Here are 19 ethical beauty tips for ethical consumers. Discover ways to use and purchase LESS cosmetics and toiletries and natural — even cost free — substitutes that potentially work better, devoid of problematic consequences.
*Suggestions may be sponsored.
Using store bought beauty and hygiene products can be VERY problematic for the ethical consumer. Not only do costs add up, but you often unwillingly fund animal testing, purchase non-vegan products that contain common beauty additives like beeswax, lanolin, honey and milk and buy environmentally destructive ingredients such as palm oil. The packaging and disposability of products are key elements to consider for sustainably concerns. Health-wise, you’re also applying potentially toxic chemicals directly onto your body. Fragrances in particular have been suspected to cause cancer! Such scents are added to everything from shampoo to lotion to makeup to nail polish and more. Each time we apply such toxic products to our scalp or skin they are absorbed into the bloodstream!
1. Instead of washing hair every day, wash once per week.
It may take some time for your scalp to adjust but eventually you’ll see much less oil the less frequently you wash your hair. Also be sure to brush hair thoroughly a few times a day to disperse natural oil throughout to moisturize naturally.
2. Instead of getting hair cut every 6–8 weeks, get it cut once or twice per year.
The best way to grow hair longer is to not cut it. Trimming dead ends is often unnecessary, as they will break off naturally anyhow. Most salons are not vegan and use harmful animal products when they cut and style hair for their clients.
3. Instead of coloring hair, stick with your natural color.
Most hair dyes, whether at home or in the salon, contain many toxic chemicals. Applying color to hair damages and dries it. Hair dye gets absorbed into your system through the scalp. Stick with your natural color as often and long as you can! If you’re trying to achieve a lighter shade, try adding lemon juice to your hair and sitting in the sun. This works for many hair types *but not all. When you start to get grey hairs, you’ll likely find yourself loathing hair dye due to cost, frequency and maintenance. So why bother now if you don’t “have to” color your hair at all?
3. Instead blow drying hair, let it air dry.
Save energy and electric bill costs and let your hair air dry instead. It’s much healthier for the hair and will prevent breakage. Plus, blow dryers surprisingly use a lot more electricity than you may think!
4. Instead of using shampoo and conditioner, switch to baking soda and apple cider vinegar or rotate it into your hair wash routine.
If you haven’t already heard, you can occasionally use baking soda mixed with water to deeply cleanse your scalp and hair. ACV mixed with water is an excellent conditioner and adds shine to hair. You can use on its own or in addition to a small amount of traditional conditioner to help hair look its best. Check out this ACV top pick: Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar With the Mother
Instead of buying lotion, moisturize skin with plant oils like coconut oil.
Plant oils can have multiple uses for cooking, removing make up, moisturizing hair ends, etc.. So many lotions contain (unnatural) fragrance which can be toxic to the body. Additionally it may irritate the skin and cause allergic reaction to yourself and others with fragrance sensitivities.
Instead of buying perfume, use herbal oils like patchouli, lavender, etc.
Using natural oils for fragrance is much better than perfume which is extremely toxic and quite expensive. It’s one of the top products tested on animals to test skin reactions so this is definitely a product to stay away from for the sake of animal rights. Check out this top rated plant based scent: Lavanila — The Healthy Fragrance Clean and Natural
Instead of using soap for the entire body, wash with mostly water and use soap only for armpits.
Believe it or not, even private areas do much better with less or entirely without soaps that commonly dry out and strip the body of healthy bacteria and its natural ability to self-cleanse (you can confirm this with your gynecologist and health practitioner) When cleansing with water, be sure to do so several times and wash in the same way you would with soap.
Instead of getting a manicure / pedicure or buying nail polish, go natural.
Skip the polish all together. If you do color nails, pick a shade that will go well with your wardrobe and last longer instead of trendy and temporary colors. Many nail salons are not vegan friendly or cruelty free. Even if wearing a mask, the thick, toxic chemicals in the air of nail salons are highly toxic to breathe in and can lead to respiratory issues.
