To most people, not creating waste sounds like a daunting, if not impossible, task. The thing is, Lauren Singer of Package Free Shop has been doing it for years (gracefully! Successfully!). Even in the bathroom. “When I started reducing my waste, I realized that I could no longer buy the skin care products I had previously used,” she told ITG. Between plastic microspheres (which are now banned anyway) and lots of plastic packaging, Singer’s old routine just didn’t fit into her new lifestyle. “My mother is from the south and she was a pageant queen – definitely the full-faced woman with the make-up. I’ve had a skin care routine because of it since I was six and spent a lot of time thinking that in order to look and feel beautiful, I must use all of these products. “When she started making zero waste, Singer learned two important skincare lessons that you probably won’t hear from many other influencers. The first is that she didn’t really need anything. After getting used to it, Singer realized her natural skin was A-OK, breakouts and everything. And the second is that opting out of the beauty craze is financially brilliant – even when products are cheap, they’re never free. “I spent hundreds of dollars on CVS every month and when I quit I saved so much money.”
You don’t have to be completely wasteful to incorporate some of Singer’s practices into your everyday life, although she’s pretty sure the world as a whole is headed in that direction. “Change can’t happen overnight, as much as we all want, but in the years since I opened the Package Free Shop, the industry has grown exponentially. I think it’s important just to realize where companies are, where the world is, and go step by step. “For Singer, this is finding products that are effective, affordable, and packaged in line with their sustainability values. Here are five tips from Singer to help you make your beauty routine more sustainable the easier way. Besides, she swears, you won’t even notice the difference.
Swap out your moisturizer for oil
“I consider my face oil to be my moisturizer,” explains Singer, who likes Juniper Carrot Seed Oil from Meow Meow Tweet. “It goes on smoothly, is quickly absorbed, smells of geraniums and works to lighten and even out my skin.” Just like a moisturizer, an oil can help strengthen your skin’s natural barrier and prevent it from drying out. The difference between the two, however, is water: moisturizers have it, oil doesn’t. You’ll likely go through a traditional moisturizer faster than an oil because the fluffy, emulsified texture just takes up more space. Most moisturizers come in large jars for this reason, and you get more excess packaging. An oil is more concentrated, but without water it won’t moisturize your skin either. Fortunately, there is a simple solution: moisturize your skin with water first! “I apply the oil after I shower in the morning,” says Singer. “It literally couldn’t be easier.”
Try a beauty DIY
Many beauty ingredients are available from your local grocer, and there are many eco-friendly benefits of buying natural ingredients in raw and bulk. First of all, you won’t get stuck with lots of small glasses. (A mason jar will do!) And beauty DIYs are built to last – you can make just enough for yourself right now, saving the rest of the ingredients for a fresh batch once you run out of them. If you want to create your own treatment, Singer recommends starting with body butter. “Body butter doesn’t get particularly greasy in summer and is still heavy enough to keep my skin hydrated in winter. It saved my chapped hands after quarantine using the disinfectant. “For the Singer recipe, you need a glass or heat-resistant bowl, a hand mixer, coconut, cocoa and shea butter, and a little sweet almond oil. Essential oils for the fragrance are optional! (Follow her video once you’re all set.) “I’ve been making my own body butter for a long time,” she says, “and although it takes a little time, it’s actually quite easy to do.” Singer’s next best thing to do? Shea Linear Beauty Body Butter, which she describes as having a ghee consistency: “I use this anywhere after a shower or just on my elbows and hands right before bed.”
Switch to reusable cotton rounds
This is a breeze for toner lovers or everyday makeup wearers who want to be more environmentally conscious. “Reusable cotton rounds are a great alternative for anyone who uses makeup removal pads or cotton balls,” says Singer, noting that it is literally an exact one-for-one swap. “You use reusable cotton rounds just like you would the disposable type, but instead of throwing them away, just wash them with your laundry.” She uses this set of organic cotton rounds, but if you’re looking to take makeup off, Face Halos might be a smarter buy. The microfiber rounds pick up makeup like a magnet so you don’t even have to worry about makeup remover. Regardless of how you slice it, reusable cotton rounds are actually an upgrade.
Look for refillable makeup products
Luxurious, weighty packaging is the siren call of the makeup aisle – but if you can’t refill it, all of these beautiful compacts and tubes go straight to a landfill. Instead, look for products with refillable packaging to remove some of your disposable packaging. The singer owes her friendship with sustainable makeup artist Katey Denno that she is kept up to date with the best eco-friendly makeup. “Kjaer Weis was one of the first cosmetic brands to offer refills. So when I saved a little bit of money, I invested in this makeup, ”says Singer. But now many other makeup brands that you might not have thought were sustainable are offering fancy packaging with refillable inserts: Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, Hermes, La Bouche Rouge, Givenchy, and Surratt all offer refills for theirs most famous products.
Finally, make sure your products are safely washable
“I go for a walk because I have a dog, and on weekends I like to go around town with my boyfriend,” says Singer. And while you might not think you need it in winter, sunscreen is a must all year round. “It’s so important to protect your skin, but it’s also important to make sure that the product you use is water-resistant, biodegradable, and reef-safe.” If you are unsure about your favorite sunscreen, there are a few simple rules of thumb that you can follow. First of all, the ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate were notoriously banned in Hawaii because they contributed to the coral distress. If you prefer chemical sunscreens, use sunscreens from Korea or Japan. These usually use different filters than the US. Or mineral-based sunscreens that use non-nano-zinc and titanium dioxide are always reef-safe. The tinted one from Raw Elements is Singer’s favorite. “I love the way it makes me glow a little.”
Photo via ITG