Nix Plastic from your Beauty Routine

This week, it seems like everyone’s talking about plastic.  I wrote about the impossible task of cutting plastic out of your life over at EarthFirst.com, and it really got me thinking about the areas of my life where I could still improve.  Why cut back on plastic?  To be as brief as possible, it often contains toxic substances (BPA and pthalates), is usually made from petroleum and pollutes the earth and our oceans.  One thing I realized is for many of us, our personal care products and cosmetics are some of the biggest culprits of plastic consumption.  Here are a few ways we can all reduce plastic use in our beauty routines.

Use bar soap and solid shampoo.  Body wash and bottled shampoo nearly always come in plastic bottles.  Companies like Lush, Burt’s Bees, Herbaria and Oyin Handmade offer shampoo bars in various scents and formulations that will leave your hair looking just as gorgeous as any bottled shampoo could.  Plus, they’re usually wrapped in recycled paper.

Buy in bulk when you can, and fill up reusable glass or ceramic containers.  If you’re not crazy about bar soaps, give castile soap a try – many health food stores have large gallon-size bottles meant for refills.  Check out your local natural foods store; they might have more of a selection of refills than you’d expect. You’ll save money and packaging at the same time.

Look for multi-use products, like this Kiss My Face pigment that functions as lip color, blush and eyeshadow all in one.  It comes in a plastic container, but at least it will only be one plastic container instead of three.  Aveda also offers powdered foundation cakes with no plastic to be seen – it’s meant as a compact refill, but works perfectly fine on its own. Or, if you’re the brave and naturally beautiful sort, you could forgo makeup all together!

And of course, eco chicks always refuse senseless plastic junk like the Neutrogena Wave Power Cleanser.  And when you do have to buy items that have plastic packaging, at least try to go for brands that use recycled plastic.  Check the label before you buy.

Now I’m wondering, where are our reusable razors with flax handles? Why aren’t cosmetics packaged with biodegradable materials? Get on it, manufacturers – there’s a huge market out there!

About Stephanie Rogers
Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.

7 Comments

  1. That’s a good point. I wonder why the cosmetics industry hasn’t changed their mass use of plastics?

    Why create more eco friendly products and then just stick them in non-eco friendly packaging?

  2. Stephanie, thanks a lot for recommending Kiss My Face’s 3 way color. Your recommendation to your readers means a lot to us and we appreciate it. Just so your readers know, we are very focused on trying to minimize our negative effects on the environment in everything we do. We are currently exploring sourcing of plastics that are made of post consumer waste which will lessen the impact of the manufacturing process on the environment. We have eliminated most plastics from our displays, replacing with recycled cardboards and papers. We understand how important it is to our customers to minimize negative impact on the environment and we are considering it in every decision we make. As a small thanks for recommending us, your readers can use code KMFBLOG3 at kissmyface.com for 25% off any order until 9/1/08. Thanks, Lewis Goldstein, VP of Kissing & Telling

  3. Thanks, Lewis!

    It’s good to know companies are working on this. It’s frustrating to try to cut back on plastic as much as possible and be met with resistance at every turn. Beauty products are one area where it’s incredibly difficult! I’d love to see more responsibility from manufacturers. I hate the idea of adding more plastic to the landfills, since so much of it can’t be recycled.

  4. LUSH also makes solid shampoos and a whole line of incredible soaps and bath balls. Cheers!

  5. Oops! Just saw that you already listed Lush. My bad…

  6. Also – check out recycline razors:

    http://www.recycline.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=0_21_26

    They’re made from yogurt cups, and you can send them back to the company to be recycled into park benches and such (although they also have replacement blades as well)

  7. Ohh, thanks Bridget, I hadn’t heard of them before!

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