What Is Zero-Waste Beauty, the Next Trend in Sustainability?

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Sustainable beauty (and all the buzzwords that fall underneath it) has spiked in popularity over the past few years, and now, in an effort to help fight our current climate crisis, brands are putting in extra effort to help consumers produce less waste. One of the biggest subcategories to emerge as a result comes in the form of “zero-waste” beauty products.

Zero-waste beauty can be defined in a handful of ways, but put simply, these are items designed with as little impact on the environment as possible. This includes plastic-free products, waterless formulas, recyclable packing, and biodegradable solutions.

“The less waste you have to throw out, the better,” Ashlene Nand, the founder of zero-waste beauty brand Vaycay Beauty, tells PS. “Aside from cardboard, which is generally compostable and biodegradable, many zero-waste beauty products use reusable tins or glass mason jars to hold the actual product instead of plastic. As a general rule, I try not to buy beauty products unless I know I will reuse the packaging supplied.”

According to a 2015 Euromonitor report, the beauty industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging a year. While that isn’t to say that it’s the only industry that contributes to our landfill crisis — think of all the plastic that food and some of your go-to household items are packaged in — there are still tweaks you can make to your beauty routine to make it even just a little more sustainable.

The idea of switching to a zero-waste lifestyle may sound intimidating, but despite what you might think, it doesn’t call for a complete overhaul of your beauty routine. “Similar to the approach of eating one vegan meal a day, if we try to switch out two or more of our core products, collectively, we can make a difference to our planet,” Nand says.

Plus, there are dozens of brands out there that specialize in products that can be reused, refilled, or are packaged in biodegradable materials. Read ahead to check out some of our favorites that you can add to your regimen.

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