Sustainable Beauty



By Claudia Dupé, Second-year English

Claudia Dupé gives us the lowdown on sustainability in the beauty industry

A total of 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. In an attempt to tackle this problem, many of us have cut down on our plastic use beginning with the easy swaps: grabbing a reusable carrier bag, buying loose veggies and finally investing in a reusable coffee cup. Sadly, our impact on the planet has gone too far for our efforts to stop at the food and drink aisles. Instead of improving one area of our lives, adopting a more sustainable lifestyle is the next step. Inevitably, our daily beauty regimes are the next issue to face.

We live in a beauty conscious world, but beyond the surface is a guilty conscience. The cosmetics industry is notorious for its negative impact on the environment, and as consumers, we are secondary culprits. Zero Waste reported that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, and studies show that a lot of it doesn’t get recycled as it should be. Be honest, do you bother to wash out all those empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner so they can be recycled? It’s an ‘inconvenience’ that many of us simply can’t be bothered to do, but it’s also a decision that has long-lasting consequences; that pot of moisturiser you have will be around for another 1,000 years if it ends up in the landfill. Beauty products may make us look beautiful, but they’re leaving an ugly mark on the planet.

To make positive changes, the manufacturers must change. Fortunately, the beauty industry is slowly evolving, with many companies moving towards sustainable and eco-friendly products. For students, a sustainable lifestyle is often labelled as ‘out of our budget’, but contrary to prejudices, this is often not the case. There are a lot of affordable products on offer, and often the more expensive ones are a good investment because they are more economically-efficient in the long-term. To help inspire you to procure an eco-friendlier beauty routine, I have tried and tested a few brands and products that have the environment in mind:

  1. Lush. A key player in the ethical cosmetics industry and now the sustainable one too. Their stores offer many ‘naked’ products (100 per cent packaging free) and a recycling incentive where if you return five empty Lush pots, you get a free face mask. They offer a full spectrum of cosmetic products, using cruelty-free and mostly vegan natural ingredients. My personal favourite is their Prince of Darkness exfoliating face mask, which I’ve already used ten times and have barely made a dent in it.


Prince of Darkness face mask, £8

(Image: Lush/

  1. EcoTools. Offering makeup brushes, hair brushes and bath tools which are environmentally friendly, high-quality and affordable. Their products are made from recycled aluminium and plastic, as well as renewable bamboo for the brush handles. Even their packaging is made from 100 per cent tree-free paper. They are also PETA certified and vegan, yippee!


Airbrush Complexion Kit, £14.86

(Image: EcoTools/

  1. The Body Shop. Committed to an ‘Enrich Not Exploit’ ethos in the hope of being the world’s most ethical and sustainable global business. By 2020 they aim to ensure their products are made from 100 per cent sustainably sourced, natural ingredients; while actively helping to enrich the biodiversity of the environment in which they are grown. They are also aiming for 70 per cent of their packaging not to contain fossil fuels. My handbag essential is this citrusy hand cream which is perfect for these drying winter days:


Satsuma Hand Cream, £5

(Image: Body Shop/

  1. [Funky Soap] ( A small London business which aims to create ‘natural products with the health of the planet in mind.’ Their handmade hair and body soaps use 100 per cent natural, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, as well as sustainably sourced palm oil. Their packaging is also biodegradable - even its bubble wrap! My favourite product is their Acai Berry Shampoo, a solid bar rich in antioxidants. It can also be used as a 2-in-1 face and body wash, so you're guaranteed bang for your buck.


Funky Soap, £3

(Image: Funky Soap/ Funky

  1. Floral Street. A perfume company which uses minimalist recyclable packaging and sugar cane to make 100 per cent compostable boxes. With no tissue paper, plastic or cellophane in sight, they are a first in the world of fragrance. It was love at first smell when I visited their store in Covent Garden. Although on the pricier side, nothing says luxury more than a gorgeous scent with a clear conscious.


Wonderland Peony eau de parfum, £55

(Image: Floral Street/ Floral

  1. Yes To. A vegan beauty brand whose products are made from 100 per cent biodegradable and compostable cellulose. Their Yes to cucumbers face wipes are made from 95 per cent natural, cruelty-free ingredients, with no parabens in sight. Not only are they environmentally sound, but they also remove eye makeup - those magic words we always long for on a face wipe.


Yes To Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes, £3.99

(Image: YesTo/

There you have just a handful of the eco-friendly minded brands and products available to us on the market at a student-friendly budget. To continue shopping sustainably, look out for products labelled with the Fairtrade logo and Rainforest Alliance logo to help reduce deforestation. Also, keep a #PassOnPlastic perspective in mind by looking out for recyclable, biodegradable and even packaging-free products on the shelves. Beyond purchasing a product, you can also use the products more sustainably.

The average brit uses 142 litres of water per day, but Aveda calculated that we could save 6 gallons by merely cutting 3 minutes from our shower time – protecting both the planet and your water bill.

Featured Image: rawpixel/ Unsplash

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