There’re literally thousands of health and beauty brands out there and so many of them revolve around cleaning your skin and hair. The industry has been scrutinised in the past for not having the best record when it comes to sustainability, with an excess of non-recylable plastic packaging being one of the biggest issues.
It was reported by Zero Waste last year that more than 120 million units of packaging are created by the global cosmetics industry yearly. There has however recently been a shift with brands wanting to embrace sustainability and listen to consumer demand, and while some brands in this industry have been pioneering sustainability for a while it appears that many more are starting to come around. Here are a few of our favourites, when it comes to caring for our planet.
In the UK, high street beauty retailer Lush are doing a great job on the packaging front. For creams, bottles, lipstick tubes, and the like, Lush uses a simple black plastic pot, a simple, no-frills packaging that “ensures customers pay for the ingredients inside their product, not the distractions on the outside”. These Lush black pots can supposedly “have more lives than a cat”, made from BPA-free mixed polypropylene (PP) that can be reused again and again. Because PP plastics are harder to recycle, Lush will do it for you at an in-house recycling centre where old pots are chipped, washed, melted, and remoulded before being refilled. As a thanks for returning your pots and reducing plastic waste, they’ll send you a free face mask.
There are many other Lush packaging initiatives including partnering with the Ocean Legacy Foundation to use recovered plastic from the oceans, replacing their gift-wrapping service with knot-wraps (square scarves made from organic cotton or a silky fabric made from recycled plastic bottles) and not forgetting that 35% of Lush products are sold naked, with no packaging at all.
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
When it comes to sustainability with ethical products, there are few that can compete with the Dirty Hippie Cosmetic company. Although their products can be bought globally, to benefit from their recycling program you need to be based in Australia due to the air miles that are used. With their mantra being, ‘Products you can trust to be the best for you, the environment and your pocket’ they have a lot to live up to but thankfully they do. Selling everything from deodorants, hair and skin care to reusable femcare products, re-usable makeup remover pads, crockery, and organic bamboo plasters. The list is endless but they all have a lot in common including mainly that they are handmade with love, vegan, cruelty free, organic, toxin free, ethically sourced, fair trade and where required, formulated to suit all skin types. They include sensitive, eco-friendly packaging and refill options and zero waste generated: labels are printed in-house using vegetable based ink and recycled paper, in a green energy powered and rain water supplied lab. For those lucky enough to live in Australia, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics accept empties on all full sized, tin and bottle products then refill them. Due to the vast amount of air miles that are ultimately used this isn’t available to overseas customers. All of this for reasonably priced products, what’s not to love about this business and their products.
L'Occitane en Provence
An award winning natural beauty and skincare provider, L’Occitane is not one to shy away from sustainability. The L'Occitane Group aims to limit its environmental impact at every stage of the product lifecycle, from formulation through to distribution in-store, and in 2016, they entered into a three-year partnership with the IUCN. This partnership focuses on Identifying the impact of their activities on biodiversity and implementing an action plan to reinforce their commitments, as well as supporting the IUCN project in France to produce a red list of ecosystems for France's Mediterranean coastlines and forests,to increase knowledge about biodiversity and raise awareness of the challenges involved.
The company also supports several local projects that aim to preserve the natural Mediterranean heritage and ensure that any harvesting of wild plants respects the sustainable harvesting charter so as to preserve the natural environment.
It’s refreshing to know that one of L’Occitane’s key focuses is on nature and viewing it as a role model, using natural properties of plants as inspiration to drive innovation, with an added commitment to developing long-term relationships with their producers and prioritise short, local integrated channels when sourcing their key ingredients.
Taking a modern approach to a traditional European craft, HookAway4Crochet a creative outlet founded by Zoe Goddard and as the name suggests, supplies all things Crochet. Starting with a vison to combine Zoe’s love of crocheting and her passion to live a more zero waste lifestyle by making eco-friendly beauty and cosmetic accessories which help to reduce plastic waste. Each of her products are skilfully made by hand in the UK by Zoe and can be cleaned and reused over and over again, making it easy to have a more plastic-free bathroom routine. Take for example their Reusable face cleansing pads which are the perfect zero-waste alternative to disposable cotton pads and wet wipes. The soft 100% premium cotton pads are hand-crocheted in the UK and can be used as makeup remover pads.
Creating personal care products that don’t come at the Earths expense, US brand by Humankind offers personal care products from deodorant to mouthwash with clean formulas that come in a plastic neutral refillable container. The brand then sends you personalised refills on a subscription schedule. Creator Brain Bushell was inspired to make a difference when he was on a trip to Thailand and was aboard a small boat that became surround by a floating mass of plastic, using Brian’s products in your daily morning routine could save roughly 5 pounds of single-use plastic from entering our environment over the next 12 months alone!
It’s inspiring to see so many brands, old and new envisioning a better world, we look forward to many more taking on the challenge of creating a more sustainable future.