We all know that single-use plastic is a huge problem. And the beauty industry is perhaps one of the most guilty parties when it comes to its usage, thanks to packaging, packaging, and, er, more packaging. You may not think you can make a difference as an individual, but by committing to certain steps such as using eco-friendly products and plastic alternatives (even if for one day), you can do your bit. And the 15 totally plastic-free beauty products listed below are a great place to start.
June 17 is 'Plastic-Free Beauty Day,' which was founded by Yolanda Cooper, CEO of sustainable brand We Are Paradoxx. The day acts as a reminder to us all to monitor our consumption of single-use plastic in our products. For the second year in a row, the campaign is asking supporters to go totally plastic-free for the entirety of the day. It is also encouraging you to share your favourite repurposed packaging idea on Instagram and use the hashtag #plasticfreebeautyday to spread the message and promote sustainability.
Be aware of our plastic usage is important now more than ever, says Cooper. "Plastic waste has been deemed a ‘planetary crisis’ by the UN, who stated that if the rate of waste production continues, by 2050 our oceans will carry more plastic than fish."
Cooper continues: "The beauty industry creates 120 billion units of packaging every year and packaging is the biggest contributor to plastic waste pollution."
So how can you help personally? While recycling wherever possible is crucial, it's not always enough.
"Many brands are making changes towards recycled and bio-plastics but the reality is that plastic production is moving at a spectacular rate (half of all plastic ever produced was made in the last 15 years), and so if we don’t actively move away from plastic where there is a viable alternative, it will be too late to save the environment from irreparable damage."
Therefore, "making a conscious effort to support plastic-free beauty brands is a simple way to reduce single-use plastic waste," says Cooper.
If you can't commit to totally plastic-free products, "look for reusable packaging with eco-refill options and support local businesses where you can shop without the need for all the additional packaging that comes with online shopping," she says.
To get you started, here are my top 15 plastic-free products:
Lush has continued to expand their 'Naked' range of products in recent years, which includes everything from hair and body to skincare and makeup. The solid packaging-free makeup is particularly impressive, and contains products you'll struggle to find elsewhere without being covered in single-use plastic. The highlighters looks glorious, but there are also foundations, concealers, lipsticks, and more.
Sanitary products have been notoriously difficult to buy without tons of plastic attached to them, which is where organic brand OHNE stepped in. Their tampons are either bought 'naked' or with plastic-free, cardboard applicators. They also sell a bunch of period-proud merch, too.
Kjaer Weis is known to be a high quality brand that does not scrimp on their formulas or ingredients. But more impressively, they have created their products so that the silver casings can be re-filled each time, meaning less plastic packaging on each purchase. Refills for this beautiful blusher are much cheaper, at £28.
Most of Codex's products are packaged in tubes composed of green polyethylene, a plastic resin produced using sugarcane ethanol, which is a plant-based renewable raw material. The tubes are then popped in outer packaging, made using paper from sustainably managed forests. And the products inside? High quality with lovely formulas. This eye gel cream is a standout.
Floral Street is one of the only perfume brands that excels in plastic-free packaging. You won't find any cellophane here; instead, the brand opts for recyclable, biodegradable pulp carton, with glass bottles to hold the actual product. Their scents are all beautiful, but the Wonderland Peony holds a special place in my heart.
Ethique is one of the most prominent brands in the plastic-free beauty movement, as it is dedicated to designing products that are solid, and packaging-free. Their shampoo and conditioner bars are highly rated, but they also do products for the face and body.
KanKan aims to make the process of 'refilling' products when they're empty the norm, rather than re-purchasing more and more plastic bottles. Their cans of hand and body washes can be poured into a bottle you already have, or you can buy one of their 'forever bottles' to use well, forever. I'll be opting for this scent first.
If your main concern is preserving marine life, One Ocean Beauty is a brand you should definitely check out. Their lovely formulas are all 'clean' and free from sulfates and parabens, and their packaging is plastic-free. It's instead made from a bi-product of sugarcane production, which is 100% recyclable and is indistinguishable from plastic to the eye. The lids are also made from recycled wood.
The Soap Co. has always been a philanthropic brand. They have always been committed to sustainable packaging, natural ingredients, and charitable efforts. And their latest step has seen the brand release a selection of totally plastic-free packaged products, much to my delight. Their bath oil in Rose is a personal favourite.
UpCircle is perhaps one of the best totally plastic-free brands that still looks cool and Insta-friendly. The packaging across their entire range is 99% plastic-free, and plastic-free refill options are provided for the other 1%. The Face Balm has an impressive 273 reviews on its website, which amount to five stars overall. I'll be starting there.