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Changing your beauty routine could ultimately save you nearly $3,000 — here’s how to get started

You can save $75 every year just by scraping the last bit of your cosmetics out of the container.

You can save $75 every year just by scraping the last bit of your cosmetics out of the container.

Photo Credit: iStock

Hygiene, skincare, and makeup probably aren’t the first activities you think of when you imagine a greener lifestyle, but they have a significant impact since you do them every day. 

A few simple changes to your beauty routine can save you nearly $3,000 over 10 years, all while reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals that can also damage the environment. 

Plus, you can also lower your water bill by about 900 gallons a year and keep hundreds of pounds of trash out of landfills in the next decade. There are no downsides! Here are five of the best ways to “green” your beauty routine.

Use every bit of your products

Every time you throw away a bottle or tube with product still in it, that’s money going directly into the trash. You can save $75 every year by finding ways to scrape the last bit of your cosmetics out of the container and generate about 15 pounds less trash over 10 years as you buy fewer packages.

Use a mini spatula for small bottles like concealer and lip gloss, or cut open larger containers like those containing lotion and shampoo. Tiny, leftover slivers of bar soap can go into a soap bag; if you use a soap bag from the beginning, it will extend the life of every bar.

Recycle health and beauty products

Cosmetics often come in specialized containers that can’t just be tossed in with ordinary recycling. That said, some providers have their own in-house recycling programs that are better because you can walk away with new products or store credit

Lush offers a $1 store credit for one empty container or a free face mask for five. GlamBot lets you sell new, lightly used beauty products for cash or store credit and offers free shipping.

Even if you can’t get a deal for your old products and containers, you should look for a provider like Sephora that will recycle them for free. Recycling these products can help our landfills stay less clogged without costing you a dime.

Support eco-friendly brands

While many mainstream beauty brands use excessive plastic packaging and inefficient manufacturing processes, some companies try to minimize waste. For example, Wild offers a refillable stick deodorant with a subscription service.

If you explore your alternatives, you can easily break even on cost while having less garbage and sending 10 pounds less trash to the landfill over the next 10 years. Plus, you’ll be supporting companies like HiBAR, Meow Meow Tweet, and Pangea that will put that money back into cost-effective products that are safe for your skin and the planet.

Choose clean cosmetics

Despite decades of research proving their harmful properties, many mainstream beauty products still contain the “dirty dozen” cosmetic chemicals, including BHA and BHT, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and parabens. “Clean cosmetics” are products free of these well-known toxins and carcinogens.

This is one step in greening your beauty routine that does cost money in the short term, as clean cosmetics run about 30% more than mainstream ones. 

However, the long-term health benefits are well worth the investment, and you may even avoid costly medical bills down the road.

Traditional chapsticks are made with harmful petroleum jelly, but there is a wide range of lip balm options that use beeswax, jojoba oil, shea butter, or calendula oil instead. Walmart’s online shop, Clean Beauty, offers almost 900 similar substitutions.

Stop buying single-use items

Most people choose single-use items like disposable razors, face wipes, and makeup applicators because they’re cheaper upfront, and throwing them away is convenient. 

However, disposable items are usually low quality, and when you add up the cost of regular replacements, reusable options can be the same price or cheaper over time. Choosing reusable products also means way fewer plastic pieces in the trash.

A metal safety razor provides a quality shave for years, while washable muslin cloth is gentler on your skin than makeup wipes. You can even repurpose existing items in your home — for example, wash an old mascara wand to get a new eyebrow spoolie.

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