When considering your skin and hair-care routines, it may be what's inside a product that counts — but in 2019, the packaging is also worthy of your attention. As consumers and beauty fanatics, it's both impossible and irresponsible to ignore the industry's carbon footprint. While it's fantastic progress that
microbeads were banned last year, and that we're buying more natural formulas than ever, it's also important to address the container.
just over 40% of total plastic usage, but with only 14% of it being recycled, packaging has a huge impact on the environment. The solution? Along with reducing your water waste with shorter showers, cutting open bottles to make the most of the product inside, and buying dual-use products that work harder, you can buy from brands that are committed to placing sustainability front and center.
From no-waste bottles to recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes, we've found the companies doing just that. Click through to shop the beauty brands we're lining our bathroom shelves with in a bid to help the planet.
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Ethique Beauty has completely shunned plastic packaging for paper, encasing all of its bar products — from shampoos and conditioners to body washes — in recyclable paper. Since launching in 2012, the company has stopped more than 3.3 million plastic bottles from being made and disposed of into landfills. Additionally, 20% of their annual profit goes to charities focused on the environment.
Pinkalicious, $16, available at
Ethique Beauty More
Last year, Āether Beauty created the first-ever zero-waste and
entirely recyclable eyeshadow palette. After removing the little tin eyeshadow pans, you could chuck the whole thing into the recycling bin and know it was going to the right place. Since then, the brand's founder Tiila Abbitt has launched two more palettes and even a single eyeshadow pan crafted with tin that can be recycled, too. Aether
Crystal Grid Gemstone Palette, $58, available at
Thanks to its farm-grown ingredients, Farmacy has fast become a staple of editors' bathroom shelves. All products are free from parabens, formaldehyde, and artificial coloring — making it a winner for the natural and green beauty fans among us.
But Farmacy is about more than what's inside its jars. Printing ingredients and product information with soy ink onto FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified paper harvested from well-managed forests, the company has put sustainability behind its designs. Products are housed in recycled and recyclable glass, too.
Perhaps the coolest (and award-winning) aspect of the brand's thoughtful packaging is the fact that the cardboard boxes holding the products fold out, origami-style, into info sheets, with the story of the ingredients, brand, and product printed inside – eliminating the need for extra paper. Genius.
Honey Potion, $38, available at
While Lush has been a leader in the ethical, fresh, and vegan beauty space for some time, this winter it made real waves with its launch of a packaging-free product range.
Offering 80% of seasonal products without any packaging, products typically needing some kind of container were made solid to avoid such waste. From shower gels and lip scrubs to body conditioners, products are formulated with little to no water, meaning they stay solid at room temperature and are self-preserving. Plus, by replacing water with ingredients like cocoa butter (Fair Trade, of course), bathside bacteria is kept at bay, keeping your product clean.
Lush also operates a return-for-rewards system on the products that
do need packaging. Once you've used up five of its signature black pots, clean them out, bring them into a store and you'll get a free face mask of your choosing. Those pots are then recycled into new ones at the brand's Green Hub in Dorset. Lush
Youki Hi, $7.95, available at
As well as collaborating with Al Gore's climate change programme The Climate Reality Project, industry favorite Kevin Murphy has partnered with Green Circle Salons, an initiative that helps salons become more carbon-neutral via waste management. All salons linked with the organization reduce waste by sending foils, plastic tubes, and applicators to GCS for recycling.
The products' square packaging was also a conscious decision, because they can be packed up and shipped more efficiently — sort of like a game of Tetris — and therefore use less fuel for transportation when delivering the products globally. The square bottles also use 40% less resin than traditional packaging. Win-win.
Killer Curls Cream, $38.98, available at
Alongside its vegan formulas – meaning bold hair color and playful makeup with a conscience – Bleach London ensures its packaging is sustainably focused, too. Cofounders Alex Brownsell and Sam Campbell made certain that all of last year's relaunched packaging was made from recycled and eco-friendly materials, made from 100% recycled cardboard.
This waste-not attitude led to the brand's customization palette, which allows you to buy individual eyeshadow colors and collect them in a magnetic box (a larger size to keep at home, and a smaller one for nights out and on-the-go). Solving the problem of only ever using two shades in an eyeshadow palette, you can curate your own kit and refill when you run out — meaning less wasted product, and no unnecessary packaging.
The Big Pink Super Cool Colour, $8, available at
As if we needed more reasons to love Tata Harper, sustainability is high on the brand's agenda. Already a cult hit, thanks to its 100% natural ingredients, Tata's eponymous brand is EcoCert certified, meaning everything production-wise — from the imports to distribution — has been evaluated green from start to finish.
The majority of Tata Harper's luxurious products come in glass bottles. Being composed of natural materials, glass is more efficiently recycled and reused. "For every 10% increase in recycled glass, CO2 emissions go down 5% – so recycling our (and all) glass packaging is very important for the environment," a spokesperson from the brand says.
What isn't glass is as sustainable as possible, with plastic resin derived from corn (a renewable alternative to petroleum), and the brand also uses soy-based ink to print (in part due to its low petrochemical content).
Clarifying Mask, $68, available at
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