I won’t lie – I’m a low budget kind of girl when it comes to beauty and personal care. This doesn’t mean I don’t like to look and feel nice; I just don’t have a fortune to spend. However, I am also becoming more aware of all the chemicals we put into and on our bodies. How do they affect our health and are there any negative impacts on the environment around us? It isn’t purely money that affects my choice of products nowadays, and I am on the look out for eco-friendly beauty products. They need to be full of natural loveliness, not tested on animals, not over-packaged and easy on my purse!
I put out a plea to some PR companies for some natural products to review, so some of the below are gifted. Some are products that I already use and purchase regularly. I hope they will give you some ideas of how you can increase the number of eco-friendly, more natural items in your bathroom.
I have been using these on and off for years. My favourite so far is the Godiva bar from Lush. Lush says, ‘It’s stuffed with butters and oils to condition, moisturise and soften the hair: cocoa butter, cupuaçu butter, shea butter, camellia oil, organic macadamia nut oil and extra virgin coconut oil.’ It certainly smells nice and doesn’t make my hair feel greasy and full of products after a day, as many cheap shampoos do. However, it does still contain sodium laurel sulphate, which I know some people are keen to avoid.
Another advantage of shampoo bars is that you don’t have a plastic bottle to dispose of. I am determined to reduce the amount of plastic that we all bring into the house.
At £7.50 for a 55g bar, you might think this more expensive than other shampoos. However, I have found these bars last for ages. Try not to let them sit in water though. They are good for travelling too – Lush sell a little metal tin for the purpose.
Eco-friendly beauty products for your face
I was gifted some lovely items from the Ayurvedic brand, Urban Veda, which harnesses ‘the holistic and therapeutic properties of plants’. All of their packaging is recyclable and their bottles are made out of post-consumer recycled plastic. The brand prides itself on its sourcing provenance and all of their cartons are Forest Sustainability Certified.
I have been using a couple of them most days. I get a lot of dry, flaky skin around my nose, especially when I have hay fever. This is where a good face scrub comes in handy. Urban Veda’s soothing exfoliating facial polish is lovely. Very gentle on the skin whilst doing a good job of getting rid of any dead skin, and you can smell all the plant oils as you use it. Thumbs up for this one. It is currently priced at £10.90 for a 125ml tube on Amazon.
Another Urban Veda product that I love is the Urban Veda Reviving Day Cream. At £18.99 it is loads more than I usually spend. However, it is a quality product and once again smells divine. I am using it sparingly to make it last longer. This is one for the Christmas present list, Mr Shoestring!
A slightly more budget friendly moisturiser that I have used in the past is the Jason Natural Cosmetics Organic Aloe Vera Cream. All of the Jason products I have tried have been very good and they are a great price considering they use a lot of organic ingredients.
Whilst doing research for this and my recent post Can you do eco-friendly cleaning on a budget? I discovered a company called Beauty Naturals. They sell an amazing range of cruelty free, natural skin care at extremely good prices.
One of their own brands is Skin Revivals. I was gifted their organic facial cleansing oil for review. Initially, I was sceptical as I had never used a cleansing oil. I thought it would leave my skin feeling greasy. However, I was totally wrong and I am a facial oil convert! This cleansing oil contains organically certified ingredients including rosehip and avocado. It is very effective, you only need to use a tiny amount and it leaves your skin feeling very soft. It is usually £12 for 100ml but is currently on offer for £8.
An eco-friendly beauty brand that I find very budget friendly is Lavera. Their 2 in 1 Cleansing Milk contains organic oils and is vegan as well as 100% silicone free, paraffin free and mineral oil free. This cleaning milk is £6.99 for 125ml.
Super frugal from the larder
In the mornings I don’t bother with a proper cleanser. I usually use cheap as chips rose water on a cotton wool pad. This one came from the Asda food aisle and cost just £1.14. It is a good skin tonic for after your cleanser too. Not much plastic packaging, apart from the lid, as it comes in a glass bottle.
Another food grade product that I use as an all round moisturiser or bath oil if my skin is really dry is almond oil. Again, it comes in a glass bottle and costs just two or three pounds from food stores. This with a few drops of lavender essential oil in the bath feels quite luxurious but costs hardly anything.
I was gifted some Olverum bath oil, Winner of Tater Beauty Awards 2018 Best Bath Oil. Now, this is a beautiful product that really is luxurious. You can smell the natural essential oils before you even open the bottle (which is glass). My daughter likes a bath rather than a shower and she totally loved this. You only need a few drops to soften the water and make it smell gorgeous.
However, this is not a budget product and most definitely a treat! It is priced at £32.00 for 125mls.
It is hard to source natural cosmetics in the shops locally, but I have discovered some good ones online. Thank heavens for the internet.
Lavera makeup is 100% gluten free, cruelty free, and all natural. They produce some nice mineral eyeshadow, for example. They also do a 100% natural lipstick range. I am going to be trying some of these. They aren’t expensive at all.
So Eco are a vegan and sustainable makeup tool brand using 100% ethically sourced materials. I was sent some of their brushes to try, including a stippling brush and a couple of eye brushes. They have wooden handles and natural bristles, which are very soft and good for sensitive skin such as mine. I have been using them for over a month with no signs of wear.
My daughter found the eye brushes a bit too soft for blending, but she is a bit of a cosmetics queen and likes precision. I found that the stippling brush was perfect but used it for powder rather than foundation. I like their ethos and was very pleased to find the packaging 100% recyclable – a rare quality, even for natural beauty brands.
They aren’t particularly expensive and are competitively priced. You can purchase them individually, but Amazon has the So Eco Face Brush Set for £15, which seems reasonable.
In truth, you are always going to have to pay more for eco-friendly beauty products. Organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients cost more money. However, there are some budget friendly options if you do your research.
The curse of the plastic container
One thing I am still dissatisfied about is the amount of plastic packaging being used in most beauty products, even those aiming for natural products made from organic and low chemical ingredients. It seems that at the moment there is an element of compromise to be made. Sure, much of the plastic is recyclable, but many companies seem to be quietly ignoring this part of the issue. I think this is because other biodegradable types of packaging aren’t suitable for liquids. The are some alternatives being developed but they cost more. Glass is heavy so costs more to transport, as well as being easier to break of course. I would love to see some progress on this.
Do you have eco-friendly beauty brands that you prefer to use? Do you make your own? If so, please share your tips in the comments below.
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