Every piece of plastic ever made still exists. Plastic from fishing nets and the products we use accumulate and pollute our oceans, wildlife habitat and our eco-systems.
By 2050, it has been suggested that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Plastic Free July is a global movement which encourages people to refuse single use plastics and think about the alternative options we have to avoid plastic in the long term.
This month I have challenged myself to use more beauty products which contain either no plastic or only biodegradable plant plastic.
Below are the swaps I’ve made this month and my honest reviews of the products so far.
Cheeky Panda Bamboo Pocket Tissue
My partner suffers from hay fever and likes to use me as his own personal mule to carry his stuff when we’re out and about, so I always need to have tissues in my bag. I swapped our usual brand of tissues for The Cheeky Panda Bamboo Pocket Tissues, and this was the easiest swap I’ve made this month.
Made from 100% Virgin Bamboo Pulp, and housed in a recyclable cardboard box these tissues are ultra-sustainable (bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world) and haven’t been treated with any harsh chemicals.
My partner said he thought these tissues were even softer than our usual brand, and for me the cardboard box made it feel real fancy. This one’s a no-brainer, we will continue to use these as these are great for the environment! Soft, strong tissues in a nice box – these are a winner for us.
Vegan, Cruelty Free this lovely smelling shampoo bar also comes in 100% recycled cardboard packaging. It’s free from parabens, SLS, palm oil, cruelty and any plastic. It’s also only suitable if you live in a soft water area, as hard water (due to its high mineral content) can’t break down this product properly. We live in a soft water area so I was able to try this out.
I really wanted to like this but unfortunately it didn’t agree with my hair. Although it left my hair smelling nice, it also left it feeling a little sticky.
This shampoo bar has a transition period and it is expected to take a while to get used to it.
I've had a look online and this seems to be a common issue with the solution being a hair rinse. We've started the process of sourcing one to help other Ecohumans that may also encounter the same issues.
I love all the eco benefits of shampoo bars, and have heard lots of good things about this one in particular but unfortunately this currently isn't for me.
I've got my fingers crossed for a suitable hair rinse on the horizon and will resume this shampoo bar challenge once we have found one!
Vegan and Cruelty Free, this Friendly Soap Conditioner Bar has a subtle, delicate smell. It comes in a cardboard box that is 100% recycled packaging. Unlike the shampoo bar which is only suitable for soft water areas, this conditioner bar is suitable for use everywhere in the UK.
I wasn’t going to review the Conditioner Bar as I didn’t want to change too many products in my hair routine so I could see the full effects of the matching Shampoo Bar. As mentioned above, the shampoo bar didn’t agree my hair so I decided to try out the Conditioner Bar as a different Plastic Free alternative.
Instructions on the packaging advise to dissolve the bar in hot water to use like a traditional conditioner, or you can simply use as a bar. I chose to dissolve and use like a traditional conditioner as I can only handle so much change at one time.
I’ve tried lots of different natural conditioners and I usually find them not as moisturising as traditional conditioners. Along with the disappointing outcome of the shampoo bar, I didn’t have much hope for this but I was pleasantly surprised with the results!
I have straight, colour treated hair which can be dry at times but this conditioner left my hair really soft and easy to manage. There wasn’t any residue and it also left my hair smelling great all day, which I didn’t think it would as the scent from the bar itself was very subtle.
We’ve only recently started stocking UpCircle products so I was dying to try this. All UpCircle products are Cruelty Free, Vegan and contain ingredients which have been repurposed. This moisturiser in particular has been made from discarded argan shells – a by-product of the argan oil industry.
The moisturiser is housed glass jar with an aluminium lid, and comes in a cardboard outer box. All the packaging is 100% recyclable.
This moisturiser is suitable for day and night use, I incorporated this into my morning routine and swapped with my usual moisturiser. I feel it’s important to note I have an extensive skincare regime (10 steps at night and 6 steps in the morning) so I thought it would be a bit of challenge to see any difference this moisturiser would make.
I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the scent of this moisturiser. I tend to go for overly floral scented products, where as this one has more of a crisp, clean and refreshing smell. Not what I would typically go for, but still very pleasant!
The biggest difference I feel this moisturiser made is that it helps my make-up stay on for longer. I have combination skin that sometimes get oily during the day but since using this I feel I have less of a shine. It absorbs really quickly and isn’t greasy at all, so that’s probably why it's doubled as a primer for me.
Overall, so happy with this. It ticks all the eco boxes for me (vegan, cruelty free and made in the UK) and the fact that there isn’t any plastic in the packaging and has been made with repurposed ingredients are huge bonuses.
This adorable Rabbit is a pure blend of the finest Konjac and soothing green tea. For hygiene purposes, the sponge comes wrapped in biodegradable plant plastic in a cardboard box.
I incorporated this into my evening routine and used this sponge in lieu of my usual face scrub to help take my make up off.
As I have only been using for a couple of weeks I can’t see any difference in my skin in terms of pore refinement, however, this sponge is extremely effective at removing make up.
I have a few cleansing stages and follow up with toner (then essence, serum, eye cream, moisturiser and a sheet mask - I did say my routine was elaborate!)
Usually once I’m on the toner stage of my routine there will still be some residue left on my cloth pad (despite multiple cleanses) but since using this konjac sponge there’s virtually none left!
Seriously impressed with how good this is at taking off my make-up, however, I’m yet to start seeing any visible changes to my skin. Will continue to use – eagerly awaiting the days my pores appear smaller and refined. This one's a keeper!
Below are other ideas in ways to eliminate plastic (single use or otherwise) in other parts of your life, not just beauty. Most of these I already use, so didn’t really count for this challenge:
- Bamboo Toothbrush (read more about the benefits of bamboo toothbrushes here)
- Bamboo Straws
- Washing Powder instead of liquid
- Soap Bars instead of hand wash and shower gels.
- Geoorganics Mouthwash (housed in aluminium tins)
Plastic can take up to 1000 years to break down, with most types of plastic taking around 500 years.
I hope I’ve managed to give you some ideas in ways you can reduce your personal plastic usage.
This challenge has re-iterated the fact that I’m not necessarily going to like everything I try. I won’t force myself to like something just because it’s plastic free and that’s ok, I’m not perfect I’m only human.
‘Human’ is literally in our name and being an Ecohuman is all about trying to make the world a better place in whichever way you can.
If we each do something different this July and swap out just one item to be plastic free then we're heading in the right direction.
We firmly support the vision that individually taking small steps to reduce our own carbon footprint will have a tremendously positive impact in preserving our planet’s resources for generations to come. In other words, every little helps!