Starting an eco-friendly lifestyle can feel overwhelming. We get that. The thought of changing your whole life up is daunting, and it’s tricky to know where to start. Maybe you’ve dabbled in sustainable living. You’ve got a recyclable coffee cup, and you’re ready to dive into the deep end. But when it comes to skincare, you might be reluctant to chuck away all your makeup, skincare products, and tools and start anew.

Rule number one, you don’t have to do that! That’s a big no-no in the eco-friendly community. Why? Because you’d be wasting perfectly functioning products, and that isn’t what we’re about. It’s okay if the products you have now aren’t sustainable; use them until they run out and then replace them with environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Why shop sustainable skincare?

  1. It’s better for your skin: Eco-friendly skincare ingredients are typically natural, and natural ingredients are much better for your skin than synthetics. It’s no secret plants and herbs have been used for centuries for their healing and beautifying abilities.

    Synthetic, toxic ingredients should never have been allowed to enter the beauty world, but they’re slowly but surely being pushed out. Manufacturers only use them because they’re cheaper to make, not because they have benefits that override nature’s gifts.

    While toxic skincare ingredients often irritate the skin, natural ingredients tend to be much more gentle. There’s a common trend of people thinking they have super irritable skin, then realising it’s because they were using irritating products. Once they switch over to an all-natural skincare regime, the sensitivity reduces massively.

  2. It’s better for your health: It turns out, petrochemicals can have long-term adverse effects on your body. Extended use of synthetic cosmetics has been linked to headaches, eye issues, acne, hormonal imbalance and premature ageing. Why live with that stressful uncertainty when you can switch over to a simple, safe and effective alternative?
  3. It’s better for the planet: Most of us are on board with recyclable shopping bags and sustainable straws, but when it comes to skincare it’s tempting to stick to what you know. But, petrochemicals pollute the environment with toxins. Remember microbeads? It was only in 2015 when it was revealed that over 8 trillion microbeads were washing into waterways every day. President Obama (praise Obama) banned the use of small plastics in cosmetics after that finding.

Do you want to find out how you can change things up? Let’s get started.

How to create an ethical skincare regime:

  1. Get reusable bamboo cotton pads: Once you’ve run out of regular cotton pads, invest in some high-quality organic bamboo cotton pads. They’re gentle on the skin and better for the environment. Just pop them in the wash when they need a clean, and you’ll be eliminating so much unnecessary waste. Shop NOOD’s Organic Bamboo Cotton Pads here.
  2. Read the small print: When you’re buying new eco-friendly skincare products, you’ll have to become something of a secret agent. Unfortunately, some brands green-wash, meaning they claim their products are 100% natural, environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free, but have found a loophole somehow. So, do your research. Read the full ingredients lists and if you don’t know what something is, look it up! Read product reviews and inspect the brands about page.

    Become curious about the products you buy; don’t just buy any old thing. We’ve tried to make Zazen Collective as informative as possible so you know exactly what you’re buying. And, all our products are sourced from carefully-selected ethical skincare brands, so we’ve done most of the detective work for you.

  3. Avoid plastic packaging: If a brand is still using unrecyclable plastic in 2020, it’s time to ditch them. There are so many amazing ethical skincare brands selling products in 100% recyclable packaging, so show them (and the planet) some love.
  4. Recycle the packaging: You can even reuse the little tins and tubs for different things, like making a DIY product or for travel. Repurposing mascara brushes as eyebrow fluffers, for example, is another nifty DIY trick.
  5. Give unwanted goods away: You might not love that lipstick on you, but it might look gorgeous on your best friend. So, give it to her! You can also try and sell unused products you weren’t able to return on online re-selling stores like eBay or Depop.
  6. Use multi-tasking products: There are so many incredible multi-tasking products that are all-natural, like balms. Balms usually contain lots of plant and essential oils, so they easily melt away makeup, cleanse the skin and moisturise. Love Absolute has an extensive range of beauty balms, which you can find here.
  7. Don’t let the tap run: When you’re washing your face or brushing your teeth, turn off the water when you’re not using it. Water scarcity is a serious issue that already affects many parts of the world, so it’s not something to neglect. Splash your face with water then turn the tap off, or use a damp microfibre cloth to remove your cleanser.
  8. Don’t buy travel-sized bottles: They might be cute as hell and handy for travel, but they’re really bad for the environment. A better, more sustainable option is investing in a travel-friendly collection of bottles (or use your recycled tins and jars from previous products) and fill them with the products you love. Or, use eco-friendly, 100% recyclable travel-friendly products, like Wildtree Skincare’s Body Melt Scrubs.
  9. Shop mindfully: Think about what you need. If you already have about ten different moisturisers, use them first or try a body oil instead. You might find you have so many because none of them seemed to work. Look at their ingredients and consider whether that’s because they don’t contain natural, nourishing ingredients. It’s typical of petrochemicals to make your skin feel smooth on the surface, but for that moisture not to last.
  10. Be willing to spend a little more: There are some affordable eco-friendly beauty brands, but the majority cost a little more than your standard high-street products because natural ingredients can be expensive. They’re also made with love and care, usually in the place of origin and not abroad. And that’s great. You don’t want a skincare product made in China in a sweatshop, no matter how cheap it is. You want to know exactly where it was made and by who, that the manufacturers care about your skin not just how many products they can produce in an hour.

We hope this guide helps you with your sustainable living journey! We created Zazen Collective to spread the message and encourage people to transform their skincare routines into more ethical ones. The ethical skincare brands featured on Zazen Collective were selected with care and we hope you love them as much as we do. Delve into Zazen Collective here.