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Few things will motivate you to make your everyday routine more sustainable than learning that scientists predict there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Realizing that the beauty industry created 120 billion units of packaging in 2018 alone further hits home. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with loving the feeling of unboxing your latest cosmetic buy—peeling away the outer plastic and opening up the box to reveal a gorgeously packaged bottle. That said, there are easy swaps that’ll make your beauty routine more earth-friendly.
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Zero-waste products have become a beauty trend as of late, with more and more companies jumping at the chance to make package-free products that are recyclable and have considerably less waste (or none at all). Below, you’ll find 10 beauty products that don’t sacrifice quality for sustainability.
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1. This refreshing bar soap from Ethique
From shampoos and conditioners to body polishes and deodorants, Ethique makes all of its beauty products in solid bar form. If you have yet to make the switch to a bar soap, try out one of the brand’s six clean scents: charcoal, kaolin and oatmeal; lavender and mint; lime and ginger; matcha, lime and lemongrass; pumice, tea tree and spearmint; and sweet orange and vanilla. Each one contains biodegradable ingredients and compostable packaging, and you can expect them to lather well and leave the skin feeling clean but not dry.
2. This solid shampoo from HiBar
If your shower is filled with plastic bottles, consider making the switch to shampoo bars. Not only do they take up less real estate in your shower (and are TSA-friendly), but they also nix the need for a plastic bottle and pump, making them much better for the environment.
We tried the HiBar Volumize Shampoo Bar and loved the fact that the box is biodegradable and the packaging is recyclable. Beyond this, it offered salon-quality results, giving volume and bounce to otherwise lifeless hair. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to hair bars. Psst: You can also snag the matching conditioner in bar form, which our tester enjoyed for its moisturizing feel.
3. These whitening toothpaste tablets from Hello
Swap your traditional tube of toothpaste for these plastic-free whitening toothpaste tablets. They’re made with peppermint, tea tree and coconut oils, and claim to remove surface stains, ward off plaque and leave you with refreshingly good breath.
The tablets come packaged in a fully reusable and recyclable tin jar that’s TSA-friendly and requires a fraction of the amount of energy needed to produce glass bottles. To use the tablets, chew one with your front teeth until it forms a soft, minty paste. Then, brush your teeth as normal.
4. This makeup removing cloth from Makeup Eraser
You may use a mix of wipes, cotton rounds and Q-tips when it comes time to get your makeup off, but there’s a way to make the makeup removal process more sustainable: the Makeup Eraser. A single cloth is equivalent to 3,600 makeup wipes, making it a much more eco-friendly option.
It’s great if you’re tired of wipes but cleanser alone isn’t cutting it. In our testing, we found that the antibacterial cloth left behind very little makeup residue and that it stayed high-quality even after multiple washes. Just run the cloth under water and massage the skin in small circles anywhere you’re wearing makeup.
5. This coffee face scrub from UpCircle Beauty
You’ve heard of recycling, but upcycling—or creating a better quality product out of already-used materials—is what’s at the core of UpCircle Beauty. The brand, which upcycles food products like coffee grounds and the stones from fruits like apricots, got its start by turning unused, thrown-out coffee grounds from London cafes into premium skincare products. The popular Coffee Face Scrub Citrus Blend claims to exfoliate, moisturize and brighten the skin with Arabica coffee grounds sourced from artisan coffee shops.
6. This refillable deodorant from Peach Not Plastic
Refillable makeup products are a great way to kick your sustainable efforts up a notch. Peach Not Plastic’s refillable deodorants are the first-ever 100% plastic-free of their kind, featuring a deodorant case made of recyclable aluminum and a formula that claims to give you 48-hour odor protection.
The deodorant is free of aluminum—if that’s an attribute you look for—and is made with arrowroot powder and magnesium to absorb wetness. There are three refreshing scents to choose from: cucumber sage, coconut jasmine or citrus vetiver.
7. This plastic-free eyeshadow palette from BareMinerals
Eyeshadow palettes can be a hotspot for contributing to waste, thanks to magnets, mirrors and plastic packaging. This vegan eyeshadow palette from BareMinerals contains none of that and is instead made with sustainable, recyclable packaging and a powder formula that’s free of controversial ingredients like talc, parabens and synthetic fragrances. There are several colors to choose from, including purple- and blue-toned palettes. If you’re a lover of neutral eyeshadows, go for the Sunlit palette, which offers six warm shades ranging from cream to copper, two finishes including matte and satin and a creamy, easy-to-blend texture.
8. This bamboo charcoal dental floss from Terra & Co.
Some dental floss is made with nylon or Teflon and coated in wax, plastic films and flavors derived from perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)—none of which are biodegradable. That’s not to mention that most flosses come housed in a plastic, non-recyclable container.
Cue Terra & Co.’s Brilliant Black Dental Floss, which is made of biodegradable bamboo fiber and packaged in a 100% recyclable box. It also features a vegan candelilla wax coating, which provides an easy glide through the gums and teeth, as well as activated charcoal and coconut oil for microbial benefits.
9. These dissolvable hand soap pods from Petal
Skincare and makeup application starts with clean hands. The problem? Bottles of hand soap are typically made of plastic that you toss once the formula runs out. To remedy this, Petal uses reusable aluminum bottles, dissolvable soap pods refills and pumps made from recycled plastic.
To use, drop a pre-measured soap pod into one of Petal’s bottles, add 8.5 ounces of warm water, shake for 60 seconds and you’re left with a foaming hand soap that’s planet-friendly. It’s available in two scents: lemongrass and citrus ginger.
10. These travel-friendly cleansing oil capsules from Eve Lom
Traveling just got a whole lot easier—both for you and the environment. This cleansing oil capsule set comes with a seven-day supply of individually packed ampoules, which means no more accidental spills in your beauty bag and no more unnecessary plastic bottles. The capsules themselves are made from a vegetable-based material and are 100% biodegradable, and they’re filled with a mix of botanicals to dissolve makeup and impurities. After massaging the oil into your skin, rinse and follow up with your favorite cleanser to remove the oil and any last traces of makeup.
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