Sustainable beauty: 15 eco-friendly products doing their bit for the planet

·11-min read
The eco-friendly beauty buys to switch to. (Getty Images)
The eco-friendly beauty buys to switch to. (Getty Images)

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We'd like to think that we're pretty conscious of trying to reduce our daily environmental footprint.

We try to avoid single-use make-ip remover wipes, carry our refillable water bottles everywhere and always take our reusable bags to the supermarkets.

Yet, while we might be making small daily changes to our everyday routine, according to Zero Waste Week the beauty industry was still responsible for producing more than 120 billion units of packaging (which were mostly non-recyclable) last year.

It’s not all bad news though: the natural, organic beauty market is growing.

The Soil Association reported that the market grew 23% in 2019, with 33% of us actively looking to purchase eco-friendly household care products.

In short, it’s clear that being more environmentally responsible has never been higher on our agendas.

Here are the eco-friendly beauty products that every woman who wants to look flawless and save the world at the same time, should be stocking up on especially with Earth Day fast approaching. It’s worth mentioning the brands featured aren’t perfect (none are), but they’re making a conscious effort to do what they can to better the world and save our planet.

15 eco-friendly beauty products to buy now

Face Halo Makeup Remover Pad Original Single Pack | £7 from Boots

Beloved by Victoria Beckham, this is a simple, affordable, planet-friendly way to remove makeup.

Speaking on Breaking Beauty Podcast last year, the mother-of-four raved about Face Halo's make-up pads. And admitted that even her youngest child, Harper, is a fan. Victoria said: "I love those as make-up wipes. They're reusable and I'm obsessed with them. I use them all the time, and I take them everywhere. Harper loves them as well."

Using only water, Face Halo traps and removes makeup for a deep clean, and gentle exfoliation. They're also dual-sided and reusable (just clean with warm soapy water after each use). And the brand claims that over its lifespan one Face Halo can replace up to 500 traditional face wipes.

JVN Complete Instant Recovery Serum | £24 from Space NK

He's our favourite member of the Queer Eye team, so when Jonathan Van Ness (aka JVN) decided to launch his own brand of hair care we were quite excited. To put it mildly.

The salon-quality, environmentally-friendly, gender-neutral range includes shampoos, conditioners, pre-wash scalp oil – even an 'air dry' cream. You’ll find 10 vegan products which are silicone and sulfate-free and each come in an aluminium or glass container that is 100% recyclable.

While the range has amazing reviews, there's one standout product that has is being raved about all over social media: JVN Complete Instant Recovery Serum (Drew Barrymore even claimed on Instagram: "it SAVED my hair").

it protects from heat damage up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 232 Celcius) while also strengthening your hair, repairing the outer shaft, and reducing split ends.

Just add it to damp hair before blow-drying and let it work its protective magic. (Check out our review here of whether it really works)

LUSH Solid Deodorant | £6.50 from LUSH

Aerosol deodorants might smell great and feel easy to travel with, but they’re bad for the environment.

Which is why LUSH wanted to create a natural deodorant that could keep sweat and odour away without damaging the planet.

And they did: think of Aromaco as a roll-on deodorant without the extra packaging. Simply rub under clean, dry armpits and you’re ready to go.

Plus, LUSH also runs a recycling scheme where, in return for you bringing back five clean, used Lush black pots to one of their shops, you'll get a free, fresh face mask – sounds like a pretty good pay-off for all involved.

Dr Hauschka Lemongrass Bath Essence | £17 from John Lewis & Partners

This well-respected brand uses biodynamic farming methods to grow its ingredients, and green electricity wherever possible.

Most of its high-quality, plant-based offering is packaged in glass and aluminium jars and tubes; what plastic remains has begun the transition to PCR, saving 65% of raw oil in the process.

Their Lemongrass Bath Essence, in particular, is a must-try for anyone new to the brand. It’s zesty, soften skins, and feels like a luxurious treat.

Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera | £15 from Look Fantastic

Not only does Christophe Robins Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera mean you can finally get rid of all those bottles languishing at the bottom of your shower, it also means that you can start washing your hair without worrying about plastic waste.

Containing Aloe Vera, castor oil and glycerine this shampoo bar cleanses the hair and scalp, whilst leaving hair hydrated and full of body.

It’s sulphate and paraben-free and is created using a process called cold saponification – the only process that produces 100% plant-based products, oils and butters that use low levels of water consumption to produce.

DAME Tampons | £3.49 from Wearedame

A staggering 1.2 billion disposable tampon applicators get flushed down loos in the UK every year and period plastic has been named the 5th most common to wash up on Europe’s beaches and it is expected by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish

Climate-positive femcare brand, DAME is on a mission to reduce period waste and so created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator and a range of 100% organic cotton tampons, free from bleaches, dyes and synthetic fibres.

It is estimated that for each woman who switches to a Dame reusable applicator will approximately prevent 12,00 single-use applicators from entering the oceans.

That’s direct proof that our small lifestyle changes can have big impacts on the world.

Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrushes | £14.99 from Amazon

Bamboo toothbrushes are an eco-friendly alternative, because bamboo is a natural plant, fully biodegradable, thus a renewable and sustainable resource.

In fact, bamboo is the world's fastest naturally renewing resource which is also inherently anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and these bamboo toothbrushes come complete with nylon bristles, which can effectively clean teeth but are also BPA-free and 100% biodegradable.

