What’s Your Beauty Footprint


Plastic packaging is clogging landfills and oceans. When I think of plastic pollution, I automatically consider plastic bottles, food packaging and single-use plastic; however I haven’t considered the extent to which beauty products are impacting our environment.

This eco article in the new Glamour Magazine was the one that engaged me this most. 90% of us recycle kitchen waste, but 56% of us don’t with bathroom rubbish. I found it astonishing that, “We’ll throw away 10.8 billion wet wipes and 13.2 billion cotton buds this year, and this waste washes up as far as the Arctic” (Dr Lyndsey Dodds). At this rate, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.

The focus is largely on the impact of plastic, however I also always consider that switching to cardboard/paper is having impacts in other ways. Cardboard produced for perfumes, serums and moisturisers then contribute to the loss of 18 million acres of forest each year. It appears to be a no-win situation!

I do think the beauty industry is rolling with the times, for example banning microbeads found in scrubs and toothpaste, which is a small step to reducing the environmental impact of plastic.I feel that a green beauty revolution is well underway with millennials leading the way. Ethical beauty is much more highly demanded with protection of the environment being at the forefront of more minds. I am pleased to see that retails are beginning to cut down on packing and offering recycling initiates and refillable products.

I have recently seen Lush’s Naked Range of products including their naked shower gels. Solid shower gels are a concentrated formula that doesn’t contain water which is also a great way to cut down on water use and the gels are longer-lasting.I really feel that our beauty product consumption is largely influenced by social media and Instagram especially. Every time I open the app, I am presented with at least one flat-lay, featuring at least one beauty ‘must-have’ product in beautiful packaging. It is essentially a marketing drip - product packaging is the first thing we see on the shelves.

Reducing my carbon footprint felt overwhelming to me at the beginning as I was unsure how and where to start. However, over the last year, I have gradually begun to make sustainable swaps such as a bamboo toothbrush, purchasing reusable cotton pads, a water bottle, bag and a Keepcup and even simple things like not getting plastic bags to put fruit and veg in at a supermarket.


BeautyRachel Fox