Sustainable Beauty: practical products you don't have to feel guilty about

It is difficult to separate the brands making real efforts from the ones doing the bare minimum

Many consumers just want ethical and sustainable products

Many consumers just want ethical and sustainable products

 

Ethical beauty has exploded in popularity, but the beauty industry is still one that is oriented around money above all else – it isn’t unique in this respect. However, beauty consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of the products they use. Traditionally, the more luxurious the beauty  product, the more wasteful it is. After all, elaborate, excess packaging and obscure, unnecessary but exotic ingredients all add to the status signalling around products.

Now, many consumers just want ethical and sustainable products. With so many brands happily jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, and some with purer intentions than others, it can be difficult to separate the brands making real efforts from the ones doing the bare minimum and cutting costs on packaging in the name of virtue without passing the savings on to the customer. Here are a few great products from sustainable brands.

Millions of plastic tampon applicators go to landfill each year. Dame is a very clever brand – their Reusable Tampon Applicator Set (€32.49 at Boots) is portable and simple to use, so you can forgo single-use plastic applicators. It works with tampons of any size, and lasts for years. For an equally portable sustainable purchase, try VOYA Balmelicious Lemon & Lime Organic Lip Balm(€12 at  voya.ie). It’s straightforwardly lovely, and ideal for this drying time of year.

Soap bars are more and more in vogue (I wrote about some good ones last week), but a shampoo bar is just as easy to use and particularly travel friendly. Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar (€11 at LUSH stores nationwide) & Cork Pot contains sea salt, lemon and Irish moss gel from red seaweed. The little storage pots made from cork are a brilliant way of transporting the shampoo and ensuring it doesn’t leave residue around the shower. Each Cork Pot sequesters over 33 times its weight in carbon dioxide, ultimately reducing carbon in the atmosphere, so it’s certainly a conscientious purchase.

Practicality is still a priority – who cares how sustainable a product is if it doesn’t work? Aesop is an incredibly chic Australian skincare brand, which is why their Post-Poo Drops (€23.45 at lookfantastic.co.uk) always induce a smile. The least elegant product in their range, it is nonetheless ingenious, and really does work. Drop three drops into the bowl (post-flush) after what the brand euphemistically refers to as “vigorous activity in the bathroom”. It neutralises the offending olfactory evidence without synthetic fragrance and all of the brand’s bottles are made from recycled glass.

Speaking of the bathroom, I’ll wash my face nightly with cleanser and a flannel at the sink, but still need a cotton round for toner and the occasional lazy in-bed micellar water cleanse. If you’d like to swap out single-use cotton pads for reusable ones, Marley’s Monsters 20 Cotton Facial Rounds (€18 at thekind.co) come in a variety of colours and patterns, including plain white for traditionalists. I keep my used ones in a little basket under the sink, and wash them in a laundry bag with whites once a week or when I run out of clean ones.

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