5 (Realistic) Ways To Make Your Beauty Routine More Sustainable

Small steps that may make a big difference over time.

JGI/Jamie Grill

In 2020, the environment and climate change were two topics not making the headlines as often as perhaps they should have. Last year, priorities shifted, and the coronavirus dominated news cycles day in and day out. However, a new study has shown that 2021 will be the year people begin to re-focus their efforts on sustainability, including small changes they can make in their day-to-day lives. With that in mind, I've put together a list of five ways to make your beauty routine more sustainable in 2021, because the impact we make on the planet via our make up, skincare, and hair treatment choices can be quite substantial.

Garnier’s One Green Step Report surveyed people all over the world to find out what their thoughts and goals were this year, and the results were pretty astounding. Not only did 73% of their UK respondents say they wanted to be more sustainable in 2021, but those around the globe also see sustainability as a major priority: 78% of those surveyed in the U.S. said the same, plus 72% in France, 65% in Germany, 89% in the UAE, 90% in India and Brazil, and 94% in Indonesia.

The survey of UK respondents also revealed that over half (62%) cite a reduction in their use of plastic products as their number one green priority in 2021, and over a quarter have already started to make changes to their actions and behaviours in 2020.

With the world as it is now, still in the grip of a pandemic, it can seem impossible to make big changes. But here’s where your beauty routine comes in; there are plenty of little things you can do to make your life more sustainable, from introducing a new recycling system into your bathroom, to avoiding certain ingredients that are damaging to oceans. Here’s what you can do now.

Ditch Plastic Where Possible

We all know that plastic can be damaging for the environment and the amount of plastic rubbish flowing into the sea every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040, to 29 million tonnes, unless we do something about it.

Going plastic-free altogether is quite the commitment, so try to take things one step at a time. One thing you could try is swapping a product you use every day for one that is 100% plastic free. Over the course of 2021, that tiny change will have a big impact. Once you've done that, you can begin to apply that idea across your beauty routine and invest in brands that are committed to going plastic-free.

Set Up A Recycling System In Your Bathroom

With all that said about plastic, we have to acknowledge that many of us will embark on an imperfectly perfect routine, rather than one that cuts out plastic altogether. And while it's better to not use the stuff in the first place, we can reduce the damage to the planet where possible by recycling any plastic we do indeed use.

Most of us are already accustomed to recycling our foodstuffs and the packaging that goes with it, with recycling bins set up in our kitchen. But where many of us seem to fall short (myself included) is in the bathroom. It can be tempting to simply chuck an empty shampoo bottle in our bathroom bins, which ends up in household waste rather than recycling.

The solution? Pick up a mini split bin for your bathroom, with a section for household waste and one for recycling. What's more, brush up on your local area's recycling rules to ensure you're recycling the right things.

Opt For 'Clean' Ingredients

It has been suggested that ingredients such as parabens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, and synthetic fragrance can all take their toll on our delicate eco-system, often through our oceans. Think about it; anything you use on your body or face is usually washed down the drain at the end of the day, and to be more sustainable, we must think about where it is going and what it could be doing.

The easiest way to make a difference is to swap things like your SPF, shower gel, and hand wash to "clean" formulas that are plant-based, and do not contain any damaging ingredients.

Try Refillable Options

So you've removed as much plastic as possible from your routine, and you've nailed your recycling routine, but now what? Well, why not start fresh and begin investing in refillable beauty products? Making this swap means you won't be buying pointless packaging over and over.

Many brands now offer refillable options, be it Kjaer Weis for makeup, or Rituals for body bits. Take a look at some in our plastic-free guide, and our small edit of refillable goodies.

Stick to cruelty free brands

If you're committed to sustainability, it's likely you're also committed to cruelty free testing. Luckily, the majority of new brands are choosing to forgo animal testing completely and a number of larger, more established companies are following suit, so ditching these kinds of products has never been easier.

The simplest way to get on board with this is through Peta, who will become your most vital resource. Peta's website is packed full of lists and further information about which brands still test on animals, and others that choose to abstain.

Visit their website at