To wrap up Earth month we tapped Moira Holistic (check out her Instagram and blog) a sustainable clean beauty blogger and consultant, who was generous enough to share some of her insights. We discuss making the switch to a more sustainable beauty routine, how she vets products and companies before she supports them, recycling your beauty empties, and more.
When did you realize you wanted to make the switch to safe, clean beauty products that are sustainably made?
Back in 2019 I was already living a lower waste lifestyle via bulk shopping at the grocery store and thrift shopping for clothes after doing a no-buy year in 2018, but I was still using beauty products packaged in plastic. The brand making my beauty products that my skin loved did not have a recycling program, so I decided I wanted to find cleaner and effective products that were packaged mainly in glass to better align with my values. I then read there was a TerraCycle bin at Follain based in Boston, my local indie clean beauty store. Less than a year later after trying countless products I started @MoiraHolisticc on Instagram and my blog MoiraHolistic.com sharing about sustainable beauty via brand and retailer reviews!
It seems like a lot of consumers want to also make this switch but find starting is difficult and can be costly. Can you explain your process of switching to a cleaner and greener beauty routine and provide advice for starting out?
Navigating the saturated beauty industry can be so overwhelming as a consumer. It is a huge reason why I started Moira Holistic - sharing what I have learned over the years of making swaps to effective, sustainable and cleaner options! My #1 sustainability tip is finish what you have before buying new, whether a cleanser or switching to a metal razor with removable blades. It is the most sustainable option for your wallet and the planet because the product has already been produced, packaged and shipped. Then as you finish a product, replace it will a cleaner and more sustainable option. One product at time slowly make a swap. Doing one big overhaul to “detox” your skincare shelf is expensive and your skin could negatively react to one product, though you wouldn’t be able to determine which for weeks.
You review and collaborate with a lot of different clean beauty brands on your Instagram. What do you look for when deciding to purchase or work with a brand?
I have a set of values that guide my decision when I consider buying or working with a brand. I look closely at ingredients: are they organic, fair trade and or wild crafted? Do they have third-party verifications to back up their claims like MADE SAFE, Leaping Bunny or a B-Corp? As for packaging I avoid virgin plastic, always look for glass, and check social media or directly ask if the brand ships plastic free. I also ask if they supportive Black Lives Matter and the AAPI community. I increasingly look closely at the founder’s social media too as sometimes their values differ from the brands’.
On your Instagram, you’ve also talked a lot about TerraCycle, can you explain what it is to members of our community who aren’t familiar with it?
Absolutely, TerraCycle is a company that turns items that otherwise would be trash-bound or waste into park benches and decking material. Their slogan is “Eliminating the Idea of Waste.” Some companies like Garnier have free programs with TerraCycle that allow people to mail back their empty and cleaned-out beauty products. Or if you live near a local drop off like Follain’s bin or a Nordstrom’s BEAUTYCYCLE in store partnership with TerraCycle. I even have a Plastic Packaging bin at my home to recycle #3-7 plastics and surprise Styrofoam from takeout places. I bring my chip bags and protein bars to Subaru dealerships to recycle my waste that way.
Any last tips for becoming cleaner and greener?
When deciding if you want to buy something, think about the ingredients, who made it and how it is packaged. No one is perfect which is why I do not use the term ‘zero waste’, though we all can try our best. Making small, personal changes can have a global impact.