Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly conscious about my reliance on single-use plastics, as well as my carbon footprint. So I decided to gradually use up my plastic beauty products, and swap them for more sustainable alternatives.
I tried to find plastic-free products made with natural ingredients, closer to my home in the UK. Ideally supporting smaller businesses. All while not breaking the bank. And of course, they had to do the job well. I know that’s a lot to ask for, and no sustainable solution is perfect, but I did my best!
From the tinned and the bamboo, to the washable and the reusable – here are my tried and tested finds. So if you’re thinking of becoming a bit of an eco-warrior too, I’ve done some of the hard work for you.
1. Reusable bamboo pads
Firstly, I highly recommend some reusable bamboo pads. I use them to apply toner and make-up remover, and I’m sure you could use them for nail varnish remover too. These, like the next two items, are from My Little Eco shop, a small Devon-based company that offer reasonably priced eco-friendly products.
I use this Geranium Water toner every day as part of my skin-care routine – it smells intoxicatingly floral and it’s definitely helped to clear up my spotty chin. Mine came in an aluminium bottle, which is more easily recycled than plastic. My only gripe is it’s quite small, so i’ve got through it quite quickly.
3. Make-up remover
I haven’t used this Amethyst Micellar Water a lot as I haven’t worn much make-up over the past year or so. But when I do put on some slap for the odd Zoom party or socially distanced meet up, this is a welcome way to take it all off again. It contains lavender oil, which not only smells fantastic, but also helps me to unwind after socialising. If you’re an introvert too, you’ll understand!
4. Face oil
I’ve never used oil on my face before, but after seeing Wild Mint’s UK-made, toxin-free, plant-a-tree-for-every-order products, I thought I’d give their Marula Magic facial oil a go. It has a gorgeous apricot scent, feels velvety on my skin, and it’s helped to keep my skin hydrated – what with being sat inside for most of the day with the heating on. Only the glass part of the bottle is recyclable, but I feel like it will last me a long time – maybe they’ll have refills by then anyway?
5. Bar of soap and wooden dish
I’ve been through a few options with hand soap, from buying refills for regular plastic bottle brands, to refilling reusable glass bottles at my local zero-waste shop. The latter was pretty good, however said glass bottle actually broke in transit one day (the perils of eco-friendly living!). Luckily I had this wooden soap dish and a lovely lavender soap I bought from a gift shop in Plymouth, and I’m quite happy with this way of washing my hands. Plus it involves next to no packaging.
6. Hand balm
With all the handwashing and sanitising we do these days, we need to take care of our hands – especially in winter. My friend gifted me this Protective Beeswax Hand Balm by Great British Bee Co and it works and smells a treat. This one’s honeysuckle, but they also do a range of other scents. Environmentally sound packaging. Tick. UK biz. Tick. On a mission to support honey bees. Tick!
7. Zero-waste / low-waste refills
If you’re lucky enough to have a zero-waste shop near you, or you can find low-waste refills online, simply keep your old plastic bottles and reuse them. I refilled the transluscent bottle with lime, basil and mandarin bodywash from Zéro, a Wimbledon-based zero-waste shop. They even provide you with a sticker for your bottle, so you know what you’re using. The black bottle contains a bergamot bodywash from Born From Necessity, a zero-waste shop in East Molesey, Hampton.
8. Bamboo razor
Instead of having to throw away those hard plastic ones every few years, I decided I wanted a bamboo razor. Bull Dog’s Original Bamboo Razor was the only one I could find at the time that didn’t have one single scary blade. It works like a charm, and is gentle on my skin. Plus the spare blades come in recycled cardboard packaging.
9. Refillable deodorant
I’d heard natural deodorants take some getting used to, but I wasn’t going anywhere in lockdown, so I could easily try one out. After shopping around, I went for a Wild natural deodorant – and it actually keeps me fresh. It comes in a reusable metal case, in a colour of your choice, (you can even get it engraved if you fancy), while the refill pods come in plastic-free packaging. Apparently each one can last up to 3 months, so you’d only need to buy one for each season. Their scents are divine – I’m currently using their rose blush one and I’ve got lavender and coconut to look forward to in the spring and summer.
Hopefully I’ve shined a light on the ever-expanding world of eco-friendly beauty products. I will probably add to and update this list when I find more. I still need to find a good face scrub, cleanser and moisturiser…
I also just want to point out that I tried to watch out for greenwashing during the buying process. This is where brands jump on the sustainability bangwagon and exaggerate or fabricate their envionmentally friendly claims. If you’re looking for your own sustainable alternatives, always do your research, and if you’re not sure, question the companies. Companies that lie in order to be ‘on trend’ don’t deserve your time and money.
Yoga Panther x