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Eco-friendly skincare 101 - It’s time to ditch the disposables

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As someone with a strict twice-a-day skincare routine, I’ve often found myself worrying about the impact my habits are having on the environment. The number of disposable face wipes and cotton pads I go through racks up pretty quickly, as it will with so many skincare fanatics out there, so I can’t help but think about how all this waste must be affecting our planet.

 

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With that in mind, I’ve decided to get researching and find out just how wasteful some of our skincare staples are, and gather some tips on how we can all do better.

The most surprising statistic I came across whilst researching face wipes is the amount of people that flush them down the toilet. According to Refinery 29, wet wipes reportedly make up 93% of the materials blocking sewers in the UK. I don’t think I’ve ever flushed a wipe myself and I really didn’t think it was that common, but clearly I was wrong. The Marine Conservation Society revealed that the number of wipes washing up on UK beaches is up by 94% - so for those of you that weren’t aware, wet wipes are absolutely not flushable!

That being said, throwing them in the bin isn’t an ideal situation either, as they’re mostly made of polyester and materials that don’t break down in landfills. A slightly more selfish, yet still important, reason to ditch the face wipes is the damaging effects they have on our skin. Dermatologist  Dr. Joshua Zeichner explained to Glamour how repeated use of face wipes can lead to pigmentation, irritation and even early wrinkles.

So what can be done instead?

You can pick up a pack of 2 Liz Earle muslin cloths for £4.50 which can be reused time and time again, meaning you can save your bank account as well as the planet! Muslin cloths are also gentler on your skin than face wipes and when paired with a good cleanser will give you a more thorough clean. However, it is important to note that if the cloths aren’t thoroughly rinsed and left to dry properly they will build up bacteria and cause further problems for your skin, so make sure you’re giving them a good rinse and throwing them in the washing machine after every other use.

Another eco-friendly option is the Face Halo (a full review can be found here). The real beauty of these is that they require only water to remove all your makeup, so you don’t have to worry about any harmful ingredients that may be in cleansers. They’re available for £7 each in Boots and can be machine washed up to 200 times, so these are also far less wasteful than reusable wipes.

 

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Ok, so we’ve removed our makeup without harming the planet - now what? I probably use about eight cotton pads per day applying skincare products, which I’m fully aware is not okay. We’ve all seen the Stacey Dooley documentary on the harm cotton production has on our planet (if you haven’t, get watching and be prepared to wave goodbye to all your high street faves) and the amount used to create our clothes is bad enough, so cotton-based products that are solely created to be used once and thrown out is surely far worse.

While there are 100% organic cotton alternatives, such as these rounds available from The Body Shop (£2.50), you could go a step further and invest in some reusable pads. For some reason, these don’t seem as easily available as I expected, but they are available here, starting at £3 for a pack of three.

I’m fully aware that the appeal of disposable wipes and cotton pads is the convenience factor and the thought of having to wash reusable products is off-putting, but it’s a habit worth getting into. Convenience plays such a huge role in society these days, but it’s also causing us to ruin the planet we live in, and frankly, we’re getting lazy. Fast fashion is a huge issue because we can access Pretty Little Thing and have a new dress in our possession within 24 hours without even leaving the house. The Amazon Prime Now app means we can have food, technology and even some beauty products delivered to our doorstep within an hour - but we’re funding a despicable company all in the name of convenience (but that’s an argument for a whole other article).

I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of this myself, but I’m making a conscious effort to take the best route, rather than the most convenient. We need to be more ethically conscious with all of our shopping habits - for me, skin care is just the beginning. 

 

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Lead image: chezbeate on Pixabay




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