How to make your beauty routine more eco-friendly – from refills to recycled packaging

Approximately eight million tonnes of plastic makes its way into our oceans each year, and just nine per cent of plastic is recycled worldwide. And the beauty industry – with its large amount of packaging and non-recyclable items such as cotton buds and face wipes – has historically been one of the least eco-friendly industries.

Fortunately, the beauty world is now catching up, with many brands making concerted efforts to adopt more sustainable practices in an effort to limit their impact on the environment.

From refillable products to recycled packaging, it has never been easier to make your beauty routine more green. Here’s how…

Swap your cotton pads for reusable ones

Cotton pads are a quick and convenient way to remove makeup and apply liquid skincare products, but most aren’t recyclable or biodegradable. Switch instead to washable pads or cloths, which are usually made of bamboo or cotton.

We love Beauty Kitchen's Large Reusable Cleansing Pads and Dual-Sided Reusable Face Cloth. Both of these cost £7.50 a pack, but you'll get one of them in this month's OK! Beauty Box, which costs just £4.95 to new subscribers (and £15 a month after that). Inside the box you'll also get four other brilliant beauty products, worth an impressive £80 in total! Click here to add to basket.

Look for recycled packaging

Historically the beauty industry was guilty of using a large amount of unnecessary packaging, with much of it eventually ending up in landfill, but nowadays more and more brands are coming up with smart eco-friendly packaging solutions.

Take Baylis & Harding's Goodness range, for example, which comes in bottles made from 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic and tubes, pumps and caps that are fully recyclable through Terracycle. the products themselves are also vegan, dermatologist-approved and made with 98% naturally derived ingredients.

We love the Goodness Rose & Geranium Hand Cream, £3 here.

Recycle your makeup

Because of its fiddly packaging and tough formulas, makeup used to be one of the trickiest beauty products to recycle. In fact, Maybelline found that a third of makeup wearers didn’t even know that these products could be recycled.

Here to tackle the problem, Maybelline has teamed up with Terracycle to introduce makeup recycling bins in over a thousand Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Superdrug stores across the country. Simply drop in any old cosmetics, from ANY brand, and you can be sure they’ll be properly recycled. Click here to find your nearest drop-off point.

Switch from a liquid soap to a solid one

Classic soap bars are making a comeback, which is great news for the environment as they usually come wrapped in little or no plastic.

L’Occitane has a huge range of chic soap bars, from the fragrant Bonne Mère Collection, £6 each here, to 2-in-1 Scrubbing Soaps, £10 each here.

Meanwhile, Garnier's Ultimate Blends Shampoo Bars, £7.99 here – the UK’s first mass-market solid shampoo – have been a hit with shoppers and celebrities alike. Garnier ambassador Holly Willoughby, said she converted her entire family to the Softening Oat version and says it leaves her hair “super silky”.

Reach for refills

Lots of big brands now offer their products in refillable bottles, with super-sized top-ups available. This not only saves on plastic bottles, but also saves you money, too.

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