Edwina Ings-Chambers: The big names buffing up their eco credentials

At last, some of the industry’s major players are taking steps to prevent billions of products ending up in landfill.

May I ask, how many things do you have in your make-up bag? According to research carried out by Opinion Matters last month, each of us has on average 11 items that we will probably never use again. Admittedly, that’s not a long-term evaluation of our make-up buying habits, and what we’re wearing now may be different as we emerge at different paces from lockdown. But I’d suggest that it’s safe to say most of us have some maquillage that we no longer wear and, according to the same source, three in five of us will dispose of that by simply throwing it in the bin (though 48 per cent say they’d like to recycle even though they don’t currently). Which means its destiny is landfill.

eco beauty products refills

Cue Maybelline to the rescue: the company has just announced an inspiring nationwide program to recycle your old make-up packaging – no matter the brand, no matter whether you’ve used it all up or discarded it part way through. Maybelline has teamed up with TerraCycle in more than 1,000 branches of Tesco, Boots, Superdrug and Sainsbury’s to place bins in-store: all we need do is toss our unwanted make-up in them so that more of the 120 billion units of packaging produced globally each year by the beauty industry will find their way to recycling plants. Everything will be taken and washed (so don’t worry if you haven’t finished it), sorted and processed to create plastic granules destined to be used for making things such as fence posts and benches. Currently brushes and nail varnish are not included.

It’s part of a push by Maybelline’s parent company L’Oréal (whose brand stable includes Lancôme and Kérastase, among others) to be more sustainable. Its recently published targets for 2030 include 100 per cent of plastics used in packaging will be from recycled or bio-based sources and greenhouse emissions reduced by 50 per cent per finished product from 2016 rates.

Meanwhile, Estée Lauder Companies (which owns Clinique, Aveda and more) is also making strides forward and has committed that by the end of 2025 all of its brand packaging will be recyclable, refillable, reusable or recoverable.

Of course, as customers we can put pressure on brands to do more, but otherwise with these target-setting goals we are in a passive position. With Maybelline’s campaign, however, we can be active by filling those bins so our beauty products have a more beautiful end of their own. To find stores taking part, go to maybelline.co.uk/store-locator.

In other environmentally conscious news here are some of our favourite products which have had an eco-packaging revamp.

Beauty products that can be refilled

Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan Rose Otto Body Lotion (£38 plus £3 deposit for glass jar, loopstore.co.uk). The brand has collaborated with Loop which aims to reduce packaging by reusing containers (they deliver, collect and sterilise everything for you).

Diptyque L’Art du Soin Softening Hand Wash and Velvet Hand Lotion (£45, and £48, diptyqueparis.com). Diptyque now offers refills (£26) for its stylish glass jars of luxurious soap and hand lotion.

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water Refill (£14.95, boots.com). This great self tan with plenty of hydrating coconut oil now offers refill bags which use 81 per cent less plastic than the standard bottle.

Larry King Social/City/Good Life Shampoos (£39) and Liquid Hairbrush Conditioner (£42, larryking.co.uk). This brilliant range now offers refills (£21 for the shampoo, £23 for conditioner) so you can keep reusing the original glass bottles.

Origins Ginzing Into the Glow Brightening Serum (£35, origins.co.uk). This will come in a glass bottle with a reusable pump so when you replenish you can get ten per cent off the purchase price. (Pumps are difficult to recycle as they use multiple components). Available from November.

A miracle in a bottle

Also getting a bit of a facelift is Caudalie’s Resveratrol Lift skincare line. The brand first worked with the ingredient (known as the ‘longevity molecule’ and derived from grapevines) in 1997 and partners on research with Dr David Sinclair at the Harvard Medical School.

caudalie cremeResveratrol helps skin to repair and protect itself and Sinclair’s research also found it increased the skin’s own hyaluronic acid (HA, which is good for moisture).

In further studies Caudalie discovered this was also twice as effective as retinol in boosting skin collagen. It bettered even this by adding a vegan form of the protein, derived from mahogany bark, which in combination can multiply skin collagen by five, and comes without the phyto-sensitivity and irritation common with retinol; good news, since as we age we lose collagen and firmness.

I can be cynical about many claims, but I’ve been trying this range for a month now and I have seen benefits: my skin feels springier – and, yes, even lifted. I’ve tried the whole range and though a serum is more potent, the cream – due to its cult following – is considered the hero product.

No one’s saying this is a facelift in a jar – it isn’t like surgery – but I’ve been genuinely impressed by this whole range. From £21, uk.caudalie.com.