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6 Steps To Responsible Skincare

The beauty world has a long way to go in the race to become responsible. The never-ending cycle of new launches means that we’re often overwhelmed with options, and then there’s the issue of not-so-sustainable packaging. Hands up – who’s guilty of throwing half-used products away without thinking about where they’ll end up?

While the biggest changes to preserve our planet need to come from governments and big business, there are plenty of small changes we can all make to reduce our everyday waste – especially when it comes to our beloved beauty rituals.

Today on The Dose, we’re sharing six simple steps you can take towards a more sustainable skincare routine.

1. Ditch the disposables

If you’re a fan of micellar water, you’ll probably go through quite a few cotton pads. Most of us use at least three cotton pads per cleanse that go straight in the bathroom bin. That’s 21 cotton pads a week, 84 a month and over a thousand each year! The same goes for cotton buds too.

Though cotton is a renewable resource, it uses huge amounts of water to process. That water has to come from somewhere, and it can often lead to environmental destruction. The same goes for non-organic cotton, which is often sprayed with pesticides that wreak havoc on animals and plant life. Add the bleaching process to make cotton pads and buds, and it’s not as sustainable as you might expect. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives available. You can find affordable washable cotton or muslin pads at most high street chemists, and cotton buds can be swapped for silicone swabs. There are also plenty of cleansers that can pull double-duty on makeup removal and general cleansing, just like the Purify + Prep Hydrating and Clarifying Cleanser from Skin + Me. It’s easy being green! 

2. Swap in refillables

The vast majority of skincare packaging contains plastic, which we all know isn’t great for the planet (thank you Sir David Attenborough). But did you know just how bad it actually is? According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 14 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. And it’s not going anywhere soon – a plastic bottle takes around 450 years to break down, and even then it will still exist in the form of microplastics. 

While it’s hard to eliminate plastic from packaging entirely, some brands are now exploring refillable options. This allows you to top up your bottle or dispenser when you run out of the product inside, without throwing the whole thing away. Whether it’s hand soap, makeup or deodorant, we can all make a difference by seeking out options that don’t end up in landfill after a single use.

3. Switch to skinimalism

The idea of a 10-step skincare routine seems decadent, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Think about those half-empty jars of unfinished creams and discarded serums that didn’t quite suit your skin. Cluttered bathroom shelves aren’t a vibe, and they aren’t very green either.

That’s where Skinimalism comes in. Instead of buying every product that generates a buzz on TikTok, build a smart routine using products that actually work. Multi-taskers can save you time, energy and money. Whether it’s a fabulous moisturiser that removes the need for primer, or a treatment cream that tackles multiple concerns (shoutout to the personalised Skin + Me Daily Doser), Skinimalism is all about having an effective routine that works for your skin.

Say no to endless products and build your routine with careful consideration – it’s kinder both to your skin and the planet.

4. Buy recyclable

We’ve talked about refillable packaging, but what about recyclable packaging? Some smart beauty brands are thinking about how we can give a new lease of life to the materials used in the 120 billion units of packaging produced by the global cosmetics industry every year.

Skincare packaging holds creams, gels and liquids, meaning that you might need to do some research before you throw them in the little green bin. Wash them out before you recycle them and check the labels along with your local council restrictions to ensure you’re disposing of them correctly. Or, sign up to a recycling scheme – TerraCycle has a variety of programmes so you can send or drop off your empty containers. 

Picking metal or glass over plastic is a good shout, as they can be recycled more times than plastic. Not to boast, but all Skin + Me products come in packaging made from infinitely recyclable aluminium. This means that it can be recycled again… And again… And again…

5. Choose your brands wisely

Before you buy skincare products from a new brand, do some research on their sustainability policies. There are plenty of responsible brands out there – including Skin + Me, of course – so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that works for you and the planet. 

Remember that natural ingredients don’t make a brand sustainable – the same goes for organic products. The most responsible brands will use great quality ingredients that really work, and offer packaging that can be refilled or recycled. In addition, if you’re being told that you need countless products, it’s probably not a responsible way to approach skincare. Extra points go to brands that give something back – whether that’s through charity initiatives, planting trees or working to reduce the levels of carbon they produce. 

6. Shop your existing skincare stash

Lots of us accumulate skincare and beauty products more than we’d like to admit, but it’s worth doing a quick inventory of everything you already have and striving to use them up before you buy something new. 

Most skincare products expire after about two years from opening, so keep an eye on expiry dates and the PAO (period after opening) symbol. In the interest of staying sustainable, empty out anything expired and then reuse or recycle the packaging. 

While we might not be able to change the world with our beauty regimes, it’s a good place to begin. Let’s get started!

New to Skin + Me? Start your healthier, happier skin consultation today.

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