How to make your beauty routine plastic-free

You can do your bit for the environment and look beautiful at the same time.

Dump single-use plastic
Pay attention to packaging when picking products. Look for products that use glass, recycled, cardboard or recyclable packing materials. Minimal or zero waste packaging is of course ideal. If you really can’t stay away from plastic, you can buy your beauty and skincare products in bulk. A lot of hair and skincare brands sell their products in salon-size bottles. Also, consider switching to solid facial cleansers, bar soaps, hair bars, and solid deodorants as they come with minimal packaging. A lot of brands are creating impressive products in this space.
Image: K Whiteford / /

Say no to wet wipes and cotton buds
Most regular wet wipes are partly made from non-biodegradable plastics, like polyester, and other non-biodegradable materials. They’re a type of single-use plastic that takes years to break down and is adding to the mountains of plastic waste. If you need to use wipes, go in for eco-friendly ones that are biodegradable. You could also use a muslin cloth, flannel, eco-friendly sponges, or biodegradable cotton pads to get the job done and do your bit for the environment. The same goes for cotton buds that have a plastic stem. There are eco-friendly compostable options available.
Photograph: xiuzen1987 /

Opt for biodegradable bamboo brushes
Rather than using a toothbrush made from single-use plastic, invest in one that’s eco-friendly or lasts longer. Numerous local brands are creating biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes that are durable and environment-friendly, making them a much more sustainable option for a tool that’s used every day. There are also bamboo handle hair and makeup brushes and bowls that can be used as part of your skincare routine.
Photograph: Marco Verch / Flickr

Steer clear of aerosol cans
Conventional aerosol cans have a damaging effect on the environment. Apart from the packaging material, which is very hard to recycle, the cans contain compressed gases and chemicals known to contribute to global warming. There are a number of natural skincare brands offering a variety of environment friendly options to aerosol cans. Look for solid or cream deodorants made from natural ingredients, powder sunscreens, and powder dry shampoos.
Photograph: Daniel Naish / Flickr

Refill and reuse
While recycling is obviously a good practice, it’s even better if you reuse the containers and refill items. Quite a few brands have started offering eco-friendly refills, giving you the chance to replace your favourite items at a lesser cost. You can also repurpose old containers for different purposes. Glass candle jars can be used to store various items, like cotton balls, hairpins and hair ties. Empty makeup palettes can be used to store jewellery. Smaller containers can be put to use when you’re travel and are handy for storing cleansers, creams, etc.

A number of Indian brands have risen to the challenge and are offering eco-friendly alternatives to help you go plastic-free. Bare Necessities uses zero waste and ethically sourced ingredients to create their personal and home care products. Its packaging is also 100 per cent recyclable and eco-friendly. Raw Beauty is an indie body care brand that offers organic products for skin, body, and hair, sold in plastic-free containers and packaging. Soapworks India is another eco-conscious brand offering solid perfumes and hair conditioners, face masks, and bamboo cotton facial pads. Other brands in this space include Grindingstone, SOS Organics, Omorfee, Do Bandar, Nuskay, Burst of Happyness, and Shunya.

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