Eco-friendly beauty on a budget

Eco-Friendly Beauty

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.

Shampoo bars

Eco-Friendly Beauty

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

Eco-Friendly Beauty

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.

Organic cleansing

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

Eco-Friendly Beauty

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.

Eco-Friendly BeautyI 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.

Make up

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.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission in some cases. Thanks.

19 thoughts on “Eco-friendly beauty on a budget

  1. It’s interesting when one goes the “natural” route, then also realises that all of that plastic is an issue, too. And the price of some “natural” skincare and cosmetics… too much!! I too use food grade rosewater, it’s just great. And if almond oil is too pricey, friends tell me that grapeseed oil is good. I’m really lucky in that I have a new-by-marriage family member who makes her own skin care and does eco friendly with it. I don’t mind paying extra as she is a solo mum. In New Zealand more and more people are wanting to reduce plastic use, and we have a fair few “natural” NZ supermarket skin care brands.

  2. You have found some great Eco and inexpensive products, there, Jane. Like you, I don’t spend a fortune on cosmetics and skin care, but still like to (try and) look good. Yes, it’s difficult to get rid of plastic when the only alternative for make up, etc, is glass, which is both heavy and breakable.

  3. Thank you for this post, it is something I feel strongly about but still haven’t got right, mainly because of price. I use sweet almond oil to cleanse, using the hot cloth method, I buy the baby flannels from boots, if i need to moisturise I will use a little of the oil for that too and no toner just cold water, the oil is brilliant at getting make up off even mascara. Make up, well I look frightful without it so it is a must have luxury for me and have been using Dr Hauschka for years.Years ago I bought a wonderful book called The Imperfect Natural Woman by Janey Lee Curtis it has so many useful tips on this subject plus other eco stuff. I have tried home made toothpaste, it did the job but doesn’t have the right ” mouth feel “so have to work on that one, have also made chocolate orange body moisturiser ,my sister loved it and said she was going to eat her arm after first applying it, the only thing there was a couple of the ingredients I could only get from amazon and I really don’t want to use them as I feel they are playing a huge part in destroying the high street trade but I get why people use them for availabity, price and convenience. Please keep these posts coming, they are so informative and topical, thank you.

  4. Hi Jane

    What a great piece. I remember watching an episode of Oprah, when she was still on TV some years ago ….. must be yonks ago now. Anyway, she had Sophie Uliano on as a guest with the actress Julia Roberts and they were doing a show on being green etc. It inspired me so much I went and bought her book Gorgeously Green …. currently on Amazon for 1p plus postge …………

    What was interesting was how much make up contains so many ingredients that are not good for our skin ….. If this was food, there would be an outcry but the beauty world isn’t so strict on its governance ….. although it is getting better. I printed a list off and kept it in my handbag and was scouring ingredient lists to see if any ‘bad’ things were on there. I’d say it affected most things. I’ve found it difficult over the years but plod on as best I can to buy natural products. The good thing is that stores are getting better at this.

    I like Burts Bees lip balm but only buy when on offer in Boots so I can also get my points. It lasts so much longer than other makes, I’ve found. I also scour the shelves of TKMAXX and Home Sense as they have items from time to time on offer that are natural, such as a’kin that contain no parabens or sulphates. I acquired the shampoo and conditioner recently but at £5.49 per bottle, whilst not cheap, I’m hoping will be good. I’ve also noticed that Holland and Barratt now sell make up and skincare ranges that are natural but again, can be a little costly so always good to wait for a sale.

    Some interesting makes you’ve also identified that I will look into. Thanks


  5. Love this article a cause after my own heart although top of my list comes products that have not been tested on animals. Superdrug’s own range has a hot cloth cleanser which I have been using for years usually on a buy one get one half price. You don’t need very much and you get a muslin cloth with it. There moisturisers are good too. I use very little make up but when I do it’s Body Shop or M & S range many of which has the leaping bunny sign on it.My deodorant is called ‘Ice Guard crystal deodorant. It’s brilliant seems to last forever, costs under £5 and some supermarkets sell it, so do some chemists but I get mine from Holland and Barrett. My best discovery though is a website called Eden Perfumes. They have a shop in Brighton. There perfumes are vegan friendly and they can match most perfumes. There equivalent Chanel No 5 is gorgeous as is there equivalent Issey Miyake. There website is brilliant and you can put in your perfume and they’ll try and match it. Each one costs £18 and there service is second to none. I can’t praise them enough. I’m desperate to visit their shop.

  6. Worth a try is Dr Bronner website. I buy very large bottles of their liquid soap various fragrances and decant into empty pump soap bottles watered down. No complaints from husband or 20 year old son. Also Green People for make up and other products, my sun care lotion comes from them and is great.

  7. I love all your posts and the post on make up, as a vegetarian and free from cruelty user, the thing that concerns me when buying make up brushes, they almost always state ‘ with natural bristles’, these are nearly always extracted from animals that are killed, the majority I feel not cruelty free despatched.

  8. I buy from a company called Pure Nuff Stuff, in Penzance, (the first town in England to go plastic free) there stuff is a good price and delivery is reasonable. The ingredients are simple.

  9. Hi Jane

    Great post thanks.

    I use a rose face cream in a glass pot from here
    She’s a local maker of natural products.

    Green people for sun cream. Faith in nature shampoo conditioner etc.

    I have some lovely Neals yard hand creams which were a gift and I have handmade soap in the kitchen and loo from

    So interesting to see other readers comments for new products too. Thank you.

  10. I border on fanatical about chemicals in products and only use SLS, Phylates and paraben free ones. For nail polish I use a minimum of 3-free but prefer 5 or 7-free when I can get them. Last year I discovered Benecos, a chemical free brand of cosmetics which are very competitively priced and their polishes are 8-free which is rare. I’ve tried lipstick, eyeliner pencils and eye shadows and have been happy with them. It’s harder to find suitable bathing products at a reasonable price.

  11. Forgot to say, I use Faith in Nature deodorant which I have on a regular order from Amazon. This makes it cheaper than in the shops. I used to use the solid crystal block but then they came out with a roll on version. I haven’t used deodorant which contains aluminium for 12 years. I spoke to a breast cancer surgeon who told me his wife and daughters never used aluminium deodorants at his insistence.

  12. I like to use natural products too when I can, although I’m not averse to a posh moisteriser. Having said that, the best one I’ve found is cheaper than chips. I’ve found that glycerine, which is in most moisterisers, works really really well. You have to dilute it tho otherwise it will suck water OUT of your skin.
    So I use a small spray bottle that had held a hairspray sample. Put a couple of squirts of your favorite perfume in first if you like, then fill half with water and half with glycerine (from the chemist) and give it all a good shake. You don’t need to use much, or it might feel a bit sticky.
    No nasty chemicals, and no big bill!

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