The Beauty Insider:

Sali Hughes' 5 plastic-conscious beauty solutions

To celebrate World Oceans Day and the opening of the Project Ocean Beauty Booth at Selfridges London – a space filled with plastic-conscious solutions for your everyday routine – we invited beauty editor Sali Hughes to share five easy ways to make your bathroom an earth-friendlier place. These mindfully made and packaged hair, face and body treatments will bring instant change for the better.

1. Ditch the wipes, and cut the disposables

The disposal of single-use products is a luxury we can no longer justify – especially when the alternatives are not only kinder to the environment, but way better for our skins. Face Halo make-up removal discs are firm favourites in my own home, and, in yours, can instantly replace the wasteful, ineffective plastic-packed face wipes that clog our sewage system and cause grave harm to aquatic life. Just drench a Face Halo in water, squeeze, and without a single drop of product, watch them sweep clean even heavy make-up. I follow with a classic balm or milk cleanse, but always remove with a flannel rather than disposable cotton wool. It’s not wasteful, more thorough, perfectly exfoliating and imparts greater glow. I just take a clean one each morning and toss into the washing basket before bed at night.

2. Smell great, do good

When it came to eco-conscious beauty, fine fragrance escaped scrutiny for decades. That is, until cult New York brand Le Labo raised the bar and opened up an entire industry for ethical perfumery. Made with sustainable and 100% vegan ingredients, packaged in recyclable glass and unfussy recycled brown boxes, and tested only on humans, these sublime scents make luxury feel loving. There are no wrong choices across the gender-neutral Le Labo line, but my favourite is the now-iconic, effortlessly chic Santal 33, of course.

Soap Co don’t just make good choices – they exist for them. The majority of employees at this social enterprise are registered blind and often unable to secure employment elsewhere. Soap Co trains staff in key, resumé-enhancing skills and pays them fairly, before nurturing their future careers elsewhere. Their exquisitely fragrant, creamy, cruelty-free and sustainable luxury soaps already live on every basin in my house.

3. Reuse and Recycle

Around 120 billion units of beauty packaging are produced each year – most of which are not recyclable. However, many brands are now bucking the trend and allowing us to make better decisions without compromising on quality. Tata Harper is known for her recyclable, green glass-bottled cleansers made in small batches from sustainable plant-based ingredients. Her Purifying Cleanser is my personal pick of the crop and though it’s aimed specifically at problem and oily skins, its wonderfully gentle on drier types too. More affordable are Wild Sage’s cleansers, packaged in recyclable aluminium. But sustainability must be mainstream to bring big change. REN has pledged to make its huge range of skin and bodycare zero waste by 2021, with 100% recyclable packaging, refillable solutions, bottles with reclaimed ocean plastic and global beach cleanups. Their superb new vegan sunscreen, Clean Screen Mineral SPF30, mattifies even oily skins (yes, really), protects using physical sunscreens and comes in a recyclable plastic tube.

4. Insist on both style and substance

There’s no use denying it – nothing makes my hair feel as clean as a rich, foamy, lathering hair wash. But in 2019, that no longer necessarily means wasteful packaging and bubble-making, water-polluting sulphates (or ‘sulfates’, as they’re known on US-packaging) commonly used in shampoo, laundry detergents, hand washes and shower gels. Swerving both are Beauty Kubes Shampoo Kubes – just pop a couple of these solid, cute, sudsing cubes into your washbag for shampooing on the move. I’ve already scored a box for Glastonbury. 

5. Buy once, use (almost) for ever

Quality beauty tools can last a lifetime, saving your cash and helping the planet. There’s simply no need to send plastic-packaged scrubs sinking down the plughole when a quality wooden body brush sloughs off dead skin, aids circulation and gives senses an almighty morning wake-up call. You needn’t contribute to the two billion disposable plastic razors thrown away each year, either. Buy a beautiful sustainable bamboo razor by Acala, and change the standard-sized recyclable blades when needed. Your legs will feel smoother, your bathroom will look nicer and you will feel a whole lot better – there are no downsides to an investment in quality.

SELF-Sustainable podcast series: Project Ocean Special

In the final episode of our SELF-Sustainable podcast series, we look at the past, present and future of Project Ocean – including an exciting new announcement – as well as what we can all do to make some waves ourselves.