Did you know the average person spends 4 hours grooming themselves every week? I’ll be honest, my 2020 work-from-home routine was about a tenth of that. But now that I’m back to seeing actual people, it’s more accurate. Showers, skin care, shaving, cosmetics, haircare… it all adds up!
If you’re spending lots of time making yourself clean and presentable, you may want to take a look at the tools you’re using to do it. Plastic and disposable beauty products are often hazardous to our health and terrible for the planet. A polluted planet is anything but clean.
Impact of the Beauty Industry
The beauty industry is well known for using ingredients banned in Europe, but the impact goes beyond what’s in the bottle. While clean beauty is on the rise, you need to be aware of how your products affect your health and the environment.
I could go on for ages about the lack of regulation in our personal care products. There’s very little regulation on beauty and personal care products in the US. The last legislation was passed in 1938 – over 80 years ago! Many of our go-to products are using harmful chemicals to create a feeling of luxury with soap suds and scents. We need to be conscious consumers and read the labels to be sure we’re using all-natural ingredients that are sourced sustainably.
The production of beauty and personal care products creates air and water pollution and destroys forests and habitats. As humans, we’ve already devastated over 80% of wild land animals and half of our plants. The beauty industry uses dozens of ingredients sourced from rainforests so their production methods impact us all.
I know I’m not the only one who has bought a new skincare product and found a teeny tiny bottle inside an unnecessarily large package. In fact, 70% of waste from the beauty industry comes from packaging. This should be no surprise as the beauty and personal care industry produces 120 billion units of plastic packaging every year. Only 9% of all plastic is recycled so most of it ends up in landfills and waterways.
Why Bamboo Is a Natural Beauty Solution
Bamboo is naturally occurring so doesn’t need chemical processing or additives in production. While bamboo isn’t a widely available alternative for your moisturizers or body wash yet, adding bamboo beauty tools to your clean beauty routine is a good first step. Buying from brands that support the environment with sustainable packaging and ethical production is a good sign that what’s in the bottle is also clean and natural.
The bamboo plant grows quickly (four times faster than trees!) so farmers can grow enough without clear-cutting forests. It’s perfect for growing on land like hillsides that are otherwise unsuitable for crops. Bamboo can be harvested without the use of heavy machinery or pesticides which saves countless habitats and is healthier for people and the planet.
Renewable and Biodegradable
Switching to bamboo beauty tools and products made with renewable packaging can help reduce the pollution caused by plastic production and waste. Bamboo is renewable and biodegradable and many bamboo beauty tools and packages can be composted in your backyard!
Create a Clean Beauty Routine With Bamboo
I get it, you want to look great, but not at the expense of the planet. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do? Start by looking at the items you use every morning to become more sustainable.
Chances are most of your grooming takes place in your bathroom (except for that guy who likes to shave on his way to work. What… how…? You know what, I don’t want to know…)
Plastic is often the go-to for items used or stored in the bathroom. No one wants to shatter a glass container full of cotton balls first thing in the morning. Unfortunately plastic waste has contributed to over 5 trillion pieces of ocean pollution. Bamboo is an ideal alternative for just about anything made with plastic. It's strong enough to replace your plastic containers and beauty tools. It's also lightweight and water resistant so you can keep items near your sink and shower.
Shampoo Bars on a Bamboo Soap Tray
A great way to ditch single-use plastic packaging and those gigantic plastic bottles is by swapping to shampoo and soap bars paired with bamboo soap trays and holders. Making the switch to a shampoo bar can help reduce plastic by as much as 2 tons.
To get the most out of your bar, you need to keep it accessible, but dry between uses. Adding a bamboo soap tray to your shower or sink will allow for drainage and ventilation. Having it at arms reach will keep your new sustainable beauty habit top of mind.
Get a Smooth Shave With a Bamboo Razor
Relatively new to the mainstream market, bamboo razors are quickly becoming popular because of their reusable handle and easy-to-change blades. Bamboo safety razors are perfectly balanced and provide a smooth grip with a bamboo handle which can make shaving feel less like a chore.
