We won’t sugarcoat it: Beauty has a major waste problem. The beauty industry produces 120 billion cosmetic products every year, and only 20% of those are even used completely. And of those empties, many products hurled in the recycling bin likely still end up in landfill, since bottles tend to have intricate parts that require stringent tossing guidelines (i.e., you can’t just toss it in the blue bin and call it a day).
It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but we, the consumers, have a powerful part to play: We can shop smart. In addition to repurposing or refilling your bottles whenever you can, you can also opt for an eco-friendly beauty swap or two. If you’re in need of some inspiration, eco-justice advocate and founder of Brown Girl Green Kristy Drutman shares a few hacks on a recent episode of Clean Beauty School, including a certain swap she absolutely swears by.
“My beauty hack I always tell people is to buy Castile soap,” she says. Below, she explains how the do-it-all product can green up your routine.
Why you should add Castile soap to your beauty routine.
Many would consider the plant-based soap a hero product, as it’s incredibly versatile. “[You] can use it for so many things, like washing your face, body wash, washing your hair. There are so many uses for it,” notes Drutman.
And for those who might scoff at using one product for all three regions, know that Castile soap is strong enough to give you a thorough cleanse and a thick lather, yet it’s gentle enough to keep from stripping your skin barrier. In fact, you can find it in a host of baby soaps—and babies arguably have the most sensitive, delicate skin.
Some options even come loaded with other skin-supporting ingredients, like coconut or olive oil, as well as essential oils for scent. But for a no-frills, gentle wash? Regular ol’ Castile works like a charm.
Not to mention, you can buy a pretty big jug of Castile soap in one go. For instance, here’s a half-gallon option you can snag from the Package Free Shop, an online, plastic-free retailer. “If you are going to [use] plastic, try to buy bottles that are a really big size,” adds Drutman. “That way, you’re using it for a long time and not going to buy another one for at least a few months.” And once you finally hit empty? “There are a lot of zero-waste shops and other spots where you can refill it,” Drutman notes.
Castile soap offers a thorough yet gentle cleanse, and you can easily fold in your hair and skin care routine. Better yet, it usually comes in bulk—that’s why Drutman considers it a star product in her eco-friendly repertoire.