BEST SUSTAINABLE BEAUTY DISCOVERIES OF 2021

The end of a year typically signals two things at Fresh Beauty Fix:

  1. a rundown of highlights from that year, from best launches to most exciting discoveries
  2. a set of new year beauty resolutions to aim for

As much as I love setting myself resolutions for the new year, 2022 will be resolution-free for me. I’ve been working on 5 new beauty goals every year for the past 3 years, accumulating a grand total of 15 positive beauty habits I will continue to improve on in 2022, from cleaning my makeup brushes on a weekly basis to simplifying my skincare routine and masking up (the skincare type). So back to the first point, as I increasingly focus on sustainable beauty products, here is my beauty round up centring on the most eco-friendly discoveries of 2021.   

Most sustainable beauty empty: Kind2 shampoo bar

I’ve gone through my fair share of beauty empties this year, and increasingly the ones I rave about the most are those that leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. Kind2’s solid shampoo bar perfectly embodies this, the ideal beauty empty with nothing to show for it. It’s fair to say that solid haircare has been my sustainable beauty obsession of 2021. A bar that claims to equate to 2 bottles of liquid shampoo, its compact size reduces carbon emissions during transport, and packaging-wise it only requires a cardboard box – the easiest material to recycle in your household waste. I won’t be letting go of my newly acquired solid haircare habit anytime soon. 

Most cult product in refill format: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

A sustainable beauty trend that has blown up in the last few years is the refill format, and with good reason: less packaging, a reduced carbon footprint and typically great value, big formats are ideal for everyday products like shower gel and hand wash – the ones you get through quickly and buy on repeat. Many brands have been offering refill formats on their most popular products for a while now, however it’s Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant 74g pouch that caught my eye in 2021 – same size as the standard product, you just empty the pouch contents into the main container. As a massive fan of this cult ultra-fine powder cleanser, this refill earns its place in my 2021 sustainable beauty shortlist.   

Best reusable packaging: Bastide Ambre Soir hand wash

Packaging plays such a big part of any beauty purchase decision, probably more so than it should, but as one of our first points of contact with a product it inevitably influences our perception of that product. The last few years has seen all sorts of previously discarded packaging gain a second lease of life: from Happi Body Co’s elegant Sulapac jar (made from FSC-certified sustainable wood) to Neal’s Yard Remedies’ versatile blue glass bottles, these are made to last. Niche French beauty brand Bastide presents its Ambre Soir liquid hand wash in a beautiful brushed amber glass bottle which was just too elegant to put in the recycling, so it lives on the kitchen window sill and is refilled over and over again.  

Most eco-friendly beauty destination: Blomma Beauty

Ten years ago if you wanted to buy natural and organic beauty products online, your port of call was likely to be Naturisimo. Since then a legion of ethical beauty destinations have cropped up, and the one that impressed me most was organic, natural and sustainable beauty destination Blomma Beauty, for two main reasons:

  • They feature a very helpful skincare ingredient directory with key ingredients found in products stocked by Blomma, explaining where each ingredient comes from, what it’s used for and which products feature it.
  • If you’re unsure about committing to a full-sized brand-new skincare routine, Blomma offer a ‘try before you buy’ approach via organic beauty sample packs: 3 samples tailored to your skin type for only £1.50. And if you’re happy with the results you get a discount on the full-size purchases.

Best sustainable beauty campaign: Counter Culture #justoneswitch

Speaking of online sustainable beauty stores, Counter Culture was another discovery of 2021, but what particularly stood out with this one was its #justoneswitch campaign which encourages us to switch to a more eco-friendly beauty routine, working up to it by starting with just one product swap. Whether that’s ditching face wipes or giving shampoo bars a go, this is an achievable goal that paves the way for more sustainable swaps, because if you do it once it has a tendency to become addictive – in the best way possible.

Most eco-friendly beauty read: Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Book

One of my new year resolutions was to read more beauty books, and with a total of 12 titles read and reviewed this year, that’s one goal I can claim to have achieved. I’ve truly enjoyed widening my knowledge of skincare in particular, from Caroline Hirons’ excellent Skincare to K-Beauty must-read The Korean Skincare Bible. But the one that most encourages eco-friendly habits is Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Book. Not the most exciting book to read, it’s more of a reference book that features a helpful encyclopaedia of natural ingredients and how to reap their skin and health benefits, as well as recipes to make your own natural skincare. I did try a couple of natural mask recipes, but on that front I could probably rely more on my weekly Sainsburys food shop to provide everything my skin needs.

Best non-beauty sustainable discovery: Furoshiki wraps

And finally I couldn’t share this post without mentioning my favourite non-beauty sustainable discovery of these last 12 months: the Japanese-inspired cloth wraps from Furoshiki Wrap Company which are so versatile they can be used over and over again as gift wrapping, lunchbox wrappers, shopping bags or belts. I’ve used mine as a much more interesting gift wrap than the traditional paper (although nothing wrong with paper). Once you’ve got the gist of it they’re pretty easy to use and prove to be great conversation starters in sustainable practices.

Features gifted products

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