In the last couple of years sheet masks have proliferated the beauty industry. There are shops dedicated entirely to selling nothing but masks. Many people love the routine of applying a mask and feeling their skin become hydrated, soft, and leaving it with a plump, dewy glow. The downside of masks is that many of them are not environmentally friendly, and you may have asked yourself are sheet masks bad for the environment?
If you’re an avid sheet mask user, it’s best to be informed about their impact on the environment and what choices you can make to help reduce the amount of waste you are contributing to landfill.
Masks are single use and non-recyclable, so it’s a bad start for any product in a time when it’s so important for all of us to drive towards sustainability. And it’s not just the mask you need to worry about, there is a pouch, plastic sheet and sometimes an outer carton. The mask, plastic sheet and pouch are commonly made from materials that are not recyclable and non-compostable:
- The pouches that hold the masks are most often made from plastic and aluminium. The combination of these two materials means our council recycling can’t separate them and break them down.
- The masks are sometimes made from 100% cotton or 100% bamboo, which sounds eco-friendly, but some of the beauty ingredients in the masks can contain plastics and non-biodegradable ingredients that make the mask non-compostable. Other times they are made from nylon, synthetic materials or microfibres (made from petrochemicals), meaning they cannot be composted. They head straight into the general waste bin and end piling up in landfill.
In addition to the vast amount of packaging waste generated by masks, the ingredients on the sheet mask can also have a detrimental impact on the environment. This issue is twofold:
- Once you’re done with the mask, you rinse your face washing all the active ingredients down the sink.
- Traces of non-eco-friendly ingredients stay on the mask and end up in landfill, further polluting our environment.
Some of the ingredients to look out for and try your best to avoid:
Perfumes often contain scent chemicals and compounds such as diethyl phthalate. These ingredients can trigger allergies, irritate your skin and can also be harmful to the environment.
Preservatives such as MIT, paraben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are commonly used in sheet masks. These ingredients are known to cause allergic reactions in some people.
Ingredients in skincare and cosmetics can be confusing. Whether an ingredient is beneficial or not truly depends on the particular ingredient and the quantity present in that product. Consumers should look for great products that are formulated well.
How to Make a Better Choice
If you are sick of buying single use products and contributing to landfill, here are a few tips on how you can still get the benefits you love from masks:
- At a minimum, try to buy sheet masks in bulk to avoid the individual wrapping
- Choose masks that are 100% cotton or 100% bamboo and don’t have nasty ingredients. Look out for masks that are marketed under the umbrella of clean beauty or with low-toxic ingredients. Some claims to search for on pack are:
- Ethically sourced
- Low-toxic: Paraben-free. Mineral Oil-free, Phthalate-free, Polyethylene-free, Formaldehyde-free
- Make a DIY mask. Buy a reusable cotton or bamboo cloth and cut the holes to resemble a standard sheet mask. You can then use AMPERNA® serum on these. This is a great way of tailor the mask to what your skin needs and doing good for the environment.
- Invest in high quality skin care products that will nourish your skin every day and get the hydrated dewy look. If you’re looking for products to help with hydration and plumping, AMPERNA® skincare range contains lots of nourishing ingredients and a unique probiotic complex to deliver good bacteria to your skin gently and effectively. You can find out more about the AMPERNA® range and how it can help your skin care needs here.