Today, we'll teach you how to create a self-care routine that produces less waste.
Building A Better Self-Care Routine
While skincare, makeup, and other methods of physical grooming can make a great contribution to your self-care routine, they can also be incredibly wasteful. While it's easy to understand why single-use plastics are a problem (they are only used a single time, after all!), we don't often think about the life cycle of something that lasts you much longer, like your shampoo bottle that lasts three months or your the razor that's been sitting in the corner of your shower since some time before summer. Well, here's something to put things in perspective: In the US, it's estimated that somewhere between 850 million and a billion toothbrushes end up in landfill each year. I know that sounds incomprehensible, but if you do the math it makes sense: 325-million-ish people live in the US, and the American Dental Association recommends that we should be replacing our toothbrush every three to four months — that's at least three toothbrushes per year, for all those people, which is...a shitload of toothbrushes. So yeah: what you're using to keep clean and look your best matters a lot when it comes to maintaining your waste.
Here are a few tips that will help you keep it to a minimum without sacrificing any of the little things that make you feel like you:
1. Swap your body wash for bar soap. This is one of my all-time favorite zero waste tricks. I'm not sure exactly when or why everyone decided soap was inferior to body wash, but I'm here to tell you it's not — it's (usually) more affordable, lasts longer, and uses a whole lot less plastic, if any.
2. And consider trading in your liquid shampoo, conditioners, and lotions for bar versions.
I'm also a total shampoo and conditioner bar convert. Formulations have come a long way recently, and I promise you that my personal fave bars are just as nourishing and easy to use as liquid products.
3. Always check to see if your empty bottles and pots can be recycled. Most body wash, shampoo, and conditioner bottles are made from high-density polyethylene, which is a recyclable plastic. If you can't make the switch the zero waste bar products, at least try and remember to drop these items in your recycling bin.
4. Replace your cotton pads with washable rounds. While cotton pads can technically be composted, it's still a smarter and most cost effective move to replace them with something reusable. My coworker Rachel swears by reusable nursing pads, which she uses (with micellar water) to remove her makeup.
5. And buy cotton swabs with paper sticks (rather than plastic), so they can be composted. Going into the compost is way better than going in the trash, so if you can't go without swabs, keep an eye out for plastic-free versions.
6. Offer beauty products you no longer use to close friends and family before they expire and end up in landfill. Everyone been there: You buy something, use it twice, decide you don't like the smell, texture, or color, and then leave it in the back of a drawer until your next big clean-out.
7. The next time you run out of a certain product, wait and see how long you can go without it before you replace it. You might be surprised how well you fare without!
8. And challenge yourself to actually finish your beauty products before replacing them. Honestly, that feeling of hitting the pan in a makeup palette is pretty damn satisfying. Get your money's worth!
9. Go to physical stores rather than ordering all of your makeup and skincare online. And if you do want to purchase online, place one big order rather than a lot of little ones to cut down on packaging.
10. Replace your exfoliating body lotions and scrubs with a dry body brush that you can use over and over. I'm obsessed with the one I use and beyond being a lovely little pre-shower routine, it makes my skin feel smooth as ever!
11. Try making your own beauty or bath products to replace those you'd normally buy in plastic packaging. This doesn't have to be as hard as it sounds. It could be as simple as mixing a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I love lavender for before bed and eucalyptus to get those spa vibes going) with some epsom salts for your bath to replace a plastic-wrapped bath bomb.
12. Say no to free samples. Free samples are hard to resist, but refusing them is a really easy way to cut down on your waste. Before you accept a sample, consider whether or not you had any interest in the product before it was presented to you — if not, the sample is probably going to be a waste.
13. Take your own products with you on vacation and don't be tempted by hotel toiletries. The products you find in hotels are generally pretty low quality anyway, so save yourself the plastic waste if you can easily travel with your own items.
14. If you shave, consider swapping your disposable razor for a safety razor. An estimated 200-million razor blades are discarded by the US population each year! Swapping your plastic disposable razor for a safety one is an easy but valuable switch to make. I love this rose gold Oui razor, but if you're looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option, there are some highly rated razors on Amazon too.
15. If you need a new toothbrush, buy bamboo instead of plastic. Remember my overwhelming toothbrush fact from the start of this email? Well, since I'd never suggest you quit brushing your teeth or replacing your toothbrush regularly, one option is trading your plastic brush for a biodegradable bamboo one.
And that's all I have for now! Tomorrow I want to get even deeper into personal care and talk about the stuff we do in the bathroom, from eco-friendly period options to toilet paper and bidets.
In the meantime, if you want to read more about how you can make your beauty routine less wasteful, here are a couple more posts you might find interesting:
This highly rated safety razor from Amazon for $16.98.
And these bamboo toothbrushes from Amazon for $7.99.
Is there anything you really want to try from today's list? Or is there something cool and low-waste that you already do that I missed? Please feel free to tag me (@gyanyankovich) and Goodful (@goodful) on Instagram. I'd love to hear your best tips and see them in practice.
Do you know someone who would love the Goodful newsletter?
Tell them to sign up here!
BuzzFeed, Inc. 111 E. 18th St. New York, NY 10003
We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a small share of sales from the links in this email.