Beauty hacks to save money – and the planet

The beauty industry has an reputation of not being very sustainable, but there are plenty of ways to reduce wasted product (and wasted cash).

From hacks to help you make the best of what you had to brand new eco-friendly products, reducing, reusing and recycling never looked so good.

Use everything

The single most important thing we can do to improve sustainability in the beauty industry is use every product down to the last drop.

Don’t like that moisturiser? Use it as foot cream. Got a conditioner that makes your hair lank? It’ll act as a brilliant shaving cream.

Shampoo, shower gel and liquid soap are pretty much all interchangeable so use what you’ve got before buying more.

Get a key to squeeze to the end

A lot of beauty brands are switching to recyclable aluminium tubes instead of plastic packaging — everything from deodorant and hand cream to lip balm and skincare comes in metal tubes.

But they can be slightly trickier than plastic ones when you want to squeeze out the very last drop. That’s where a tube key or tube squeezer can be useful.

Super simple in design, these can be used on metal or plastic tubes — the ones that allow a tube of toothpaste to stand upright are particularly helpful — and ensure that you get every last bit of your product.

No more cotton wool

Hopefully you’ve ditched face wipes in favour of flannels but you could also replace cotton wool — and cotton buds — with reusable alternatives.

You can now get washable pads and, while there’s some argument about what they should be made of (synthetic ones can shed microplastics when washed), opting for bamboo (which requires less water to grow than cotton) is a good call.

Try Stylpro’s Bamboo Reusable Makeup Remover Pads (eight for £8.99, In place of cotton buds, LastSwab (£10.40,, a reusable silicone bud, is less absorbent than cotton but good for make-up touch-ups.

Sharpen your tweezers

Favourite pair of tweezers lost their precision grip? Dig out an emery board and sharpen them. The best are the ones with a fine grain — try Superdrug’s own-brand Professional Nail Shaper Nail Files (£1.99 for two).

Grip the nail file with tweezers and drag the tweezers along the length of the file. You may have to repeat a couple of times but this should help realign the ends so they work perfectly once more.

Go plastic-free

Switching bottles for bars is brilliant for sustainability — solid products are often lighter and smaller to transport than their liquid counterparts, and they can be packaged in cardboard.

For luxury exfoliating, try Glossier’s Body Hero Exfoliating Bar (£12). If you don’t mind a heavier face cream, Sbtrct has a solid Moisturising Face Balm (£28, while Garnier has become the first mass-haircare brand to launch a shampoo bar (£7.99).

How to recycle your beauty products

The three Rs of sustainability are reduce, reuse and recycle. So once you’ve reduced your consumption by using up everything, reused the products you can repurpose, and ended up with empty bottles and make-up cases, it’s time to recycle — and that’s easier than ever.

A number of beauty brands have partnered with TerraCycle, which recycles the unrecyclable.

For makeup empties, find a Maybelline recycling point at, while Kiehl’s, Deciem and L’Occitane help recycle other empties — and all will collect empties from any brand. Go to to find out more.

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