Written by Bea Taylor
If your beauty bounty is need of a sustainability makeover, consider tagging out for some friendlier options.
The beauty industry poses a problem to the planet, this is not a new fact. And, although many beauty brands are making an effort to be more ‘clean’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘organic’ in their formulas, there’s still a lot left to be desired on the packaging front. A study by Zero Waste Europe found that the use of beauty and personal care products produced 142 billion units of packaging in 2018.
Think about the packaging your beauty blender comes in. What about your razor? Plastic wrapped in plastic, and just to be sure, a bit more plastic. Even if we can recycle half of the packaging, many of us don’t (more reason to have a recycling bin in the bathroom too). Luckily, there are a couple of simple product switches you can make to help make your beauty routine a little bit greener:
Swap cotton face wipes for reusable face wipes.
Ideally you’d be using a face oil or face wash to get your make-up off at the end of the day, but if you can’t kick the make-up remover and cotton wipes habit, swap single use pads for muslin cloths or reusable makeup pads. Muslin face cloths are gentle on the skin and will help to remove all traces of cleanser from your skin as well as dead skin and dirt. Reusable makeup pads are made from sustainable bamboo fibre and soft organic cotton fleece and work just the same as single use cotton pads, except you can chuck them in the washing machine and use them again the next day.
Swap liquid soap for bar soap.
This one barely needs an introduction. Bar soaps are mostly sold in plastic-free packaging and leave little waste behind them when they’re all used up. And, unlike their harsher predecessors, bar soaps now come in many different varieties for any skin type or need, plus they look a lot more stylish. To stop soap suds running down your bathroom bench, invest in a soap dish or a soap pouch — this is a 100 per cent biodegradable sisal pouch that will help to extend the life of your soap bar.
Swap plastic packaging for aluminium or glass packaging.
While going totally package-free is the preferred solution (Lush and Ethique are ahead of the game on this), this is not always possible so looking for products that are packaged in glass or aluminum is the next-best solution. Aluminium is the only material that can be recycled on an infinite loop. Glass is also preferable over plastic — except in the shower, as it can pose a slight hazard risk.
Swap single use packaging for refillables.
Beauty brands are slowly jumping on the re-fill bandwagon. L’Occitane and the Eco Store are your go-to for hair care refills. For makeup, look to Kjaer Weis and Lush for your refill options or Kiehl’s and M.A.C for in-store recycling initiatives.
Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush.
Bamboo is not only compostable and biodegradable but, thanks to its extremely fast-growing nature and low-impact processing, it’s an extremely eco-friendly choice. And, unlike regular toothbrushes, bamboo toothbrushes don’t come swathed in plastic. In fact, there are a couple of bamboo switches you can make — look for bamboo cotton swabs and even bamboo razors.
Swap to sustainably sourced ingredients.
If we can’t always opt for a sustainable swap in the packaging, we should try for a sustainable swap in the ingredients (obviously both is preferable, but we’ve got to be realistic about what’s available). The best way to identify products that have ingredients that are sustainably sourced is to look for the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance logos on the packaging.