A greener beauty routine is something we should all be aspiring to. Nope, we don’t mean a process of trying to look more like the Incredible Hulk, but rather a leaner, cleaner approach to the way we shop, pamper and preen which is less impactful on our environment. Because let’s face it, ‘the world was burning but at least I looked good’ certainly isn’t a good look. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to make your beauty routine better for the planet.

BE WARY OF MARKETING LINGO

Yep, we all know that we should be using natural and organic products, but actually that definition isn’t all that helpful. Instead of lifting the lid on a tub of ‘natural products’, we should be lifting the lid on the myriad marketing tricks employed to make us think we’re shopping greener. Sure, loads of chemically produced or enhanced beauty products have a harmful environmental impact as the chemicals from the products are released into the air, water, and more.

However, as Dr Richard Blackburn at Leeds University told the Guardian, ‘not all things from nature are safe and not all synthetics are bad,” Indeed, you should always be alert to marketing jargon designed to appeal to the casually environmentally conscious consumer. After all, arsenic, uranium and mercury are substances which occur naturally. That doesn’t mean you’d want to rub them all over your body. What’s more, some companies have been known to add extra ‘green’ ingredients which bring no benefit to the functioning of the product (pineapple and rosemary shampoo anyone?) just to boost that product’s natural and organic credentials. In doing so, they’ve unnecessarily used up resources which may be in short supply. Don’t always take the linguistic bait. Instead, look for the sustainability of a product’s sourcing…

LOOK OUT FOR ETHICAL & SUSTAINABLE SOURCING

A complex issue that deserves more than simply jumping on the bandwagon and boycotting a certain ingredient whenever a news report emerges.Take palm oil for instance; while it’s been charged with causing deforestation, displacing indigenous people and contributing to global warming amongst other things, many experts say you shouldn’t stop using it altogether as if it’s boycotted, companies would just look for an alternative, shifting the problem onto another, perhaps more harmful commodity. Instead, use your purchasing power to buy consciously from beauty brands who are committed to sustainability, not those who are simply peddlers of buzzwords which are catnip to the wellbeing market. Vote with your purse and lobby big brands to put sustainability and ethics at the forefront of their business model. In short, sustainable practices not products should be your guide.

START USING SUSTAINABLE, REGENERATIVE INGREDIENT SWAPS

Do your research and see if you can switch to an alternative product that’s composed of more sustainably sourced elements. Recently there’s been a lot of positive press given to products which use marine extracts and algae, grown in a company’s dedicated farm, as well as ingredients which have been grown and developed using fermentation and stem-cell cultivation. Regenerative aspects or those grown specifically for the task do less to deplete natural resources and leave less trace on the existing ecosystem. Result.

EMBRACE YOUR NATURAL HAIR

Perhaps a piece of advice pertinent across all aspects of the beauty sector; be happy and grateful for what you were born with. In short, embrace your natural look and simply use electrical appliances, such as hairdryers and straighteners, less. In doing so, you won’t waste energy.

USE MULTI PURPOSE PRODUCTS

Any product which kills two, even three, birds with one stone is a succinct way to reduce your environmental impact while still enjoying a good ol’ self pamper. All-in-one make-up sticks which can be used on your lips, eyes, and cheeks, for instance, can decrease the use of packaging and energy used in production that would have otherwise gone into three separate items in some instances. Running with a theme, moisturisers with an SPF that can also double up as a sun cream can half the footprint of the product and should be used wherever possible.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.