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Joanna Karska  (Pinwheel author)
Joanna Karska

Sustainable cosmetics: planet-friendly skincare, beauty and makeup

The global cosmetics industry produces a staggering 120 billion units of plastic per year. This is largely due to a reliance on complex lids, excessive packaging, and frequent use of cellophane. As a result, it is a major contributor to the rising amount of plastic waste found in landfills worldwide, currently on course to top 12.5 billion metric tonnes by 2050 unless we take urgent and decisive action.

Cosmetics companies, therefore, are looking to drastically change the negative impact their industry is having on the health of our planet.

Below we outline the best sustainable brands to choose from each sector of the cosmetics world. By taking this advice, you can reduce your impact on our planet, ensuring your buying decisions are made with environment in mind.

Sustainable skincare products to choose from

The use of ingredients derived from natural sources and the elimination of ingredients that are harmful to our health is becoming more popular in the cosmetics industry, especially for skincare products. As a result, we are getting more and more information about what we put on our bodies, and how it affects us.

Many of these ingredients come from plant-based sources that can be grown sustainably. This is an important factor to consider when choosing your skincare products as we need to make sure the growing of these natural resources is being done in a way that isn’t detrimental to the planet either. We know that farming has a big impact on the planet too so it’s important to make sure the good that is being done using sustainable packaging, isn’t then undone when it comes to what’s inside the product.

The best sustainable skincare brands

Face Theory - These products are packaged in amber glass jars with aluminium caps - or 100% aluminium tubes which are easy to recycle, and packed with materials that are biodegradable.

Typology - This brand uses recyclable materials such glass and plastic for their packaging, as well as using sustainable transport methods to reduce their emissions. They also take care to use as little packaging as possible to ensure that waste is kept at a minimum.

REN - REN pride themselves on being a zero waste skincare brand. Their main focus is to help remove plastic from water sources as well as landfills, meaning that our oceans benefit as well as the land. They do all this whilst actively creating a solution to preventing more plastic entering these spaces.

Floragy - Use ethically sourced, plant based ingredients to make eco-friendly skincare products which do no harm the environment.

Loopeco - As well as plastic free, carbon neutral packaging, the detox face masks are made from 100% post-consumer materials. There is also an added interactive element for the user as you can plant the seeds from the matcha face masks to grow new plants.

Choosing the best eco-friendly makeup

There’s an easy change you can make that will dramatically reduce your personal usage of single use plastics: start replacing your makeup with sustainable alternatives made from natural ingredients. We’ve collated some of the best eco friendly makeup brands on the market for you right now.

Sustainable makeup brands:

Odylique - This brand makes sure not to use micro plastics or palm oil, keeping our forests and oceans clean and healthy. They also make sure their products are cruelty free so no animals suffer in order for their products to be made. Plus, 98% of their packaging is made in the UK to reduce carbon emission of transporting products.

Rare Beauty - This is a celebrity makeup brand with a difference. Run by Selena Gomez, this beauty brand ensures that all packaging - both of the product and delivery box - is made from 100% recycled materials.

Axiology - This zero-waste makeup brand is also vegan and free from palm oil. The packaging of their product is also made from litter that has been collected from Bali beaches which is collected and reused to help reduce Bali’s waste problem.

Burt's Bees - This brand has a long list of sustainable elements to it including: the responsible sourcing of ingredients, recyclable packaging, carbon neutral certified, offset water consumption, and they also do their bit to support honeybee health and biodiversity and is a landfill free operation.

Ecotools - Makeup brushes and sponges are some of the most frequently discarded elements of the beauty industry. But Ecotools is trying to change that by using recycled materials, as well as packaging made up of biodegradable paper to help reduce waste.

Sustainable beauty

When you’re trying to be an eco-conscious consumer, you want to reduce as much of your waste as possible. The easiest way to make the biggest positive impact is to use more sustainable beauty products sending a message to the industry that there is demand out there for options that are good for the planet as well as the person.

Sustainable beauty brands:

Fills - One massive issue in the beauty industry is the single use element. However, Fills set to get rid of single use plastic by all their products being refillable to prevent their beauty products ending up in landfill.

The Eco Warrior - Sustainable products don't have to mean they’re more expensive. Eco warrior is one of the most budget friendly sustainable brands with shampoo bars, facial cleansers, soaps, beard shampoo and loads more.

Koha Beauty - Koha Beauty covers all kinds of ethically produced beauty products from deodorant tins, to biodegradable sponges and bamboo toothbrushes. Everything you use in your cupboard now has an eco-friendly alternative!

Kind2 - This brand has a mission to be kind to you and to the planet. Their focus is on zero plastic hair products, as well as planting a tree for every order.

Plus - Plus is the brand creating zero waste body wash. They use 100% dissolvable packaging that can be washed away whilst you’re in the shower using the body wash! They also use 80% less CO2 emissions in shipping and 38% less water is used during the manufacturing process.

Sustainable cosmetics is already big business and will only continue to grow in popularity. Research has shown that an increasing number of consumers are actively looking for products that fit the bill, and with environmentally friendly packaging, organic ingredients and zero waste credentials increasingly becoming the norm in the beauty industry, we can expect to see giant brands put a lot more weight behind their green credentials.

All of this is great news for us and the planet as we move towards a more sustainable future. If you would like to continue to do your bit for the planet, why not sign up to one of our Pinwheel Plans and continue to make the world a greener place.