Eco-farm in Vinales, Cuba

Sustainable beauty; small changes for responsible tourism

Reducing the eco-impact of your beauty routine

For the past few years I’ve been on somewhat of a personal mission to reduce the rubbish I produce in my daily life. Once you start thinking about it there are so many ways in which small changes can make a small, but cumulatively large difference over time. There is a growing interest in the principles of sustainable tourism among travelers, and I’ve found a number of the changes I have made to my beauty and hygiene translates to less weight and stuff to carry when I travel.

There are many ways travelers can contribute to more sustainable and responsible tourism. Not all of them are going to be up everyone’s alley, but even one or two small changes contributes to the benefits of sustainable tourism, and who doesn’t want to have to pack and carry less!

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Small changes you can make

Say goodbye to the makeup remover!

If you were like me you carry a bottle of makeup remover, plus cotton pads to actually remove the makeup. Perhaps you use wipes instead.

At home I wear makeup most days, but lets say I make a conservative estimate of wearing makeup say fifteen days out of a one month trip. Each time I remove my makeup I’m looking at two pads, maybe three if my mascara is being stubborn. Possibly another in the morning to remove any overnight residue.

That’s up to sixty makeup pads in a month!

Now they might only be small, but it’s rubbish being thrown away. Don’t forget the bottle of makeup remover which may or may not end up recycled regardless of where you discard it. I once had almost my entire bottle of remover empty through my toiletries!

Then I came across the Face Halo pad.

I’ve converted to this product full time. A single pad and water is enough to wipe away all my makeup, I just wash it and it’s ready to be used again. Each pad replaces up to 500 wipes and they are recyclable – just wash them and send them to a nominated address. Nothing ending up in landfill! They come in packs of three pads, one pack has lasted me over a year. More expense up front, but I’ve definitely saved over the long term.

To source this product in Australia click here.


Buy in bulk

My skin is sensitive, so I have to be pretty particular about the products I use on it. I buy Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel in the largest size available, which seems like a pricey outlay initially, but it is pretty close on a one year supply so it works out cheaper overall.

Now I don’t want to carry my big half a litre container on a trip with me, so I also have a smaller size that is the perfect size for travel. I just top it up at home from my big bottle each trip.

That’s down to one recyclable bottle per year as opposed to buying multiple smaller bottles.

To see this in the Australian store click here.


Think about your toothbrush choices

According to National Geographic, one billion toothbrushes will be thrown away this year, in the US alone. Most of those will be plastic. The average toothbrush probably lasts around three months. That’s four chunks of plastic we all put in landfill, every year.

Enter the bamboo toothbrush. Biodegradable, compostable, with a number of different choices for bristles. They are also pretty close to the same price, so you aren’t even paying more for the privilege of being guilt free when it’s time to retire your toothbrush!

I haven’t tried this one myself yet, but do have one waiting in my cupboard to try. I like charcoal bristles, and there are even those available!

To see these in the Australian store click here.


It’s all about the hair

Did you know that shampoos and conditioners are mainly comprised of water? For a few years now companies have been removing the water, and subsequently the packaging, leaving a bar of solid shampoo or conditioner.

I have tried a shampoo bar before, and I was surprised at just how effective it was. Lush make some great package free products, but there is also a good selection available online.

Not only less packaging being thrown away, think of the space created and weight reduction in your toiletry bag!

If you aren’t sure whether you want to commit to this, but willing to give it a try, you can check out Ethique’s sampler pack.


Skip the hotel toiletries

Trust me I know. They’re cute, they’re convenient, they’re a great size for stashing in your travel bags. Every room of every hotel around the world, the bottles potentially number into the millions and up to 95% of them will end up in landfill.

There is a growing push for hotels to be more responsible about these and some are choosing to donate unused products to be recycled for homeless shelters or repurposed into industrial cleaners.

More hotels are also making the move to the more sustainable option of having large and refillable dispensers in bathrooms instead.


Reconsider the liquid wash

I’m a fan of this myself, as I find most soaps tend to dry out my skin, but if you can find one that works for you then it’s full of advantages! Less packaging, nothing to throw away afterwards, no sponge or loofah required and more space and less weight in the toiletries bag!

Lush is a great place to start for this one.


Menstrual cups

Gents, obviously this isn’t one for you! But we all know the realities of life and those of us in the Western world are fortunate in that we have choices available to us.

So lets say the average cycle is five days long, and an average of three sanitary products might be used each day. Twelve cycles per year is one hundred and eighty sanitary products discarded every year by a woman, for maybe thirty years. It’s a horrifying figure that exceeds five thousand.

This is a hugely personal choice of course, and there are other options available, but I made the switch to a cup a couple of years ago and while it took some getting used to I wouldn’t go back. While it is a more expensive outlay it saves on ongoing costs, and the difference in the rubbish produced speaks for itself.

There are many options available on the market, but the Diva Cup is probably the best known. It comes in two sizes determined by age and whether you’ve had children. I do recommend the liquid wash in this instance though!

To find this in the Australian store click here.


These are some of my ideas, I’d love to hear yours in the comments below!


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Small changes you can make to your beauty and hygiene routine that will reduce your environmental impact, in daily life and when traveling. #SustainableBeauty #ResponsibleTourism #EthicalBeauty #EcoImpact


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