HOW eco-friendly is your make-up bag?
Research shows that approximately eight million pieces of plastic end up in our oceans every single day, and a lot of those will be from our much-loved beauty products.
Shampoo bottles, razors, soap dispensers – most of these mainstream, daily-use products are plastic, and often aren't recyclable.
But how do we start to make good choices? We’re here to help – this July, we’ve tried out the best alternatives to avoid pesky plastic pollution and help you make the change today.
1. Foamie Shower Body Bar
- (AD) FOAMIE Shower Body Bar, £5.99 – buy here
Many of us associate the bar of soap with our grans – but why are we continuing to use scores of plastic bottled shower gel when the trusty soap bar does the job?
FOAMIE are on a mission to change that with their plastic-free bars – including in-shower body bars, facial cleansing bars and shampoo bars.
We tried their nourishing Papaya and Oat Milk Shower Body Bar – it’s pH balanced which makes it ideal for hair and your body. It’s vegan, and soap, plastic and sulphate-free.
It came in an unique oval shape, and hung from a ribbon – which made for ideal storage in our shower.
It smelled amazing, and foamed up really nicely – leaving our skin feeling and smelling extremely clean, moisturised and super soft. The bar was also moulded with bumps to make for a relaxing, in-shower massage when we lathered up.
When we discovered that one bar saves at least two plastic bottles per bar, we were hooked and determined to swap our pesky plastic shower gel bottles for just one bar. It’s sure to be cost-saving, too.
2. Dove Original Beauty Bar
- (AD) Dove Original Beauty Bar, 60p from Boots – buy here
Beauty-giant Dove have been making major moves in the skincare industry in their mission to become eco-conscious – vowing to move to 100% recycled bottles.
Their budget-friendly Original Beauty Bar is a prime example of that – free from plastic, and packaged in completely recyclable goods unlike your classic plastic soap dispenser.
We were really impressed with their white soap bar, it smelled really natural and subtly floral, was an ideal shape for hand-washing, and left our hands feeling super-soft.
Our skin felt nourished from the bar’s gentle cleansing, and wasn’t irritated by harmful chemicals, like some other soaps – nothing nanna-ish about this eco-forward bar whatsoever.
3. Wild Natural Deodorant
- Wild Natural Deodorant Starter Packs, from £12 – buy here
Wild is the first plastic-free, zero-waste deodorant – for men and women. It’s created from plants, and their refills can be composted down to help feed new plants.
The sustainable deodorant is totally natural, dermatologically-approved, and promises no harsh, harmful chemicals.
We tried their letterbox-friendly starter pack, which came with three refills and an anodised aluminium and recycled plastic case. Ours was purple, and we were really impressed with how stylish, and eye-catching it looked.
It was so simple to pop in one of the refills. You simply remove the case’s top, screw the base to the bottom, pop in the refill pack, replace the case, and twist the base back up. Easy.
We lathered on two swipes a day and found it took us about a week for our skin to get used to the lack of chemicals, but we never smelled bad.
Our favourite smell was the sultry, woody Sandalwood and Patchouli – which even our husband enjoyed using, too – and can safely say we won’t be going back to the standard, chemical-laden roll-ons.
4. The Korean Konjac Facial Sponge
- 100% Pure Original Konjac Facial Sponge, £9.99 from Feelunique – buy here
Most shower doofahs and sponges are laden with plastic, and sadly don’t decompose -The Konjac Sponge Co. are here to change that.
This vegan and cruelty-free sponge is a skincare routine essential, and made from Konjac vegetable fibre and spring water – making it 100% natural.
We tried their 100% Pure Original Konjac Facial Sponge, and found it really effective in our daily skincare routine.
The puff sponge seems hard to touch at first, but once under running water in our shower it quickly transformed into a luxurious, silky soft sponge – and came with a string to help with storage.
It’s claimed to be clarifying on its own, but we used it with facial cleanser to help clarify our skin even further – we massaged the cleanser into our skin with the sponge, and it felt amazing.
