Photo courtesy of Anna Dabrowski/The Licensing Project
Sustainable Skin, Hair, and Body Essentials We Love
From biodegradable packaging, glass jars, and reusable tools to the radical notion of no packaging whatsoever, the clean beauty industry is working hard toward sustainability, with many hair, makeup, skin, and body products that claim to be sustainable. A number of them are worth changing up your routine for.
goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C +
Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum goop, $125/ $112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Kate McLeod The Naked Stone goop, $45SHOP NOW
KORA Organics Turmeric Glow
Moisturizer Refill Pod goop, $46SHOP NOW
As a brand, goop is moving full-steam ahead toward sustainability, as are many of the lines we sell. No one claims to be fully there yet, but until they are, these are some of the broad categories within sustainable to consider—along with the individual items we really love so far.
Plastic is the least sustainable option. Roughly 9 percent of the plastics that get placed in recycling bins are actually recyclable, according to the EPA.
Every piece of plastic bears the widely recognized recycling triangle logo—thanks to plastic-industry-supported laws—regardless of its recyclability. This shifts the burden of responsibility from the plastic producers to the plastic consumers; we’re under the illusion that if we were just better recyclers, the plastic problem would go away. But even if we managed to recycle every piece of plastic we interacted with, 9 percent is obviously nowhere near enough. (Look up the recent Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for more on this—it’s incredible.)
Tip: To recycle many types of beauty product packaging (including single-use plastic), TerraCycle is the best solution we’ve seen.
Creating containers from recycled plastic or resin gets us away from single-use plastic, which is great, but recycled plastic often can’t be recycled, so there’s definitely a trade-off. Still, recycled plastic is an infinitely better choice than single-use.
This rich, petal-pink balm feels incredible going on, and it leaves your lips soft, supple, and moisturized.Saie Liquid Lip Balm goop, $16SHOP NOW
This groovy-looking shower gel smells like a redwood forest in Northern California.Bathing Culture Mind and Body Wash goop, $20SHOP NOW
This foaming scrub both exfoliates and cleanses, leaving your skin super soft.Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator goop, $30SHOP NOW
Forgoing containers altogether makes the biggest difference in sustainability. With just paper or cardboard around products like an amazing new shampoo and conditioner, or the bamboo that encases Kate McLeod’s moisturizing stones, these are probably the most sustainable options out there to date. You can recycle, reuse, or compost all of the elements in zero-waste packaging.
This nourishing bar leaves hair shiny and
healthy-looking, with zero plastic waste.Superzero Shampoo Bar for
Normal/Oily Hair goop, $18SHOP NOW
Try this incredible zero-plastic conditioning bar and you may never return to the stuff in the bottle.Superzero Conditioner Bar for
Normal/Oily Hair goop, $18SHOP NOW
This magical unscented moisture bar melts into a luxurious lotion-meets-massage-oil as you smooth it into skin. It’s great for any skin type including sensitive, and it’s so easy to use.Kate Mcleod The Naked Stone goop, $45SHOP NOW
Brooklyn-based Redoux’s bestselling brightening, sunset-colored cleansing bar lathers gorgeously and leaves skin silky—without plastic packaging.Redoux Turmeric Bar Soap goop, $16SHOP NOW
Glass is much easier and more cost-effective to recycle than plastic—its recycling rate is roughly 32 percent, according to the EPA. Negatives with glass include the extra weight, which adds to the fuels being used to transport the product, and the fact that glass breaks easily, making it a liability in wet areas like the shower. There are often plastics included with the glass (in the form of tops or applicators), so it’s important to separate them out when recycling.
