Ok, so I have a confession. I used to be a total makeup wipe addict. Not only would I use two or three to remove my makeup every night but I would grab them to blot away stains on my clothes and to wipe the surfaces in my bedroom and would bulk buy four packs at once to ensure I was never without. But a few years ago, thanks to raised awareness around environmental waste and plastic pollution, I woke up to the problems behind my throwaway attitude and made some serious changes to my skincare regime, including saying goodbye to my trusty wipes.
Giving up makeup wipes is one thing, but I wanted to go a step further. I wanted to see if I could go totally waste-free with my beauty regime. That means no single use plastic bottles or containers (I allowed myself glass ones) and no throwaway cotton pads or buds. Oh, and no single use period products.
Let me start by saying, it was way, way, way harder than I anticipated. Everything is in plastic packaging. Everything. Shampoo bottles, body lotion, hand soap, makeup palettes, lipsticks, toothpaste… Nonetheless, it made me appreciate just how prolific our plastic consumption is and made me more aware of the ways I can change. Read on to discover what I learnt during my waste-free week…
Waste-free skincare can cost you
Some of my favourite serums already come in glass bottles, but I was sure to ditch anything with the plastic pump, which narrowed things down slightly. Plus, anything in a glass bottle tends to be at the more premium end of the market, meaning that plastic-free ends up being an expensive pursuit. I relied on a lot of Dr Jackson skincare and glass ampoules like the Hyaluronic acid ones from Dr Barbara Sturm to avoid any traces of plastic. However, removing my makeup was a doddle, thanks to my Makeup Eraser cloth. The intelligent fabric requires zero product to be able to wipe away all traces of makeup – and yes, that includes mascara – and it is reusable.
There’s some amazing plastic-free makeup out there
Makeup, on the other hand, was a challenge. Having been a beauty journalist for six years, I’m exceptionally picky about my products and have a curated arsenal that I’m fiercely loyal to. And all of them were cased in plastic. And so were all the potential replacements. Luckily, my foundation is in a glass bottle, which is the thing I’m most particular about. For everything else, including blushers, bronzers and eyeshadows, I turned to brands like Antonym, which sells eco-certified colour cosmetics in wooden packaging and impressive pigment payoff (and it’s available on Amazon) and Kjaer Weis, who specialises in luxurious, refillable makeup palettes. Eyeliner and brow products were surprisingly easy – I just switched to pencils and kohl liners and rocked the smoky look.
Mascara was the final sticking point
The only product I couldn’t find an adequate plastic-free replacement for was mascara, so I decided to ditch it altogether and had an LVL lash lifting treatment with at-home beauty service app BLOW. The revolutionary treatment is popular among beauty editors and bloggers for its ability to curl lashes and add impressive volume for up to three months. The treatment concludes with a hint of tint to add definition and leaves little need for mascara.
I spent a lot of time in Lush.
Like, a lot of time. The brand’s devotion to being environmentally aware and waste-free is second to none, especially on a mass scale. I mean, what other national retail chain can claim the same?
Lush was my go-to for zero-packaging or ‘naked’ shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap and deodorant (which deserves a review in and of itself). The scent of the products is slightly too potent for me, but there was something intrinsically refreshing about using such a natural selection. Plus, my bathroom shelf looked like an old school apothecary with all these weird and wonderful potions and bubbling bars of beauty.
Plastic-free periods? No problem.
I’m no stranger to the Mooncup and have even tried period pants before, so the prospect of a plastic-free period wasn’t an issue for me. It actually gave me an opportunity to persevere with the Mooncup, forcing me to overcome some of the initial issues I had with it (mainly, getting it in and out properly).
If you don’t fancy going totally waste-free, read all about the simple ways you can cut down on your plastic consumption right now and become part of the solution, not the problem.
Read more plastic-free tips in GLAMOUR’s AW18 issue, which is on newsstands now.