From single-use packaging to wands, applicators, pumps, sprays and bottle caps, the beauty industry is formed on the basis of a hell of a lot of plastic. In fact, it has been reported that it produces a whopping 120 billion units of plastic per year. And while some of that can be recycled, the majority of it ends up in either landfill or our oceans. Fortunately, there are a growing number of brands that are doing away with plastic for more environmentally friendly options. And what’s more, they’re also better for you. Here are some ones to watch.
This Kiwi-born hair and skincare brand makes doing away with all those bottles a cinch. In fact, one tiny bar is equivalent to three bottles of your regular shampoo and conditioner. The brand is carbon neutral, toxin and palm oil free, and has a range of formulations for all different hair types. The sampler packs and minis are a great way to find your favourite. One word of advice; don’t leave them naked in the shower. Invest in a storage container to avoid them inadvertently washing away.
If you hate digging lip balm out of a glass pot or tin then you’re going to love this plastic free tube that’s also home compostable. They come in a range of flavours from eucalyptus and rosemary to chocolate and Turkish delight, or take your pick from three cheek and lip tints. There’s also a kid’s range (that comes with eco pencils and a label they can colour in), a men’s range, lip scrubs and travel pots.
While not completely plastic-free, RMS uses pots made from recyclable glass and is one of our all-time favourites, especially its creamy and long-lasting cult Un-Cover Up foundation and concealer. Most products can be recycled at the end of their lifecycle, and did we mention, they manufacture using 100 percent wind power?!
This Byron Bay brand is all about minimising packaging and offers five- and eight-gram plastic free biodegradable refills for its foundations, bronzer, illuminator and blush. Lipsticks come in recycled aluminium casing and your order will be shipped to you in eco-friendly packaging. What’s more, it’s free from parabens, palm oil and chemical preservatives.
Elate’s packaging is truly beautiful and waste-free. The majority of products are housed in beautiful bamboo packaging, glass or aluminium. Although some products – like the liquid eyeliner and mascara – do have plastic inner tubes, they’re made from recycled plastic and can also be recycled again once you’re done. Build a custom eyeshadow palette with its single pressed eye colours that are housed in plantable seed paper. Genius!
Dirty Hippie’s zero-waste mascara is a true revelation. Housed in a recyclable glass vial, the spoolie (is synthetic) but the handle is made from sustainably-grown bamboo (you can keep it to re-use and simply re-order the vial each time). Its foundations are set in aluminium and its skincare in brown glass with the option of a rubber dropper or aluminium cap. They package your goods in recycled newspapers from local businesses and also use post-consumer tape and boxes. They also have a recycling program.
Sienna Byron Bay
Not only does this nail polish brand have non-toxic formulations, they’ve done away with the plastic cap and replaced it with a timber one that can be thrown straight in the compost bin once you’re done. But what about the brush? They’ve covered that one too by offering their own recycling program to ensure it gets a second lease on life. The packaging is also compostable and they’re a certified B Corp.
Jenny Ringland and Erica Watson, of Green + Simple, are marie claire’s new sustainability experts. Each week they’ll be posting weekly stories on the best green, clean fashion, beauty and lifestyle products, as well as interviewing industry game-changers and experts. Learn more here.