Eco-friendly Beauty Products: Do This Before Buying Anything Else

Honest Company Beauty Products

I am very pleased to say that there so many eco-friendly beauty products on the market now: mouthwash tabs, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, etc… I know we’re all anxious to go green and splurge on responsible products.  But I’m going to take your fun away for a minute, and replace it with sustainable cash-saving.

do you already have the most eco-friendly beauty products?

I want to walk you through a quick exercise that will help you get organized, save money and improve your sustainable living habits, all in under an hour.  And it doesn’t include buying anything new.  So put your wallet away, and find a box, because we’re about to green your bathroom by starting a habit that can propel you forward on your sustainable living journey.

Check out the QUICK process below to get organized, stop spending money on products you don’t need and create a little system for yourself in less than an hour.  Save Money.  Save the Planet.  And Save Your Sanity. And then you can go out and buy eco-friendly beauty products to replace then ones you’ve finished.


lots of beauty and hygiene products

1. Go through your home and collect any products you use on your body. 

(hair styling gels, sprays, creams, shampoos, conditioners, skincare, makeup, lotions, perfumes, colognes, shaving creams, deodorants, toothpastes and mouthwashes, etc., etc., etc.  All that stuff you keep in your bathroom.

If you are anything like me and pretty much everyone I know, you have beauty products for months, and they are in random places.  If you travel a lot, products tend to be in various places, so get them all out of travel bags too.

Once you gather them all up, you’ll probably be surprised at how many half-filled, brand new or almost empty bottles (most likely plastic) you have of various items.

Side note: I recently did a blog about sustainable clothing and one of the suggestions was to do a clothing swap with friends.  Of course, I try to practice what I preach, and have started a bin swap with my friends.  So, to personalize this a little, the image below shows products I received from one of my friends in that swap.  One person, and these are the things she didn’t want.  The typical person has plenty of product in their homes, men and women alike.  (Men will load up on hair gels, shampoo and deodorants just as bad as women.)

2. Separate them out into like-products.

Put all your deodorants, shampoos, lotions with similar products.  You’ll likely find you have multiples of certain ones.  This is such a great way to take inventory of what you have and what you actually need.

3. Select one product from each category that you will use exclusively until it’s gone.

You could select the oldest first, especially if it is subject to expiration.  I usually pick the one closest to being empty.  For me, there is such satisfaction in using the very last drop of something, so I usually go for the quick gratification (I’m only human, after all).  Any time I finish something, it justifies the purchase, meaning my guilt is alleviated for the moment (until I get to the trash or recycling stage and envision its disposal/life after use.)

4. Store all your extras in one place.

Take the last Amazon box you received and load it up with the remaining products.  You can either toss them all in or organize it nicely so you know which product to pull out and don’t have to futz through the box later.  Why not?  You’re already killing this organization thing.  Might as well make the “Extra Box” neat and tidy too.

box of sustainable beauty products

Some people may like to alternate shampoos/conditioners or other items for a variety of reasons.  In this case, you can keep out a couple containers of the same product, or just one until you feel like you want to switch it up.  I prefer the latter, because it makes for a cleaner space that I interact with regularly, and I would encourage this as well, unless you alternate daily or weekly, even.  But if you use one shampoo for a month and then want to switch it up, then I’d encourage only keeping one out.

(Keep reading to see a side benefit of not alternating products.)

5. When you pull the last of something, make a note

You can keep a list in that Extras Box that says when you have pulled the last deodorant or shampoo.  You might also make note of what product you finished that you would want to buy again. By tracking this way, you can know when you are ‘free’ to buy that eco-friendly product replacements you’ve been eyeing!

6. Keep the empty containers you like. 

When you move forward on your journey, you might start to replace those store-bought products with homemade products that DON’T come in plastic containers.  But that’s for another time.  For now, use what you have, organize it and keep the containers you like for when you start making your own products (diy deodorant, sea salt spray/ texturizer, body moisturizers). Below are a few I am keeping from products I’ve finished. I will probably use them for body oils in the winter, a sugar hand scrub and a DIY facial toner.

The Benefits:

  1. It helps you take inventory of what you have.  It’s hard to know what you need when you don’t know what you have.  And even worse, it’s so frustrating to purchase something that you think you may have but can’t find.
  2. It saves you money.  See above!  Knowing what you have means you aren’t buying because you are unorganized.  You are using products you have already spent money on.
  3. Using one product per purpose at a time helps you recognize what products work well for you.  If your skin feels softer than usual, and you have only been using one skin product, you can file that away and purchase it again (after you’ve used the other ones up!)  If you find your hair is weighed down and greasier than usual, maybe you can identify that the conditioner you are using is too heavy and you can either cut down how much you use, how often, or even swap the process and moisturize your hair first then shampoo afterwards.  This simple task of using one product per purpose helps you lead a more cognizant and intentional life by informing you of what works with your body.  Narrowing it down tells you more about the product and how your body reacts with it and informs you to make better future investments.  When you are using multiple products, you could be wasting money, because you can’t tell if that expensive facial serum actually works when you only use it once a week and you are using a cheap OTC brand the rest of the time.  What if the OTC brand is what is making your face so luminous and youthful looking, and you don’t have to buy such an expensive brand?  (A girl can dream).
  4. Less stress.  Yes.  I truly believe this is the case.  Don’t you hate rummaging through drawers trying to find your eye cream?  Futzing is so last year.   Clear out your drawers.  Clear out your mind.  There’s a reason everyone’s on the Marie Kondo train.  ‘Cause it’s the damn bomb to be able to find what you need when you need it.  It simplifies your life and makes every day little common activities easier, reducing your overall stress.  Try it with just these types of products, and you’ll see what I mean. (But don’t just throw them out to get rid of them!)
  5. Organized is attractive.  Do you watch HGTV?  All those renovations?  This is the secret: These places look great because no one is living in them!  There’s no mail on the counter.  No ‘catch all’ bowl filled with keys, receipts, cards, wallets, flashlights, batteries and whatever random crap you take out of your pockets after returning from work.  There’s no pan on the stove.  There’s NO PRODUCT SPREAD ALL OVER THE BATHROOM SINK.  So naturally it looks amazing.  Well, we can’t help that we live in our houses.  But we can organize our spaces.  That Amazon box doesn’t have to be an Amazon box- it can be prettier if you so desire, but the point is that it collects the items you aren’t using.  Make the space you interact with regularly easy to interact with- and it will become more attractive in the process.
  6. It’s satisfying to use the last of something.  I can’t believe how seldom I got to that point years ago.  It actually hit me because I was critical of a friend’s cluttered space and her mentioning that she didn’t have any money, then going out and buying more makeup.  Boo to my judginess, but yay for the moment of recognition that I was able to apply to my life and the way I interact with products and purchases.  I don’t use a lot of product, and I don’t share my products with anyone, so it may take me longer, but if you’re anything like me, once you start knocking products out, it’s celebration time!  And that celebration far surpasses the emotion of no longer having that product.  (Unless it’s your favorite and you can’t go without it.)

This approach allows you to have a more intentional eye towards the beauty products in your life.  I’m not asking you to give them up.  I am asking you to be more cognizant about what you have, what works, and USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  That’s all.  It will save you money, help you identify what works for you, and help you get organized.  All pluses, I’d say.

After whittling down some of your products, start considering green product replacements. These may be DIY products or eco-friendly beauty products from ethical and sustainable companies.  Either way, start here, use what you have.  It’s the most sustainable, by far, and in the future, you can reward yourself for going through all the products you have by replacing them with luxurious new sustainable options.

Anyway, I hope you give this a chance and see if it works for you.  Let me know!

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