Studies Show We Only Use 12.5% of Our Makeup ProductsHere's How to Limit The Waste

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

The fewer items you use and buy, the less you're contributing to the waste stream. Additionally, being more conscious about what you do end up buying is better for the environment—as well as your own wellbeing. "There are so many reasons why minimizing our grooming and beauty routines is a damn good idea," asserts Piper. Below, she's provided actionable ways we can spring-clean our beauty routines and consumption habits to put an end to the waste.

Go on a "Financial Fast"

As someone with bathroom drawers brimming with beauty products, I'll be the first to admit overbuying is a serious problem. Except for my lineup of everyday go-tos, it's rare I'll completely finish a skincare or makeup product—and yet I continue to round out my collection with enticing new releases or beauty buys I end up using once in a blue moon. "I recommend people go on a 'financial fast,' which in this case is also a 'beauty fast,'" Piper tells us. She instructs to start by taking stock of what you reach for and actively use regularly. Then, put everything else away for one month. "Commit to using all items in your pared-down stash until they're empty," suggests Piper. "Only when they're done, consider a replacement."

Swap in Eco-Friendly Replacements

Once you've accumulated some empties and are in the market for new products, it's the perfect opportunity to clean up your routine. "This is the time to swap in a more eco-friendly replacement, like a compostable toothbrush or refillable lipstick," notes Piper, who lists a handful of sustainable swaps worth trying.

In the shower, Piper suggests switching out body wash with bar soap, exfoliating creams and scrubs with an exfoliating mitt, and disposable razors or cartridges with a reusable safety razor with refillable recyclable blades. Instead of cotton balls, pads, and rounds, try using reusable, washable cotton rounds and compostable cotton balls. When it comes to dental hygiene, in addition to switching to a compostable bamboo toothbrush, you can switch out dental floss with a natural fiber floss that can be composted, or even a water flosser. Menstrual cups, period panties, and reusable pads are more sustainable alternatives to disposable feminine care. For makeup, options that are refillable or in recyclable packaging are the best way to reduce waste.

Donate What You Don't Need

"Revisit the items you put away and see if you missed or wanted any of them," suggests Piper. "If not, see if they can be of use to friends, shelters, resale, or other programs that will take gently-used items." Learn from this exercise what products you do actually use and what you can live without so you can make smarter choices the next time you shop. The environment—and your bank account— will thank you.

Explore the World of Eco-Friendly Beauty

Piper admits there are many misconceptions regarding living more sustainably, especially when it comes to beauty routines. "That it's going to be difficult or expensive, that they'll have to settle for under-performing, 'crunchy' products, or that they can't be glamorous and good-smelling," she lists. "They're all totally untrue stigmas—eco-friendly beauty is just as va-va-voomish as the norm and so many options are cost-effective and readily accessible. If anything, eco- friendly items are even cooler," Piper says.

Take Baby Steps and Stick With It

"Though we might be told or hear the contrary from folks, every step and swap that we make, no matter how little, is helpful," reminds Piper. "So, don't discourage or be tough on yourself, don't race out and buy all new stuff right the second—working with what you currently have is the most eco-friendly option anyway—and don't psyche yourself into thinking you don't make a difference. Each one of us does and our choices matter."

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