Why we need to say no to beauty’s most unnecessary little luxury.
Recently, my editor Jo came to me with a very important beauty question: why are there still plastic spatulas included with face creams? I couldn’t give her a decent answer and, frankly, I feel as outraged about the spatula situation as she does. Because really, in an era when we all live in a state of peak plastic awareness, it is simply unnecessary. I consider it to be the beauty industry’s equivalent to the supermarket plastic bag – and it’s high time this changed.
Of course, I know why brands do it. A spatula has become one of the accepted trimmings to a luxury beauty skincare buy, a subtle message that suggests you’re a cut above and so perish the thought that you might stick one of your own fingers into a pot of cream. And it helps to measure dosage, too. But seriously, who’s fooling who? By the time you’ve left one of those spatulas lying around your bathroom shelf or wash basin it’ll be covered in bacteria. Not to mention regular loo flushing and the ensuing germ dissemination that adds to the mix. You’d need to be constantly sterilising the thing. But, truth be told, I don’t know anyone who actually uses them – which makes them as pointless as that other luxury beauty purchase marker, the velvet pouch. Anyone who does use these soon finds they are a magnet for all the dust, crumbs and general dirt that gather in the bottom of hand/make-up bags, so they quickly look like filthy rags rather than a fancy compact jacket.
Things are changing, though. Natural brands such as Tuscany-based Seed to Skin and Hampshire-based Wildsmith have both replaced their plastic spatulas with a stainless-steel version that can be reused for decades. These spatulas are also fully recyclable – and Wildsmith will do this for you if you send it back to them. Still, once you have a metal spatula you don’t really need another – yet you’ll get one each time you repurchase a cream; Seed to Skin is looking at ways you can opt out.
In the meantime, can we all please agree to call time on the whole plastic spatula thing? Let’s start telling brands that it’s a firm no thank you from all of us.
A pout with clout
If you’re looking for a make-up pick-me-up in the middle of this first month of the year/decade, look no further than Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Mat lipsticks. With their classic Hollywood glamour gold cases – think Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe – they are things of beauty and wonder. But it isn’t just that they look good – the lipstick itself goes on easily with a smooth velvety feel. Great to wear but, frankly, they bring me joy just looking at them. Alas, not refillable, but available in 29 shades – our favourite is Odalie Red (right). £34, net-a-porter.com and harrods.com.
A smoother operator
It takes a lot on the hairbrush front to woo me away from my Mason Pearson, which is probably why the So Eco brush languished on my desk for weeks before I properly tried to engage with it. But this brush is good. My hair can get knotted quite quickly – especially in scarf-wearing weather which causes it to bunch up and then start matting – and the bristles on this brush sort out all of that without tugging. Even more impressive is that it is fully biodegradable (the handle is made from bioplastics derived from wheat). £9 at tesco.com.
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson