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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle has long been dubbed the trifecta of eco-consciousness, but with Earth Day on the horizon, the question of how to implement these important actions into your beauty routine is seemingly more pertinent than ever.
From refillable products to recycling old packaging, here are three ways to keep yourself –– and the planet –– beautiful this Spring.
Reducing waste in your beauty routine doesn't necessarily mean refraining yourself from buying makeup because, let's face it, nothing compares to the excitement of finally getting your hands on that perfect red lipstick you've been pining after for years. Instead, being mindful of factors like plastic packaging can be a great way to make your beauty routine more eco-conscious.
While this can come in the form of simple swaps, like ditching your plastic shampoo bottle for a package-free option such as the Odacité Soap Free Shampoo Bar, a great way to reduce waste is by rethinking about how you remove your makeup.
Despite their convenience, makeup wipes are particularly terrible for the environment. Often containing ingredients like rayon fibers, polypropylene and polyester, according to an InStyle investigation, makeup wipes are rarely biodegradable, causing particular damage when flushed down the toilet.
"They clog the system and don't break down so they're passing through the whole wastewater system intact and also put a lot more plastic into the wastewater," Sonya Lunder, the Sierra Club's Senior Toxics Policy Advisor, explained to the outlet.
If the environmental impact of makeup wipes weren't enough to have you rethinking your makeup removal routine, it seems these products aren't particularly good for your skin either.
"The chemicals in some cases can be harsh to your skin causing micro-tears, or push makeup and debris deeper into your pores leading to further problems," Dr. Tijion Esho, a London-based cosmetic doctor, told Insider.
Instead, doctors like dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu recommend gentle, liquid-based makeup removers.
"I wear waterproof makeup, and have tried many different ones over the years," Dr. Wu explained to CNN. "I keep going back to the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover, which you can also use to remove waterproof lip color and sunscreen."
Another key facet of sustainable beauty stems from strategic packaging – specifically, opting for multi-use beauty products that won't end up sitting in a landfill once you're through with them.
"The future of sustainability for us is to end single-use products," Tata Harper of Tata Harper Skincare told Grazia. Dubbing refillable products as being "even better than recycling," the entrepreneur says she took particular care in crafting her brand's packaging.
"When designing the packaging for Water-lock Moisturizer, we had to conceptualize everything from the refill pod to the components needed to keep the formula air-tight for freshness," she explained, adding that despite facing "unique challenges," they managed to create their "first reusable packaging system."
"This isn't throwaway beauty; it's reusable beauty," the skincare mogul maintained. "The reality is that beauty packaging can be used longer. Think about all of your pumps, caps and jars — it's not like these are disintegrating after a month or two of using it! The pod is 100% recyclable and provides 30 days of hydration," Harper said, adding that by taking advantage of the moisturizer's reusable packaging, beauty aficionados can save 11 empty jars from the landfill each year.
Along with mindfully picking up refillable, consciously packaged products, recycling your empty containers when you’re through with them is another integral element in keeping your beauty routine eco-friendly.
From Credo Beauty to MAC Cosmetics, several makeup brands have started offering recycling programs where beauty aficionados can drop off the packaging of their go-to products once they've used every last drop.
But you don't need a specific program to make sure you get rid of your used products correctly. According to Thomas S. Woznicki, who is an exec at recycling company Combined Resources Inc., paying attention to the "recyclable numbers" on beauty products can help determine how they should be properly disposed of.
"For example, HDPE (high density polyethylene) bottles are often used for personal care products and can be identified by the number 2 on the bottle," he told Byrdie. "HDPE bottles are highly recyclable and can be recycled into things like garbage bags, bins and even plastic lumber."