Our skin seemed clearer and polished after one use, and it was super-soft even on delicate under-eye areas.
It’s said to last around three months if squeezed out and stored right, then it can be popped in the compost to decompose. There’s no denying that it’s super handy and great for the planet, which is why Korean’s have been using it in their skincare routine for 1,500 years!
5.Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm
- Lyonsleaf Natural Beauty Balm, £14.99 – buy here
Forget wipes, and swap the landfill-destined products for Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm.
Packed tight in a glass and aluminum pot, it’s an ideal cleanser to wash away pesky pollution and stubborn make-up.
We used ours in shower – gently massaging a small amount in our fingertips, we used it all over our face and neck (even on our lashes!) and exfoliated with a hot cloth, or sponge.
It left our skin feeling fresh, clean and glowing, and we even used a tiny bit of the balm as a moisturising base for our make-up post-shower.
Lyonsleaf are dedicated to changing the appearance and production of beauty products, and boast using organic plant-based ingredients from a carbon-conscious farm. Goodbye toilet-clogging wipes, and hello gorgeous, infinitely recycled glass pots!
6. Eco Warrior Shaving Bar
- Eco Warrior Shaving Bar, £4.50 from Boots – buy here
Bottled shaving foam and shower gels are dreadful for the environment – it’s not news, but how can we make conscious changes to lessen our impact on the planet?
Introducing Eco Warrior’s Shaving Bar, it’s 99.8% plant-derived and chock full of gender-neutral scents from bergamot and lime essential oils.
We were sceptical of the solid bar at first, but were instantly hooked once we ran it under warm water and lathered it up on our legs. It foamed instantly, smelling great and made for a clean, gentle shave.
The moisturising qualities of the bar’s coconut oil, shea butter and glycerine ingredients left our legs feeling super-soft afterwards, and we didn’t even need to moisturise or exfoliate. Win win.
7. Heyland & Whittle Eco Collection
- Tea Tree and Nettle Palm Free Soap, £6 – buy here
Forget the classic, boring soap-bar scent and say hello to Heyland & Whittle’s unique take on the trusty bar.
Their Eco Collection features palm oil free, vegan, hand-made soaps that have been cold processed using essential oils, herbs and natural colourants.
They’re also free of sulphates and come in a gorgeous, 100% recycled packaging – making it a great eco-conscious gift for a friend, or a perfect addition to a birthday hamper.
We tried out the intriguing Tea Tree & Nettle scent – claimed to be nature’s antiseptic, it’s anti-bacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial to help with irritable skin.
The smell was crisp and invigorating, and it really like we were giving our hands and nails a thorough deep clean.
Our skin felt soft to the touch, and it looked great on our bathroom sink – as well as filled the air with a gorgeous, natural scent.
8. Polished London Toothpaste Tablets and Bamboo Toothbrush
- Toothpaste Tablets, £6.99 – buy here
In the UK, it’s estimated that 200mill toothbrushes go to landfill each year – and bamboo is here to change that.
Polished London’s oral care range is forward-thinking, and features the renewable, biodegradable ingredient of bamboo – making them BPA and toxic free.
We tried it with their plastic-free toothpaste tablets and were really impressed. The toothpaste tablets come in a recyclable cardboard tube, and are estimated to be a month’s supply.
You chew one in the front of your mouth until it becomes a paste, then stick the damp toothbrush into your mouth and brush! It was strange at first, but once we saw how white and clean our teeth were, we were super happy.
Since it’s in a compact tube, it’s ideal for travel and once your bamboo toothbrush has done its time, stick it in your vegetable garden to remind you where your tomatoes are and it’ll decompose naturally.
9. UpCircle Coffee Body Scrub
- UpCircle Coffee Body Scrub, £11.90 from Feelunique – buy here
Reused and repurposed is the way forward for UpCircle with their Coffee Body Scrub.
The natural scrub is made of repurposed Arabica coffee grounds, sourced from artisan London cafes and is a natural exfoliator. It’s sustainable, vegan, cruelty free and made in the UK.
We loved their green glass and aluminium packaging and our skin felt buffed, and super-soft after use.
