Examining even the smallest beauty decisions we make can incite real change and save our world. Here’s some of our favorite ways to put the care back into self-care.
Real talk: our beauty habits are probably not the most environmentally friendly decisions in the world. From the UV in our gel manicures to the excessive packaging in almost every product, it might not come as a surprise to know our self-care rituals often take a toll on our environment.
And unfortunately, our oceans are really getting the brunt of it. Remember the Great Garbage Patch swirling around in the Pacific? Or how millions of fish are choking on microscopic plastic particles that were in your soap? Or the empty bottles cluttering our shelves, mixing our pride of finally using the #empties hashtag with the shame of waste?
Thankfully, there are plenty of options to explore to help us get our beauty fix while protecting our coasts and oceans. It’s not just about being eco-friendly — I mean, what better place to flaunt our stuff but at the beach?
It’s also not about being perfect. Even just a few tweaks can make a huge difference, and if we all did a little something the impact could be huge. Consider the following four ocean-friendly beauty tips next time you binge out at the beauty store.
1. Go Packageless
Plastic is the ocean’s #1 worst enemy (see Great Garbage Patch reference above). If you want to take part in keeping the sea a bit clearer and cleaner, consider a products that don’t involve plastic. There are tons of alternative packaging methods out there!
If your favorite makeup and beauty brands don’t have any good options to lessen waste, let them know you care. The industry has swiftly responded to criticisms regarding other important needs — like skin-tone inclusivity — and they need to know that this is also an important push.
Keep this in mind for checkout, too. Sure, those glossy Sephora bags are pretty and fun to make a statement on your way home from the mall, but do you really need yet another cardboard bag to save for a few months and eventually throw away? (This is where your tote bags come in handy.)
Our pick: Lush’s Slap Stick Vegan Foundation $22
Available in a whopping 40 different shades, Lush’s brand new foundation line is making headlines everywhere. According to Refinery29, the impressive range of colors (thanks Rihanna) are high performing and on par with any high-end foundation range, although the ingredients are rich, it doesn’t feel at all heavy. (Note: Lush’s Slap Stick Foundation launched as a limited release in the UK only. Makes you want it even more, right?)
However, the best part is how it follows Lush’s general commitment to reducing packaging waste by coming in natural wax packaging. Its solid form also reduces the need for spill-proofing — further reducing the amount of packaging that goes into it. And there’s no toxic stuff.
Beyond just its environmentally friendly packaging, these Lush Slap Sticks don’t have any of those micro plastics that clog up the ocean. Speaking of which…
2. Go Vegan
Mass-produced products make for massive amounts of toxic waste. Greenpeace made waves a few years ago when revealing the underreported kind of pollution that is literally poured into our ocean by the clothing industry.
Thankfully, many brands have stepped up to keep those chemicals at bay (pun), but did you know that the ingredients in your beauty products are just as unregulated? It’s up to us to figure out what we may be putting down the drain and eventually into our waterways.
Although some think of “vegan” as “plant-based,” it could be also defined as being toxic-free and absent of harmful man-made chemicals that don’t jive so well with our natural environment. Examining the ingredient lists in our products can help us choose products that are less likely to cause damage to our natural world.
A few years ago, environmental scientists found a link between chemicals in some skincare products and damage to coral reefs. Although there is no official certification for reef-safe products, some brands are stepping up to avoid those chemicals.
Stream2Sea provides a full line of hair care and sunscreen products that promises against any damage to coral reefs or aquatic life. It’s easy to order — yes, on Amazon! — and you’d be supporting a badass lady founder at the same time. Win-win!
3. Go Biodegradable
Similar to going packageless, thinking about biodegradable options for the beauty product itself is also key to a happy environment. Think disposable wipes, masks, beauty blenders — these are just as important to consider as the packaging of them.
Of course, not everything that says its biodegradable is landfill or drain friendly. Keep an eye out for how products educate you to dispose of them. Something that is made for composting may not be compatible with your local garbage service. Select products that biodegrade in a way that’s practical and realistic with your lifestyle.
With festival season in full sprint, glitter is a must-have staple in anyone’s makeup case. But did you know that the way glitter is made involves a massive amount of unrecyclable materials that take massive amounts of time to break down?
Enter BioGlitz. These completely biodegradable, cruelty-free, renewably sourced sparkles are perfect to get your summer glow on. They come in a wide variety of metallic shades, and even offer a multi-pack if you can’t choose just one.
“As passionate glitter-wearers and earth-dwellers, it’s our duty to make a change,” owner Saba Gray told the Louisville Courier Journal. “We’ve taken the litter out of glitter.”
4. Go Give Back
Many of us can’t live a completely vegan, biodegradable, packageless life. In these instances, there are plenty of brands that are donating a percentage of their profits to places who are trying to figure it out for us.
Research your favorite brands to see what they’re doing to contribute toward a better ocean. And if they’re not, it might be time to take a moment to find some that do. And I guess that must mean another trip to your favorite beauty supply store to support them, complete with moral justification (which is practically a dream come true).
Our pick: Ren’s Surfrider Partnership
Sure, bunches of brands have ties to charity donations, but Ren’s is pretty much as ocean specific as you can get.
If you’ve never heard of Surfrider, they’re a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting coasts, beaches, waves, and the ocean. It’s a massive goal and every penny counts — so why not make your contribution and get some fantastic beauty products at the same time?
Hopefully, these ocean-friendly beauty tips can help you feel a bit more empowered next time you shop.
Although our environmental footprint probably can’t be eliminated completely, making it smaller is possible. If you have any favorite ocean-friendly beauty tips, let us know on Twitter or show it off on Insta and tag us! Let’s spread the earth love together.