By Jess Beech
A new year brings new resolutions, and why not make yours a commitment to making your beauty buys more eco-friendly? Instead of a complete over-haul (which we know can be daunting!) give these easy to manage tips and tricks a try.
1. Swap make-up wipes for reusable cloths
There’s no denying that for a quick fix, a speedy once-over with a make-up wipe is pretty tempting. But the likelihood of ending up with dull, lacklustre skin and the knowledge that make-up wipes are clogging up landfill far outweighs their practicality. Instead, stock up on face cloths that can be popped in the washing machine to be used time and time again. The textured fabric will help exfoliate too, dislodging dead skin cells for a brighter complexion. Win-win!
2. Swap liquids for bars
Named by market research company Mintel as ‘the new luxury’ ingredient, it’s no surprise the amount of water beauty brands are using in their products is coming under scrutiny. Named as the number one ingredient in most shampoos, conditioners and liquid soaps, water acts as a base (or in some cases filler) and helps bring down the production cost. Minimise your water usage by trading liquid formulations for solid bars where possible – you’ll be lathering and rinsing with water as you use them anyway. Even better, as they’re more concentrated, solid versions tend to last for longer too.
3. Swap out pump bottles for recyclable ones
It’s worth checking the back of the pack when you recycle your beauty products, as the metal spring in the mechanism of most pump bottles means most can’t be recycled. So, to avoid the whole bottle being discarded, pop the pump in your regular bin (or just remove the spring if possible) before recycling the rest of the packaging. Look out for brands like Ren and Soaper Duper who have both created 100% recyclable pumps and refill when you’re done to minimise waste.
4. Swap sheet masks for tubs
Much like plastic bottles and straws, sheet masks are single-use, making them a part of the ‘throw away’ culture we’re all trying to avoid. If you can’t give up your Sunday night pampering ritual, treat yourself to a big tub of product in a recyclable pot you can smooth directly onto skin – no plastic backing required. If you travel a lot and love sheet masks for the fact there’s minimal liquid and no risk of leakage, choose a biodegradable mask with pared-back packaging like The Body Shop Drops of Youth Sheet Mask, £5.
5. Swap single-use plastics for refills
Instead of binning your shower gel every time you’ve eked out the last drop, look out for schemes that will refill your packaging. Splosh.com runs a subscription service for both body care and cleaning products, sending you an initial starter bottle that can be topped up with neat, letterbox sized refill bags whenever you need them. With prices starting from just £1.75, they’re really purse-friendly too. L’Occitane also offer 500ml refill packs of their bestselling soaps, shower gels and shampoos, made from 90% less plastic than their standard size products.
6. Swap over-flowing makeup bags for refillable makeup palettes and stacks
Reduce your dressing table clutter, and the amount of products you’re lugging around in your handbag, by streamlining your make-up into one personalised palette or stack. By buying less, you’ll make a difference to both plastic waste and shipping emissions. Trinny London’s stacks and Tropic’s palettes are the perfect place to start. No more fishing around in your bag for that loose eyeliner!
We love:Tropic Colour Palette, from £16
7. Swap excessive packaging for ‘naked packaging’
Recycled or recyclable packaging is a great leap in the right direction, but of course no wrapping at all is even better. Lush have been championing so-called ‘naked’ packaging for years, with everything from bath bombs to shampoo bars available to buy just as they are.
We love:Floating Flower Bath Bomb, £6.95
8. Invest in a new bathroom bin
Not strictly a swap, but stats from Recycle Now show that whilst 90% us regularly recycle in our kitchens, that figure drops to just 52% in our bathrooms. For most of us, it’s simply down to only having one bin, so making the space for another (or even hanging a bag for empties on the back of the door) will make a real difference. Soaper Doaper are ahead of the game here – delivering orders from their website in a free cardboard bathroom bin. Whilst it might not stand the test of time, it’ll definitely help you get into the habit of bathroom recycling. Not sure what you can and can’t recycle from your bathroom? Recyclenow.com has a handy list covering everything from shampoo bottles to toilet roll tubes.
Do you have any simple, easy beauty swaps? Let us know on Facebook!
Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC.
She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!
Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress.
The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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