By Zoe Bradbury
Take a minute and think about the old mascara wands you’ve discarded, or ones that are lining the draw of your bathroom cupboard. Normally, they’d become landfill, thrown out without a second thought.
But it’s actions such as this that aren’t helping the planet – in fact, it’s doing more harm than good.
Globally, the beauty industry produces 120 billion units of packaging every year, and carboard from cosmetics boxes contributes to 18 million acres of deforestation.
It’s an alarming statistic that is only increasing, and it’s led Australian clean beauty makeup artist Afton Radojicic to advocate everyday people to adopt a more sustainable beauty routine.
With more than 15 years of global experience in the makeup industry, Afton has seen first hand the magnitude of plastic that is produced from beauty products.
“The beauty industry hasn’t changed in so long, all it’s doing is making the same formulas, with different advertising,” she says.
“But it’s inevitable that these practices are destroying the planet”
“I’m trying to speak up, to educate people, and help them make informed and educated decisions about the brands they use. People need to understand the situation that we are actually facing.”
Afton wants to draw attention to sustainable practices that can better the environment – such as donating old mascara wands to help rescued koalas. Here are her top tips.
Afton says opt for products that are in recyclable or bio-degradable packaging, but also look for alternative methods of recycling that may be more impactful.
“I post all my old mascara wands to Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers. They take used, but clean, mascara brushes and use them to look after baby animals by grooming them, taking off fly eggs and just generally helping them to recover”
“These can be sent to Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers, PO Box 898, Murwillumbah NSW 2484”
Other brands also offer refills if you return the existing packaging.
“Face wipes cause major sewerage blockers. Instead, use a cleanser and a face towel, or reusable makeup pads are great because you can just put them in the washing machine,” she says.
“I’ve also stopped using cotton tips, and instead will dip brushes into concealer.”
FaceHalo is currently Bondi Beauty’s favourite sustainable way of removing makeup.
Simply apply water to the soft spongy pad, and even the toughest of makeup comes sliding off. The pad can then be rewashed in the washing machine up to 300 times.
“Don’t be afraid to look on the back of products for their ingredients, watching out for any toxic inclusions, such as oxybenzone, which destroys coral, and has been found present in fish and sea turtle eggs. It’s really toxic”
Other harmful ingredients to watch out for are parabens, sulphates, phthalates which are commonly abbreviated on ingredients lists at DEP, BBzP, DBP and DEHP, and refined petrolatum, among others.
Check the brand’s environmentally friendly practices. Things like ethical sourcing of ingredients, organic and sustainable production methods, sustainable packaging and use of renewable energy sources are all encouraging steps forward.
Other factors include whether the brand tests on animals, if it is affiliated with PETA, Climate Change Fund (CFF) and the Leaping Bunny.
“My favourite clean beauty brands are INIKA, as they are certified organic, cruelty free and are demonstrating how the fashion and beauty industries can come together to create change, as they were the first 100% natural beauty brand to be featured in New York Fashion Week.”
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