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Image / Style / Beauty / Sustainable Style

8 waste-free self-care products to swap into your beauty routine


by Erin Lindsay
12th Aug 2020

Making the effort to be more sustainable? Swap out your plastic favourites for these waste-free beauty options and pamper yourself guilt-free.


Whether you’re attempting a plastic-free month or have been making slow and steady changes to be a bit more sustainable, your beauty routine is likely one of the worst offenders when it comes to wasteful consumption. Plastic bottles, disposable wipes and throwaway products have a huge impact on waste levels around the world. While we focus efforts on sustainably shopping our wardrobes and food, beauty should be another priority for our efforts to save the planet.

It may seem difficult to migrate to a plastic-free beauty routine, but thankfully, there are thousands of sustainable options on the market to make a change. Swap your shampoo bottles for a shampoo bar, or tampons for a menstrual cup – there are so many ways to reduce waste that are easy and cheap.

a good company’s bamboo tooth brush

Bamboo tooth brush, €4

Plastic tooth brushes last for hundreds of years, and are piled high on beaches and landfills around the world. This bamboo option’s handle is entirely compostable and wholly grown without pesticides or chemicals. The bristles are nylon, but it’s a much better option than an entirely plastic brush.

Organicup’s menstrual cup

€23.49, available from Holland and Barrett

According to the book Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, the average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of “pads, plugs, and applicators” in her lifetime. Sanitary towels and tampons are full of plastics and can’t be disposed of responsibly, but a menstrual cup like the one above, if you are able to use one, is a brilliant alternative. A menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours; then, you simply remove and wash it out, and can use it for years afterwards. Made of 100% medical-grade silicone, you’re also avoiding any chemicals and perfumes associated with pads and tampons.

Lush’s shampoo bars

A shampoo bar is a solid form of shampoo that uses zero packaging. You simply lather it up in your hands and use the foam to wash your hair as normal – best of all, just one shampoo bar can last 80 washes. That’s a huge amount of waste you’re avoiding simply by making the swap, and companies like Lush make formulas that will benefit your hair just as much.

Wild’s refillable deodorant

Wild refillable deodorant, £25 for a one-off purchase of one container and three refills

A solid deodorant is a great place to start your waste-free beauty routine – even getting rid of an aerosol deodorant is better than nothing. Wild is a natural deodorant that you can order to your door, using a refillable, durable container and totally compostable deodorant sticks. Available in a variety of scents, the formulas are also vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, dermatologically tested and free from artificial fragrance, parabens, aluminium and sulfates.

Ethique’s hair and face products

Ethique Hair, Face & Body Trial Pack, €12.99 from Holland and Barrett

Including shampoo bars, solid conditioners, face cleanser bars and body butter blocks, Ethique’s sampler trays are created for dry, oily and normal skin and hair types, and are a great way to dip your toe into the world of waste-free beauty without commitment.

Jo Browne’s solid perfume bars

Jo Browne Solid Perfume Treat, €24

Founder of this beautiful Irish business is reflexologist and holistic therapist Joanne Brown, who created the company to create stimulating solid fragrances that are good for the environment too. The solid fragrances are individually handmade using organic beeswax and essential oils, a process which takes up to 6 months.

My White Secret Natural Toothpaste In A Jar

€14.99, available from Holland and Barrett

This peppermint flavoured natural toothpaste is handmade with premium ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil, and comes with a bamboo spatula to avoid using extra water during application. It’s naturally whitening, but its waste-free benefits are attractive enough.

The Skin Nerd’s Cleanse Off Mitt

The Cleanse Off Mitt, €6.50

If you’ve been following IMAGE Beauty for a while, you’ll know we’re big fans of Jennifer Rock’s skincare philosophies, and her original Cleanse Off Mitt is a brilliant alternative to make-up removal wipes. Disposable wipes are not only horrible for the environment, they’re pretty bad for your skin as well, and there are many reusable alternatives out there that can be used instead. Simply run your Cleanse Off Mitt under the tap and wipe off your make-up, before washing and reusing.

Image: @billiebodybrand via Unsplash


Read more: Alexa Chung shares her beauty routine essentials

Read more: IMAGEWrites: Now that salons have FINALLY reopened, we celebrate the power of good hair

Read more: Shopping Fix: the new Irish cleansing balm that will make you want to double cleanse

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