13th May 2020

10 sustainable beauty swaps

You may have made your fashion habits more sustainable but have you considered the environmental impact of the beauty products you use?
10 sustainable beauty swaps
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

With the ongoing pandemic affecting the fashion and beauty world, perhaps we can take this moment while our lives are on hold to drastically shift our mentalities regarding sustainability.

Whether you have started to move towards a more conscious way of buying already, you just recently discovered the joys of thrift and vintage shopping, you’re trying to buy less and prioritise quality, or you’ve recently started to shop your own wardrobe, everyone is now part of an undeniable global shift of attitude towards consumption.

Although many of us have an awareness of the importance of a sustainable approach to fashion, such an approach is far harder to maintain when in comes to beauty. While it is true that many of the options available seem scarce and quite expensive, fear not! This is your guide to sustainable beauty on a budget.


According to Euromonitor, the beauty industry produces 120 billion units of packaging every year, many of which are either not recyclable, or are made from virgin materials. So make sure to check the labels of beauty products or take the time to research whether or not they are recyclable.

If you have products that are not traditionally recyclable, take them to a TerraCycle station. TerraCycle is a company that aims to ‘eliminate the idea of waste’. You can find one of their stations in the Want Not To Waste Shop on University Campus.

Pot Masks

Replace sheet masks with face masks that come in pots. Sheet masks are non-recyclable and create a huge amount of waste for a single use item. Not only is it better for the environment but also for your wallet – if you consider the per-use price, pot masks are often more affordable.

What’s more, with pot masks you can reuse the pot later to make your own. Take a look at our 5 DIY masks article for inspiration.


If you don’t like a product or it doesn’t fit your needs, and it is sanitary to do so, consider donating it. Many women’s shelters accept products as well as dedicated charities that collect beauty products for those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.


There are more and more stores that, along with refills for granola and whatnot, offer the possibility of refilling your soap dispenser or shampoo bottle, which is obviously great for wasting less.

In Manchester, you can go to the Eighth Day on Oxford Road to refill your shampoo, conditioner, shower gel or hand wash.

Make your own!

Homemade beauty is easier than you think. From lip balm to face wash, there are plenty of products which you can create with easy to find ingredients from the supermarket or pharmacy. Try out our 5 DIY beauty products article for inspiration. 

2 in 1

Did you know you could use conditioner as shaving lotion? Using products in different ways like using your lip balm as a natural looking highlighter or, in general, buying products that have multiple purposes (like the French girl staple, the savon de marseille) is beneficial for both your wallet and the planet.

Reusable makeup remover wipes

Instead of using single use cotton pads, try to invest in one of the many options of reusable makeup wipes that are now available. They’re super easy to use and you can just throw them in the wash with your clothes after you’ve used them.

Shampoo bars

Although it may seem weird at first, making the switch to a shampoo bar is really not that much of a challenge and most of them claim to last as long as two to three bottles. Remember to invest in a small tin to store your bar in when travelling.

Say no to samples

This is, psychologically, a hard one to do as it’s always nice to receive free things, but consider the environmental impact of samples. It is a huge amount of packaging for a tiny bit of product and, even worse, a tiny bit of product you often don’t need and would never actually consider buying.

Shop sustainably

There are a number of brands who are truly making an effort to follow sustainable and responsible practises. Why not try one of the beauty brands recommended in our sustainable and affordable beauty brands article such as Lush, Beauty Pie or L’Occitane. 

Don’t lose sleep over it; you don’t have to have a zero-waste beauty routine from one day to the other. Just remember these options next time you wish to update your beauty products. Every change truly is a step in the right direction.

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