22 July 2022

These plastic free beauty picks don’t skimp on efficiency

This Plastic Free July, HUNGER trialled the best sustainable swaps on the market.

Sustainability is now the name of the game when it comes to beauty, and for good reason. Per Zero Waste Europe, the cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging each year — and the majority of this is plastic. Just think about all the stuff your products come in; there’s the box, the wrapping, and that’s just the bare minimum — the bulk of this, too, ends up in landfill. As research from Garnier has discovered, over half of Britons don’t recycle their bathroom products, citing the inconvenience of doing so.

That’s why we’re starting at the root of the issue and are committing to making simple swaps to items that are plastic-free from the onset. Of course, this is a slow process, and we’d always advise using up existing products first, but it’s encouraging that the sustainable beauty industry has come leaps and bounds over the past few years. Don’t worry, we hear you; it’s hard to toss out your well-trodden wares for something completely new, but there are now so many products on the market that are just as effective, look good on your countertop, and don’t harm the planet to boot. From completely dissolvable shower gels to makeup melts, here are some tried-and-test plastic-free alternatives to stock up on for the remainder of Plastic Free July and beyond. 

We Are Paradoxx 

Sustainable beauty brand, We Are Paradoxx, was founded by Yolanda Cooper, who is also the brains behind Plastic Free Beauty Day — celebrated annually on June 17th. The range achieved cult status thanks to their hardworking edit of natural, vegan hair and body products, but they certainly tick a lot of boxes on the environmental front too. Items like their REPAIR Game Changer Hair Mask and DETOX Dry Shampoo are housed in infinitely recyclable aluminium, which can be reused time and time again without using its form and grade. Key ingredients are carrageen moss, hops and white nettle, and the brand prides itself on being sulphate, paraben and toxin-free. Say hello to kind and clean formulas for your scalp and body. 


Skincare and home fragrances brand, Homework, package their wares in infinitely recyclable, steel tins, which are made from machinery that is powered by solar energy. We love the minimalist look of the packaging, but it’s really the product that takes centre stage. Even an unopened tin of the Wood Bath Soak in Nettle Leaf with Pine and Chinese Ceder was enough to fill my bathroom with the delicious aroma of Chinese cedar and ho leaf essential oils. Founder, Stephanie Hannington-Suen, drew on her background and culture to create the collection, which applies a modern approach to ancient Chinese well-being to help those in need of balance. Star products include the aforementioned Bath Soaks that come in a range of scents, as well as the Avocado Shampoo Bar, which is infused with hemp and broccoli seed to nourish and gently cleanse hair.


Bodycare brand, PLUS, shook up the industry when they launched the first-ever dissolvable body wash. Each body wash sheet is wrapped in a dissolvable sachet made of wood pulp that just disappears down the drain immediately. The wood pulp is sourced from responsibly managed FSC forests, and the ink is non-toxic and bio-renewable as well. You can purchase the body washes in the scents, summer and waves and they also come unscented for those who are sensitive to parfum. Win-win. 


UpCircle beauty prides itself on removing more plastic from the environment than it creates. Their standout SPF 25 Mineral Sunscreen is reef-safe, refillable and is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, which sinks in immediately, without that dreaded white cast. Other best-sellers include their Organic Face Serum with Coffee Oil and their Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid & Niacinamide. 


SBTRCT is in business to clear up the beauty industry. The brand creates high-performance skincare products while trying to have the lowest possible environmental impact. Their range, which includes everything from solid makeup melts to vitamin C boosters, can be housed in their own chic cases or dishes, which make a lovely addition to any bathroom. We were especially impressed with the Rejuvenating Night Balm with 2% Granactive Retinoid and Squalane. 


Sans is a natural, refillable, plastic-free deodorant brand that’s just catapulted onto the market. The lovely, scented deodorants go all the way to the finish line when it comes to reducing plastic with a zero plastic design, fully recyclable packaging and refills. The deodorants are also crafted in the UK and are free from aluminium and parabens. Pick from three scents, including 18th Orchard, Pinacea, and Twig & Blossom.


Oway’s commitment to sustainability really is top to bottom. The brand prides itself on packing their products hair, face and body products in glass bottles and aluminium tubes. And their plant-based active ingredients are zero-mile plants, meaning that are grown on the brand’s ORTOFFICINA estate on the hills of Bologna. There’s no skimping on quality either, their Sunlight Serum is a lightweight dry oil for the hair and body that creates a shield to protect locks against photodegradation as well as sun, sand, water and salt. A must for this year’s trip abroad. 

  • Writer Nessa Humayun

Related Content