Instead of buying disposable plastic razors, invest in a good quality metal razor with changeable blades.
The better quality razor, the better your skin will react to it. Disposable razors are made from plastic and pile up in the landfill — both extremely problematic for sustainability. Single purchase metal razors may be more expensive in the beginning and require changing out blades but over time it saves money, razor burn and the environment. Check out this top rated one: Double Edge Safety Razor with Long Natural Bamboo Handle
Instead of buying pads and tampons, invest in a menstrual cup.
What’s wrong with tampons and pads? Aside from being single use and disposable, their eco un-friendliness is extended to their cotton origin which is typically not organic. Growing non organic cotton requires heavy amounts of toxic pesticides. Menstrual cups are said to be better for sustainability, feminine health and your wallet! Here’s a great choice: Lena Menstrual Cup
Instead of buying loofas, sponges and wash cloths, use your hands to apply soap when showering.
Plastic shower scrubs are bad for the environment and true sponges are not vegan and have their own set of sustainability issues. They also harbor bacteria which gets reapplied to the skin during each use.
Instead of getting waxed, stick to shaving.
Wax used for hair removal is NOT vegan unless (rarely) specified otherwise. Waxing is also expensive. To prevent or help skin irritation that follows waxing, beauticians recommend buying products that are often tested on animals and may or may not be vegan. Stop the painful process all together and just stick to shaving!
BONUS TIP: When taking a bath or soaking feet, add baking soda to the water for a conditioned, moisturized feel that will leave skin incredibly soft!
Instead of buying exfoliating scrubs, shave.
Shaving your face is not just for men or beards! Using a razor has been proven to exfoliate dead skin cells. Shaving the face can even help clear complexion and also takes care of unwanted facial hair and peach fuzz…just be sure to steer clear of the eyebrows!
Instead of buying excessive amounts of makeup, use less and go for more natural looks.
Use tinted facial moisturizer (2 in 1) instead of foundation, go makeup free or only wear minimal: eyebrows, mascara, bronzer to “awaken the face” and skip everything else. Focus on clearing your complexion with better dietary choices, hormone levels, water drinking and by wearing less makeup, that way you won’t have to use heavy foundations and powders to hide blemishes, which create a frustrating cycle of more blemishes appearing from the makeup used to conceal other blemishes.
Instead of buying disposable, cotton rounds replace them with cloths.
Remove make up and nail polish with soft, washable and reusable pieces of fabric instead of contributing to cotton demand and single use products. You may have some leftover materials already around the house that you can repurpose for this use.
Instead of buying disposable cotton swabs, invest in a reusable q-tip.
Although it is advised to not use q-tips for cleaning ears, many of use do it anyhow but if so, be sure to clean gently and occasionally. Some people also use q-tips to perfect eye make up application for eye liner and cleaning mascara smudges. Clean reusable q-tips with water and soap. They last a long time, save money, waste and lessens cotton production. Here’s a crowd favorite: LastSwab Reusable Zero Waste Swab
Instead of buying make up wedges, use your hands to apply and blend foundation.
When using those spongy makeup wedges or beauty blenders, most of the foundation gets absorbed and doesn’t even stick to the skin properly. On top of that, it holds bacteria and dirt that will get on the skin during the next use. The healthiest and most economical way to apply and blend foundation is with your hands.
Instead of buying teeth whitening products, try baking soda and/or coconut oil pulling.
Skip expensive, chemical heavy teeth whitening products and sprinkle some baking soda on top of your toothpaste occasionally to help de-yellow teeth. Oil pulling is when you swish a teaspoon of plant oil (preferably coconut oil) around in your mouth for as long as you can. Do it first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. This method detoxes the body and rids the mouth of harmful bacteria that builds up overnight…and whiten teeth as well!
If you enjoyed these tips check out these great books that contain more eco friendly, natural beauty and hygiene ideas not mentioned in the list above.
If you have more suggestions or would like to submit feedback about this article you can contact Adriane Marie directly via HEALabel, ethical consumerism info source for Health + Environment + Animals + Laborers using the contact form here.
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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