We all have a multi-faceted personal care routine, and with the numerous brands and products that are coming in daily, with new marketing jargon, mindful consumption is becoming a big challenge. It is time we take a step back to analyze our consumption. We all have shelves full of products, half of which we don’t use, and yet there we are buying into new trends on a daily basis.
Here’s our go to starting point list, that can help you live an eco-friendly lifestyle in your self-care routine:
- Minimal products and consumption – The most important first step is to open up your cupboards, and look through all those products. Which ones do you truly use? What can be done with the products you’re not consuming? Is your bathroom cabinet full of single use disposables? Find out what works for you. Declutter! Try and buy products that you truly use. And make a rule, that you will purchase a new product, only once the one sitting on your shelf is over. And when you’re out shopping, ask yourself – Do I really need this? Can I do without it? Is there a DIY alternative? You’ll be surprised at the difference this is going to make. Remember, brands are out there to sell. There will be new concepts that you will be introduced to everyday. It’s a never ending well you will be enticed to. And before trying a new product, be sure to read reviews, understand its constitution, so it’s not left rotting on your shelf later!
- Make a conscious buying decision – Know what you buy. Choose products that are vegan or cruelty free. When you opt for products not tested on animals, you’re also ditching the bad chemicals like parabens, sulphates, and synthetic dyes. These cleaner cosmetics are better for your skin. Choose minimal packaging. It is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to the environment. Clear glass, metal or paper based packing are most easily recycled and re-usable materials. Third, choose ingredients that are natural or buy organic certified products. Not only are they better for the planet, but also your skin.
Here’s a list of top environmental offenders in skincare that you should stay away from:
- Menstrual Hygiene – The regular menstrual pads are made of 90% plastic. And given how much of these we need on a monthly basis, ladies, you can’t even begin to imagine how much plastic we are individually dumping into our environment! The best SHIFT- Re-usable menstrual cups or re-usable pads. Menstrual cups are made out of medical grade silicone (a man-made polymer that doesn’t biodegrade, but can easily be recycled) or natural rubber. Worn inside the body, they form a vacuum around the cervix and collect up to three times as much blood as a pad. They need emptying every twelve hours and last for up to ten years. Talk about good value for money! Reusable pads are made of natural bamboo, cotton and even recycled PET (old plastic bottles). They’re fixed to underwear by poppers, should last around five years. And if this still seems like a task, choose environmentally kind organic cotton/ corn starch, biodegradable pads and tampons.
- Re-usable cotton face pads: Many of these cotton wipes are made from sustainable bamboo or microfibre so they’re super gentle on the skin and ideal for facial cleansing or removing eye makeup. They are washable and can be used again and again. Imagine the amount of waste this option avoids!
- Ditch Single use – Sheet masks, make-up removing wipes, single use nail polish removers, plastic earbuds, we don’t need any of this. Most of these wipes are made of synthetic and microplastic fibres. These land up straight in the garbage dump.
- Home Remedies & DIYs – There’s so much information on different home remedial masks you can make at home using your kitchen products. Natural & chemical free, what better can your skin ask for? Get creative with this one! Body scrubs made of coffee remains or fruit & vegetable made skin and hair remedies. Address your specific concerns with the plethora of DIY options available, completely customised for you. Take this a step further by making your own soaps & shampoo bars using your favourite natural essential oils rather than those synthetic fragrances. This helps you save so much money, packaging waste, and helps avoid all those nasty chemicals!
- Packaging – Pick products that come in minimal packaging (e.g paper/ cardboard packed soaps & shampoo bars). Or products that come with a refillable option. Ditch those plastics for choices available in glass or metal packaging that are easily recyclable. Or buy your product in bulk, that helps you save on some much packaging waste.
- Shop Local – Look up a company’s supply chain. Are they sourcing overseas? What is their carbon footprint like? And if that seems very complicated to figure, ditch those big brands and opt for locally made skincare brands. A lot of them are made in smaller batches, using local and natural ingredients.
- Oral care – Ditch those plastic toothbrushes for a bamboo one. A simple SHIFT that goes a long way, and you won’t even notice the difference! And step it up with toothpaste tablets. Toothpaste tablets are compact powdered form of regular toothpaste. They work the same way as a paste- only, it is more compact, easy to carry around and require minimal packaging and less water is used for production.
Options available in the UAE:
Earthfix HUB toothpaste tablets come in two flavours and are plastic free, natural & travel friendly.
The Humble Co.’s also comes in two variants: fluoride, and fluoride free in lightweight, recyclable packaging.
- Safety Razors – Say goodbye to all those single use plastic razors. Instead pick a metal or bamboo based razor that comes with detachable heads.
- Deodorants – Regular anti-perspirants come with an aluminum compound that plugs the sweat ducts. Natural deodorants on the other hand reduce smell and sweat, and don’t prevent you from sweating entirely. Choose deodorants that consist of natural ingredients that come in paper based or refillable packaging.
Here’s our favourite:
- Recycle your empties – Many brands like MAC or Lush, come with the option where you can return the empty packaging to the store, and you can avail discounts on your next purchase! If not, find out from your local recycler on how best you can separate and recycle your waste. There are multiple drop off points, and some even arrive at your doorstep to collect that waste.
- Bamboo products – From toothbrushes, razor handles, makeup brushes, and even make-up pads or menstrual pads, there is a plethora of bamboo products available that you can swap your regulars with. Bamboo can be a very sustainable crop: a fast-growing grass, it requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn’t need to be replanted.
- Save water – Shorter showers, being mindful of turning the tap off while brushing or using water saving tap aerators that reduce water wastage are a super quick win to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
- Shampoo Bars – Natural, and free of harmful chemicals, less packaging waste and easy to carry, this is a latest trend in hair care that is here to stay. Water free, these concentrated bars that are free of harmful detergents actually helps you save on $$ as well!
Our top pick is shampoo bars by KAIA. Available in multiple options for your hair concerns, these bars come in minimal packaging and we’ve heard some great reviews.
Join the eco-friendly band wagon by SHIFTing to some of these eco-friendly choices, and there’s no going back. Start small, by choosing 3 changes you can make, and we promise you, it feels so rewarding!