The world of beauty products can hide some dirty little secrets, but these are increasingly exposed as brands large and small try to tackle the mess they leave behind. According to Evolve Beauty’s sustainability report, 95% of beauty packaging is thrown out after just one use, and of those that are made of plastic, only 14% of plastic make it to a recycling centre. Yet many products are packaged in glass or plastic bottles, both of which are easy to responsibly dispose of, or even upcycle. We have become quite used to sorting the kitchen rubbish, but our bathroom rubbish? Apparently 50% of Brits don’t recycle bathroom waste (we’re talking shampoo and shower gel bottles) simply because it’s inconvenient. So what does it take to change these bad habits? I keep a bag in my bathroom specifically for empties which I then sort through once a month to ensure I recycle as much as possible. But the sustainability of a beauty product isn’t just measured by its packaging: the ingredients and the way they’re sourced is just as important. Here are five products that offer sustainable choices.
The first time I heard about upcycled ingredients in beauty products was actually thanks to this very same brand. Evolve’s Radiant Glow Face Mask included exfoliating blueberry particles produced from the waste seeds obtained from the juicing industry. Looking at the product details on their website it looks like blueberry has been replaced by coconut particles for the same buffing action. But they’ve recently launched a Super Berry bodycare collection (you can read the full review in this blogpost) featuring upcycled raspberry oil, a by-product of the fruit and jam industry which would otherwise go to waste. What else is Evolve doing to protect the planet? They are the UK’s first plastic negative beauty brand, meaning they commit to removing twice as much plastic waste from the environment as they produce. They are also aiming to reduce all waste to zero and become a circular business, using glass and recycled plastic packaging, both of which are easy to recycle. As for pumps which are notoriously difficult to recycle, they are introducing pump-free options – I agree it’s time to stop viewing beauty pumps as throwaway items: clean them, keep them, reuse them. 100ml RRP £24.00
The second I opened the delivery box containing this soap I was greeted with a powerful waft of cardamom. And once I’d taken off the paper wrapping… wow the scent is powerful. And then I remembered having the same feedback on Nourish’s limited edition shower cream with the same fragrance. I received two soaps from Nourish so gave one to my sister, and her favourite aspect of this soap is actually the scent which she calls ‘delicate and citrussy’. The generous chunky shape offers a good grip so you can lather up without it slipping, and the bumpy surface makes for an energising experience, just don’t apply too much pressure if you have sensitive skin. It certainly gives your morning shower a bit of a kick. But the solid soap version steps up the sustainability credentials. Developed in partnership with organic handmade soap brand Saboon Alee, the vegan and cruelty-free soap has not only been formulated using organic and sustainable ingredients, but is also wrapped in plastic-free packaging. This solid format tends to be pretty long-lasting so not only do you get your money’s worth, but it offers a more eco-friendly solution. 120g RRP £7.50
Ah the scent of this cleansing oil: delicious marzipan. Yes marzipan. Heaven. But on this occasion I’m not here to talk about this product’s scent, although it’s definitely a big selling point for me. Caudalie have repackaged their cleansing range Vinoclean, now boasting 100% recycled (and recyclable) plastic bottles for stronger eco credentials. Compared to the former Caudalie cleansing range this change will result in a 50-tonne saving of petrochemical-origin plastic and will reduce the collection’s carbon footprint by 45%. 150ml RRP £18.00
OK so not a beauty product as such, but I’ve been popping various health and beauty supplements and shots for the past 12 months and these have impressed me more than anticipated. These vegan capsules that look like big seeds have been developed to ‘support balance and contribute to vitality, while supporting your immune health’. Basically what really got my attention was that the supplements would deliver a boost of energy instantly. Whereas most supplements will only show results over time and with regular intake, the effect here is very quickly noticeable. Perfect for my coffee-free days. And the pouches they come in can look deceptively hard to dispose of, but they are actually fully compostable – an alternative to the more traditional plastic or glass jars. 28 capsules RRP £37.00
I first discovered this small artisanal French company when a PR company introduced me to the brand’s solid night cream. And like its nocturnal counterpart, this day moisturiser scores sustainability brownie points all round: 100% natural, vegan-certified, organic ingredients, waterless formula, handmade product, compact format, long lasting (around 3 months of daily use) and compostable packaging printed with vegetable ink, this product has a green halo placed firmly over it. This simple product which only uses 4 ingredients (including cocoa butter and a couple of oils) is easy to apply: just smooth the bar directly to a cleansed face and the warmth of the skin will melt the solid balm. You can then massage into skin to leave it feeling soft and nourished. 32g RRP €23.00
Features gifted products