Start buying from the brands that are making a difference
Words Tania Grier
September marks Organic Month, so what better time to celebrate the beauty brands embracing a 360-degree eco policy? We’re not just talking all-natural ingredients but environmentally sound packaging too.
Happily, most brands are now ‘plastic aware’, and while boutique brands and start-ups have traditionally lead the charge in sustainable packaging, some of the big players are finally stepping up to the plate.
With its sheer volume and diversity of products, the beauty industry has a lot to answer when it comes to waste. So, if you want to make a change yourself, start buying from the brands that are making a difference. Read on for 6 of our favourites.
Based in Cork, Ireland, Codex Beauty are leading the way in clean beauty and transparency, with strict rules on packaging. They opt for green polyethylene tubes made from sugarcane ethanol, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and 100% recyclable glass containers.
Products are packaged in paper from sustainably managed forests and parcels are delivered with minimal packaging. Founder Tracey Ryan lived with dermatitis for years until she created the BiaComplex, a unique herbal formula found in their hero product Skin Superfood, which changed her life.
Mixing indigenous Irish botanicals and green technology, each product is made with a low carbon footprint using ingredients sourced from local farmers. The woody, herbaceous Facial Oil is my personal favourite.
Having met with Tracey and visited stunning Cork, I understand her passion for the planet. When you open a bottle of Codex you not only smell that fresh sea air, but know you are supporting a brand that not only helps your skin but also the land it comes from.
Tropic’s founder Susie Ma is on a mission to change the industry with her GreenBeautyRevolution. This all-natural vegan brand is proud to be certified ‘carbon neutral’ and plans to be ‘carbon negative’ with global projects currently in place to help communities find eco-friendly alternatives.
The headquarters, based in Croydon, are powered by renewable energy, products are produced in recyclable and or biodegradable containers (with marine-safe ingredients) shipped in recycled cardboard with biodegradable bubble pack and shredded paper, and taped with gummed paper made from vegetable glue.
Dyes are from vegetable ink, the haircare range is silicone-free, and their SPF is 100% mineral, meaning it’s ocean-friendly and won’t penetrate your skin. They aim to convert most items to refillable packaging by end of 2020.
I was given a tour of the factory (where I made my own lipgloss and perfume!) and saw for myself how each parcel is packed without a trace of plastic. I can only hope that more brands follow.
A household name since 1960, Simple were one of the first to avoid artificial fragrance, colour and alcohol in their skincare, making it the go-to brand for sensitive skin.
Decades later, under the Unilever umbrella, and as part of their GetPlasticWise plan, they are the first major brand to switch its entire range to 100% post consumer recycled plastic by the end of this year, including a new bottle cap using 50% less plastic than previously.
Last year they were the first to launch biodegradable wipes, and are planning on all their packaging to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Not just ‘kind to skin’ and the planet, they are kind to animals too, with zero animal testing and support a global ban on animal testing everywhere they deploy the Simple brand.
I used the brand on my teenage skin and still keep a micellar water in my kit. It’s vital that other mass market brands follow suit and take responsibility in the same way.
Do you pack half your suitcase with clothes and half with products you barely use? Well, men-ü have got your back when it comes to thoughtful packaging, with products in compact dispensers that require only one pump to give you a satisfying shave or enough for a proper shampoo.
Each bottle contains ‘concentrated liquid’ holding the same amount as three aerosol cans, which means you purchase less often, creating less waste. When you do need to restock, the refill options are cheaper than buying again – a clever incentive.
Although men-ü target the male market, I personally love using the shaving cream for my legs, which gives 165 shaves and lasts me an entire year. The travel sets are great for frequent flyers or to pack in gym bags, and their range of quality hair grooming products, shower gels and face creams are great value for money.
This family-owned British brand has two key goals: to sell supplements with the highest ethical standards and to raise money for environmental charities. Each purchase sees a donation made to charity, with stockists given the freedom to nominate which charities they help out each year. To date, Viridian have donated over £300,000.
Passionate about green business practice, the brand was the world’s first ‘certified palm oil free’ vitamin brand, with over 70 cruelty-free and vegan products certified by the Soil Association, using 100% active ingredients and slow manufacturing to avoid nasty additives. Products are made in the UK using minimal packaging and recycled and recyclable materials, with a 25p refund for any bottles returned to stores.
With zero sugar, colourings or flavours, these supplements are a pure and safe option for anyone intolerant to many supplements. The new Organic Repair 5 Serum with black seed oil is my current crush.
THE NAKED PHARMACY
Europe’s first ever 100% natural pharmacy, Naked stocks products from 100% natural companies such as Weleda and Vogel. Founder Kevin Leivers also makes his own products, using his pharmaceutical background to combine the purest ingredients with the lowest footprint.
“We’ve been going through a root and branches review of every stage of our process from raw materials, encapsulation, packaging and despatch to make sure it’s sustainable and environmentally friendly,” he says. “We introduced 100% biodegradable refill pouches, our recycled PET bottles will be replaced by cobalt blue glass and the caps made from recyclable metal. The plastic security tabs will be replaced on all bottles with a new paper based tamper evident seal. All our capsules shells are being replaced with 100% natural shell made from tapioca and all our vitamins and minerals are being replaced by two unique food source extracts providing a natural multivitamin mix. Our despatch boxes are recycled card including the packing material and labels, and we currently have a ‘Buy one get one TREE’ program where we plant a tree in a sustainable forest for every Saffrosun purchased.”
I swear by their supplements from skincare to muscle care, and love the refill options – good for the planet, your wallet, and in-flight restrictions.