Your skin and your hormones don’t always make the best combination. On your period, the results can be even more disruptive.
Some of us experience oily skin, others battle with dry skin. Breakouts are common, but many simply display a natural glow.
Whatever your period skincare routine involves, reducing waste should be a top priority, but that’s not always easy with how products are manufactured and designed.
At De Lune, we know how intentional you have to be to create products that are both good for you and friendly to the earth. All of our ingredients are from natural sources, and our packaging is made from recycled materials using 100% wind energy, but it took a surprising amount of effort and ingenuity to achieve this.
Fortunately, we're not alone in our pursuit of low-waste solutions. We sat down (virtually) with DOHM founder Dominique Flakberg to learn how we can give our skin the love it deserves without filling the bin with toxic, non-recyclable materials that harm the earth.
Welcome Dominique! Let's start with how we got here. We know that millions of people are striving to achieve a low-waste lifestyle, but these efforts aren’t always associated with skincare routines. How did you make the connection?
Hi De Lune :) I started my low waste journey by looking at my kitchen. Buying unpackaged vegetables, grains in bulk, using fabric napkins, etc. It also made me realize how many synthetic, potentially toxic ingredients were in literally everything.
After I transitioned to a low impact kitchen, I realized the second place with the most waste in my home was my bathroom. Looking at all the ingredient lists and packaging on products I used on a daily basis, I decided there needed to be a better alternative.
I started researching solutions and brands, and eventually created my own after realizing no other brand was fulfilling my needs.
When we talk about a low-waste skincare regimen, what exactly are we talking about?
Low waste skin care involves all that you use on your skin, hair, and body. From your shampoo to your moisturizer, there is so much plastic waste, besides all the ingredients that pollute our soils and water once we rinse products in the shower or sink.
A low waste skin care regimen means substituting body and skin care products you use daily with ones that contain no synthetic or carbon intensive ingredients that also minimize packaging waste. We try to consider our impact from the first seed to the very last drop, both on you and the earth.
What are the biggest no-nos when it comes to wasteful skincare product use?
I always start with synthetic ingredients and preservatives. Did you know that the FDA has only curbed the use of 11 ingredients in skincare? The E.U. has banned or restricted more than 1,300 chemicals or substances.
In short, the U.S. skincare market is unregulated. Many of these ingredients can be terrible for our bodies over prolonged daily exposure (especially for people with periods!) and terrible for the environment as they never biodegrade.
I try to follow a holistic approach for what I buy. Packaging, ingredients, and production practices all matter and are connected.
If a business is addressing one of the problems but ignoring the rest, they are failing to look at their production as a whole, and recognizing how every part of their product can have a positive or negative impact on our environment.
At De Lune, we take great care in what goes into our packaging and the product itself. How can we all think beyond packaging to reduce personal and environmental damage?
Packaging is just what holds the product together. The ingredients of a product can also be harmful to our bodies and to the environment.
Mineral based ingredients derived from petroleum, for example, come from a non-renewable resource. When they go back to the water and soil, chances are they will not biodegrade, and will unbalance the health of the environment.
There are also synthetic ingredients that are endocrine disruptors. Those ingredients unbalance our hormonal flows and can affect our health. That's terrible news if you have a period!
Looking at the ingredients is as important as looking at the packaging. There's a long list of other factors to look, including labor practices, origin, quality of ingredients, brand ethics, etc.
What would you say to someone who already uses products that they love and trust, and are nervous about switching to an alternative to lower their waste profile?
I always say you should start slow. Whether the product is for period cramps or skin care, read the ingredients. If you're not familiar with all the ingredients, look for something cleaner and healthier.
There might be a trial period for you to understand different products and find the perfect one for you, but with time, you can substitute all your bathroom essentials for healthier options, if you do it slowly and mindfully.
I took a few years to go completely plastic free in my bathroom. If you want to take a big leap and introduce a new routine all together, our DOHM kit is great start.
What makes you optimistic about creating real change?
I believe we all have the power to make change, and we can start by looking at ourselves. If we change our daily actions, we transform the way we look at the world, at our lives, and at each other.
Reconsidering the way we consume and the trash we create transforms us. It's similar to how De Lune works to reframe how we think about our periods.
We try to make products that help us reconnect to our environment, develop a deep respect and connection to the earth, and heal our relationships with our bodies by considering everything that passes through them.
For me, real change is about looking at the outside world so you can reflect and change on the inside first. All we need to change and live a better life is within us, it is just a matter of looking in and connecting to the change you want to see.
After we center that inner consciousness, acting becomes natural, and creating change becomes an obvious part of our lives.
It can be tough to bring a product to market without compromising your values. When designing low-waste skincare products, what are some challenges that you didn’t anticipate?
The biggest challenge has been keeping the integrity of our ingredients and packaging as we scale. There are few sustainable suppliers working with small businesses, and there is a financial challenge to growing a business sustainably.
Luckily, I have found some amazing partners to work with that allow me to connect to the community in the sustainable industry. I am still constantly considering my supply chain and looking for ingredients that come for ethical sources.
I am currently trying to make my supply chain more inclusive, supporting businesses that are local and minority owned. It is a long and never-ending process, but nothing makes me happier than finding the right partners to create a team worth being proud of.
Can you give us some final thoughts on a low-waste versus a zero-waste lifestyle?
The main difference is that a zero waste lifestyle assumes no waste is created at all. That term is very challenging and often discourages people who think they will never achieve a perfect “zero waste”.
Truth is, zero waste is not possible, because our human infrastructure is not designed with zero waste in mind. To me, low waste is a more grounding term, because it allows for realistic change, accepting that you will do your best, even if it’s not perfect. It allows people to change slowly and acknowledge the challenges along the way.
Low waste is about a journey of looking for improvement, rather than focusing on a final destination where no waste is created. If you want to learn more, I actually just wrote a short note on low waste vs. zero waste :)
Love it! Thanks for chatting with us Dominique <3
My pleasure. I have no idea what I’d do without my De Lune, so thanks for being there for me and my period!