Bad news, gorgeous. Your self-care routine might leave your hair shiny, your pores invisible, and your teeth clean, but many health and beauty products have a dirty secret: They’re doing a number on the planet. 🌎
Think about it. Each morning, we rub, sprinkle, and smooth as many as a dozen products onto our bodies. Some come wrapped in single-use plastic or are made from nonrecyclable materials. Others contain chemicals or toxic ingredients that get washed down the drain and into lakes, rivers, and streams. Most never even went through FDA approval before hitting the market.
Happily, a green routine can be fun and simple to create. Start with our list to learn which self-care products play nice with the planet — and which are as eco-friendly as a lump of coal. Another great resource: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which has info and hazard assessments for more than 75,000 personal-care products.
And remember, it’s not just what’s inside the tube that matters. Look for products that are sold in sustainable packaging — like our new 32-yard Cocofloss refills, which come in a 100% biodegradable cellulose wrapper!
The controversy around aluminum in antiperspirants may be infamous, but fewer folks are aware of other toxins in deodorants. Among the worst offenders is triclosan — an antimicrobial agent linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption in both humans and marine life. Now that stinks!Is there an eco-friendly alternative that doesn’t leave you smelling like a hippie? In their roundup of best natural deodorants, the Strategist’s editors — and Aubrey Plaza — give dry high-fives to Real Purity Roll-On Deodorant with aloe and organic apricot oil.
Sure, their bright candy colors are pretty. But disposable plastic razors have an ugly environmental impact, with billions of unrecyclable razor handles already clogging landfills — and the bellies of seabirds. 😢
Some happier news: Gillette and TerraCycle have partnered on a nationwide razor recycling program that collects single-use plastic razors and upcycles them into picnic tables and park benches.
Safety razors are even more sustainable, with their durable wood or metal handles and recyclable stainless-steel blades. Vogue’s pick: The gorgeous Oui Rose Gold Razor Set. For gents, we recommend the elegant Rockwell 6C Razor. It's made with a metal alloy to last for decades and comes with recyclable, double-sided Swedish stainless steel razor blades.
Even if you think SPF stands for Sunshine Party Fun, sunscreen isn’t always an ideal beach buddy. Chemical sunscreens, which contain compounds like oxybenzone and octinoxate, absorb UV radiation and then release it as heat. That’s great for dodging skin cancer but bad for the ocean. When these ingredients wash off in water, they can harm coral reefs and marine life. Places like Hawaii have even banned some sunscreens completely.
A better option for eco-conscious swimmers: Physical sunblock, which uses minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a UV-reflecting barrier. Hate the “ghost face” look of zinc? Try one of the tinted nontoxic sunscreens recommended by Because Health.
Hydrating and hilarious to wear, sheet masks are a red-hot beauty trend. What’s not so funny: How these single-use, individually wrapped products wreak havoc on the planet. If you want to look like a supervillain without being one, check out Harper’s Bazaar’s recommendations for sustainable sheet masks — like the Body Shop’s compostable Drops of Youth mask with recyclable packaging. Or try E Nature’s sheet masks, recommended by Charlotte Cho, founder of Soko Glam and The Klog.
Feeling crafty? Head to your kitchen and whip up a DIY sheet mask from eco-friendly honey, rice paper, or — selfie time! — strips of green seaweed.
Body wash seems like a slam dunk: It feels good, doesn’t make a mess, and gets your bod squeaky clean. But beneath the sudsy surface, many brands include potentially harmful parabens, surfactants, and phthalates that either end up in your bloodstream or in the water system. Body wash also has a larger carbon footprint than bar soap, since it requires more energy to produce and uses more packaging.
Switch up your cleansing routine by moving to a bar soap made with organic, biodegradable ingredients. Or if you’re not ready to throw in the towel completely, try making your own body wash using Castille soap, olive oil, honey, and essential oils.
Bonus tip: Ditch the synthetic plastic pouf and scrub with a bamboo brush or natural loofah. (You can even grow your own loofah sponge!)
Shiny, silky, soft, sexy! Shampoos may promise us the hair of our dreams, but many contain nightmare ingredients. That includes the likely carcinogen dioxane, endocrine-disrupting parabens, and climbazole — a fungicide that prevents dandruff but also harms aquatic organisms. And don’t get us started on plastic disaster that is mini shampoo bottles at hotels.
Do the earth a solid: Switch to an eco-friendly bar shampoo and cut out chemicals and plastic bottles entirely. Elle’s recommendations for all-natural shampoo bars include Ethique’s Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar, which packs three bottles’ worth of liquid into one solid square.
Talk about intimacy — you put toothpaste inside your mouth every day, trusting that it’s doing right by you. The painful truth: Many toothpastes bring serious baggage to this relationship — like artificial colors, potentially toxic triclosan, and sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate gums and cause mouth ulcers. And each time you spit, these harmful substances make their way into the water system.
But wait — don’t break up with toothpaste entirely! There are plenty of nontoxic toothpastes out there just waiting to bring shine to your smile. Like the Strategist’s top natural toothpaste pick, Hello Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste, made with mint grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Or try David’s Natural Toothpaste, recommended by Cocofloss co-founder and holistic dentist, Chrystle Cu. Sammie is hooked too: “It comes in a 100% recyclable metal tube with a metal-tube roller, so you can squeeze out every last drop!”
It’s time to give “gliding” flosses the slip. The ingredients that make them slide easily might also contain PFAS,hazardous substances that have been linked to a range of serious health problems. One popular brand of gliding floss contains the same type of PFAS used to make non-stick cookware — eww, who wants Teflon-like chemicals on their teeth?! Skip the slippery stuff and get your teeth super-clean with soothing Cocofloss. It’s free of toxic chemicals, includingparabens, SLS, and PFAS.
Even better, our new Cocofloss refills come in compostable packaging made of 100% renewable wood cellulose. You can just pop them into any previous Cocofloss container and help keep single-use plastics out of the waste stream. What a refreshing way to keep your teeth white and the environment green!
Remember, all these little lifestyle choices add up to a big win for the planet. 🙌 Which is why we’re so excited about our 32-yard Cocofloss refills. It’s a sustainable step we can’t stop smiling about!