This whipped hydrating gel-mousse mask made of flowers transforms skin overnight, leaving it silky, plumped, renewed, and glowy.Tata Harper Hydrating
Floral Mask goop, $95SHOP NOW
For a gorgeous sun-kissed glow, this ultraflattering bronzer is made with buriti oil.RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer goop, $28SHOP NOW
This ultraluxurious active face oil leaves skin firmer, smoother, softer, more radiant, and moisturized—
the (clinically proven) results blew us away.goop Beauty GOOPGENES All-in-One
Super Nutrient Face Oil goop, $98/$89 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
This daily glow serum combines two skin-care powerhouses—vitamin C and hyaluronic acid—for skin that looks radiant, moisturized, and healthy.goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C +
Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum goop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
One of the prettiest scents ever, this is amazing as body oil and also as an incredible perfume.Balmyard Beauty Romantic Call Body Oil goop, $82SHOP NOW
This serum uses bakuchiol for retinol-like results, along with powerful peptides to increase skin’s elasticity while reducing the look of lines and wrinkles.Beautycounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum goop, $79SHOP NOW
A powerful essence that treats skin with thirty-plus active water-soluble botanicals, plus vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence goop, $225SHOP NOW
Aluminum is also relatively easy and cost-effective to recycle; its recycling rate is approximately 35 percent, the EPA reports.
A moisturizing sun-protection balm made with only seven ingredients, with a cool, colored band around it to keep everything together.EIR NYC Surf Mud – SPF 30 goop, $24SHOP NOW
We keep this cooling balm in our first aid kit to soothe everything from sore muscles to bruises, and the cooling sensation helps, too.EIR NYC Cooling Butter and Arnica goop, $24SHOP NOW
Another strategy that companies often combine with using recycled plastic or glass containers is to sell the container only once, so customers refill it rather than throwing it away. It’s a concept that works for this rich, turmeric-infused moisturizer; eye shadow; blush; and more.
Tinted a gorgeous golden yellow with antioxidant turmeric, this ultrarich moisturizer leaves skin supple (and comes in a refillable tub).KORA Organics Turmeric Glow
Moisturizer Refill Pod goop, $46SHOP NOW
These brilliant full-size refill pouches of the bestselling Rahua Hydrating Shampoo cut plastic use by 90 percent and deliver the same aaaaamazing formula.Rahua Hydration Shampoo Refill goop, $30SHOP NOW
Half of this chic, refillable compact (red edition or iconic edition) contains a creamy blush for a pop of color, and the other half is a bronzy highlighter.Kjaer Weis Flush & Go Dual Color goop, $40SHOP NOW
This hydrating gel-cream seals in moisture in the skin’s outer layers leaving it supple and renewed.Tata Harper Water-Lock
Moisturizer Refill Pod goop, $62SHOP NOW
Whether it’s a reusable makeup remover to replace your face wipes or a skin-invigorating face-sculpting tool, these can be used until they wear out and can replace less-sustainable elements in your routine.
You need only water to take off all your makeup using this brilliantly soft cloth.Face Halo The Modern Makeup Remover – Pro goop, $22SHOP NOW
To wake up skin: the cooling, soothing power of rose quartz crystal.goop Beauty Rose Quartz Soothing
Face Massage Roller goop, $45SHOP NOW
Use this amazing tool to smooth, sculpt, and refresh skin—and it works with your favorite products for even more noticeable results.Shen Sculpt and
Lift Facial Tool goop, $56SHOP NOW
Use this gorgeous hand-cut jade comb for an invigorating gua sha massage for your scalp.Act + Acre Scalp Gua Sha Comb goop, $40SHOP NOW
Biodegradable plastic is made of organic materials (meaning nonsynthetic materials, not USDA organic), according to the EPA. To qualify, they must be engineered to biodegrade at least partially.
Compostable plastics are also biodegradable but must be processed in industrial treatment centers with the ability to decompose plastic, according to the EPA. Note that when biodegradable and compostable plastics are recycled with plastics that are actually recyclable, the entire load is contaminated and likely taken to a landfill, so definitely don’t try to recycle compostable and biodegradable plastics. Very few beauty companies are using compostable or biodegradable plastic in packaging at this point, and currently there are no EPA-approved methods of composting plastic at home; when the tech develops, we plan to put ours in our compost!