7 Ways To Make Your Beauty Regime More Sustainable

Inside Story
By Astrid Carter | 13th September 2022

From ditching plastic packaging to giving up your face wipe habit, there are plenty of ways to make your beauty regime more sustainable.

We’ve pin pointed some of the ways to make more conscious choices when it comes to your skincare regime and makeup bag, plus handpicked our favourite brands doing sustainability well.

Do your research

Know your stuff when it comes to the brands you fill your beauty arsenal with, whether that’s your everyday skincare heroes or makeup must-haves. It’s not all about recyclable packaging, look to brands that use less water in production, natural ingredients and are transparent about their wastage.


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If you’re serious about where your makeup and skincare is coming from and what it is doing to the planet, it’s worth following key industry players who know their stuff. Justine Jenkins is the UK’s leading ethical and cruelty-free makeup artists – she regularly makes up the faces of Fearne Cotton, Laura Whitmore and Keeley Hawes – and is a foundation of knowledge on the ‘gram. Follow her for beauty tips and brands to know. 

Shop smart and look at retailer’s sustainable beauty edits – NET-A-PORTER has a whole beauty section dedicated to sustainable brands. It’s expensive but the brand selection is hard to beat. 

Shop less

We’ve got our heads around a capsule wardrobe, it’s time to do the same with your beauty cabinet. No one needs 12 eyeshadows and 34 lipsticks, so edit out what products you use on a daily basis, plus some fancy stuff for nights-out, weddings, etc. and go from there. 

It’s also worth checking out multi-use products that can double up as two-, three-in-one products which will lower your packaging usage. Plus, buying less and buying smart will cut your makeup bag in half.

Look for the cruelty free label 

The leaping bunny logo guarantees brands haven’t been testing on animals and most are keen to shout from the rooftops how sustainable and ethical they are. If you can’t find an answer on the product itself, take the time to look on the brand’s website and email the customer services if needs be. But be aware that if a brand isn’t clear about their sustainability, ethical stance or testing policies, chances are their answers to your questions won’t be the ones you want. 

When it comes to cruelty-free brands specifically, the big brands have improved a lot in the last five years and many of the huge players are doing their bit. Brands like Fenty, bareMinerals, Charlotte Tilbury and Victoria Beckham are all paving the way for huge commercial names that are honest about their approach. 

Ditch one use products

You’ve switched your bottle water habit to a refill but have you ditched your face wipe habit? Shame on you. Not only are wipes terrible for your skin – any skincare specialist will tell you it’s all about the double cleanse – but they are awful for the environment too. In fact 7.6 billion pounds of wipes are thrown into landfill each year which equates to a ghastly 20 million makeup wipes a day.

Ditch the wipes and buy some muslin cloths to remove makeup, swap your cotton wool pads for reusable pads and shop biodegradable bamboo and cotton swabs instead of plastic buds. 

And if you’re a fan of the sheet mask (trust us, we love one as much as the next beauty junky) consider more sustainable options from the likes of Maskologist, Orgaid or Dr Dennis Gross – look for compostable or biodegradable on the packaging. L’Oreal do a great reusable sheet mask, too. 

Buy refills where possible

Cutting the amount of packaging used in beauty can significantly help get you on track to a more sustainable regime. There are plenty of brands doing their bit with refillable packaging, from tan brand Isle of Paradise to cool haircare brand Ouai and Fenty’s SPF-packed daily moisturiser. Even Charlotte Tilbury has a refillable lipstick – the Hot Lips sticks are available exclusively on CharlotteTilbury.com and in Charlotte’s standalone stores, and can be interchanged with any of the five refillable Hot Lips 2 designs. 

Recycle your empties 

Plenty of brands have in-store initiatives to get you coming back for more than just a new lippy. 

L’Occitane will accept any empty beauty product in any of their stores no matter the brand and will give you 10% off your next L’Occitane purchase. & Other Stories do the same for their own brand beauty products and will give you a 10% discount voucher to use in store within three months. The Body Shop encourages customers to use their Return. Recycle. Repeat scheme, and return any five empty bottles, tubs, tubes or pots to be repurposed and recycled into raw materials for new ones. And makeup junkies should take advantage of MAC’s  Back to Mac offering – bring back six MAC containers to a counter or store, and you’ll get a free MAC lipstick. 

And for bottles, tubs and tubes that won’t get you discounts or freebies in-store, make sure you’re doing your bit at home. Answer honestly: do you always put your beauty empties in the recycling? Make sure you have a dedicated recycling bin in the bathroom or under your dressing table to remind yourself to recycle where possible. 

Buy bigger and better

Stock up on jumbo size bottles of your most used products where possible – this trick is particularly helpful when it comes to regularly used shampoo and conditioner – and ditch buying smaller bottles so often. You may be dropping more cash up front but they tend to be more cost effective in the long run, plus you’ll need to stock up less frequently. Win win all round. 

Some brands we love doing their bit…

The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some products purchased through affiliate links.

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