Beauty Products Approved By Mother Nature

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

There's something undeniably therapeutic about unboxing a brand-new product. (We speak for beauty lovers.) It's that mesmerizing moment when you slowly remove the outer plastic, open the box, and pull out a shiny new bottle. It can practically change your life… it's the stuff of ASMR dreams. And yet: We are in the midst of an urgent climate crisis, and all that packaging — the plastic, the bubble wrap, the box, the bottle — has started to add up.

The amount of end-of-life plastic packaging, which includes bottles, jars, bags, and "other," surrounding U.S. products has increased by over 120 times since 1960. In 2018, in the U.S. alone, almost 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were created just for beauty and personal care products, according to Euromonitor International. So despite our best efforts, 91 percent of plastic has ended up in landfills anyway, according to a 2017 study.

But brands are working to improve these numbers — and make it easy for you to do the same. In particular, a crop of compostable (and sophisticated) products is leading the charge to make your beauty routine less wasteful.

Much like composting food, these products can be tossed directly into your household compost bin or brought to your local composting facility or farmer's market. And in just a few short months, they'll have completely decomposed — just how Mother Nature intended them to.

Blue Heron Botanicals Tinted Lip Therapy

Not only is this lip tint's powerful nourishing punch derived from shea and cocoa butter, but the Blue Heron Botanicals Tinted Lip Therapy's shiny, ruby hue comes from the herb alkanet root — and the sturdy, recycled paper tube holds 40 percent more product than your run-of-the-mill lip balm. Bonus points for the refreshing pink grapefruit flavor, which makes it feel infinitely less "crunchy" to swipe on.

Package Free Biodegradable Scrunchies

Like us, you've probably slept in a scrunchie for so long, you haven't even thought to consider where it lives once you retire it. That would be a landfill! These neutral-toned Package Free Biodegradable Scrunchies are made from organic cotton and natural rubbers, two materials that decompose in a compost bin.

LastSwab Zero-Waste Reusable Makeup Q-Tips

Reusable Q-Tip might sound gross, but hear us out. Billions of single-use cotton-and-plastic swabs are discarded every day. Use this LastSwab Zero-Waste Reusable Makeup Q-Tip to perfect your cat-eye and clean up mascara marks, then wash with a little soap and water and stash in its compostable, corn-based case. (And, yes, they make a version to clean your ears with, too.)

Ethique Bar Minimum Unscented Solid Shampoo

One drawback to truly sustainable beauty products: They're often scented with essential oils, which can cause irritation or allergic reactions, especially for more sensitive skin types. Ethique heard this complaint so often, it crafted this Ethique Bar Minimum Unscented Solid Shampoo, a game-changing fragrance- and essential oil-free shampoo bar. Even better, the shampoo includes sugar beet- derived betaine, a natural scalp-balancing ingredient.

Package Free Biodegradable Glitter

Bad news first: Traditional glitter is made from microplastic, which takes hundreds of years to decompose. The good news? Cellulose versions like Package Free Biodegradable Glitter exist, so you can get down with your disco self without guilt. Choose from silver, gold, or a multicolored party mix.

Eir NYC Surf Mud

Non-nano zinc oxide SPF 30 — in stick form — is pretty much an environmentalist's dream. Beeswax helps the Eir NYC Surf Mud resist sweat and water, while cocoa powder's antioxidant properties repair skin cells and protect from UV rays and free-radical damage. Superfans also tout Surf Mud's ability to do double-duty as the perfect makeup primer.

River Organics Concealer

River Organics Concealer is a soft, lightweight cream that camouflages undereye circles and blemishes as efficiently as any conventional concealer, all while softening and protecting the skin with moringa, apricot kernel, and camellia seed oils. River Organics hand-pours all eight universal shades, which also take undertone into consideration — a rarity in the beauty space.

Soue Relax Solid Lotion Massage Bar

Body lotion was one of the first products to be made into a bar form, but never before has one felt this luxe to use. Housed in compostable, handmade paper, each lavender, clove, and peppermint-loaded bar leaves behind the most gorgeous, subtle fragrance. Use the Soue Relax Solid Lotion Massage Bar on yourself or on a partner as a soothing massage bar.

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