How to Shop Sustainably

by Emily Barth Isler

Feel good, look good and do good

Many still believe that when it comes to choosing beauty and personal care products, compromise is inevitable. Maybe we have to choose between sustainable packaging or healthy ingredients. Or, if we buy from a company that is philanthropic, it may mean compromising on the content of the products. When making a zero-waste purchase from New Zealand, does the carbon footprint of shipping it across the globe negate the good? Sometimes it feels like we cannot win, even when we just want to use our buying power to make the world a better place.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. When it comes to sustainable, safe and healthy beauty and personal care, we should be able to have it all. And, better yet, we can! Many brands are driven by the belief that we should not have to make sacrifices to have products that are good, feel good and do good. Giving back to the environment is a basic tenet of the best of Green Beauty, and now, more than ever, brands are finding innovative ways to incorporate ethical, sustainable and conservationist practices into their products. For consumers, education is key when it comes to shopping sustainably. Here are a few tips.

Look for stores that encourage you to buy less

Beauty Heroes, an online retailer with a new flagship store in Novato, California, wants customers to buy fewer items that are of top-notch quality, rather than loading up on tons of mediocre items that go to waste. They also work with brands in their Project Blue Beauty initiative to benefit our oceans, and be as sustainable as possible. beauty-heroes.com

Shop with companies that walk the walk

The Detox Market is planting 500,000 trees this year with Eden Reforestation Projects, under its new Sustainability Starts Now campaign. You can bet it carries a lot of brands that share its sustainability commitment. thedetoxmarket.com

Refill and recycle

Follain is a chainlet of green beauty stores with impeccable vetting for truly clean brands. You can bring your empty product bottles and tubes there to be recycled with TerraCycle, an organization that separates all the pumps, straws, lids and pieces into categories so they can be properly processed. follain.com

Reduce waste by purchasing samples first

Try out an excellent online retailer like integritybotanicals.com, which sells trial sizes and samples of products so you can try before you buy. This reduces waste significantly because it ensures you’re not purchasing something you won’t truly love and use.

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