The Friday Five: Eco-friendly beauty products

Beauty Director Beatrice Aidin reveals eco-friendly products that are sustainable...and effective!

It’s World Earth Day today, a day that can feel like self-flagellation when it comes to the beauty industry. And with good reason, it’s an industry that generates 120 billion units of packaging annually, much of it plastic.  But things are changing. For example, 20 years ago, when I started in the beauty industry if someone had said the word “sustainability” at a launch they would have received a blank look from hacks as they downed the Moet and flicked the ash off their Silk Cut – oh halcyon days of yore, today it’s green juice and a vegan flapjack.

Today it’s not only a given that sustainability is top of the agenda,  it is being addressed even by the big guns, with L’Oreal Groupe – owners of Lancôme, Maybelline, Kiehl’s and many more brands, has a target of 2025 to make all of its plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable. As for us consumers, according to Treatwell, the brilliant hair and beauty services booking platform — do check it out — 78% of the UK population choose to buy environmentally friendly beauty products.

This British Beauty Council Green Beauty Guide is an excellent resource, explaining sustainable sourcing and greenwashing – it’s a gripping read: Download the Planet Positive Beauty Guide.

Here’s my Friday Five for World Earth Day 2022:

1. Nourish London is one of my most cherished brands, created by Dr Pauline Hili,  an authority extraordinaire on organic, anti-ageing vegan skincare who is also the scientist and formulator of many other a brand, she’s one clever lady. My must-have is Nourish London Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm (£34). It cleanses! It moisturises! It’s also a mask! Also made in the UK so less transportation.

Nourish London has also won a plethora of awards including from the much converted Beauty Bible who test with a rigour comparable to Usain Bolt’s training programme.

2. My first ever interview as a journalist was with the founders of REN, two brilliant blokes who inadvertently created the ‘clean ‘skincare movement –  the name means ‘clean’ in Swedish – a category that has become a misnomer and massively confusing but that is another article.

They were, however, pioneers and having sold the brand to Unilever, the integrity of REN has not been corrupted, in fact, putting natural ingredients and sustainability first the concept has been furthered. In 2018 REN started a zero waste skincare programme committing to use only packaging designed to be recyclable, containing recycled or reusable plastic  by the end of 2021. And REN did.

My go too for a cheer up, which we could all do with now, is REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil (£35) which has the intoxicatingly relaxing aroma of said flower in a sesame seed oil base that absorbs into the skin and ooh, makes it feel so nourished.  I also keep it on my desk and rub a bit on my wrists and neck for the scent to calm me down when I am on deadline.  And by that, I mean right now…

3. Weleda was founded in Switzerland in 1921 pioneering organic face and body care and the brand has a thing about soil.  Quite rightly too.  As they say, it’s the skin of the earth.   However, a third of the earth’s soil is degraded threatening animal and plant habitats, increasing and –  I had no idea about this – greenhouse gas emissions.  If they have a ‘hero’ range it is Skin Food launched back in 1926  (£8.25) adored by Alexa Chung and Priyanka Chopra Jonas if you care about such things, (though they do have great skin).  But my current morning joy to use is Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Lotion (£16.99). It really does tighten the skin and if Heidi launched a fragrance, it would smell as pure as this.


4. I was once with a beauty PR  friend, Emma Bracey-Wright, and rather passionately declared “I love soap.” She snorted out her coffee with laughter and it became a standing joke. But I really do love soap and much prefer the lather and texture to body wash – also, what’s with the plastic bottles folk?    Emma Heathcote-James felt the same when she launched the Little Soap Company in 2008 making organic soaps with the aim not to sell in artisanal boutiques in Notting Hill for eleventy-billion quid but bringing her wares to supermarkets. Little Soap Company Organics are £3.99 all made with organic essential oils and smell divine. She now has a ‘diffusion’ line, Little Soap Company Naturals (from £3)  and launched in 2019, Eco-Warrier (£5.50) aimed at men but loved by everyone featuring shampoo bars, shaving foam – very hard to achieve in solid form – and a multi-award-winning exfoliating scrub. And as of today, the Cotswolds based company announced they have won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Innovation 2022. Bravo.

5.  Wet wipes are the devil’s work for two reasons — firstly they just sweep make-up and dirt around the face when the whole point is they remove it — obvs — but secondly they are a bugger to biodegrade.  Same for sheet masks, the whole point about them is they seal the infused serum flush to the skin creating a vacuum to push it in further but then the same old problem, unnecessary waste. Just arrived in time for World Earth Day, Pacifica Reusable Masks (£15), specially shaped for under the eyes, smile lines and more, allowing you to use your chosen serum to get right in there. They are easy to clean and come in a dinky wee case. And a perfect gift.  £15,


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