The product's shea butter blended with the coffee grounds left our skin feeling nourished, smooth and refreshed.
10. KIND2 The Two in One
- KIND2 The Two in One, £12.50 from &Keep – buy here
If you have the joy of living with someone else, you’ll know just how fast all the plastic bottles build up around the tub.
Shampoo, conditioner, beard wash, body wash – KIND2 have set to banish that with their unisex, multi-purpose Two In One bar.
We tried the bar as an all-rounder for our hair and expected our hair to be tangled and dry after using it, but it was surprisingly moisturising.
We have long hair, so we needed to roll it in circles on our scalp a few times and along the end of our hair to get full coverage – but it foamed up really nicely, and smelled great.
It boasts being gently cleansing, with chia seed, repurposed hemp seed, and extra moisturising macadamia oils – and we agree.
Our husband even used it on his beard and it smelled clean, citrusy and woody – which makes a change…!
KIND2 is perfect for the gym, or travel – and they promise to plant a tree with every order. Now, finish those bottles in your bathroom and get ready to make the change.
11. Moo & Yoo Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner
- Shampoo & Conditioner Bundle, £38 – buy here
This Scotland-based company also vows to plant a tree with every order of their gorgeous glass hair and body products.
Moo & Yoo create high-quality vegan products that feel like a little bit of luxury in your bathroom.
We tried their infinitely recyclable glass-bottled Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner bundle – which was suitable for our dry, coloured hair.
Our locks felt like they’d had a deep clean after a scalp massage with the Miracle Shampoo, and they detangled almost instantly with the range's conditioner.
Enriched with Icelandic moss and natural Marula oil, locks are protected from harmful UV rays and pollution – as well as getting a good old cleanse.
Moo & Yoo supply a plastic pump for the bottles, but you can opt out and use your own – any old soap dispenser should fit – or you can just shake a small amount into your hands.
12. Cerious CBD Skin Soothing Serum
- Cerious CBD Muscle Relief Serum, £45 from Green Box – buy here
Products enriched with CBD oil are still having a moment, and this by Cerious CBD is no exception.
We tried their Skin Soothing Serum, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, after a tough workout and it felt like a relaxing oil massage.
Simply apply a few CBD-infused oil drops to the achy area, and rub in until fully absorbed.
We found the plant-based formula non-greasy, really soothing and warming on our aching muscles – and loved the glass pipette and bottle. You can even pop a few drops in your favourite moisturiser, too!
13. Bolt Beauty
- The Refills, £110 from Bolt Beauty – buy here
Gone are the plastic-laden, miniature retinol capsules of old. Bolt Beauty boasts entirely compostable packaging and capsules made of seaweed – both of which you can pop in your garden waste bin after use.
We tried Bolt Beauty's full range of one-use skincare, and it seems pricey – but for 400 capsules, it's a good one-time investment.
Our favourites were the Mad About Moisture and Filthy Clean compostable capsules – both products were of just the right quantity from the single-use pods and our skin really did feel silky soft after first use.
First, we applied the cleanser to our skin, added warm water to create a milky lather and rinsed it off with cold water – then followed it with the super-smooth moisture capsule.
It makes skincare super simple with the one-use drops, and reduces packaging for tons of different bottles, jars, and boxes to just one fingertip amount! They'' be perfect for festivals or travelling, too, as you can pop however many you need in Bolt's (plastic, so we avoided it) refill jar, or your own.
The Bolt organisation is entirely carbon neutral too, so you can rest easy knowing you're doing good to your skin – and the planet.
Enjoyed our round-up of the best plastic-free products? Check out our review of the best eco-conscious coffee pods!
Not done with beauty just yet? Read our round-up of the best jade rollers.
Want to keep on the eco-forward train? We've got you with our round-up of the best reusable sanitary pads.
This article and any featured products have been independently chosen by The Sun journalists. All recommendations within the article are informed by expert editorial opinion. If you click a link and buy a product we may earn revenue: this helps to support The Sun, and in no way affects our recommendations.
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