The EPA once estimated over 2 billion disposable razors were tossed every year in the US alone. A reusable bamboo razor can be used hundreds of times and each blade is good for over a dozen shaves. Both the handle and the stainless steel razor blades are recyclable giving you a zero-waste shave.
Wrap Up in Sustainable Softness With a Bamboo Towel
You may think of bamboo as tough as steel poles, but bamboo can also be used to produce some of the softest fabrics in the world. It is an excellent alternative to cotton in both water use and pollution. Cotton needs three times the amount of water as bamboo. It also uses 24% of all pesticides! Bamboo doesn’t even need pesticides to grow as it’s naturally resistant to pests.
I especially love the bamboo bath towel from Cariloha because it’s carbon neutral and is produced sustainably and ethically. They only use organic bamboo grown on small family farms and strive for a sustainable supply chain from farm to fabric.
Polish Your Look With a Bamboo Brush or Comb
Unless you’re like my eight-year-old, having tangle-free hair is probably important to you. But you may not want to sacrifice our already struggling planet for style. Bamboo combs and brushes help save millions of gallons of oil used to produce plastic styling tools every year. You can also compost most bamboo brushes, unlike plastic tools which are not easily recycled due to their odd shapes and mix of materials.
The benefits of bamboo go beyond the environment. Bamboo hairbrushes can reduce frizz and promote hair growth! If your brush has pure bamboo pins or natural bristles you’ll be able to glide through your hair and leave it smooth and shiny.
Show Off a Clean Smile With a Bamboo Toothbrush and Floss
We all brush and pretend to floss daily, but toothbrushes and floss are responsible for an incredible amount of waste. Over a billion plastic toothbrushes and millions of miles of floss are tossed each year. The majority end up in oceans harming marine life. That’s not even counting the plastic packaging.
Kudos to you if you’re visiting your dentist every six months. Remember it’s perfectly ok to turn down the plastic toothbrush and floss you’re offered during your appointment. Bamboo toothbrushes and floss are biodegradable and compostable. Using a bamboo toothbrush and biodegradable floss keeps the plastic and chemicals out of landfills and out of your mouth.
Cut Your Plastic Use With Bamboo Cotton Swabs
You’ve likely seen that image of the adorable sea horse with his little tail wrapped around the cotton swab that found its way to the ocean. If you haven’t seen it, feel free to Google and then cry into your biodegradable hankie about the state of our planet.
It’s tough to face big issues like water pollution, but the good news is there are simple changes you can make to reduce waste. Bamboo cotton swaps are biodegradable and as strong as their plastic cousins. Be sure to look for options that come in compostable packaging like those from Seek Bamboo.
Conserve Our Planet With Bamboo Cotton Rounds
One of my favorite bamboo swaps has been reusable bamboo cotton rounds. They’re so much softer and thicker than the old disposable cotton rounds. With every use, I’m saving money and thousands of gallons of water needed to produce the cotton version we throw away. When I’m done with them I toss them in the mesh bag and into the wash they go!
According to The Sustainable Trade Initiative, cotton accounts for 24% of global insecticide use even though it uses only 3% of the land. It also needs 9,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton. So if we’re going to use cotton, we need to be intentional about it.
Get Camera Ready with Bamboo Makeup Brushes
When I think of clean beauty my mind goes right to my makeup kit. I never loved the tiny cheap brushes that come with many products so I invested in high-quality bamboo makeup brushes to replace them. Bamboo makeup brushes have a smooth bamboo handle that's durable and long-lasting. With proper care, a good quality makeup brush can last for years. I’ve had the same set of bamboo makeup brushes for close to a decade and they’re still going strong.
When choosing your own set, look for makeup brushes with a bamboo handle, recyclable aluminum ferrule (the piece that holds the bristles to the handle), and cruelty-free bristles for a natural and ethical makeup solution.
Start Your Day With a Clean Beauty Routine
While convenience and glossy advertisements try to get the best of us, it’s important to choose sustainable items whenever possible. Bamboo beauty tools are an easy way to support the planet. Beginning each day with a bamboo toothbrush while wrapped in a super soft bamboo towel will set you up for a day of natural, eco-friendly living.
Take a look at some of our other favorite bamboo items and find simple ways to live more sustainably!