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In my opinion, plastic-free beauty products are often forgotten. It isn’t talked about a lot or enough, probably because brands are only just becoming aware of the implications plastic has. But it needs to be talked about more. I’m so happy to see that more and more people are using soap bars* instead of liquid soap or stainless steel straws* instead of plastic straws, but it is so important to cut down on plastic beauty products too. I don’t wear make-up that often so products tend to last me a long time, but it would still be better to have a refillable product.
Single-use face mask production was at 12 million per day in China during the peak of the pandemicSouth China Morning Post
I think the message of plastic pollution was just starting to have an effect on people, and then the pandemic hit which erased a lot of the progress. The surge in production of PPE was obviously essential and still is, but a lot of other people switched back to single-use products out of fear of lingering Covid germs. For example, plastic takeaway boxes, single-use coffee cups, online grocery shopping. I totally understand that, I was extremely anxious about catching covid and ended up basically isolating myself, but if you wash it straight away it will be ok.
Ways to cut down on plastic beauty products
Use up all plastic products
First and foremost, it is super important to use up all your plastic products before buying any new products. Something that is often forgotten during the journey of living more sustainably, is to NOT throw away your plastic products. It’s much better to use up the product than to throw it away – it has been produced and you bought it, you should use it. I’m currently still using up my plastic bottles of shampoo, but once I have finished I’m going to switch to a shampoo bar*.
Find refillable products
Zao – Essence of Nature, is an eco-friendly makeup brand that I have been aware of for a couple of years now. My sister bought me the refillable mascara for Christmas a few years back, and I love it! The product ‘case’ is made of bamboo and once the mascara is empty, you can buy a refill. I will admit that it is a bit expensive, and I definitely couldn’t afford this myself, especially as I don’t wear makeup all the time. However, if you do wear makeup a lot it will be a worthwhile purchase! If it’s too expensive, you could ask for it at Christmas or for your birthday. They do other products, makeup palettes, concealer and eyebrow powder being the ones I want to buy the most!
I’ve seen recently that Boots (and probably other places) sell a refill of liquid shampoo. I like this idea a lot because I’ve seen one for Head and Shoulders which is the shampoo I’m currently using, but it seems to come in a plastic bag type thing which I’m not at all keen on. I think it’s worth some investigating!
Switch to reusable products
Another way to cut down on plastic beauty products is to switch to reusable. Luckily there are lots of reusable products out there, so it isn’t too hard to find one. The best reusable swap I made was going from single-use makeup wipes to reusable round pads. I got them for Christmas from my parents so I’m not sure where they got them from, but there are so many small businesses that sell them on Etsy etc. I have 10 white and 10 navy which is good for different types of makeup. The thing I love most about them is that you can wash them easily along with your laundry. I would definitely recommend this if you are wanting to make a simple swap!
The next reusable product I’m going to talk about is a reusable razor, but I will put my hands up and say that I still use single-use razors. I didn’t use to get a lot of hair so I didn’t shave that much, meaning that I went through the razors pretty slowly. Now, I tend to shave more frequently which is why I’m doing some research to find a good sustainable razor. I’ve seen so much promotion on Instagram about Estrid razors, and I do love the look of them but recently, I’ve heard that FFS (Fuss-Free Shaving) is better. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this, I’m hoping to purchase within the next month 💚
Upcycle or reuse plastic packaging
If you need to use a product that comes in a plastic bottle, the best thing is to reuse it. For example, with suncream, it is pretty impossible to go plastic-free and SPF is essential for our skin. You could reuse it as a travel container, plant water container, homemade cleaner etc.
At The Body Shop, you can hand in 5 of their containers which they will reuse or recycle and in return you receive a £5 voucher. I think it’s nice that they are using an incentive to convince more people to join. My mum and I currently have over 5 containers but we haven’t been there since before the pandemic, so they are building up in the house.
For more, check out Plastic-Free July Personal Care by A Sustainably Simple Life
Best wishes, Cx