Nine Tips For a More Sustainable Beauty Regime

16 September 2020 by Kate O'Rourke
blog author

There is nothing more beautiful than protecting the environment and our bio diverse ecosystem through our everyday lifestyle choices.

While we’re on the subject of beauty, the cosmetics industry plays a key role in creating a significant amount of pollution and waste. According to waste management firm TerraCycle, globally the industry produces 120 billion units of packaging every year, leaving beauty companies striving for change through innovation to help tackle the problem.

From being accountable for the impact inflicted on the planet, working to reduce the carbon footprint and ultimately promoting zero waste & closing the loop, there is much being done by beauty’s top loved brands.

Yet, according to a recent study, a third of Britons admit they don’t consider the environmental impact of their hair care and beauty regime.


Yes, dentists will argue that electric toothbrushes are the best for your pearly whites, but no doubt you’ll be gritting your teeth when you consider all the plastic, not to mention the batteries and electric components involved.

Far better to get your teeth into a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, making it a more sustainable option.

When it has reached the end of its life, the biodegradable toothbrush will be happy decomposing in the compost heap (remove the nylon bristles first). It will take three years to decompose if buried horizontally in the soil, or around 4-6 months if using a home composter. Plastic toothbrushes, on the other hand, take more than 400 years.

2. Shampoo and Conditioner

Look at all those plastic bottles in your bathroom, destined for landfill.

The average household will consume 216 bottles of haircare products a year, according to a study by Swiss precision beauty company Réduit, and so itis time to raise the bar, literally.

There are now many varieties of shampoo and conditioner bars which last longer than the bottled version (one bar should last as long as three bottles of shampoo). They create zero waste whether in their naked form or clothed in recyclable packaging and are better for the environment as less water is used to produce them.

3. Wet Wipes/Facial Wipes

These cleansing sensations work wonders on faces and babies’ bottoms alike but also cause a sensation in the sewers, albeit in the shape of a very unattractive fatberg.

Combine wet wipes with discarded cooking fat and you have an unpalatable recipe for disaster in the sewer, which is just the tip of the ice (fat?) berg.

There have been sightings of enormous fatbergs in cities including London, and waste treatment plants are struggling to cope with the delightful concoction.

While some wipes claim to be flushable, don’t do it as they are a single-use plastic product.

The plastic fibres that make up the wet wipe are bad news as they won’t break down, so the solution? Stop buying them and invest in a reusable facial cloth instead. Sorted.

4. Go Organic

Organic products leave a more positive impact on the environment - and your skin - than their conventional counterparts.

More than 14,000 ingredients are certified organic in the UK and at least 15,000 beauty products are all-natural. This means your skin is exposed to fewer toxins and chemicals which is vital considering our skin absorbs 60 per cent of what is applied to it.

Toxic chemicals can end up in the sea, which is hazardous for marine life, but some toxins also end up in soil, threatening livestock.

Read the labels to ensure all ingredients are grown without using Genetically Modified Organisms (GM), herbicides and synthetic fertilisers.

If in doubt, look for The Soil Association logo, so you can be confident your beauty product has been sourced and manufactured using sustainable ingredients.

5. Use Refillable Products

This is gaining popularity in the fight against waste and can save on costs too.

Re-use your glass jars, either by refilling them with the original product or find a new purpose for the jar. Glass In previous years, you’d have been having more than a close shave with environmental damage if you used disposable normally very easy to recycle as it's made of sand and new glass can be produced by simply breaking it down and melting it. But surprisingly, it can take a million years for glass to decompose if discarded in landfills, if it decomposes at all.

Lots of companies offer a refill service, usually offering a discount as an incentive.

6. Razors

In previous years, you’d be having more than a close shave with environmental damage if you used disposable razors.

While the actual razor blade rusts away to nothing, previously the plastic handles were not recyclable or sustainable. Until now.

Razor company Gillette has teamed up with TerraCycle for a recycling initiative that enables all used razors to be posted back to Gillette for recycling. The used products are broken down and separated, plastics are cleaned and recycled into pellets to make new products and metal is sent for smelting into new alloys.

Or the other eco-friendly option is just to let all your body hair grow, in true lockdown style.

7. Reuse the Plastic

According to research from beauty firm Garnier, 56 per cent of Britons don’t recycle bathroom products, despite the fact plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.

And TerraCycle revealed that while The Vegan Society and PETA provide lists of beauty products with no involvement in animal testing Aussie brand Inika has created vegan lipsticks for a guilt-free pout, while companies such as The Body Shop, Smashbox and Lush produce cruelty-free products use an Aussie brand Inika has created vegan lipsticks for a guilt-free pout, while companies such as The Body Shop, Smashbox and Lush produce cruelty-free products. estimated 35.8 million plastic bottles are used daily in the UK, only 19.8 million are recycled each day.

Companies are stepping up though. L’Oréal, for example, has pledged that by 2030, 100 per cent of the plastics used in its packaging will be either from recycled or bio-based sources.

More than three billion people – almost half the world’s population – are living in countries without waste management and The Body Shop is working to support the communities that suffer by repurposing the plastic litter that they pick, via a Community Trade programme. The company believes plastic can be sustainable if used responsibly, so if you can’t completely avoid using plastic products, aim to use recycled bottles and tubes instead.

8. Cruelty Free and Vegan

Would you smear crushed insects on your lips in the name of beauty? You probably already do - many lipsticks contain carmine (made from beetles), so think about those poor critters.

The Vegan Society has seen an increase in the number of cosmetics wanting to carry its vegan trademark. The society has around 19,000 toiletries and cosmetics products registered with the trademark; the authentic standard for products free from animal ingredients and animal testing.

Both The Vegan Society and PETAprovide lists of beauty products with no involvement in animal testing.

9. Deodorant

Did you know you are spraying yourself with toxins that damage the environment (not to mention yourself)?

According to organic lifestyle company Green People, overusing deodorant spray means we inhale a cocktail of chemicals which can cause asthma, skin reactions and breathing problems. It also contributes to air pollution, contains unrecyclable packaging and threatens waterways.

Use a natural roll-on deodorant or solid natural deodorant that comes in a reusable tin. They are often refillable, available in recyclable packing and won’t leave you breaking out in a sweat about the damage you’re causing to our ecosystems.

To talk through how you can make more sustainable choices, not only in your beauty regime but in your career, please contact Acre's Kate O'Rourke on

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