Sustainable beauty swaps to try this Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July

Zero-waste beauty bars by Good Cube.

I love Plastic Free July. It’s a month long movement where I dive head first into expanding my sustainable-living knowledge, but I also like using this month for checking out new product drops, reminding myself of all the good stuff I’m doing as well as the amazing brands doing extraordinary things in the plastic-free realm.

From crowded bathroom shelves to overstuffed makeup bags, the amount of products in the beauty industry is honestly overwhelming – as is the amount of waste. Over a billion pieces of packaging are produced each year, of which most are destined for landfill.

This year, I’ve done a round up of some of my favourite plastic-free beauty products – tried, tested and loved by moi but also adding in a few brands, products and tools that are next on my list to try (once my current products run out). Let’s dive in!

Skincare

As the demands grows, brands are offering recycling initiatives for their packaging and Dermalogica, is right there doing the good work. I’m a huge fan of this brand and credit them for my smooth, glowy skin but I do think about how much plastic I’m purchasing when I’m wanting to try new products. Luckily, they’ve also started making some products refillable, and have a bunch of 2025 pledges to sustainability which you can view on their website.

Another game-changer is local skincare brand Emma Lewisham, whose skincare range is designed to be refilled which reduces carbon emissions by up to 74%. The range includes a bunch of lovely products including cleansers, moisturisers, serums, sunscreen, eye cream and body oils. Once you purchase a jar or a bottle you can then refill it again and again with the pods or pouches – afterwards, send the empty back to the company to be sterilised and refilled via the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle. By doing this, you’ll be helping to reduce the billions of units of beauty waste that end up in landfill each year.

I also wanted to mention Two Birds Beauty because their Replenish & Repair Bio-Retinol Serum has been on my list forever – the reviews are amazing, and their pledge to sustainable ingredients and packaging is so great to see. Choose whether you want full (sturdy but recyclable) cardboard packaging or just the glass bottle when you reorder.

Plastic Free July

Two Birds Beauty Serum and Kansa Wand Set.

Makeup

There’s a reason this incredible brand has won so many awards and beauty fans across Aotearoa and abroad – Aleph has a range of primers, foundations, eyeshadow and tints in a bunch of different shades. And the best thing? They partner with glass packaging forum to help close the gap and make sure their packaging is reused, and recycled rather than ending up as single-use.

Vegan lipsticks full of nourishing ingredients are the most recent offering from Ethique – I’ve been really enjoying the two shades I’ve picked, and I’m a big fan of their lip balms too. Each lipstick comes in a push-up compostable tube which you can chuck in the garden once you’re finished where it will break down and provide nutrients back to the soil.

Dental care

Because if clean teeth isn’t classed as beauty then I don’t know what is! I’ve noticed more and more recyclable/compostable toothbrush options arriving in the supermarkets so you can pick something up during your grocery shop. Otherwise, Toothcrush can save the day. They offer an affordable toothbrush subscription – choose how often a new sustainable bamboo toothbrush will turn up at your door. The bristles are made from nylon, which unfortunately can’t be composted, but it’s the only material known worldwide, that meets dental standards right now. It’s still a great alternative to all those plastic toothbrushes, and ensures you’re brushing your pearly whites with an eco conscious choice (just cut those bristles off before composting).

Plastic Free July

Toothcrush offer bamboo toothbrushes on a subscription basis. 

When it comes to toothpaste, there’s a whole bunch of different recipes available online for homemade toothpaste – but if you’re keen to buy your plastic free minty toothpaste which is ready-made, have you seen toothpaste tabs by Lush? They’re a solid option which you chew and mix with water then brush as normal. They have also introduced solid mouthwaste tabs for an on-the-go refreshing option.

Razors – silky smooth without harming the planet

It might be a little scary making the switch to a safety razor which has replaceable stainless steel blades, but you’ll be getting a super sharp shave as well as eliminating plastic and allowing you to recycle the blades when they get blunt.

I’m keen to try out Atypical Eco which have eco-friendly, weighted brass razors in a bunch of cool colours. They’re weighted, so you don’t even have to press down, the brass is heavier – allowing you to get a silky smooth, eco-friendly shave with only one blade. They also offer free shipping within NZ.

Body Cleansing

Making the switch from plastic-heavy shower gel to solid bars is an easy way to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. Bar soaps come in different blends to suit body washing, face washing, shampoo and shaving, so your line-up of bottles may become a line-up of bars instead which is pretty cool.

You might have noticed the eye-catching colours of Anihana packaging in your local supermarket! They’re a cool Kiwi brand with a bunch of palm-free, pH balanced bars. With delicious scents like Peach and Manuka Honey, Cucumber and Mint, there’s juicy flavours for everyone. All are solid, contain no hidden plastics and the best part? They have fizzy bath bombs packed with hydrating coconut oil so you can soak away all your worries.

Plastic Free July

Anihana has a range of solid, natural body products in plastic-free packaging. 

Brands like Ethique go one step further with their solid, concentrated body bars which are completely free from palm oil, which contributes to deforestation. A little goes a long way, and everything is completely compostable (right down to the packaging). Solid bars can be a little tricky to get used to at first, and if its a switch you’re not keen on making then you may be interested in their concentrated bars which you mix with water into a liquid.

Another local brand that’s truly raising the bar is Good Cube. Their chunky cube shaped bars are so aesthetically pleasing to me and I think it’s because it’s such a big solid cube full of skin loving ingredients like Harekeke Oil, Kawakawa Leaf Extract and Chia Seed Oil. They’ve calculated that for every 120g Good Cube you should get at least 100 washes and every cube saves 8 x 250ml plastic bottles from entering the environment.

Plastic Free July

Zero-waste beauty bars in plastic-free packaging by Good Cube.

Did you know: Bar soap in general is just that, a solid bar without the water so it’s instantly more sustainable than something purchased in plastic. It can often be purchased in very minimal packaging like thin cardboard or paper which can be thrown in the compost once used, granted there aren’t any hidden plastics in the packaging.

Deodorant

I’ve tried a few solid deodorants in my time including Lush’s patchouli scented Aromaco, Raw Nature and Ethique’s Botanica. Each of these brands use little, to no packaging (all 100% plastic-free) which means you can keep your pits smelling fresh while eliminating single-use plastic from this part of your beauty routine. Hooray!

So there you go! A few options you may or may not have heard or even thought of. I hope you found something that you might consider trialling to reduce you plastic waste at home.

Whether you choose solid plastic-free skincare products, become a champion for product refills or make your own special recipes for deodorant or toothpaste – there are so many solutions for the bathroom that not only will reduce plastic waste and have a positive impact on the environment but can also have a positive impact on your budget too – it’s a win/win for you and the planet. Choose to refuse single-use plastic bathroom products.

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