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What To Look For In Your Products For A More Sustainable Beauty Routine

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Sustainable habits that minimize our impact on the environment, and thus help curb pollution and climate change, are more important than ever. When it comes to the beauty industry, for example, you've probably already noticed terms like paraben-free, clean, or sustainably-sourced on more and more products. Brands are partnering up with groups such as TerraCycle and Plastic Bank to help eliminate waste. And there's an increased focus on water reduction and renewable energy at corporate levels.

So what does that mean for making your personal beauty routine more sustainable and reducing your footprint? It starts with the very doable task of choosing more eco-friendly products. For Romain Gaillard, founder of the planet-friendly beauty destination, The Detox Market, he considers the whole picture: "Packaging is a huge aspect of sustainability, but there are a lot of approaches, like ingredient sourcing, waterless formulating, shipping weight, or how long it takes a product to break down (if it does at all)." To get even more clarity, we asked a few trusted beauty pros for some key things to look for when selecting eco-friendly hair, skin, and makeup products. Read on for their tips.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

HAIR: Seek Out Sustainable Botanicals

When it comes to ingredients, how they are procured is an often overlooked but equally important factor when it comes to the environment. One way to make a positive change in your hair products is to look for formulas made with sustainably-sourced botanicals. The aloe in Herbal Essences' Aloe Vera collection, for example, comes from a farm in Mexico that uses sustainable farming practices. All the plant-based ingredients in the line are also certified by leading botanical expert Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Another detail to look for is the Environmental Working Group’s verification on ingredient selection, transparency, and manufacturing. "To be EWG-certified means that your products do not contain potentially unsafe chemicals," says holistic skin specialist Kristina Holey, who explains the certification is a great jumping-off point when deciding on formulas.

TRY: Herbal Essences Potent Aloe & Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner, and Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque.

SKIN: Avoid These Ingredients

"Everything you put on your hair or skin eventually ends up in the water system once rinsed off your body," says Valérie Grandury, founder of skin-care brand Odacité. "So if you use chemical-laden beauty products, you are participating in the increase of environmental pollution." She recommends steering clear of chemical sunscreens, especially oxybenzone and avobenzone, since these sun protectors are known for damaging coral reefs when they enter the oceans. Instead, opt for mineral-based SPFs that contains zinc or iron oxide. And although this isn't technically an ingredient, Holey recommends looking for skin-care products that ideally contain no plastic and have minimal packaging (e.g. no excessive boxes or seals). She notes that glass bottles are ideal housing in this category.

Try: Odacité Ba+S Eye Contour, Kristina Holey x Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum, and Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30

MAKEUP: Be Cognizant Of Packaging

You're probably already familiar with the amount of un-recyclable plastic many cosmetics come in. But there's good news. "Packaging in makeup is really evolving," says Gaillard. "Brands like ... Aether Beauty created zero-waste packaging for all of their palettes, and Alima Pure, Kjaer Weis, and The Organic Skin Co. all offer refill options. You buy the compact once, and it can last for many years, if not a lifetime."

Try: Aether Beauty Summer Solstice Crystal Gemstone Palette and Kjaer Weis Highlighter