and metal lid which are fully recyclable – yay!
3. Shaving and bathing
Another plastic riddled “necessity” would be the razor. Most of us probably buy reusable ones nowadays which of course is a positive change to buying and using disposable razors – but still the plastic ones still have to reach the end of their lives at some point, and when that day happens – where does the plastic go? The answer: landfill. Plastic is one of the strongest but chemically composed, unsustainable, environmentally polluting and damaging materials to our planet. We all have probably experienced those refill razor heads breaking at some point or another. It’s infuriating and incredibly inconvenient to have to keep replacing them time and time again – think of all the plastic waste and money you’re spending because they aren’t cheap to replace! But luckily for us, Wearth have provided a plastic free alternative to a reusable razor. The company Naked Necessities created a product similar to the classic safety razor but completely plastic free. The razor itself is composed of just metal, while the handle is wooden, making this product such an important alternative.
Naked Shave Razor Kit – including a pack of 5 extra blades:
[You can also just purchase replacement blades through this link if you already have the Naked Necessities Razor Kit. They are only £3.50 for a pack of 5 which is actually cheaper than most plastic razor head refill packs!]
Moving onto the bathing side of beauty, plastic-free soaps are especially easy to get your hands on these days. If you have a local health foods store, they will often supply loose soaps – simply take your own little cotton bag to place it in until you get home. It is a great way to cut out unnecessary plastic and waste from your purchases and Wearth supply 100% GOTS certified organic cotton produce bags for all your plastic-free shopping needs.
Agnes LDN Natural Cotton Grocery/Produce Bags – 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and cotton cord with non-toxic in.
Wearth also provide multiple options for plastic-free soaps, including soap-on-a-rope, and loose soaps packaged in recyclable paper and cardboard.
When it comes to deodorant, there are many beneficial reasons for switching to a natural alternative – it is kinder on the environment, and kinder on your body. But still some natural deodorants can come in plastic packaging, which will ultimately end up in landfill polluting our environment if it isn’t recycled – not to mention the environmental damage caused for the production of the plastic to begin with. Your Nature is a brand that can be found on Wearth to provide a natural deodorant that is 100% plastic-free. Their product packaging is made from cardboard craft tubes which can be recycled, and even the delivery packaging is a Jiffy green paper bag (so no plastic!). An all-round perfect plastic-free alternative to regular deodorant which will be kinder to the environment and to your body in the process! There is also another natural deodorant alternative that comes packaged in an aluminium tin that can also be recycled.
Shampoo is another completely plastic-riddled product that people consume all the time. Sure, plastic bottles can easily be recycled which is always a positive thing but it isn’t guaranteed that consumers will recycle and the production of the plastic and the recycling process are still harmful to the environment. When there is a choice of a plastic-free option, it is better to consume those products than ones with plastic. Shampoo is a tricky conversation topic when discussing the reduction and elimination of plastic waste, because not everyone has the accessibility to remove plastic from their purchase. Luckily through Wearth, Kind Beeuty have provided us with a more sustainable option for shampoo buying. Their Zero Waste Shampoo comes with two options – to buy in an aluminium bottle with a metal screw lid and plastic pump, or to simply buy without the plastic pump. Whether you prefer a pump for your shampoo or to let it pour out of the bottle – the aluminium bottle is an incredible step forward in our fight to reduce plastic waste. Aluminium is a recyclable product, plus Kind Beeuty offer a return scheme for the bottles, see their statement below:
"Return scheme - You can return the bottle to be sterilised and reused, if you would like to do this once you have finished with the products you email us and we will send you a free returns label. We ask if possible you collect a few bottles before sending back to save on emissions".
This returns scheme is a really innovative and wonderful way of reducing waste completely. Afterall, the three ‘R’s’ of sustainability are to reduce consumption, then reuse what we have consumed, and finally as a last option recycle.
Here is where those wonderful natural ingredients become important, for direct replacements to products such as dry shampoo. I actually wanted to stop using aerosol dry shampoo’s long before I discovered a natural alternative because honestly, the instant side effects were terrible! Literally right after application I would find myself coughing and struggling to breathe for a moment. Whenever I used these dry shampoos I would be breathing in SO many chemicals that my body did not respond to very well. All it takes is to look on the back of any commercialised shampoo or hair product to see how baffling the ingredients are – and most likely, you have absolutely no idea what any of those are. The ones that struck me the most were ingredients like butane and propane – for anyone who has ever played a video game before, you’re probably familiar with propane tanks you know, the ones you can have fun blowing up – and these ingredients are in your hair products that you’re applying directly to your scalp. No wonder after a while they cause irritation, instant coughing and all round a terrible experience. They may make your hair look great, but these kinds of ingredients are scary to see on the back of your previously loved products and after paying closer attention to the ingredients list, I am fully turned away from any sort of commercialised hair care products.
