The 3 most sustainable beauty products that are leading the way

Seriously sustainable.
The 3 most sustainable beauty products that are leading the way

There are so many things that feel out of our control right now, but one thing we do have a choice over, is which sustainable beauty products we bring into our homes and put onto our skin.

Global guilt around the climate crisis has increased because – while we were all busy fighting the pandemic, taking rapid flow tests and wearing single-use masks in a pinch – our mission to live more sustainably has stalled.

But as consumers, most of us want to do more to limit our own impact on the planet. We each may only be a small fish in a giant ocean but, collectively, our actions can help turn the tide. 

So, we’ve lined up three outstanding sustainable beauty products that are seriously tackling sustainability head on, and delivering next-level beauty products at the same time. We hope to see this kind of innovation roll out across all our favourite brands. 

A carbon negative skin serum 

BYBI Glowcurrant Booster

We've heard of carbon neutral (sometimes referred to as net zero), where the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is the same amount as the carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere during the creation of a product. For instance tree-planting initiatives can help to soak up carbon dioxide emissions produced during manufacturing. Essentially it means you're not making emissions worse, but you're not making them better either. Obviously, creating a product that doesn't create carbon emissions is difficult. But creating a product that removes more emissions than it creates? That's virtually impossible. However BYBI has managed it with their Glowcurrant Booster, becoming the world’s first carbon-negative skincare product.

With a carbon output of minus-13g of CO2e per product, the booster saves the equivalent carbon emissions created by charging an iPhone11 five times. As for how? It's made using low-carbon ingredients and sequesters carbon throughout its supply chain from cradle-to-gate. The blackcurrant seed oil is upcycled since it's a by-product of the juicing industry. The white willow bark is harvested by hand, grows in abundance and encourages biodiversity by supporting insect populations. 

As for the packaging, the cap and nozzle are created using bacteria found in the soil. At the end of its life, these microbes see it as a food source and consume the cap, meaning it degrades without emitting greenhouse gases or leaving behind any microplastics. The cap will effectively eat itself in your at-home compost or general waste within 1-3 years. Meanwhile, the bottle and carton are made from sugarcane which absorbs 3kgs of carbon from the atmosphere for every 1kg grown as is 100% recyclable as packaging.

The magic part is, you wouldn't know this serum was any different from the other high-performance boosters out there. The texture, scent and feel on skin is luxe and a little added before moisturiser can help to supercharge glow, since it brightens, nourishes and moisturises.

A repeat refill cleanser

Beauty Kitchen Seahorse Plankton Revitalising Gel Cleanser

We know that packaging is one of the biggest problems when it comes to our beauty products' environmental impact. We'll use the formula inside but the plastic surrounding it can be left behind for generations. In the UK over 95% of beauty packaging is thrown away after just one use. Beauty Kitchen is set up to change that. The Return, Refill, Repeat programme, means every bottle and pot is washed and reused before being put back to work. 

Founder, Jo, a chemist, botanist and sustainability expert, grew Beauty Kitchen from 6 products stocked in just one retailer to over 120 products stocked in well known high street stores across the country such as Boots and Sainsburys. Once finished, you can return your bottles and pots in over 1,000 Holland & Barrett stores in the UK, or you can download a free-post label and post it back next time you head to the post office with your ASOS returns. 

You can choose from face oils, moisuturisers, cleansers, hand soap, shampoos and conditioners for all different hair and skin types. And once you're done, you can feel zen knowing there's not a plastic bottle knocking around in landfill for centuries because of your beauty routine.

A zero mile shampoo 

Oway Color Protection Hair Bath

One of the biggest hurdles to sourcing sustainable ingredients is trusting your supplier. Add to that the fact that ingredients from far-flung locations can rack up hundreds of thousands of air miles before they even make it to manufacturing. But a sure-fire way to have a meticulous oversight of your ingredients is to grow them on-site – which is exactly what haircare brand Oway does.

In a process they've aptly named “soil-to-scalp”, the brand grows zero-mile plants on its estate on the hills of Bologna. The first hair brand to use biodynamic agriculture methods, the brand utilises clean and green chemistry that's free from pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilisers to produce its products. And, for the ingredients the brand is unable to grow on-site, they work only with external certified biodynamic and organic farmers. 

On top of this, the brand uses 100% renewable energy for business processes to reduce the environmental footprint and they only use highly recyclable glass and aluminium to package products. There's tons of shampoos and conditioners to choose from, whether you want something volumising, colour-protecting, or specifically for curly hair. 

For more from GLAMOUR's Beauty Editor, Elle Turner, follow her on Instagram @elleturneruk