Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

It’s Time to Rethink Your Beauty Products: Try These Sustainable Options Instead

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

It’s no secret that the beauty industry has started to take a deeper look into its impact on both consumers and the planet. Now more than ever, we are seeing companies create products that are more environmentally friendly and healthier overall. With all these new choices, it’s easier than ever to make switches to your everyday routine that will benefit your body and your wallet in the long run.

Here are a couple of my favorite sustainable beauty products, and a few general tips on how to be a more eco-friendly consumer in today’s society.


Safety Razors ($20-$100+)

(Photo by Laura Mitulla via Unsplash)

Not head-over-heels obsessed with your razor? Consider looking into getting a safety razor. In recent years I’ve seen more and more posts about these bad boys floating around social media. People are in love, and for good reason. A safety razor is a onetime purchase, and all you have to buy in order to continue using it are more blades, which can be recycled. They range in price from about $20-$100+, but there are plenty of quality options for less than $50. The cost is well worth it, because it means that you will never have to buy a pack of plastic disposable razors again—only some low-cost replacement blades.


Coconut Oil (Avg. $5)

I know what you’re probably thinking: “Not this stuff again!” You may think coconut oil is just a fad better left in the past, but I’m here to respectfully disagree. I haven’t moved on from it, and neither have my friends. It’s a really useful multi-purpose product. I recommend buying it in bulk and using it as shaving cream, moisturizer and smoothing oil for your hair. A word of caution, though: be careful using coconut oil on your face. If you’re acne-prone like myself, coconut oil could cause you to break out. Stick to using it as a hair product and you should be just fine. Also, make sure to flush some warm water down the drain after your shower to reduce the chance of it clogging your shower/tub.


Exfoliation Brushes & Gloves

If you’re into the whole full-body exfoliation thing, there are many sustainable options out there. Exfoliation gloves and brushes are some great reusable choices. They’re alternatives to body scrubs that have tiny little plastic beads in them. Microplastics down the drain = microplastics in our waterways. Not great. Another alternative is to create your own exfoliation scrub, usually using some type of sugar and oil. Pinterest and some general Googling will give you all the recipes you will need.


Bar Soap, Shampoo & Conditioner

In the spirit of staying away from plastics, I present to you soap in its classic form, a bar. Lush is known for making some great shampoo and conditioner bars, and Target has a couple options as well, including the newer brand Love Beauty and Planet. These bars provide you with a good lather, last longer on average than a bottled product, tend to feature ingredients that are better for you and they come without unnecessary packaging. Plus, they’re much easier to travel with. What’s not to love?


Reusable Makeup Removing Pads (Avg. $20, Some for as Low as $15)

One of my favorite new purchases is a set of reusable makeup removing cloth pads. They are SO SOFT and work like a charm. To use you just 1) get them wet and 2) wipe your face. They’re really that easy. And when you’ve dirtied them all up, you just throw them in their mesh bag and pop them in the wash. Goodbye one-and-done makeup wipes! We will only miss you a tiny bit (and by that I mean only on weekends when we’re feeling particularly lazy).

Note: soft towels, specific makeup removing towels and oddly enough, nursing pads, will all work the same. (Nursing pads tend to be the same size and a bit cheaper!)


Eco-Friendly Lotion (Yay for Earth starting at $12.50)

(Photo by Maura Scrabis)

This product is a specific recommendation. There are hundreds, if not thousands of lotions on the market right now. I mean, a search for “lotion” on Sephora’s website turns up approximately 643 results. All of them most likely have the same basic ingredients too. Yay for Earth, on the other hand, is different. It is made with only a handful of organic, natural ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, shea butter and pomegranate seed oil— and it comes in a glass jar! If you’re questioning how well these ingredients work, the lotion’s creator has a whole collection of reviews featured on her Instagram page. You can find these archived stories and more sustainable, earth-loving goodness @stevieyaaaay.


Toner & Face Wash in Glass Bottles

Lastly, cleansers. When buying face wash or toner, the best products to consider are the ones in glass bottles. These bottles can be reused for various things, or they are easily recycled, as glass is one of the best materials fit for recycling. My favorite brand is cocokind because they offer a wide range of high-quality products, many of them known to greatly reduce the appearance and occurrence of acne and uneven skin tone. If you’re more particular about the types of ingredients that you like in your products, at least try for brands like Alba Botanica that use recycled plastic packaging. It’s not the best choice, but it’s better than nothing.


Some General Tips for Living More Sustainably:

Reuse as much as you can. Sometimes the best options are already in your home.

-On that note, make as much as you can! Face masks are a good example. My favorite combo is honey and green tea leaves.

-In terms of makeup, many sustainable brands are understandably expensive, but there are still some affordable options out there. Check out these brands to start: Elate Beauty and Antonym Cosmetics

-Research, research, research! With just a little bit of time, you can find greener companies that sell amazing products.

-And remember, even one or two of these switches will make an impact. You don’t have to use all of these products, and your changes do not have to happen all at once. What counts is that you’re making an effort.


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Maura is a senior communication and business dual major at the University of Pittsburgh. In her free time, she enjoys trying out new TV shows, spending time outdoors, reading, and attempting to bake on the weekends.
Thanks for reading our content! hcxo, HC at Pitt