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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 pandemic

South 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!

Related post: Sustainable beauty – 30+ skincare & make-up by Rainbow Vegans Rock

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!

reusable makeup pads

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

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  1. Another fabulous post Caroline. Beauty products has been an area where I have reduced a lot of plastic. I love the bars and use shampoo, conditioner and soap bars. I’ve also switched to a bar facial moisturizer from Lush.

    I don’t wear a lot of makeup but I found a Canadian company that makes refillable compacts for eyeshadow and blush, and wooden lip and eyeliner pencils. I make my own face powder with common kitchen ingredients.

    1. Thank you! Lush is so good for bars & plastic-free beauty, the Canadian company sounds great and I love that you make your own powder x

  2. It really does seem like most make up comes in plastic containers wrapped in more plastic. I love the Body Shop for many reasons, but one is that their packaging is pretty minimal. I don’t wear a ton of makeup but am on the search for some environmentally friendly options for when I do need to replenish what I have.

    1. Love The Body Shop too x

  3. Loved this! I have already made some swaps, but love the idea of makeup refillable products and also a reusable razor. I have been thinking about investing in one that changes the blades, but I am scared I would end up cutting myself. I have been using reusable makeup pads and they work great x

    1. I relate! x

  4. Jenna B says:

    Glad to hear that you like the reusable makeup pads. I’ve been so curious about them but haven’t made the switch yet…

    1. They really are amazing – if you want to know more info, I’d be happy to discuss it further xx

  5. Great tips! I love the idea of refillable makeup products. Like you, I don’t wear makeup that often, and even less during the pandemic, so now’s a brill time to start introducing some of the refillable and reusable products into my routine. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So true x

  6. Great post Caroline! You are absolutely right, we don’t consider our beauty products enough when looking for ways to be more sustainable. I use a perfume that is refillable. The company I get my compact from has a program that gives you one free if you return 8 empties, but I never thought of some of these other options. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them. Refillable is definitely ideal! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Love the idea of a refillable perfume 😍x

  7. Great tips! I’ve recently swapped to a crochet reusable make-up remover, that is just washed between uses. It works really well x

    1. I’ve never heard of that before but it’s such a cool idea x

  8. I’ve recently started watching how much plastic I use all the time. I’ve gotten reusable cups, straws, and facial clothes. I use Lush and they offer a free face mask with every 5 empty containers you bring in. So that is pretty cool too.

    1. This is so great to hear! Lush is such a good store x

  9. I really need to invest in some reusable cotton pads. I don’t use cotton pads much but do when I wear makeup!

    Corinne x

    1. They are definitely the best swap I made x

  10. I’ve made a note of your suggestions as I am really trying to reduce plastic use overall. I have got some reusable cotton face pads so will be changing my habits — thanks for sharing!

    1. Aw, I’m so happy to hear this! xx

  11. I love this post so much! It’s definitely a good idea to look into refillable beauty products xx

    1. Thank you 🙂 x

  12. These are great tips and it is important to think about how we can reduce the use of these plastics.

    1. Thank you

  13. I love the idea of using up all plastic products first! I think if you’re going on a sustainability rush you might throw out products without thinking and replacing them with sustainable alternatives- but it’s important to fully use everything you can 🙂 thank you for sharing Caroline x

    1. So true! x

  14. I had no idea they made refillable makeup! That sounds so logical and I would pay extra to a company that offered that. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    1. Me too, thank you x

  15. Yes, these are good things to do to care for the environment. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Fantastic post. Beauty and skincare is an area that I’m trying to do better with. I already only use CF and mostly Vegan products but plastic packaging for beauty is always a bit of a nightmare. I think my next step is to try shampoo bars and more things in bar form!

    1. I agree xx

  17. Blogger Unity says:

    I love your blog! These are fantastic ways to cut down on excess plastic and unnecessary waste. You are doing a great job spreading the message of creating a cleaner and more sustainable environment for the future. Love your work!

    1. Thank you! 🙂

  18. Great tips! Thank you for sharing this post and I will definitely try and do some of these things! I also use reusable cotton pads and I have a tub of face mask! I will check out shampoo bars because they sound great!

    1. Thank you x

  19. These are great suggestions! I am all for using less plastic & I haven’t heard of Zao so I’ll definitely check them out!
    I also use reusable makeup rounds & a makeup eraser too!

    1. Thank you 🙂

  20. I love my reusable cotton pads/ make-up wipes and shampoo bars. Like you said though, with the pandemic a lot of reusable/sustainable options slipped. I guess now it is time to get back on track with it.
    Great post!
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    1. Absolutely x

  21. This is such a great post. I’ve been trying to make my beauty collection slightly more eco-friendly gradually. I think The Body Shop now do refills of their products too which is amazing as I use a lot of their stuff!

    Tash x

    1. Thank you, yes I’ve heard there are a few of The Body Shop stores across the UK that have refill stations! x

  22. I’ve been using reusable products so much, especially when it comes to cotton wool and I don’t use facial wipes anymore. Haven’t done for around 2 years I think!

    1. That’s so good x

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