Saying goodbye to old friends is hard, especially when they’re the ones who make my hair shiny, my skin glow and my body balanced. Thing is, I can’t justify having them around anymore.
I look around my house and find myself surrounded by them… liquid soaps, lotions, shampoos, creams and washes, all waiting to be used. Even those vitamins, powdered supplements and baby aspirins have to go.
It’s been an overwhelming revelation, but some of my favorite products are made from and packaged in plastic. Saying goodbye to this stuff is, well… really gonna be hard. It’s more than the products I’ll miss. It’s the entire experience and love of finding them, trying them, smelling them and feeling spoiled by them that comes with every dab, spray, wash and rinse I’ll have to get over.
Some people get lost in shoe stores and my own husband will disappear in a Home Depot for hours, but for me it’s the cosmetic aisles of my favorite drugstore, beauty chain or local spa. I can spend days perusing products that promise to soften my curly hair or bring the glow back to my skin. I love everything connected to beauty products from their empty promises to yes, their packaging. I hate to admit it but the very stuff that’s choking our oceans and destroying our planet is part of what I love the most about these products: the eye-catching packaging.
The health and beauty industry is a 445 billion dollar business in the U.S. alone and customers like me are their dream. I’m like a moth drawn to the light. I love the creative shapes, colors and materials they mold to make a product look like something out of a retro ’50s hair salon or a futuristic action film. I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing to take years off my skin or give me more energy. It doesn’t mean I always buy it… Sometimes I just like to hold the bottle and read the ingredients (which can be pretty bad BTW) but there’s just something about the creative packaging and that’s exactly why getting these companies to change from plastic to environmentally friendly containers is so difficult.
I mean, yes, there’s differences in formulas from product to product but for the most part, it’s the packaging that convinces us to make that purchase and sadly, that same packaging is one of the biggest problems facing our planet. All those tubes, canisters, beads and more are floating in our oceans, leaching into our water and filling up the landfills. Even if they claim to be recyclable, lots of these containers don’t get repurposed and I’m having a hard time justifying buying anything packaged in or made from plastic anymore.
I for one can tell you it’s overwhelming. I started with my morning routine and gave a grade (A to C) to the importance of stuff I can live without (C grade,) to the stuff I don’t want to give up (A grade) and here’s what I found:
Beauty Products Report Card
Contacts – A
I’m really blind. I can’t go back to contacts made from glass and although I wear glasses at night, I can’t wear them working out, swimming or during the day… ugh… sorry!
Toothbrush – C
Floss – A
I need help with this one. I won’t use real silk (poor silkworms) and I can’t stop flossing. Time to switch to a Water Pik but what do I use after lunch or when I just can’t get that seed out of my teeth? We’re using Dental Lace in the mean time (again thanks to TYB)!
Retainer – A
I need this! I want my teeth to stay straight not only for looks but definitely for health reasons. I hate it but yeah, I’ll have to throw this out every year and replace with… ugh… another one. Come on Invisalign! There has to be a way to make your products more eco-friendly.
Comb – C
Easy, got a good wooden one from Dovahlia.
Shower Essentials – B
I’ll admit it, giving these guys up is going to hurt but I’m switching back to bar soap and looking at environmentally friendly companies (like Ethique) that offer alternatives to my shampoo and conditioners that currently come bottled in plastic.
Body Lotions – A
Easy again, cause I already use pure Shea Butter that comes in glass jars. (This stuff is better than anything I’ve ever used and trust me guys, I’ve tried a lot!) Check out our local Chicago friends at Simply Smita.
Facial Products & Cosmetics – B
Those little plastic beads that hold the promise of giving me a twenty something’s skin tone, serums, eyeliners, blush, powders all have to go. It is definitely time to switch to companies using environmentally friendly packaging or giving them up for good. We’re even experimenting with DIY makeup recipes from beauty bloggers we love on Pinterest.
Vitamins & Supplements – C
These brands can all switch their packaging to compostable, heavier cardboard or even glass. I will definitely be giving them up if they don’t. Besides, talk about your empty promises…
So now that you’ve gotten a taste of my morning battle with plastic, you can get a feeling for what we’re all up against. I’ve fallen for the shiny, pretty look of these products that I’ll admit have turned me into a bit of a product nut, but really these bottles hold little promise in changing my looks and health. We all know it’s up to me to continue eating well (bye bye vitamins), and working out (bye bye serums) to keep that healthy natural “glow” and these beautiful bottles don’t hold the keys to keeping my youth anyway.
The Dalai Lama said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Well, I’m that mosquito.
I‘m writing every vitamin supplier and every cosmetic company I purchase from. I’m even reaching out to the corporate offices of the chain stores selling the stuff and telling them it’s time to create new standards for their suppliers. I’ve gone as far as finding recycled, recyclable container companies for them to work with in hopes of offering a solution to help them change.
So join ME.
Take inventory of your daily routine and make a list of the plastics you can live without.
Then write your favorite companies and ask them to package their promises in better containers that won’t out live us because if they don’t change, well, we’ll all be looking pretty ugly in ten years regardless of what those sexy bottles say.
Care what you buy & #CAREWHATYOUWEAR!
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
What are your favorite eco-friendly, ethically made, plastic-free beauty products?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!