Earth day: best eco-friendly beauty brands making a difference

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It’s expected that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. The beauty industry is a large contributor to the problem and currently produces 120 billion units of packaging each year.

Scary, right? But we may not have to give up the glam just yet, because with a little due diligence we can turn our act around.

Beauty brands, new and old, are reevaluating how their production practices can change to improve the welfare of the planet. Here are the best of the bunch to support this Earth Day.

REN Skincare

A brand with a longtime commitment to doing better, REN partners with charities such as Surfers Against Sewage and is focused on creating marine-life friendly formulas. In 2018, the skincare saviours pledged to become zero waste by the end of 2021 and, this week, REN launched the We Are Allies campaign to encourage better sustainability practices industry-wide. REN also uses waste-free initiative Loop for six core products, including the best-selling Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Cream, £30, and Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash, £20. A refill scheme devised to eliminate packaging waste, Loop collects, washes, refills and returns packaging to customers.

The REN LOOP refillablesREN
The REN LOOP refillablesREN

KanKan

Founded in 2020 with sustainability at its core, UK-based brand KanKan offers up a small range - Lemongrass and Juniper Body Wash, £15, Chamomile and Lavender Baby Wash, £15, and Mandarin and Clary Sage Hand Wash, £15 - contained in recyclable aluminium cans, designed to be decanted into a glass dispenser that can be used ‘forever.’ For every KanKan product sold, the brand plants one tree to combat deforestation and rising carbon dioxide levels.

The KanKan rangeKanKan
The KanKan rangeKanKan

Irene Forte Skincare

As of this week, products in the natural skincare line will be housed in recycled glass printed with biodegradable vegetable inks that won’t pollute the planet when recycled. Most products are also refillable and can be recycled by popping them in the post to recycling company First Mile, for free.

The Irene Forte range with its potent natural ingredientsIrene Forte
The Irene Forte range with its potent natural ingredientsIrene Forte

L’Oreal Paris

Many affordable, industry-dominating brands have been accused of greenwashing, and rightly so, but L’Oreal Paris is one heavy hitter that can’t be accused of such. Between 2005 and 2020, L’Oreal Paris factories and distribution centres made huge strides in becoming more eco friendly, reducing CO2 emissions by 82 per cent, water consumption by 44 per cent, and waste generation by 35 per cent.

Now, the brand is pledging to take its sustainability mission one step further, promising to use 100 per cent recycled plastic and join the Loop distribution initiative by 2030.

The L’Oreal Paris 8 Second Wonder Water, designed to save on shower water wastageL”Oreal Paris
The L’Oreal Paris 8 Second Wonder Water, designed to save on shower water wastageL”Oreal Paris

Aveda

The first big brand beauty company to use 100% post-consumer recycled PET plastic packaging. Most Aveda products can be popped into local recycling, but from next month, the brand will start a Full Circle Programme, where customers can bring empty products to a participating UK salon to be shipped off and converted into renewable energy. And, this month, Aveda will donate $5 from the sale of every limited-edition Shampure Nurturing Shampoo Bar, £14, to Charity: Water, as well as all sales online today (April 22).

The Aveda Smapure Nurturing Shampoo BarAveda
The Aveda Smapure Nurturing Shampoo BarAveda

L’Occitane

L’Occitane offers 25 eco-refills (yes *the* Almond Shower Oil, £29, is included) that save up to 90 per cent on packaging across the range. The brand also works with TerraCycle, a recycling scheme that collects packaging and converts it into pellets used to create new waste bins, storage boxes and outdoor furniture. To date, L’Occitane has collected over 60,000 units of packaging, the equivalent to over 1,800kg of landfill rubbish. Keep an eye out for the brand’s new eco-warrior Solid Shampoo Bars, £10, housed in entirely plastic-free 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard, launching today.

The new L’Occitane Shampoo Bar, £10L’Occitane
The new L’Occitane Shampoo Bar, £10L’Occitane

Neighbourhood Botanicals

The UK’s first carbon negative beauty brand uses 100 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic, aluminium and glass vessels. Neighbourhood Botanicals works with Carbon Jacked to support the Huoshui HydroPower Project, supplying clean hydroelectric power to rural Southwest and South Central China and in turn offsetting double their own carbon footprint. The brand is set to launch a refill initiative soon.

The Neighbourhood Botanicals Face Off Cleanser, packaged in entirely sustainable materialsNeighbourhood Botanicals
The Neighbourhood Botanicals Face Off Cleanser, packaged in entirely sustainable materialsNeighbourhood Botanicals
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