8 easy ways to switch to an eco-friendly beauty routine

Sustainable beauty isn’t just a buzzword. The way we groom can have a huge impact on the environment, from excessive packaging to wasteful disposable cotton pads, the beauty industry is rife with unsustainable products and practices.

But how do we switch to a more eco-friendly beauty regime, and what will it cost us? Nobody wants to forsake quality or spend more than they have to, which is why we’ve compiled some easy hacks to help save the planet while still looking your best.

woman removing make-up
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1. Ditch the disposable wipes

Cotton pads and face wipes are among some of the worst offenders for polluting the planet due to their single-use nature and daily frequency at which they are used, plus face wipes can take more than 100 years to biodegrade. A firm favourite of presenter Davina McCall, HUKU reusable bamboo cotton pads are only £9.99 for a set of 18 and are one of the easiest eco-friendly beauty switches you can make.

Huku reusable cotton pads
Know the Origin

18 Reusable Bamboo Cotton Makeup Pads with Wash Bag, £9.99, Know the Origin

Eco-Queen Tara Button, founder of the online store Buy Me Once, says: ‘Reusable pads are so much better at getting your make-up off and then you just pop them in the washing machine. Did you know that reusable breast pads are the same thing and can be cheaper? Just pop them into a string bag so they don’t get stuck in the filter.’

2. Go big on bars

Switching to solid body, skin and hair bars is one of the best ways to opt for plastic-free products with minimal packaging. One of the best brands that offer these is Ethique, whose solid bars impressively sell once every 18 seconds. In fact, when Ethique launched in Holland & Barrett, the products flew off the shelves, with many lines selling out within 48 hours and others garnering a waiting list of a staggering 55,000 people. Tara’s tip is to get a little soap bag, to hang in the shower. It stops the soap running everywhere and you can use the soap inside the bag for extra exfoliation.


Professor Curl™ Solid shampoo for curly hair, £12, Ethique

3. Recycle in-store

146 million make-up products are produced every single year in the UK. Add the 200 tonnes of plastic used to put these products on the shelves and that’s a lot of waste. These are some of the high street shops that run their own recycling schemes, where you can dispose of unwanted or traditionally un-recyclable packaging and products, sometimes in exchange for loyalty points, thus reaping rewards while saving the planet.

4. Seek out stylish packaging that can be reused

If your favourite lotion isn’t available without excess packaging, how about picking a product that comes in such an attractive vessel it can be used as homeware?  Oquist Cosmetics is one sustainable brand whose packaging is so beautiful that, after you’ve finished using the products inside, it can then be used as a chic interiors piece around the home. While not cheap, these are great value for money in the long run and are packed with green credentials.

Oquist anti-ageing serum

6-in-1 Anti Aging Serum, £82.93, Oquist

5. Throw away the throwaways

Tara recommends switching one-time-use cotton buds for The Last Swab. Exactly what they say on the tin, they’re a simple but clever invention that would reduce a huge amount of waste if we all bought in. And keep a basket of rolled up flannels in your bathroom. Not only will it save the waste of wet wipes, but you’ll feel like you’re at a posh hotel!

6. Get rid of the one-use razors

Most razors create heaps of plastic waste, so the solution is to go old school with the super stylish safety razor. The blades are much cheaper, so you end up saving money over time, too.

7. Top up your tubs

L’Occitane, OUAI, Mac and Rituals are just some of the brands that offer refills of their most popular products, all for a snip of the original cost as you’re dodging the price of the packaging.

Tara says: ‘Liquids have always been a bit trickier, but pioneering brands like Beauty Kitchen are using ‘Re Smart Bottles’, which can be returned and tracked. It only needs to be reused once before its global warming potential is lower than single-use plastic packaging. You can even track your impact and plastic savings. See Beauty Kitchen’s Shampoo, which uses this process, and Zao Makeup, who have led the way with reusable make-up packaging and eco-friendly beauty.

refillable beauty products
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8. Refillable perfumes

Don’t forget to include perfume in your new eco-friendly beauty routine. Pioneered by Thierry Mugler – the brand has been offering customers in-store refills of its iconic perfumes since 1992 – the concept of bottles you can refill again and again has really taken off in recent years. Not only is it an ethical choice, it’s also lighter on the pocket as refills cost less that buying in bottles. From Chanel to Diptyque, here are our favourite refillable perfumes on the shelves right now.

So there you have it, a few little tweaks here and there really can make all the difference and can be done without sacrificing quality or effectiveness.