5 ways I am taking responsibility for the environmental footprint of my business
Updated: May 26
Ok, it’s not the catchiest title in the world, but with almost daily headlines in the news that the world is about to explode (well, you know) because of human activity, I thought you might be interested to hear what I am doing to take responsibility for my business’ environmental footprint.
Probably the biggest thing about working in the beauty industry is that most of our products are contained in single use plastics. Until recently my council did not take any plastics for recycling, however they made a change a few months ago which means they now take all plastics, which is great! All of my plastic empties now go to recycling rather than landfill. There are also some brands that take their packaging back in order to recycle them themselves, such as MAC who have a ‘Back to MAC Scheme’. If you haven’t heard of it, here is a little summary from their website ‘Because we share your commitment to the environment, M·A·C accepts returns of its primary packaging through the Back-to-M·A·C Program. By returning six  M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter or M·A·C Cosmetics online, you’ll receive a free M·A·C lipstick of your choice as our thanks to you.’ How great is that?
I also try and buy products like eyeshadows and blushers without the plastic packaging. I have a magnetic palette and often have the option to buy some products in a small card envelope which can be recycled and saves on waste. It also takes up much less space in my kit and means I can carry a much wider variety of products!
Disposable mascara wands are mostly made out of plastic, and the ones I currently have in my kit have silicone applicators, which can’t be recycled. however, there has been quite a lot of promotion on social media recently from animal shelters who take used mascara wands to brush the rescues animals! When I have run out of my current batch of mascara wands, I will be replacing them with bamboo based mascara wands, which are much more environmentally friendly.
I have been vegetarian for nearly 13 years, so animal cruelty is always on my mind. Where I can, I buy cruelty free and vegan products (Illamasqua is one of my go to brands for both my personal and professional kit). Unfortunately there are some products in my kit that I have not been able to find cruelty free or vegan alternatives for without compromising on the quality of the product. There are new products released every day, so I am always on the lookout to replace my products with cruelty free alternatives where I can.
A lot of lipsticks also contain palm oil. It can be very well hidden in the ingredients list, so this is now something I look out for when I buy lipsticks.
According to the UK Government, transport is responsible for over 25% of uk emissions. That’s HUGE! I travel a lot with my job, and my current policy is that I charge 45p per mile (HMRC recommendation) return for travel outside of a 15 mile radius. Going forward, I am going to try and keep travel within a 12 mile radius (this takes me to venues in Sheffield Town Centre), take public transport where possible (I work at a photography studio which I can take the train to!) And will continue to charge 45p return per mile for travel outside of this radius HOWEVER for every mile I have to charge for, I will donate 5p to an environmental charity. I have to cover my travel costs, but I do also have to take responsibility for my environmental footprint
Paperwork and promotional material
Until recently I was very happy to think I had a totally paperless admin system. This was until I realised that I required my clients to print and sign my booking form to confirm contract details. I now do NOT require these forms to be printed, all I require is confirmation via email, and I am investigating e contracts. As well as inputting bookings into my phone diary, I also have a paper diary, and will from now on be buying diaries made from recycled paper.
How many times have you been to weddings fairs or other events and taken away hundreds of leaflets and business cards only to throw them in the bin? At my last wedding fair I had a system where I printed off one copy of my pricing, information and testimonials and encouraged attendees to take photos instead, and to write down their email address after which I would send one follow up email with more information and links to my social media. And when people ask for my business card, I now encourage people to connect with me on social media instead or to take a note of my contact information in the notes on their phone. I will continue to buy fewer quantities of business cards but will now be buying them made from recycled materials.
Most people use baby wipes to remove makeup, or a cleanser on a cotton pad, and while the cotton pad might be bio degradeable, what is your chosen cleanser stored in? I have started using eco makeup removal cloths to remove makeup at the end of the day and have been actively recommending them to anyone who will listen to me! These things are amazing and even get rid of the most stubborn gel eyeliners and foundations (makeups got to last all day right?). And the incredible thing is there are no nasty chemicals! I was really skeptical when I first came across them, I then tried my first cloth last summer and I am a total convert, but how do they work? The fibres in the material are knitted 100x closer together than for example a flannel. What this does is it increases the friction, which physically lifts product out of your skin and has a very gentle exfoliating effect. I have even tried this against alcohol based paint which is usually only removable with 99% alcohol (which is also very drying on the skin) and it worked! Granted it was only a small patch but still, I was really impressed.
Now, when I do a brides makeup, I’m not there at the end of the night to take her makeup off, so I will now be giving these eco cloths as gifts to brides on their wedding day to encourage a more sustainable way of removing makeup! I recently worked on an independent film and gave the lead actresses an eco cloth each as a gift at the end of filming too.
These are just a few of the things I am implementing within my business to take responsibility for my environmental footprint. Without looking after the planet, we cannot expect the planet to look after us, and I do have a few personal projects lined up to raise awareness for this global issue. I hope this has been useful, wether you are a hair and makeup artist, a bride to be or if you have jus somehow stumbled across this post! If you have any questions please leave a comment and I would be delighted to chat to you!
BONUS! Here is an image from a shoot I did for Eco Glitter Fun who do incredible work to raise awareness of what we are doing to our planet and sell the most gorgeous guilt free sparkles!
Mazz Loxton is a professional Bridal Hair and Makeup Artist, helping brides capture their wild and romantic soul in their hair and makeup for their wedding day. Based in Sheffield, and carrying out services across South Yorkshire, The Peak District and Beyond