While the sustainability movement is often more interested in the impacts of the fashion industry rather than the impact of beauty products, the beauty industry, generally, is by no means eco-friendly.
More than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry and the majority of beauty products come packaged in non-biodegradable plastic.
Luckily, some beauty brands are taking steps to reduce their climate footprint and many are doing so whilst ensuring their pricing is affordable. Here are some of the brands that deserve a pat on the back, and your support, for their eco-efforts…
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There are plenty of affordable and environmentally conscious makeup brushes out there, but none can compete with Spectrum Brushes. This independent brand cut their plastic packaging by 50% in 2018 and gives 1% of its gross revenue to plastic clean-up concerns.
Successfully campaigning alongside Greenpeace against microbead use, Neal’s Yard is the first British brand to be Look For Zero certified. This year it launched a recycling scheme inviting customers to bring in their old non-recyclable containers from any brands for reuse. Their own packaging is made from glass rather than plastic.
Prices: £17 – £75
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Lush has paved the way for sustainable beauty brands everywhere, since its creation in 1995. Around 90% of their packaging is recycled, including plastic and paper that is 100% PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled). According to the company, half of Lush’s products can be taken home without any packaging, and its naked shop in Manchester is England’s first plastic packaging-free beauty and cosmetics store.
Prices: £1.50 – £44
This slightly more high-end brand boasts a long history of recycling. L’Occitane has never given out plastic bags in-store and has been recycling since the 1990’s. It has reportedly already saved 28 tonnes of plastic. By 2025, L’Occitane hopes to only supply 100% recycled plastic and wants all of their shops to offer recycling. They also offer Recharge Refill products, which promote the reuse of materials and packaging.
Prices: £9 – £80