There are a few sustainable skincare swaps I have made in the last year. I think because we have nowhere to go I’m more conscious of what is going out in the bins…sad life I know!
There are so many ways to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious. I have just picked a few simple, sustainable skincare swaps to start with. I know there are many other ways I could be more environmentally friendly but this is what I have tried. If you have tips please let me know in the comments below.
What does it mean to be more sustainable?
There is so much information out there it can be confusing. I think the best thing is to start small, think about small changes you can make every day to reduce waste and reuse and recycle where possible.
As described by Wikipedia, sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources.
For even more ideas this article lists 100 things that you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle. You’ll be surprised that you are probably doing a lot of them already.
In terms of skincare swaps I think there are a few things to consider. Where and how the product was made, what is in it, how it is packaged, transported and what happens to it after you are finished with it.
The main thing is not to throw out everything you are currently using. That is just creating more waste. But as you use up your skincare products you could consider swapping to a more sustainable option next time you shop.
You can read my blog post on how to have a more sustainable Christmas here and also my blog on places to shop locally in Limerick here.
I have no affiliation with any of the stores I have mentioned below. I just wanted to highlight some of the great Irish online stores where you can buy sustainable items.
Your local health food store will stock a wide range of products and will be able to give you personal advice.
Make up remover pads
One change I made about a year ago was to start using reusable make up pads. Rather than using and throwing out single use cotton makeup pads, you can use, wash and reuse these. I bought my cotton pads from Duo Ireland and they are washing very well. After I use them I wash them in the little cotton bag they came in, in a regular wash at 40 degrees and air dry them. Then I store the clean ones in recycled jam jars. None of them are showing any sign of wear. However, I did find that if I used them to remove mascara they stained the pad and this didn’t come out in the wash. If anyone has any advice on this please let me know in the comments below.
Shampoo and Conditioner bars
Another change I’ve made is to swap out my shampoo and conditioner bottles for solid soap bars. I always washed and recycled my empty bottles but there was still a lot of plastic waste. There are a lot of Irish stores stocking these now.
The first shampoo bar I tried was Soap Out Loud coconut shampoo bar. It didn’t suit my hair type which is fine, dry and curly, so my daughter is now using it and loving it for her straight, thick, slightly oily hair. I next bought a shampoo and conditioner from Palm Free Irish soap to try. I’ve just used them twice and I’m really liking them so far. My hair feels clean and soft, maybe a little more flyaway than normal but I’m happy with them.
To find the one that works for you I think it is the same as using bottles of shampoo and conditioner, you need to try a few to find the right one for your hair type.
One thing I have found is that it can be tricky to store these soaps in the shower as they can slide around. You don’t want them to sit in water as this will waste them quicker. I have one of these compostable shampoo holders in my shower and I’m going to get a few more to use and sit the soap bars on them.
This is not exactly skincare but I’ve included it here as it’s another change I’ve made to be more sustainable. I have moved the whole family to bamboo toothbrushes. Again there is a lot of debate about whether they are as environmentally friendly as say an electric toothbrush, which you will have for a number of years.
You still have to replace them every 3 months and as of yet it is difficult to get a bamboo toothbrush with fully compostable, biodegradable bristles. However they are definitely more sustainable than plastic toothbrushes as the brush handle can be thrown in the compost bin and you just have to dispose of the bristles in your regular bin. There are lots of options available and even the larger pharmacies have started to stock children and adult bamboo brushes.
Sarah who writes the Velvet and Vinegar blog has a good infographic on facts about bamboo toothbrushes.
Shower soap bars
Another swap that has been working well for me is shower soap bars rather than shower gels. I really like them and the scents are lovely and refreshing first thing in the morning. There are so many Irish made soaps on the market to choose from. Here are just a selection.
One thing I have found since moving to soap bars is that is that they can waste away quicker if you leave them sitting in water. That’s why a cotton bag like this one from Janni bars is really useful. It also is a gentle exfoliation which is good for your skin. When I have finished the soap I just rinse out the bag and put in the new soap.
Wooden soap holders
In the last year with all the increased handwashing we were doing I found that liquid hand wash was hard on our skin so I changed to soap bars in our bathrooms. I use Dove soap bars. To keep the soap dry and tidy up the sink area I am going to invest in some wooden soap dish holders.
Natural Liquid hand soap
If you want to stick with liquid hand soap there are also a wide range of natural hand washes like this one from Hawthorn skincare, which is vegan and has 100% natural ingredients.
I have just finished my current body lotion and have bought this body butter to try. Check back and I will update you on how I’m getting on with it.
Next up are a few sustainable skincare swaps I haven’t made yet but are on my list as soon as my current products are used up. I want to try solid deodorant as a change from what I currently use.
Bamboo cotton buds
And I am going to start using biodegradable bamboo and cotton buds rather than the plastic ones I currently have. Plastic cotton buds cannot be recycled and can end up polluting our environment.
These are only a few of the sustainable skincare swaps you can make. As with any change you are going to make, start small and do your own research and do what works for you.
If you want to read a more in-depth article this one on the 40 best sustainable beauty brands from The Guardian is good. It has a lot of in-depth information on what various beauty brands are doing to improve their sustainability.
Overall I am happy with the changes I have made. They do take a bit of getting used to but they are not difficult changes to make. In terms of cost it very much depends what you were spending on these products before.
So have you made any swaps to more sustainable products?
Let me know in the comments below…
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