Zero Waste Beauty 101: How to Get Started

Zero Waste Beauty 101: How to Get Started

Has the idea of transitioning to a zero waste beauty routine ever felt intimidating? 

Does it feel like you’re constantly surrounded by greenwashing when you’re in a retail environment? 

Do you feel talked down to by minimalist and zero-waste influencers who tell you that anyone can live a zero-waste lifestyle, with no regards to lower income households or accessibility restrictions? 

Finding new products that not only work for you but also check all of the zero-waste boxes and fit your budget can be time-consuming. But we’re here to tell you that you’re doing a great job and any step towards a zero-waste lifestyle makes an impact. Getting started is always the hardest part and we’re happy to help you start your zero-waste journey.

What are the basics of zero waste?

How much waste is there in the beauty industry?

The global beauty industry wastes 120 billion units of packaging annually, originally reported by Zero Waste Week. Most of this waste is the packaging itself, but a lot of the waste is leftover product, whether it’s unsold or just sitting on your counter for too long. 

What are steps into zero waste?

The easiest thing consumers can do is to switch gradually to eco-friendly and zero-waste products. While it is true that many eco-friendly products can be on the pricier end, all you have to do is avoid the big retailers. Go find your mom-and-pop stores, brands at your local farmers markets, and small online retailers. Their products are more likely to be handmade, packaged in eco-friendly packaging, and made with love — just like J&L Naturals.

What is zero waste beauty?

Zero waste beauty is a category of makeup, skincare, and personal care products that focus on compostable or fully recyclable packaging, ethically-sourced ingredients, and environmentally-safe ingredients. Whether it’s the product washing down the drain or the packaging going back to the recycling center, zero waste beauty products will add nothing to the landfill or contaminate our water sources.

How to get started with a zero waste beauty routine

A zero waste beauty routine doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming. In fact, once you transition to your ideal routine, it’s likely to save you time, effort, and money.

Zero waste beauty is often associated with minimalist beauty routines as once you cut down on spending money on brands that aren’t zero-waste or eco-friendly, it’s normal to realize that many of those products are not as necessary as they are advertised. Here are a few simple ways to get started in your zero waste beauty routine.

Use a bar whenever possible

Many everyday products come in bar form: shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, and face cleanser. As long as the packaging is fully recyclable, then it is a zero-waste product.

If you want to take it a step further, you can try dish soap in bar form and dishwasher soap tablets in eco-friendly dissolvable packaging. 

Switch to reusable tools

Plastic razors last between three and 10 shaves. Depending on how often you shave, you might be discarding as many as multiple razors every week. If you switch to a metal razor, the blades are fully recyclable, the handle is usable for years, and you can store dozens of blades in a fraction of the space in your toiletry drawer.

Instead of using a makeup remover that comes in plastic bottles and applying it to disposable cotton pads, try to find one in a fully recyclable packaging and switch to makeup remover cloths that can be reused for as long as a couple of years.

Reject single-use and travel-sized beauty products

Single-use sheet masks are great for travel and for addressing specific skin issues; but multi-use powder masks and liquid masks do the same job. If you are looking for a travel-sized option, all you need to do is use one of your leftover beauty containers and transfer the amount you need for the trip. The same goes with travel-sized beauty products. It’s very easy to find refillable TSA-friendly containers and it only takes a couple of minutes to fill them with the liquid products you need. Unless you have a mobility issue, it will be worth your time and money to make your own travel-sized products.

Support brands who have recycling programs

Many recycling centers will not take beauty empties. Luckily, Sephora has their own recycling program — which you can use to drop off any brand’s empties.

If you shop with J&L Naturals, we also have our own recycling program in house and offer a $10 gift card every time you use the program.

Get Creative

While zero-waste beauty doesn’t have to mean you are a minimalist, it’s common to pare down your collection as your routine becomes more zero-waste. Over time, it benefits your schedule and wallet to see your products as multi-functional. Your tinted lip balm can be your blush; your powder mask can be mixed with an endless amount of liquids; and some soaps can be applied to both your body and face. The less you spend on buying products for every skin ailment or special event, the more likely you’ll discover how multi-functional your products really are.

Regardless of where you are in your zero-waste journey, any steps towards reducing waste in your beauty routine is admirable. If you have any questions about zero waste beauty or how we source our products, you can contact us here, or get started by selecting the kit best fit for your skin type.
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