I set about my ‘no-poo’ (no shampoo) journey about six months ago now, and I’ve never felt better about eliminating chemicals from a large portion of my beauty regime. But aside from the health benefits, using natural products to help me feel pampered has saved me so much money – and more importantly so much plastic waste. I use a mixture of rye flour and water to cleanse my hair of excess oils (rye flour has a pH level of 5 which is the same as your scalp) and chickpea flour (also known as besan flour, garbanzo bean flour and gram flour) as my go-to dry shampoo (both of which can be purchased in recyclable paper bags).Of course everyone’s hair is different in colour and produces different amounts of sebum (natural oils which keep the hair healthy and moisturised) so the recipe for the perfect dry shampoo or no-poo method is entirely individual. I have naturally blonde hair and so the chickpea flour is the perfect pale yellow-toned colour for my hair – but those with darker tones can mix in raw cacao powder, cinnamon, and other natural ingredients to find their perfect shade. The idea behind completely natural beauty products is to first and foremost reduce the amount of chemicals and other harmful ingredients we are putting into and onto our bodies, but it is also a wonderful way to reduce excess packaging consumption – particularly plastic - and adopt a more zero waste lifestyle. Packaging for natural products is often in paper bags, glass jars or metal tins, all of which are recyclable with some also being reusable.
4. Other beauty essentials
Speaking of hair care, another favourite plastic-free option over at Wearth are Nature & My’s Bamboo Hair Brushes. Sustainably made from bamboo and natural rubber these brushes are fully biodegradable and actually better for your hair’s health than cheap plastic brushes. As well as being a sustainable and fast growing material, bamboo is really kind to your hair – often plastic brushes and combs can cause rips and tears which then require repairing. Bamboo is softer on the scalp, naturally antibacterial and odour resistant – and the brushes have wide set bristles to help detangle your hair gently. There are two shape options:
Lip balm is by far my go-to beauty essential – I don’t go anywhere without it! My personal favourite zero-waste option is coconut oil because it is of course a natural product, highly beneficial for your skin and when bought in a jar – completely plastic free. Unlike other oils, coconut oil is actually solid with a melting point of 24 degrees celsius – this means that you can store it in a metal tin or small glass jar in the same way you would store regular lip balms, and reap all the benefits of its natural moisture when it melts after applying to your skin. I also often use coconut oil in winter as an all-round body moisturiser. You can create a product blend of coconut oil, shea butter and some essential oils if you want a richer, deeper and more luxurious natural moisturiser and lip balm.
But if you’re not digging the fully natural skincare vibe and prefer your lip balms to be made by someone else, there is no worry in finding plastic free alternatives to those pesky plastic lip balm tubes. Blushberry Botanicals have a range of lip butters on Wearth’s website that are stored in metal tins, making them the perfect swap for plastic lip balms.
And while we’re on the subject of lotions and potions, Blushberry Botanicals also offer hand cream that again is stored in an aluminium tin for a plastic-free and eco-friendly alternative. But once again there is also the option of natural moisturisers like shea butter and coconut oil for those wanting to be as minimal as possible with their waste.
So to conclude this post, zero waste is achievable in many areas of your daily life, and by far the easiest to begin switching and swapping products for are those that are considered luxuries. They are the easiest because we don’t actually need them to survive, so there is room for experimentation and trying new products. Zero waste is something we should all be striving towards when it comes to regular consumptions, by simple switching out plastic products for cardboard, metal and bamboo ones we are already making such a huge difference to our environment. Purchasing these products that are easier and kinder on the environment to recycle or are perfect for reusing and even biodegradable – instead of disposable, single use and plastic covered products is the first step to reducing the amount of product waste and packaging waste that we consume daily. Small businesses such as Wearth are at the heart of making sustainable products more accessible to everyone.
If you are reading this and ready to take your first few steps into a more sustainable, eco-friendly and environmentally conscious lifestyle, then remember to begin by reducing the amount you consume, reusing any old jars, bottles and tubs (even if they are plastic), and finally as a last resort recycling absolutely everything that you can.
Author: Chloe Sharman, 23.
Writer and Graphic Designer.
Website link: www.chloesharman.co.uk