One would think that with all the information available to us, about all the things that are wrong with the world and all the ways we can fix it, that we should by now be seeing a pretty marked shift in how people are living their lives.

After all, everyone wants a better world for their kids, right? Everyone wants clean air and water, nourishing food, pristine beaches and the knowledge that, should you wish to spend a weekend in the country, there will be woods to walk in.

And yet, pollution is real. Waterways are contaminated every day. Coral is bleaching and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a Googleable thing.

There are lots of assumptions we can make about why change is so slow. Laziness? Lack of empathy? That old out-of-sight-out-of-mind chestnut? Misinformation? Too much information? I think it’s probably a mixture of all of the above. Making change is hard, but to make a change when it feels like every option has a corresponding negative effect? Well, then the idea of making any change can feel futile.

So what’s the solution? I got to thinking about this recently when I was splashing around in the bath reflecting on life (as you do). One area where it can be particularly difficult to know ‘right’ from ‘wrong’ is when it comes to our beauty products. A lot of time and money goes into packaging and marketing products to convince us of the products efficacy and supposed environmentally-friendliness. So I did some research and came up with this list which I am going to hereby name my Basic Beauty Never Every Buys.

The following 4 cruelty beauty products are commonly used items that have a devastating impact on us and our world, and yet they are so simple to replace with sustainable alternatives. It may seem like small change, but if everyone committed to avoiding these four kinds of products, the impact would be nothing short of world-changing.

1. Makeup Wipes

What even are make-up wipes except the lazy person’s pre-dampened and soaped face towel? These things are convenient, yes. That cannot be denied. But that convenience is far, far, far and away outweighed by the fact that THEY ARE DESTROYING OUR PLANET. Wet wipes, in all their forms, are the fastest growing cause of pollution on our beaches. These wipes, often touted as ‘flushable’, regularly clog up sewers with large blockages in major cities costing millions of dollars to clean up. The ironic thing is that these wipes aren’t even very good at doing what they say they do. They are not an effective way to cleanse; rather they serve to just move make-up, dirt and oil around the surface of your skin. There is literally no good when it comes to make-up wipes and there is literally no reason to use them.

Non-World Destroying Alternative:

Invest in a few face cloths, so you always have a clean one handy, and use a proper cleanser and water. Yes, it may add an additional 5-10 seconds to your daily beauty routine, but so what? You won’t be single-handedly contributing to the destruction of our waterways anymore so there’s that to feel good about.

2. Microbeads

You have probably heard about microbeads already and have hopefully boycotted them from your beauty regime. If not, what’s wrong with you? Microbeads are basically just tiny pieces of plastic that beauty companies use for an exfoliation effect. The problem is that these bits of plastic absorb and transport toxins and fossil fuel by-products and, like all bits of plastic, they don’t breakdown. They are so small that they bypass water filters and eventually make it into the ocean where they are consumed by marine life, and consequently, flesh-eating humans. The enormity of the environmental impact of microbeads is still unknown, as research is ongoing. But what we do know already is that they are bad news. And, much like wet wipes above, they aren’t even that effective at what they are supposed to do.

Non-World Destroying Alternative:

Put simply, there’s nothing microbeads can do that bicarb soda, ground oatmeal, sea salt or coffee grounds can’t.

3. Anything Tested On Animals

If you’ve read my bio you’ll know I’m a card-carrying vegan. So this is a no-brainer for me and my fellow non-corpse munching kin. But I’m going to spell it out. Firstly, beauty companies test on animals. They do cruel, cruel things to dogs and mice and rabbits. Animals that are tested on for cosmetic products are subject to torture. There is no other way to say that. Secondly, there is no justifiable reason for this. There is no shade of lipstick, no dewy foundation, no volumising mascara that can justify that suffering. This is not a price that should be paid for ‘pretty’. As humans, we like to talk about our evolution. We like to think we learn from the past and that we are improving our society with every generation. Animal testing is a sober contradiction of this belief. Cosmetics are a luxury that is worth no amount of pain and suffering, particularly from innocent creatures. Striving for clean air and water, a greener way of life, is all well and good, but I’m strongly of the belief that we should deserve these things as well.

Non-World Destroying Alternative:

There is a cruelty-free alternative to all your favourite cosmetics and beauty products. I guarantee it. All it takes is a little time and energy on your behalf to find the products for you. This website is a great place to start.

4. The Dirty Dozen

Environmentalists have a list of 12 kinds of chemicals that are deemed particularly deleterious. All of these chemicals have serious environmental or health impacts, or both. From causing cancer in humans to making their way into waterways and poisoning fish and wildlife, these chemicals are nastier than a weekend away with the Real Housewives of New Jersey. David Suzuki and co. have saved me the time, putting together a comprehensive list here. I recommend you cross-reference the list with the contents of your bathroom cabinet and start the transition to nicer, cleaner products.

Non-World Destroying Alternative:

Anything without these chemicals. Feeling overwhelmed? If this feels like a challenge, I recommend starting slowly and working through it step-by-step at a rate you are comfortable with. Use up your old products and invest in the time to find alternatives you love, which will ensure your changes stick.