In case you weren't already aware, beauty has a big plastic problem. And while you hopefully recycle regularly and have given up disposable plastic grocery bags for a cute Baggu, you would probably be shook at how much plastic has quietly infiltrated almost every product (either in cap, lid, or receptacle form) in our beauty routines. (I would know, because I was.)
Last month, I challenged myself to swap my entire beauty routine — hair, skin, makeup – for packaging- and plastic-free products. And mind you, as an oily-skinned, extremely acne-prone beauty writer, I tend to cling to my routine like it's a life raft in the middle of a tidal wave. Sure, my job involves testing new stuff all the time, but a total top-to-bottom overhaul? I prepared for my skin to be very unhappy, to put it mildly.
That said, if we know that plastic is no bueno, why aren't more people weeding it out of their routine? Well, if you're like me, there's an emotional attachment to the products we put on our skin every day, and changing things up can be scary in a small-scale way. "There are hygienic and regulatory reasons for packaging in the personal care and beauty space, [but] I also know many of us look at package-free beauty products the same way some look at shopping for food from the bulk bins," Ashlee Piper, sustainability expert and author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet tells Refinery29. "There's a concern that naked products are going to be germy or somehow not the same if they're not swaddled in billions of layers of plastic."
Luckily, there are more products than ever to get your plastic-free fix, and as Piper says, discovering them can actually be a fun process. "Nearly any product you love has a more eco-compatible dupe that you'll equally love," Piper says. "When you're ready to get that replacement, enjoy the hunt: There's a lot of adventure and fun to be had in researching, smelling, and sampling new products." Click through to see what I used, plus other options for a variety of skin and hair types.
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