Sustainable Beauty: 6 Ingredients to Look For and 6 to Avoid

Are you seeking to make your beauty routine kinder to the planet and to yourself? Sustainable products offer a host of benefits with fewer nasty effects on your complexion and Mother Earth alike. 

How can you green your cosmetics collection? The best way is to look for eco-friendly products that offer a score of health benefits. Seek out the following six ingredients while shunning the not-so-nice ones to make your beauty routine more sustainable. 

Ingredients to Seek

When you find yourself standing in the cosmetics aisle waffling between two jars of face cream, look to the label to find sustainable beauty ingredients. The following six offer a host of benefits for your skin, hair and body without damaging the planet:

1. Coconut Oil

Have you heard of oil cleansing? If you have dry skin and still use ordinary soap and water, consider changing your approach. Replacing your washcloth with coconut oil could transform your appearance while treating the planet kindly. 

You don’t need to scrub hard. To use this makeup removal method, warm the solid oil to a liquid between your palms and use it to wipe away mascara, eyeliner and foundation. You can rub any remaining oil into your skin as a moisturizer, but make sure to use a purified, pressed version to prevent breakouts. 

2. Argan Oil

What if your skin is combination or oily? If you still want to use an oil cleanse around the delicate eye area, you can’t go wrong with argan oil. 

This oil won’t leave a greasy residue behind, and you can use it for much more than removing mascara. Apply some to wet hair after shampooing and wrap your head in a warm towel for a deep, infusing conditioning treatment. Add a few drops to ordinary soap while shaving to prevent itchiness and ashiness. 

3. Aloe 

If you’re wise with natural healing methods, you know to keep an aloe vera plant growing in your home. The gel produced by this plant aids in burn healing, making it handy to snap off a leaf when you accidentally touch the hot plate on your straightening iron. 

You’ll find this ingredient in a host of sustainable beauty products for the face and body. It contains antioxidants that fight skin aging. 

4. Witch Hazel 

Do you have acne? If so, witch hazel could serve as the ideal toner. Unlike alcohol-based astringents, it won’t overly dry your skin, which would otherwise promote more breakout-causing sebum. 

The best part of this sustainable beauty ingredient? The price. You can buy plain witch hazel for less than $2 at nearly any department or drug store —  bye-bye overpriced commercial products with indecipherable ingredient lists. 

5. Bentonite Clay 

Bentonite clay is another sustainable beauty wonder for the acne-prone. It pulls impurities out of the skin, and many natural practitioners recommend it for removing toxins from your skin. 

You can also use it as a natural deodorant. It makes a splendid replacement for aluminum-based products, which can have harmful effects — more on that momentarily. 

6. Green Tea 

If your skin is normal-to-dry, you can use green tea as an astringent to kill harmful bacteria on your skin’s surface while shrinking pores. The antioxidant properties help fight aging free radicals. 

You can also use it as a hair rinse or detox bath. Mix up several cups and pour the cooled liquid over shampooed tresses or add it to your bathwater.

Ingredients to Avoid

Some commercial beauty brands harm the environment. Try to avoid products containing the ingredients below:

1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

It’s nearly impossible to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate in products like dish soap. Fortunately, this ingredient doesn’t accumulate in the environment, but it is toxic to aquatic organisms, according to the International Chemical Safety Card Database. 

Why is this ingredient terrible for your skin and hair? It strips away vital oils. When it does so, you look dry, and your body amps up sebum production to make up for the lack of oils. The result? A wrinkled face that still has zits and greasy roots with split ends. 

2. Parabens

Parabens are a type of preservative frequently used in cosmetics. Unfortunately, they can disrupt your hormones and may increase breast cancer risk. Additionally, they cause ecological harm — low levels of butylparaben can kill coral, many species of which are already endangered. 

3. Microbeads 

There’s more than enough plastic in the ocean already — please don’t add to it with your cosmetic choices. Scientists have found these products in even the tiniest ocean creatures. It builds up in their stomachs and starves them to death, even as they try to eat. If you need a scrub, oatmeal or sugar makes a safe alternative. 

4. Phthalates

Phthalates often appear in many products, from hairspray to nail polish. They can disrupt the reproductive cycles of humans and animals alike. Beware of items that contain ingredients merely labeled “fragrance” — this term can disguise these substances. 

5. Aluminum

This troublesome armpit-stick ingredient can cause bone disease and dementia if your body doesn’t filter it quickly enough. While you should be fine if you are free from kidney trouble, you won’t know for sure minus a blood test. In a society where millions lack health care access, why take the risk? Use bentonite clay as a natural deodorant instead. 

6. Siloxanes

Siloxanes are classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This designation means they eventually turn into carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. Plus, they can linger in the water supply. 

Sustainable Beauty: Achieve It by Knowing What to Look for and Avoid 

If you want to make your grooming routine more eco-friendly, learn what ingredients to seek and which to avoid. Now that you know, you can improve your appearance while protecting the planet.