By Eleonora Cerasoli
One of the greatest misconceptions when making a step towards sustainability is to think you are expected to give up quality to help the environmental cause. Choosing products that have a lower impact on the planet doesn’t mean you should sacrifice any aspect of your beauty routine. In this article, we have carefully selected products whose ingredients are safer for the oceans and better for your hair and skin.
Science has proved that some ingredients in cosmetic products such as UV filters, microplastics and preservatives like parabens and triclosan are considered concerning environmental pollutants. The oceans are particularly affected by our choice of beauty items as tons of products, drained down the shower every day, end up in the ocean, jeopardizing marine life and its whole ecosystem.
With summer approaching and trips to the beach hopefully getting more regular, we must think about a product life cycle, from sustainably sourced and environmentally safe ingredients to sustainable packaging and how we dispose of it. What a better occasion than World Ocean Day to learn about simple ways we can switch our beauty routine to help safeguard our beautiful oceans!
1. Introduce zero waste products into your beauty routine
We now see an increase in beauty brands attention to bringing new zero waste alternatives to meet the consumers’ demand. There are many ways to introduce zero waste products into your routine, from cabinet tools to shampoo and soap bars. Exploring a path towards zero waste can be extremely rewarding as you would choose products that can bring amazing benefits to your hair and skin while supporting the environmental cause. Not to mention that the concentration of products in these bars will make them last longer and save you some money.
If you’re looking for an affordable, zero waste brand with a wide range of bar products, Ethique is the one. It’s certified as climate neutral, it’s not only cruelty-free and vegan but also palm oil-free, plastic-free and use minimal, sustainable and biodegradable packaging.
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Zero waste products are not the only thing to consider when thinking about reducing your impact on the oceans. We’ve seen more and more brands focusing on reducing or eliminating packaging but what about the product’s ingredients? How much do we know about what are we putting on our skin and hair and how dangerous some ingredients can be not only for us but also for our planet?
2. Protect your skin while safeguarding marine life
14,000 tons of sunscreen are washed into the oceans each year. Swimming with the wrong sunscreen can be extremely damaging to the ocean as oxybenzone and octinoxate, commonly found in sunscreens, contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles and lead to bleaching. They are a danger to all marine life as they accumulate in the muscles of fish and crustaceans and can eventually cause health problems to human that consume the contaminated food.
Choosing the right sunscreen is a small action that we can make to safeguard oceans and marine life, and your skin will thank you too! One of our favourite brands, Ren Skincare created an amazing sunscreen that includes yellow passion fruit seed extract, which is an antioxidant against pollution (great for protecting your skin from daily city life), zinc that shields against UVA, UBV and blue light rays, and rice starch that absorbs oils, controls shine, minimises pore appearance and soothes irritation.
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3. A hair care routine the planet will thank you for
Every year, 552 million plastic shampoo bottles end up in landfills and opting for zero waste hair products is an amazing step you can me to help reduce this worrying number.
Conventional shampoos and conditioners can contain chemicals that are responsible for serious damage both to the oceans and human life. Amongst the numerous dangerous ingredients you can find in hair care products, parabens have the most evidence of serious harm. For their preservation qualities, parabens have been a common ingredient in numerous cosmetic products for decades, and they continue to be in the ingredients list of a majority of beauty products even if research has shown that they can disrupt the normal function of hormone systems affecting the reproductive system, and are also linked to ecological harm as they can kill coral.
A special highlight goes to Monpure, a vegan brand, using sustainably sourced ingredients and glass or recycled plastic packaging. Their formulas are free from silicones, sulphates and you guessed it parabens!
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4. Ocean-safe face cleanser
When purchasing a face cleanser, we are used to considering foaming an essential function, as we associate it with greater cleaning power. Not only this is not true, but the ingredient responsible for the frothy lather is extremely damaging for the oceans and not the best for our skin either!
SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) works by turning liquids into foam and it can be commonly found also in shampoos, shower gels and household cleaning products. Studies by the U.S National Library of Medicine have shown SLS is toxic to aquatic organisms: it’s considered to be responsible to kill off certain types of microorganism that fish eat. With certain beauty products having a 50% concentration of SLS, is worrying to think about how much of this toxic chemical we’re washing down the drain every day!
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5. Natural deodorants
Choosing the right deodorant can make a huge impact on the environment, and it won’t cost you to lose any quality or money. Spray deodorants are the most obvious and probably most dangerous threat to the environment. When spraying, chemicals are released into the air contributing to the formation of smog, a major source of pollution in our atmosphere.
One of our favourites is AKT’s deodorant: vegan, cruelty-free , triclosan and aluminum-free. The brand’s packaging is 100% plastic-free and recyclable. Besides the brand strong environmental ethics, it’s a great product with a formula that absorbs instantly and leaves no stain.
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6. Fight microplastic with natural scrubs
Microbeads and microplastics are compounds of plastic. Microplastics include all types of tiny plastic particles, while microbeads are a specific type of microplastic mainly use to scrub or exfoliate. Microplastics are potentially more dangerous than plastic packaging as their size make it impossible to separate them from the environment where they end up, and more likely to be eaten by wildlife. The danger is real also for humans: by entering the food chain, these particles make the food we consume potentially toxic.
A single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the oceans. It’s estimated that as much as 86 tonnes of microplastics are released into the environment every year in the UK from facial exfoliants alone.
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7. A few honourable mentions
We focused our attention on ocean-safe and sustainable hair and skincare products but the research for better products for yourself and the planet can be extended to many more, from makeup to perfume. Many of the harmful ingredients highlighted in this article (parabens, triclosan, microbeads, etc.) are found in products that we use daily. 75% of skincare products available to buy contain parabens; most soaps, hand gels and toothpaste contain triclosan.
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This summer, let’s keep in mind the huge impact our small actions can have on the environment. Ocean-safe products like shampoo or soap bars can be great and travel-friendly products, easy to pack and you won’t have to worry about airport security restrictions!
Whether is for a holiday trip or your daily beauty routine at home, I hope this article gave you valuable advice on what to shop for to help save our oceans!
Let us know in the comments if you have tried any of these products or if you have any recommendation on ocean-safe beauty.
This article may contain some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, KeiSei Magazine receives a small percentage of the sale price, or some brands may have paid a small fee to be featured. We only recommend brands that match our sustainable and ethical criteria and that we truly believe in.