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Ways to Reduce Beauty Product Waste

Reusable cotton pads packaged in a wooden container.

As sustainability becomes both more trendy and crucial, mindful beauty practices and purchases are becoming more accessible. The beauty industry is responsible for a lot of single-use product waste, but this is slowly shifting. With little changes, you can turn a great deal of your beauty routine into a sustainable, mindful routine each day.

Use Reusable Cotton Pads

After a long day, nothing feels better than using a cotton pad to use your favorite cleansing oil, tone your face, and several other steps. One step to the next, though, you can go through at least two or three cotton pads, building up a gradual mountain of single-use waste. Now, it is possible to purchase reusable cotton pads that are easy to use and easy to wash. Reusable cotton pads made from cotton, bamboo or terry cloth are eco-friendly fabrics fit for removing your makeup or applying skincare products. Simply take your cotton rounds, use them, then wash them in the mesh bag they often come with. With this simple step, you’re saving hundreds of cotton rounds a year.

An old candle container being repurposed as a brush holder.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Reuse Your Containers

How often do you finish a product and throw it away without thinking? Sustainability is a learning process, and even more than that, it’s a creative process. Beauty containers offer so many creative opportunities, so you can do so many things to reuse your containers. Various beauty containers can be used to hold makeup brushes, candles, plants, jewelry, and more. Recycling your beauty containers is a great first step for practicing sustainable beauty, and you can be as creative as you want with your favorite old beauty products!

Find Minimal Waste Products

If excess packaging is one of your biggest concerns with beauty products, you can intentionally choose products that feature minimal packaging. Some beauty products even offer “naked” packaging. Naked products ensure you get every last bit of product while using less packaging at the same time. Many products come without packaging in bulk, like soap bars, shampoo bars, and more. With this little swap, you can enjoy more product with less waste.

A cosmetic brush with makeup on it and makeup in the background.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska

The Tools Matter

There are many eco-friendly tools out there made from sustainable or recycled materials. Whether you’re on a budget or ready to splurge, the brushes you choose can have a big impact on the environment. As brushes tend to age over time, another sustainable choice you can make with your tools is a beauty sponge or silicone applicator, as those are durable enough to last a great deal of time.

Come Prepared to Shop

You hear it everywhere you go, and you see them, too. Don’t forget your reusable bags! Whether it’s a quick trip to CVS or long strolls down the beauty aisles in Target or Sephora, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags as you shop for your beauty products. One reusable bag can eliminate the waste of hundreds of plastic, single-use bags. Not only do they carry more with ease, but they also reduce waste one trip at a time.

As we wind down the year, consider these small beauty changes to make a huge difference for our world.

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