Is part of your 2021 New Years Resolutions to be more environmentally friendly with the products you buy? If yes, fantastic! This is a great goal to have for 2021.
For this goal, you may have already thought about buying from sustainable clothing brands or cutting down on the amount of meat you purchase this year. These are great ways to be more eco-friendly but have you considered the benefits of going green with your shampoo?
Move away from plastic shampoo bottles
It’s not something that everyone thinks about, but start thinking about how many bottles of shampoo you go through. This is a product that is often such a part of our lives that we don’t think about the impact it can have on the environment.
Once you know how often you wash your hair, you can work out how fast you go through your shampoo and then how many bottles you’re potentially sending to landfill. The sad fact is, even if you put it into the recycling bin it doesn’t mean it will be recycled.
So much of our plastic waste ends up travelling overseas, and the plastic that stays in the UK sometimes just can’t be recycled. The best way to reduce the impact of plastic is simply not to use it.
There has been an explosion of plastic-free hair care in the UK. Before you were looking at having to buy online or finding a local Lush, but now you’re spoilt for choice. Boots, Superdrug, and the big supermarkets all have shampoo bars for you to try. Even in a lockdown, you can still go plastic-free.
What to expect if you do switch to a solid shampoo?
Before you buy a bar make sure to use up what shampoo you have before going to purchase more, there are no benefits from buying more than you need.
When you’re ready to switch to a solid shampoo bar you’ll need to do some research before you dive in.
Shampoo bars will respond to different water hardness and give you different results depending on your hair type. It’s worth bearing in mind that they can become quite harsh on your hair if they don’t have any conditioning qualities.
It is a process to switch from liquid shampoo to a solid bar, so definitely take the time and look up specific advice for your hair type. It can be a challenge, and it will take time to adjust but if you really want to cut down on plastic waste in the bathroom this is a good option to explore.
Choose cruelty-free products where you can afford to.
As with make-up, it’s important to choose products that are ethically made without cruelty to animals. We’ve done a separate guide on why ethical make-up matters if you’re looking to start switching your products.
It’s well known that animals bred for meat contribute to climate change, but so do the animals unnecessarily kept for testing chemicals before they are introduced to us in our beauty products. While this may not be the biggest factor in choosing to switch to eco-friendly shampoo, it’s certainly an important one.
Cruelty-Free does not mean expensive or difficult to find. One of the brands that we love is the Superdrug cruelty-free range of haircare. There’s something for the majority of hair types and it’s reasonably priced. If you’re looking to spend a bit more on your haircare why not try Function Of Beauty? They’re an entirely online store that specializes in customised hair care just for you.
As with anything we recommend, this is a change you can make gradually. Do some research to find the perfect cruelty-free and (hopefully) plastic-free shampoo for your hair type that’s in your budget.
If you can’t afford to make a change to your beauty routine right now, that’s fine too. Why not spend some time getting in touch with companies and letting them know that they should be taking steps to be greener and stop using chemicals tested on animals? Using your voice to let companies know that they need to change to meet consumer demands is a big way to help if you can’t necessarily vote with your wallet and is a perfect way to make a difference.
Greenwashing is not a new trend by any means, it’s been around since consumers first started to challenge companies to adopt greener practices and reduce their impact on the planet.
However in 2021, with more eco-friendly practices becoming mainstream (as they should be!) there are going to be companies that engage in this type of marketing to profit from people’s desire to be better for the environment..
So, what exactly is Greenwashing?
Cambridge dictionary defines Greenwashing as the following:
Greenwashing is a symbolic gesture. Companies engaging in this practice are either directly misleading consumers that they are eco conscious or they are exaggerating how green their products and practices are for profit. Regardless of which it is, nothing about greenwashing is good or ethical.
There is nothing wrong with companies exploring green options and making changes to reduce their impact on the environment, it’s something we truly love to see!
For some people this is the first time they’ll be making green changes and these products can often create conversation that is important to the green movement. However it’s important to be aware that while these can be a great start, these small additions to product lines aren’t always as green as they claim to be.
An unfortunate example of this is the “Garnier Micellar Reusable Make-up Remover Eco Pads”. While these seem like a great way to cut down on single use cotton pads, the Garnier alternatives are not what they seem.
They’re made of 100% polyester which will not break down when they reach the end of their lifespan. They even say on the product description “Eco Pads cannot be recycled. After 1000 uses, please dispose in the bin.”. It’s also worth considering that they will shed microfibre plastics every single time you wash them.
At first glance these look like a great way to reduce waste in the bathroom, but in practice there are far better alternatives out there.
