3 Easy Ways to Green Your Beauty Routine for Earth Day

Use less, buy natural and make your own treatments. Here's how.

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A recent interactive graphic from Newsweek indicated that the average woman spends $449,127 on beauty throughout her lifetime. Doesn't that seem excessive to you? So many of the beauty products we buy are unnecessary, and it's easy to see why: fashion magazines promote each new lotion, wrinkle cream and mascara as completely essential, and better than its predecessor. Thic can add up to a lot of waste. How to green a beauty routine? Here are some suggestions.

Use less, and make it last.

  • Pay attention to packaging. Consider the packaging of your products - teeny-tiny lotions and creams may come in portable packages, but it's better to buy a larger size. Or, buy products that come in concentrate.
  • Single-use makeup and pore wipes should be avoided, when your washcloth will do the trick. You could also consider a non-disposable razor.
  • Use every last drop of each product - many people will throw out a lotion or lipstick when it still has a few days' worth of product left. Use a lip brush to get the last bit of lipstick out, and cut open bottles to mix your old shampoo with the new.
  • Pare down the amount of products you use with some multi-purpose suds. Sprig recommends Perfect Organics Body Wash, which does triple duty as a body wash, bubble bath and shave lotion. There are several tints that work on both lips and cheeks.
  • Instead of pitching them, fix your broken or unopenable cosmetics. Rubbing alcohol can fix a broken palette, and aerosol cans that are missing a nozzle can be replaced.
  • Make your haircuts, manicures and facials last longer with these tips from Real Simple. Stretching the length of time between treatments will save you money, too.
  • Purchase organic and all-natural.

    • You don't have to go to specialty shops for all-natural ingredients. Victoria's Secret is one of many major retailers that carry an organic line. Lush's products are all-natural, handmade, not tested on animals and have eco-friendly packaging. Products by Tom's of Maine and Burt's Bees get high rankings in the GoodGuide.
    • Support green causes with your purchasing power. Kiehl's has chosen to support Waterkeeper Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving community waterways, with their Superbly Restorative Argan Body Lotion, made with fairly-traded organic oils. Celebrities such as actor Adrian Grenier and musician Erykah Badu have designed the product's labels, and 100 percent of proceeds up to $100,000 go to Waterkeeper.
    • Or, you could choose to support a local business by checking out the homemade soaps at your area famer's market. Etsy also has some beautiful, all-natural options (chronicled by The Soap Bar blog).
    • Make your own products.

      • Rubbing pineapple rinds on your face can have anti-aging effects. The acids in the rind can help slough dead cells and brighten skin.
      • If you'd love to get an all-natural summer glow, here's a recipe for homemade tanning oil (but, uh, you know that tanning is bad for you, I assume).
      • When you're done with a teabag of green tea, save it to use on your eyes when they are a little puffy.
      • Vinegar, the most versatile of household products, can be used to: stretch your nail polish out, clean your scalp, soften your hands, control breakouts and soothe your sunburn. 
      • For dry, damaged hair, mix olive oil with some banana, avocado or berries, and put the mixture in your hair. Wrap it in a towel, let it sit 30 minutes, and rinse.
      • Soften skin with one of the best-known home remedies: oatmeal, yogurt and honey.
      • Do you have any favorite home beauty recipes?