Like so many ideas and concepts within the beauty space, curating a more sustainable and earth-minded beauty routine can be vague and admittedly overwhelming for some — myself included. With so much information, product, and messaging out there surrounding the topic, how and where does one even start being more intentional with their daily regimen? What kinds of ingredients should I avoid? And beyond that, what other elements are important in creating a more eco-conscious beauty routine?
Understanding the demand and need for improved transparency and guidance, the Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty platform was created, empowering consumers with information, and (most importantly) choice. As a beauty editor, I’ve benefited quite a bit from programs like this, and have pocketed some crucial takeaways from it that will serve me well on my beauty journey for years to come.
And, when one comes upon such vital knowledge, it’s important to spread the love, right? Ahead, some key tips on how to create a more conscious beauty routine, whether you’re starting from square one or have been on the path for some time. Remember, perfection is not the goal here — it’s the consistent, small steps that will help lead to change.
Tip #1: Research, Research, Research
This may go without saying, but doing your due diligence prior to purchasing or even stepping into a store is crucial. And because there are so many terms related to meaningful or conscious products, educating yourself on them can be key in deciding which ones to prioritize in your routine. For example, “vegan” and “cruelty free” products are often lumped together, leading consumers to believe the two are synonymous. However, in reality, a “vegan” label refers to no animal-sourced ingredients in the formula, while “cruelty free” means there was no testing on animals in the development process.
Again, once you’ve done this initial research, think about the key elements that are most important to you in a product and do some more digging into the companies and retailers that stick to these values.
Tip #2: Pay Attention To Ingredients
In addition to researching key terms, ingredient scanning is another habit to lean into when curating a conscious beauty routine. Now, the term “clean” can be tricky in that it can mean a number of things, however, for all intents and purposes it should refer to formulas free from ingredients that can have an adverse impact on humans and the environment.
Even educating yourself on these things alone can feel overwhelming, so Ulta Beauty did the heavy lifting for you by creating a Made Without List to which brands certified as “Clean Ingredients” within its Conscious Beauty program must adhere to. Things like formaldehyde, hydroquinone, parabens, phthalates, and triclosan (to name a few) are all on this list, so you can peruse and purchase from these selections with ease and peace of mind (like some of the offerings here).
Tip #3: Yes, Packaging Matters, Too
In starting a conscious beauty journey, one might focus primarily on formulas, but it’s important to note that packaging is a key component here, as well. Be sure to look for brands and products that prioritize refillable, recyclable, and/or bio-sourced materials. To be recognized for their packaging efforts within the Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty program, at least 50% of a brand’s total packaging, by weight, must be made from recycled or bio-sourced plastic, or be recyclable or refillable, like the ones below.
Tip #4: Consider Your Impact
While no one expects you to be perfect, simply considering the impact you have on the planet when creating your beauty routine is a solid place to start. This could involve asking yourself questions like, “Is this brand making an effort to be sustainable?” or “Does this brand support animal rights?” And so on. Again, do your research! From there, you’ll know which brands align with your values and can make better choices when shopping.
Tip #5: Check In With Yourself
At the end of the day, a good ol’ gut check is something to fall back on from time to time as you compile a more meaningful beauty arsenal. Selecting products and brands that do good should feel good, resulting in a more fulfilling routine. So, if there are any blind spots in your regimen or products you still are questioning from an ethical or eco-conscious standpoint, follow that instinct, and feel free to refer back to the previous steps to get back on track. But, don’t be too hard on yourself: Your conscious beauty journey should be a life-long marathon, not a race to the finish line.