Guest blog post from the oh so talented, crazy smart, and deeply green Molly N.
I’ve always had a pretty simple routine for dealing with my appearance. In high school and college, I factored in time and cost when making decisions about the products to use, but it hasn’t been until recently that I started factoring in the bigger picture, namely friendliness to the environment. I had always accepted that these items would be my exception to living a sustainable lifestyle, but, to my delight, I’ve discovered that just a few choices can drastically make a difference.
I used to start my day with guilt. I used a face wash that relied on microbeads to cleanse my skin. Even worse, it smelled like chemicals. When I was younger, I thought that this harsh, artificial smell meant that something was working, and I actually looked forward to putting it on my skin. Clearly, I’ve since changed my way of thinking.
Taking microbeads out of your life is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce pollution of our waterways. Yet, for some reason, microbeads are everywhere when it comes to scrubs, peels and even toothpastes. Luckily, the bill to ban microbeads was passed and will be forced to stop by next year! Click here to see the bill
If you want information on whether your product contains microbeads, click here for a full list at Beat the MicroBead.
I’m so happy that I rethought my brand loyalty. Now, I use face washes and moisturizers that are made with natural ingredients (that I recognize!). That, combined with eating cleaner, more natural foods has made my skin healthier than ever. I understand that everyone’s skin is different, but I can’t recommend this route more.
I tried SO HARD to go without regular, commercial shampoo and conditioner. I gave my hair six weeks to adjust, to no avail. My thick, long hair felt greasy for a month and a half, and I didn’t feel good about myself.
So, what is the solution? I could cut my hair, I could try other alternatives, I could even start all over and force myself to like the natural homemade shampoo. Since deciding to keep my regular hair products, I’ve let my hair evolve in another way. I simply wash my hair less: maximum two times a week. This of course was an adjustment of its own, and I relied on strategic styling to hide the majority of the grease. But now, my hair is healthier and so much less time-consuming. I’ve also been using the same bottle of shampoo for three months, and still have half of it left. How’s that for reducing waste?
Like I said, my beauty routine is pretty limited compared to many other people. Because my skin and hair are healthier, though, I feel like I can afford to not use that many products. I barely put anything on my skin, but when I do, it is loose powder or sustainably-packaged, tinted sunscreen. When I really need to dress up, I use a wooden pencil for eye-liner, and powdered eye shadow. Luckily, a little goes a long way.
One of the biggest changes I’ve made involves disposable bathroom staples. I used to put toner onto a cotton round, but I’ve switched those out for reusable cloths that I bought on Etsy. That’s one less piece of trash each morning. I’ve completely stopped using cotton swabs to clean my ears and fix make up faux pas, not only because they create so much waste, but because they’re actually bad for your ears. Click here to learn more.
I still would like to learn more about how I can be more sustainable when purchasing these products, because I know that I can always improve. The key is to do research. We live in an amazing time where there is a market – a niche market, but nevertheless a market – for ethical products. Let’s use the most important thing we have to big companies, our wallets, to prove that this market is wanted.
Molly Nicholson first started trying to save the world when she took all her friends' school papers home to recycle (whether they knew it or not). Since then, she's focused on showing others how easy it is to become more sustainable with just a few swaps, and introducing them to the magic of MorningStar. Molly recently graduated from the University of Georgia and spends her weekdays as a digital marketer in Augusta, Ga.