Us dancers are not the most eco-friendly and sustainability-oriented people out there. While this statement is of course a generalisation, you have to admit that dance and performing arts industry as a whole tends to turn a blind eye to how sustainable and healthy products we use on a daily basis actually are. In short, if it looks good, it’ll do.
As someone who’s been a part of this wonderful world of sparkle, glitter and hours spent practicing I’ve come to realise that there are some very easy adjustments dancers can do to choose eco-friendly products, take better care of themselves and the environment. Some of the ideas below may seem very obvious to some of you, but trust me when I say that the switches I’ll be taking about in these post aren’t as widely used as you may think.
Before getting into this just a short disclaimer- I’m not trying to preach here and I’ve been guilty of using the same non-sustainable and unhealthy products many of you are using right now. I know sometimes choices depend on budget and accessibility, so these are just a few ideas you can use if and when you feel like it. Let’s get into the first three tips on how to be more sustainable by choosing more eco-friendly products:
1. get that water bottle sorted
Let’s start with the most obvious one- a reusable water bottle. When you practice as much as dancers do, you really need to be hydrated and that means your water bottle goes with you everywhere. I know that bringing your own reusable bottle is sometimes a bit of a hassle, but just think about it- count the number of plastic water bottles you go through every single day and then multiply it by 365. The number of wasted plastic you produce every year is shocking, right? A reusable bottle will cut all of that away just imagine much plastic we could save if we all make just this one small change!
Another issue is often the size of reusable water bottles- 500ml is a standard size and that’s not nearly enough to get you through your day. In come the oversized monster bottles as I like to call them; these hold 2 litres of water and are available everywhere, including Amazon and your local sports shop. Just have a look and you’ll see the choice is really endless- choose your fave colour and if you manage to find one made from sustainable recycled materials then you really hit jackpot!
2. summer glow
How’s your tan? Nice and bronzy I’m sure. But is it actually harmful to your health? There are some pretty nasty ingredients found in some self-tanners, so keep an eye out for these:
1. MINERAL OIL- a derivative of petroleum that can be carcinogenic and is most definitely comedogenic (meaning it blocks your pores)
2. AMYL ACETATE- this is super nasty; it’s a substance used in dry cleaning…Ew.
3. SODIUM HYDROXYMETHYLGLYCINATE – this is often called a “natural preservative” by brands that use it in their products and it often contains formaldehyde that is added during processing. Another thing you really don’t want on your skin!
4. OCTYL STEARATE- comedogenic (blocks pores) and irritates the skin
5. ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE- this could bind to nitrates in your body; nitrates are carcinogenic
6. ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES & SCENTS- methylene chloride is one of the substances used to create artificial fragrances and is known to be carcinogenic. Many fragrances are created from petrochemicals so they are best avoided
While most respectable brands out there keep the nastiest stuff out of their products, you would be surprised how many still contain a large amount of stuff you shouldn’t want anywhere near your skin. Make sure you read the label before buying anything.
While there is of course an option of instant tans, these contain many of the same nasties as their self-tanning counterparts so be careful what you put on your body even if it washes off after your competition.
Another thing to consider is packaging – count how many bottles of tan you go through in a year? Exactly. Finding brands that use recycled materials and try to be sustainable is not as difficult as it may seem. My recommendation is ECO TAN – love their products, love their ethos and the fact that they stand for amazing tanning that keeps you and the environment healthier.
It’s long been proven that aerosol sprays are super bad for the environment (and you, as it’s really not great to breathe it in). While there’s really not much you can do about the packaging as it’s always going to be in a plastic bottle of some description aside from choosing the fully recycled/ recyclable packaging, you can avoid aerosol sprays.
A great option is by Full Control Anti-Humidity Non-Aerosol Hairspray that does the job and is a slightly more eco-friendly option.
The 3 tips above really are the easiest you can start with. There are really no positives in using single-use plastic bottles, aerosols and harmful tans when there are such easy fixes available. So give it a try and start changing your habits today- your health and the environment will thank you 🙂