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Five Ways to Make Your Skin Care Routine More Sustainable

If sustainability is important to you, there are ways you can be a more eco-conscious consumer so you feel a little better about your product obsession this Earth Day and beyond.

From excessive, non-recyclable packaging to its carbon and water footprints, the beauty industry is not exactly known for being eco-friendly.

There have, of course, been improvements in recent years. It’s not difficult to find brands that use sustainable packaging anymore. K-beauty brand British M, for example, creates the tubes in its Ethic line out of recycled corn. And major companies are dedicated to making major strides in their impact on the environment. One such company is L’Oreal, which announced last year that it is working to reduce its water consumption by 60% by 2020.

In addition to shopping with brands that are committed to being environmentally friendly, there are initiatives you can take on your own to make your routine more sustainable. In honor of Earth Day, we’re sharing five of our best tips below.

Use reusable cotton pads.

It’s easy to burn through pack after pack of cotton pads, especially if you use them to remove makeup, cleanse, and tone morning and night. These pads are not only wasteful, but require a lot of energy to make, especially if they are bleached. Luckily, there are many reusable options available.

We’re loving the Soko Glam Sustainable Cleansing Pad Set that come with 14 rounds made from cotton or bamboo (depending on the set you get) and can be cleaned in the washer. They’re super soft, get the job done, and are cost-effective.

Buy sheet masks in bulk.

When you’re a sheet mask hoarder like so many of us are, how do you reconcile the amount of packaging – including the sheet itself – that is going into the garbage every time you mask? Look for sheet mask packs that do not contain individually-wrapped sheets. K-beauty brand A’Pieu, for example, makes tissue box-like tubs of 100% Tencel (an eco-friendly fabric) sheet masks. One pack contains 33 masks that can be removed with included tweezers.

Buy product refills when possible.

Before throwing out and replacing a finished product with a brand new one, see if you’re able to get a refill first. More and more brands are creating refillable packaging for products that range from shampoo to eyeshadow to foundation. Often, purchasing a product refill is cheaper than buying a replacement, so it’s really a win-win. Exhbit A: Troiareuke’s Cushion Compact is $38, while the refill pack is just $29.

Repurpose your empties.

Empty jars and bottles can be reused in a variety of ways. If they’re small enough, you can decant product into them for travel. You can use them to store things like cotton swabs, bobby pins, and hair ties. Or you can even pot plants in them. Read more on how to give your empties a second life here.

Donate unwanted products and empties to a good cause.

Maybe you bought a product that you don’t love, or maybe you just watched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix and aggressively decluttered your beauty routine. Instead of tossing your gently used or unwanted products away, consider donating them to an organization like Project Beauty Share, that distributes them to women and families in need. Learn more here.

And for empties, there are also recycling programs like TerraCycle that accept packaging from personal care items.  Another organization to keep in mind is the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge that uses donated disinfected mascara wands to help remove oil, mud, and mites from the fur of animals.

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