I went plastic-free with my skincare regime for a week

‘I admit, I’m not a clean beauty devotee. I buy products for their efficacy, brand loyalty and their packaging (I know, I know) – and environmental concerns aren’t always at the forefront of my mind,’ writes Charlotte. But with so many sustainable beauty brands doing seriously cool things, she was excited at the challenge of taking her skincare regime plastic free for a week. Here’s how she got on…

The cleanser

The latest product from tropical skincare brand Lani (which means ‘heavenly’ in Hawaii) is Blue Mint Facial Cleansing Powder. It’s odd but fun to use, as what starts as a powder turns to a foam when you add water – and even more fun, it turns colour to blue, as the spirulina it contains is activated. It’s gentle and leaves my skin feeling refreshed, rather than stripped, and it smells delicious. The bright blue bottle is gorgeous – one for the shelfie. The bottle is recycled/reusable glass and all packaging is plastic-free.

The serum

My Hibiscus Serum from Irene Forte Skincare may be super pricey at £129 but I LOVED it. The bottle is made from recycled glass and all outer packaging is made from 100 per cent recycled fibres with vegetable and soya-based inks, so it’s a win on that front. Hibiscus is apparently known as nature’s Botox, and this serum sank in quickly and left my skin feeling dewy and soft to the touch, but not sticky. There was a brief but intense tingling feeling, which reassured me it was actively working, and it felt luxurious. Yes, please.

The soap

Like the rest of the world, I’m already obsessed with Drunk Elephant, and this Jeju exfoliator bar soap I trialled was brilliant. I used it twice in the week and it cleansed and exfoliated all at once. My skin felt really soft after the dead skin cells were sloughed away and supposedly it detoxifies skin, too. I also found it made my lips much softer. It’s easy to use, fragrance-free and would make a brilliant addition to a wash bag for a holiday without checked luggage. FYI most soap’s have a pH level of 9 or above – the Juju Bar’s is at 6.3, which means skin isn’t dried or stripped.

The balm/moisturiser

BYBI’s latest launch, Babe Balm Bronze, does a bit of everything – it’s a balm, but with a shimmery golden tone. Use it as a moisturiser and highlighter; on your eyelids, cupids bow, inner eyes – it’s a do-everything-er. Both the tube and lid are made from biodegradable sugarcane. Side note: the brand also has clever plastic-free Jinmee Hydrapuff sheets, which can be dipped into products like serum to help it absorb efficiently, so you can use less product for great result.

The findings

This challenge was surprisingly difficult. Much as there are great brands out there doing their bit, many conventional brands haven’t got on board yet. As someone who loves to try products, this felt limiting.

Plus, it’s important to remember that while plastic-free options are great, they’re not perfect. “There are lots of options surrounding different packaging solutions that don’t include plastics – however there isn’t a straightforward replacement, yet,” says Georgia Barnes, Business Development Manager for Beauty & Wellbeing at The Soil Association.

“For example, glass is 100 per cent recyclable – but glass is heavier, which impacts transportation costs and the environmental footprint. Aluminium is great as it can be recycled limitless times, it’s light weight so transporting uses less fuel and isn’t fragile so can be packed tightly with less environmental impact. However, certain types of mining (bauxite) used has been linked to loss of habitat and destruction. As the industry grows and brands continue to drive change, we will see more and more opportunities to develop the industry.”

While I can’t guarantee an end to plastic in my beauty regime, I certainly feel more aware when it comes to my choices.

By Charlotte

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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.

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