Plus the beauty brands that are doing their bit for the planet
It's been a long time coming, but people are finally realising that it's cool (and necessary) to give a crap about the planet. From ethical fashion brands to upping our recycling, most of us are being a bit more conscious about our lifestyles. So we've compiled a guide on how to make your beauty routine more eco friendly. What are the secrets to building a sustainable beauty routine, you ask?
'As consumers, I think we'd all like to feel as though we're helping make a change for the better; but sometimes it's hard to know how to do that, and understand what impact a small change can really make,' says Jo Chidley, founder of Beauty Kitchen.
'For me, sustainability is a combination of things. It’s how we consciously develop and formulate products to the long term environmental impact they have. We carefully consider the ethical sourcing, the packaging and the production and how we operate as a fully rounded sustainable business. Consumers want to know that as a sustainable business you truly care about them and the environment.'
With that in mind, scroll our guides to sustainable sheet masks and refillable beauty products, and keep reading to find out how you can gradually upgrade to a sustainable skincare routine and be more planet-friendly.
How to make your beauty routine more eco friendly
Shop with a brand that follows environmentally friendly practices
From thoughtful packaging to sustainable ingredients, make sure they’ve covered the bases so all you have to do is decide on what products to try.
'Consumers used to think that natural meant compromising on quality, smell, texture or all three,' says Jo. But today, our products stand up against their synthetic counterparts and really do perform – proving that effective, natural and sustainable is possible.'
Ensure the brand is cruelty-free and against animal testing
'The leaping bunny is a guarantee that none of the products will have been tested on animals. If you can’t find it on the products, research!' says Jo. 'You’ll find brands are very good at telling you about all the work they’re doing to become more sustainable and eco-friendly, so if you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, ask the brand directly.
'We love to hear from our customers and will always answer questions and help arm them with the info they want whenever we can.'
Start with one product and take your time
If you're used to a certain routine it's best to swap things out gradually to make your transition into a more sustainable routine all the more smooth. Start by buying just one sustainable product to incorporate into your routine, then gradually build it up.
What are some easy swaps you can make for a more sustainable beauty routine?
When researching how to make your beauty routine more eco friendly, you no doubt want some easy swaps to start you off. 'Understanding that we do not have an infinite resource of ingredients is an important part of the journey,' Jo says. 'Look at argan oil – what was once a niche ingredient from Morocco is now a thriving industry. But how long can small communities work to meet demand? Trees and ingredients take time to grow and for us, it’s important to take our time and do things the right way.'
A couple of simple swaps Jo recommends is swapping from argan oil to abyssinian oil and looking out for products that contain marine extracts and algae. 'When these ingredients grow they turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and are truly effective on your skin,' she explains. 'You’ll get the same enjoyment from the products, but you’ll also be helping to ensure that those ingredients stick around for a lot longer as they’ll become more sustainable – and the cycle then becomes a totally renewable one.'
Beauty Kitchen Abyssinian Oil Concentrate – £10.50 | Holland & Barrett
'Here at Beauty Kitchen, we work tirelessly to ensure we're doing things as well as we can – from the efficacy of our products to the way we source ingredients, right down to the packaging we use for each and every one of our products,' Jo continues. 'Being the most sustainable beauty company in the world is what I’m working towards!'
Sustainable beauty routine - which brands are doing their green bit?
As well as the brilliant Beauty Kitchen, there are other brands below who are working to reduce their ecological footprint, whether through recycling initiatives or using less harmful ingredients. Read a bit more about them below.
REN has pledged to be a zero-waste brand by 2021, working towards 100% recyclable packaging, reusing ocean plastic and offering refillable services.
Tata Harper's packaging is almost entirely reusable and recyclable glass, and everything is made on their 1,200 acre farm in Vermont, USA.
L'Occitane's Teracycle Initiative will accept your used beauty products to be recycled (not just L'Occitane ones!). Simply take them to your nearest store (when it's safe to do so) and they'll do the rest – as well as giving you 10% off your next shop.
WE ARE PARADOXX use no plastic in their packaging, instead opting for aluminium which, unlike plastic, can be recycled an infinite number of times. Using recycled aluminium requires only 8% of the energy used to make new aluminium.
Origins recycle their empties at counters, meaning consumers can take their empty Origins containers and the brand will ensure they are recycled. They also never use Styrofoam packaging or PVCs and avoid using cartons where possible, but any that are used are FSC certified, post-consumer recycled fibre and made using wind and and hydro power. Cosmetic bags are made from 100% recycled materials, while shopping bags are 100% craft paper that is itself recyclable. Not bad, eh?
bareMinerals products are all free from chemical sunscreen, coal tar, formaldehyde, mineral oil, palm oil, parabens, peanuts, propylene glycol, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclocarban, and triclosan.
The Soap Co realised pretty quickly how difficult it is to recycle complicated pumps from hand wash and body lotion bottles, so they created refills to avoid the pump mechanisms ending up in landfill. Simply recycle your bottle but keep the pump, and put it into a new refill bottle (which is also locally and responsibly sourced).
Scientia make all of their products in the UK. Everything from formulation to distribution takes place under one roof. Their products are packaged in sustainable glass with soy ink and have been certified vegan and cruelty-free.
Consider your crash course in how to make your beauty routine more eco friendly, complete.
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Lucy is a freelance beauty editor and contributor at Marie Claire, and has written for titles including Glamour, Refinery29, Popsugar, woman&home and more. She was previously Marie Claire’s junior beauty editor. During her career, she’s covered everything from backstage beauty at fashion week to interviews with famous faces like Drag Race royalty and Little Mix. As for her beauty ethos, she’s a big advocate for not having to spend a fortune on beauty products to get good results, and when she’s not got beauty on the brain you’ll find her reading or hanging out with dogs.
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