This family pack means that each member of the household can be certain which toothbrush is theirs by looking at the colour on the handle and the bristles.

Hydrophil Bamboo Cotton Swabs | £3.55 from Planet Organic

Back in May of 2019, Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirmed a ban on plastic-stemmed cotton buds in England, as well as plastic straws and drink stirrers.

The new law came as it was estimated that 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used in England each year. Around 10% are flushed down toilets, ending up in waterways and oceans, adding to the 150 million-plus tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans.

If you’re an avid cotton bud user though, don’t panic, a paper cotton bud is just as effective and doesn’t harm the environment.

The Hydrophil Bamboo Cotton Swabs are made from biodegradable bamboo and soft cotton. After using, you can dispose of the cotton buds in your organic waste or compost, and the packaging is made of recycled cardboard.

Beauty Elixir Herb Powder | From £26.50 from Glow Bar

Glow Bar products are all about using nature’s gifts to inspire our own beauty and wellbeing.

This fairly-new brand, the brainchild of wellness guru, Sasha Sabapathy is all about sharing stress management remedies that draw on ancient wisdom and natural ingredients.

They are on a mission to revolutionise the way women cope with stress and have created their own range of vegan powders that will help you do just that – while keeping you glowing, inside and out, along the way.

We particularly love Pearl. Harnessing the magic of the sea, this nano-particle pearl powder boosts collagen production, evens skin tone and fights signs of ageing from within.

Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Facial Soap | £5 from The Body Shop

Hand and face soap can produce a lot of wastage when bought in plastic bottles – particularly as we are buying so many at the moment – so switching back to ‘old school’ bars is a great way of lessening your impact on the environment.

This Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Facial Soap removes impurities and dirt effectively and is formulated with bamboo charcoal from the Himalayan foothills.

It’s also enriched with Community Trade tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil known for their purifying properties, this soap leaves skin feeling clean and reduces excess oils.

Foundation Brushes | £8.99 from Spectrum

There are lots of affordable makeup brush companies with sustainable wood or bamboo handles, and non-animal hair, but Spectrum have worked hard to cut their plastic packaging by more than 50% and donate 1% of their gross revenue to plastic clean-up concerns.

We also love their bold designs and vibrant-coloured brushes, from precise eye shadow brushes to those which will help your concealer glide on.

Their foundation brush can be used to apply cream, liquid or powder foundations onto the skin for a flawless finish.

For best results, lightly dab foundation onto the desired areas of the face before blending outwards in small circular motions.

For heavier coverage, lightly bounce the brush onto the face, pressing the foundation into the skin for real staying power.

Face Cream | £19.95 from WAKE Skincare

Wake Skincare is a Start-up business built for ‘generation connected’: they are a brand born out of the frustrations of being glued to screens, working long hours and always being switched on.

While doing market research for the brand they found that everyone they spoke to wanted natural products with less plastic and so that’s what they created.

To use, simply massage into your face using upward strokes and reach for it any time your skin needs a generous helping of nourishing, comforting hydration.

You can use the face cream under makeup throughout the day or as a night cream before bed.

Rimmel Kind & Free Clean Nail Polish Sunset Soar | £5.99 from Superdrug

Big brands are now (finally) trying to do their bit, and we love Rimmel's kind and free range (which includes foundation, mascara and powder which use vegan and mainly natural ingredients).

And this, their first plant-based nail varnish is getting great customer reviews – "It’s such a gorgeous colour! And the quality looks good, just perfect."

Utilising natural ingredients sourced from sugar cane cassava cotton and corn the range features some stunning colours with incredible shine – think spring pastels like lavender, blue, and barely-there pink, to red, deep berry, and black.

To apply: on clean nails, paint three strokes from base to tip: one per side and one in the middle. Once dry apply a second coat if needed. Allow to dry for a few minutes and apply a top coat for extra shine.

Salt of the Earth Plastic Free Deodorant Crystal 75g | £4.99 from Holland & Barrett

This 100% natural deodorant uses nothing but a natural salt, potassium alum as its active ingredient. In fact, natural mineral salts such as this have been used for centuries to prevent body odour.

How does it work? Potassium alum creates an invisible antibacterial layer on the skin’s surface that helps to control the growth of bacteria, thus preventing that telltale whiff. So you get long-lasting protection and your skin can breathe, too.

The unisex product is not only free of fragrance and synthetic ingredients of any kind, but it's also vegan (and approved by both the Vegan Society & Vegetarian Society and Leaping Bunny Approved too). And it comes in 100% recyclable cardboard packaging.

Simply apply to damp skin after washing. Or if you want to use it on dry skin, wet the deodorant crystal first, then apply. Tip: Dry your crystal thoroughly before placing back in the box, or alternatively store in a clean, dry place.

Recycled Microfibre Hair Turban | £5.00 from Marks & Spencer

Cut down on your hairdryer time with this handy towel/turban made from recycled polyester. A bonus for the planet, your hair and your energy bills.

To use it, you tip your hair upside down and place the towel around your head with the button at the back. Twist your hair inside the towel, then use the button and elastic to secure it.

Make sure you hang the towel to dry afterward.

It's a no-brainer to use this for better hair and as a daily act of kindness towards the planet, hence its mainly five-star reviews.

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