5 Easy Sustainable Beauty Swaps

by Nicola Alexander

Co-written by Natasha Sales

The rise of indie skincare brands, who have put sustainability at the very heart of what they do, has made it easier than ever to make planet-friendly beauty choices. Here we share 5 quick swaps that can help reduce your beauty footprint, without compromising your routine.

 1. SWAP single-use make-up wipes or cotton rounds FOR reusable pads.

We use 1.3 billion single-use wipes daily[1], with make-up wipes accounting for almost one fifth[2] of that. Most of these wipes end up in landfills where they can take up to 100 years to fully degrade.

Simply swapping out your single-use make-up wipes or cotton pads for reusable pads or cloth can instantly improve the sustainability of your beauty regime. Reusable pads work just like your existing make-up wipes or cotton pads to remove makeup and cleanse your skin but instead of throwing them out once you’re finished you pop them in with your weekly laundry (we recommend putting them in with your light coloured wash) – so they can be reused hundreds of times before needing to be replaced. Most reusable pads can be used for a year (or 50+ washes) while retaining their quality – saving you throwing away 300+ wipes.

Our top tips – to help you find the perfect reusable pads for you:

  • Texture descriptions: Do you want something a little more textured for exfoliation (like muslin) or super soft (stick with bamboo or cotton)?
  • Materials: Organic is best. These will be grown without pesticides or chemicals to help better preserve the natural integrity of the soil. Bamboo grown sustainably, ideally organically, is particularly great for reusable pads as it is absorbent and naturally very soft. It also is hypoallergenic and has microbial properties, even after being washed multiple times. Cotton and muslin (which is a thin cotton weave) is also a good options.
  • Size: What are you using it for? Pads and cloths come in everything from a large cloth, ideal for removing makeup, or smaller pads for the eye area.

2. SWAP single-use packaging FOR naked or recyclable packaging

It has been estimated that 70% of the packaging of consumer goods ends up not being recycled[3]. This is especially true of secondary packaging – usually the beautiful outer boxes (with the instructions and ingredients) that your cosmetics arrive in.

An easy way to help reduce your beauty footprint is to look for brands who are using less external packaging; for example, using wraps instead of full boxes. Wraps use 1/3rd the amount of card of a traditional product box and still include all the necessary information you need to get the most out of your product. Other brands are embracing the use of linen or burlap bags instead of boxes. Both linen and burlap are biodegradable but can also be used time and again for storage in your bathroom before they are thrown away.

3. SWAP minis FOR supersized bottles

Everyone loves a mini! They’re a wonderful way to try out a product before a big purchase. Many of your favourite brands are now also offering supersized versions of bestselling products (most recently The Ordinary). Once you’re ready to take the plunge, opt for a bigger or supersized bottle. – not only will this be more cost effective but it will save you throwing away multiple bottles and save on shipping multiple products.

4. SWAP gels and washes FOR bars of soap

Bars are back and better than ever. In an effort to reduce the amount of plastic on bathroom counters, many brands are embracing the classic bar for everything from soap to shampoo. Bars are typically wrapped in minimal recyclable paper making them a wonderful ‘eco’ swap. Not only do these beautiful bars brighten up your bathroom (and smell delicious!) but they are also great space savers if you’re running low on shelf space in your shower!

5. SWAP new skincare products FOR a device

Since COVID-19, there has been a huge increase in demand for at-home devices that can help you achieve better results from your existing products. If you’re new to the world of devices you can ease in with a jade roller, based on traditional facial massage techniques that help with lymphatic drainage and boosting circulation. If you want something that packs more of a punch, try an LED device like Peep Club’s Eye Wand for collagen and elastin boosting, improved product absorption and de-puffing.

The best part about these devices is that they last for years (most devices have a minimum of a 2 year warrantee) and can help you get more out of your existing products by improving their efficacy. It’s an investment that can breathe new life into your existing routine and help maximise the effects of products you already have in your beauty cabinet.


[1] https://makeuperaser.com/pages/ourmission

[2] https://www.greenerlyfe.com/blog/reusable-cotton-pads/

[3] https://www.fragrancex.com/blog/sustainable-beauty-swaps/


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