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How to make your beauty routine plastic-free

In honour of July being Plastic Free Awareness Month, we wanted to share some of the best ways you can make your beauty routine a little more environmentally friendly and cut back on the plastic.

Written by High Life North
Published 23.07.2020

By Faith Richardson

What is Plastic Free Awareness Month?

Each July, Plastic Free Awareness Month is used to bring attention to how much single-use plastic is actually involved in our day to day lives. Greenpeace estimated that around 12.7million tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. Yep, not even into landfill – into the oceans. With that plastic taking around 500 years to break down, it’s easy to see why people have started to take notice of just how much plastic is being used every day.

Our beauty routines are something that we rely on almost every day, and due to hygiene reasons, it can be hard to maintain an eco-friendly system with them as most products can’t be recycled, reused or sold on. That’s why it’s always good to try to find products that address this from the get-go, so if something ends up not working for you, or you’ve run out of it, the packaging or product doesn’t end up in a landfill..

So how can you implement eco-friendly systems into your routine?

Find brands that have a recycling scheme

You don’t need to go big and completely overhaul your beauty kit in one go. Making small changes along the way is a far more practical, and inevitably less wasteful, way of doing things. Once one product runs out, look into recycling schemes that allow you to return used products in exchange for vouchers for future items! John Lewis, Lush, The Body Shop and Kiehls are just some brands that have a recycling system in place for finished products. There are also companies such as TerraCycle, which allow you to recycle as much as possible for an environmentally clear conscious.

Recycle what you can

Whilst many brands are now making the move to more environmentally, easy to recycle packaging, always make you double-check what can and can’t go into your recycling bin. Once you’ve used up your current beauty products, shop around to see which brands are housing their products in containers which can be recycled or reused, like glass.

The Ordinary, Aesop and Beauty Kitchen are all brands that use easy to recycle packaging on their products so you can pop them into your blue bin without having to think twice. If you’re looking to forgo as much packaging as you can, brands like Lush have started offering products such as shampoo bars and solid shower gel bars in zero packaging.

Stylist magazine provided this excellent guide on exactly how to recycle beauty products, so you’ll never be confused again.

Buy refillable

Thanks to initiatives such as Loop, you can simply refill your favourite beauty products when you run out, rather than replacing the whole bottle. Loop even lets you refill your favourite household items, so you can start making your day to day life even more environmentally friendly. Plenty of companies are also offering their own refilling option, where you simply buy a bag of your favourite product and take it home to refill your original bottles and tubs. L’Occitane is one company that lets you refill your previous purchases, whilst REN Skincare works with Loop to allow you to refill your glass bottles (which are recyclable anyway) whenever you need them.

To support local, check out Something Good in Jesmond for gorgeous refillables.

Replace single-use tools

There are probably more parts to our beauty routine that require something that can only be used once. Face wipes, cotton wool pads and sanitary products are all items that get thrown out without a second thought but can actually cause the most damage to the environment. Replacing your face wipes and cotton wool pads for reusable, washable products such as Face Halos and cleansing cloths will make a huge difference to your impact on the environment. Check out our guide on eco-friendly period products, here. 

Items such as disposable razors can also be swapped out in favour of safety razors, which should last you a lifetime and don’t require replacing every couple of uses. This Bambaw one will also look far better on your bathroom shelf – a real win-win.

Face Halo (pack of 3) - £17.95

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Beauty Pie Cleansing Cloths (pack of 3) - £6.71

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Bambaw metal razor - £15.49

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Neals Yard 


Ren Skincare

RMS Beauty 


Tabitha Eve 

The Body Shop 

The Soap Co 


We Are Paradoxx 

Recycling Schemes

Cloud Nine – for old hair tools such as straighteners, curling tongs and hairdryers.

TerraCycle – partners with brands to help recycle old packaging and containers from beauty products.

Loop – providing refills of your favourite products to your door.


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