Sustainable Cosmetics - Blog

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Monday 5th March 2018

Most British teenagers have a makeup collection worth £425, compared to their parents whose set is a more modest £180, according to a recent survey. A huge portion of this makeup isn’t even used, instead it festers in our cabinets and is replaced before it’s finished. And it isn’t just makeup. We are buying an ever-increasing assortment of creams and scrubs which are all contributing to the toiletry waste issue. As younger generations purchase more of these products, we need to look for sustainable options, that protect the environment and our pockets. 

UK brand Ecco-Verde has a vast range of environmental products. Their eyeshadow palette “Veggy” is vegan and made up of 100% natural products. They sell solid toothpastes which last longer, use less plastic packaging and are vegan too. What’s not to like?

My favourite cosmetics provider is Lush. They sell quality handmade products with as little packaging as possible. Or you can choose to “go naked” (with the products, not your clothes!) and take them home with no packaging at all. An amazing example of this is their shampoo bars, this saves Lush 6 million plastic bottles a year. Lush are dedicated to protecting the planet and leading the way sustainably with creative solutions. Here you can read their environmental policy which highlights their dedication and good work.  

Lush Cosmetics (

You might think these products are a bit expensive, but I can assure you, many of them (especially the bars) last much longer than more traditional ones. My tip is to store them in a closed container like a glass jar, so they don’t dry out and last even longer.

Here in the Brighton office we are proud to support our customers with their ethical goals: Hisbe is a supermarket with a difference. They offer a variety of plastic free personal hygiene products like toothbrushes, ear buds, soap bars, and menstrual cups. It’s also the only place in town with a refill bar, here you can refill your bottles with shower gel and hair shampoo, to reuse your containers and prevent waste.  

Neal’s Yard Remedies is an amazing example of sustainable business. Ten years ago, they were awarded the world’s first CarbonNeutral® high street retailer certificate. They did this by purchasing carbon offsets, devised a carbon action plan to set business targets and ensure continued carbon reductions. They offer sustainable skincare, body and hair products with packaging made from recycled cardboard and printed with vegetable-based inks. The majority of their packaging is made from 100% recyclable materials. This includes their blue glass bottles, made from UK sand, limestone and soda ash or their blue plastic bottles.

Looking for something different? Try Optiat. Their natural exfoliating coffee scrubs are made from repurposed coffee grounds collected from cafes and restaurants across London. An excellent option, especially now that plastic microbeads are banned in the UK. 

To further reduce your bathroom plastic waste, there are many brands providing reusable razors, plastic free shaving cream and foam, shaving honey wax and more. Have a look into a Cornwall based blogger Gina’s Zero Waste Lifestyle, it could give you an idea of how to successfully approach it. And don’t forget that those tonnes of makeup and creams that we apply to our faces come off easily with a reusable makeup remover pad, warm water, and soap.

Before saying adios amigos, I’d like to point you in the direction of one of my favourite zero-waste bloggers, Kathryn. She writes about the DIY side of beauty, and shows a crafty way to tackle the cosmetic waste issues. 

There’s a lot to take in, and changes aren’t always easy, but one small change can really make a difference. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Vanessa Gomez

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