No, we’re not saying buy shamrock-coloured eyeshadow and emerald lippy in solidarity with the Earth’s plight; we’re talking sustainable and eco-friendly beauty. It’s no surprise that a rise in conscious consumers – predominantly millennials – has been matched by a rise in equally eco-friendly brands. Nothing makes you feel more like buying something than if it’s a reflection of your own values, right? And so, beauty brands are being more transparent about what goes into their skincare staples and thinking harder about how they’re packaged. With the rise of green-thinking little guys – SaltyGirl beauty, Ren, The Nue Company – the giants are forced to rethink their offering, if they want to keep appealing to their ever-more Earth-loving consumers.
There’s been talk recently of banning cotton buds and if you need convincing, may we refer you to this (heartbreaking) photo. Innocuous as they may seem, Q-tips and face wipes are not biodegradable, which means they float around in our oceans, killing our marine life and washing up on far-flung shores that should be untouched by human life. Taking your makeup off with biodegradable cotton pads, a reusable flannel or muslin cloth is a small change with big impact (think of the seahorses!).
Don’t stop at the makeup bag – as a conscious community of beautifiers, we can extend our altruistic habits to our salon trips too. Ammonia-free, cruelty-free, all-natural beauty bars are on the rise, so we can preen safe in the knowledge we’re not leaving a footprint. No longer are we at the mercy of drugstore brands (although even they’re beginning to scrutinise their ingredients) and animal-derived products. As demand increases (keep it up, folks), salons are offering more conscious beauty options – like vegetable-based hair dyes with recyclable packaging. Here are 5 vegan beauty salons in London, so you can up your green game, one booking at a time.
Microbeads were banned in January this year and hallelujah to that. Found in everyday items such as toothpastes, shower gels and cleansers, they end up in our oceans and then in the stomachs of marine life. Luckily, there are copious (and altogether more effective) alternatives. Dermalogica, as well as being cruelty-free, has a rice-based microfoliant which activates with water on contact, allowing you to control the amount used, so less waste all round. If you’re not one for DIY, don’t fret – look for a salon that offers this service, so you can treat yourself and the planet at the same time. Glycolic peels are good in-salon exfoliators, for skin that glows, without the guilt. Derived from sugarcane, glycolic acid brings a natural boost to your complexion and is kinder to the environment than exfoliating scrubs.
This year, many high street establishments are giving plastic straws the boot, facing up to the reality that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year (for perspective, that’s a truck load of rubbish a minute). The pretty pots and bottles containing our beauty products will take up to 500 years to naturally decompose, making the switch to recycled and recyclable packaging a no-brainer. Nothing is more gorgeous than an environmentally conscious soul, although your hair – with the help of Kevin Murphy, who uses square packaging with 40% less resin than traditional bottles, and less fuel used in transit – comes pretty close.
While Veganuary may now feel like a distant memory, the V-Gang continues to grow. While hair and beauty can easily be overlooked on the vegan quest, what we use on the outside is just as important as what we put inside. Long gone are the days of having to travel to obscure health food shops for green hair solutions. As well as being cruelty free, Pureology haircare is also vegan, organic, and sulphate free. These days, you can even kill two birds with one stone by booking in your next vegan hair appointment while keeping your morals in check, by choosing a salon using quality products such as Davines who, as well offering a whole vegan hair care line, pride themselves on being totally sustainable and eco-friendly.
How to make your beauty routine plastic-free
Sunday is Earth Day, and while many of us have now switched to reusable water bottles and supermarket tote bags, it’s easy to forget how our everyday beauty routine can impact our planet. While we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – the urge is strong to choose a bottle of face wash or toner based on its packaging (hello Glossier). Luckily, with a few changes to your beauty regime, you can help save the Earth, one exfoliator at a time.
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