For example, we are still loving our bamboo face pads from My Little Eco Shop. They are even cheaper than the Garnier ones. The My Little Eco Shop ones work out at approximately £1.25 per pad while the Garnier ones are £2.99 per pad*.
Greenwashing is not always that easy to spot.
A less obvious form of Greenwashing is where companies will offer greener alternatives but make no effort to contribute to ending the cycle of over consumption or changing their business practices to be more eco friendly.
A perfect example of this is H&M. This company has most definitely taken steps to be more environmentally friendly, introducing recycling schemes and promoting their conscious collection.
You would not be wrong to be taken in by this and believe they are a more ethical brand to purchase from on the highstreet, especially when there are so few green brands on the highstreet to compare their practices against. However, they ultimately still promote the fast fashion model which as we know is unsustainable and one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
Unfortunately, with eco friendly products and practices becoming more and more popular there are companies that will seek to profit from this without doing the hard work to change their businesses.
It’s important that we take the time to consider just how green the companies we purchase from are and to make sure we are not listening to the marketing hype.
As we see with the face pad example, often the eco friendly options can actually work out cheaper than sticking with the big brands we know that aren’t changing fast enough to make a real impact.
For 2021, let’s take the time to really do the hard work and consider how ethical and green our purchases really are and make the effort to purchase as green as possible when we can.
*based on non sale prices displayed on 01.01.2021.
Who else enjoys doing their makeup? Combine it with skin care and it can become the perfect time to relax and reflect on your day ahead. But have you ever paid attention to the makeup you’re using?
How much of it is in a plastic container? Do you know what the ingredients are or if they people making it were paid a fair wage? When did you last actually recycle the products you finished?
Just like everything we buy, there are ethical and unethical options available. There are a few things to look out for when shopping for makeup to help you choose well.
Don’t buy fake makeup
Fake makeup can be really tempting in the moment, compared to how expensive branded makeup can be. Who wouldn’t want to save tens of pounds on an eyeshadow palette?
Here’s the thing, the price cut means that other elements of the makeup have to be sacrificed. This could range from the ingredients to the conditions it was manufactured in.
So many nasties have been found in fake makeup, a quick Google search will make you never want to risk putting fake makeup on your face ever again. Along with the poor chemical choice, this makeup is often manufactured in unsafe environments both in terms of hygiene and worker safety.
If your makeup costs £5 when it should cost £45, how much do you think the person putting it together is going to be getting paid?
There are so many reasons why you should avoid fake makeup it’s astounding it’s even an issue in 2020.
Choose Vegan and Cruelty Free products
Choosing vegan and cruelty free ensures that your makeup is as kind to animals as you can possibly make it, but what do these terms actually mean? Surely if something is vegan then it’s cruelty free right?
We thought so too, but these two labels mean different things when it comes to beauty and skin care. Vegan means that the product contains no animal products, but this doesn’t mean they are cruelty free. This means that in the UK a product can be tested on animals and still legally claim to be ‘vegan’. Cruelty free means that has been free from any animal testing during the creation and production of the product.
To be as ethical as possible for your beauty routine we recommend looking at what’s in your makeup bag, using up what you have and then choosing from a more ethical brand next time. Our current favourites are NYX, Lush and E.L.F.
Choose products made from recycled materials
This one requires a little bit more work. Instead of choosing a product that contains metal and plastic that’s brand new. Opt for a product that uses recycled packaging. We say this takes more work because this isn’t something that’s making its way to the main chemists just yet. To make this switch you’ll most likely have to look inline and do your own research, but the products are out there!
For example, we’ve been trying an all natural and zero-waste deodorant. Wild comes in completely recycled packaging, and is made from aluminium and recycled plastic products. Making this switch means that we won’t be buying disposable deodorants again, but we had to go online to find this option.
Here’s how to recycle your finished products
Where you can’t afford to switch to a more eco product, you can make sure that your products are recycled.
Several brands are now offering schemes where you can return used products and they’ll recycle them for you. Maybelline now offers a drop off service in supermarkets in the UK to drop off palettes, mascara and more. LUSH have always accepted their products back in store to send them off to be melted down to make more products as part of their ‘closed-loop’ recycling system.
If you prefer to recycle at home you can purchase a box from terracycle. We have to warn you that this is NOT a free option. The smallest box which will hold approximately 86 units is £118.91. If you calculate how long it will take to fill this box then the price becomes a little less shocking, but this is a cost you need to determine if you can handle.
Ultimately, the beauty industry has a long way to go in order to be ethical and eco. By making a switch to a brand that’s going in the right direction we can send the message that wasteful and harmful practices cannot continue into 2021 and beyond.