Before slathering or spraying a product on your body, it’s worth asking yourself: Do I really need this? Can I find a different product with more natural ingredients and less packaging to recycle? How can I beautify myself without dirtying the planet? Try these 12 simple tips to green your daily routine.
1 USE LESS WATER: We each use about 100 gallons of water a day, and most of it goes right down the drain—flushing detergents, foaming agents, artificial oils, colors, and scents into the ecosystem. An easy way to use less water is to skip a daily shampoo; for most hair types, every other day is fine and for curly hair, once a week is plenty.
In-between shampoos, try a dry shampoo or hair powder to reduce the amount of grease. Limit yourself to a three- to seven-minute shower (a kitchen timer can help you keep track), and save both shaving and brushing your teeth for outside the shower.
2DRY SMARTER: Air-dry your hair or use an eco-friendly blow dryer. “Reduce drying time and conserve energy by drying at the roots only, using a round brush and nozzle,” advises Amanda Freeman, founder of Vital JuiceDaily.com, an ecofriendly wellness e-newsletter. “Let the ends air-dry and prevent flyaways by using an [nontoxic] anti-frizz serum.”
3COLOR SAFER: At home and at the salon, look for ammonia-free hair colors, counsels Stuart Gavert, of Gavert Atelier Salon, in Beverly Hills, who uses non-ammonia color treatments, never lets excess color go down the sink, and recycles the aluminum foils used during highlighting.
4SKIP AEROSOLS: Hair sprays, shaving creams, and deodorants that come in aerosol spray cans contain volatile organic compounds that hurt the environment and can negatively affect health. The vapors can cause diarrhea and earaches in infants, and headaches and depression in mothers, according to a study published in the Archives of Environmental Health. Plus, the cans can be difficult to recycle.
5FINISH WHAT YOU BUY: Most women use only six of the average of 12 products they keep in their vanity, according to an O.B. Tampons survey