Problem Solvers

Ethical presents for eco-chic friends

If your bestie’s forever reminding you how to recycle (“THOSE WIPES AREN’T DEGRADABLE”), or tutting about the excess of crap packaging used (“FOR NO REASON!”) then, we’re here to help with an edit of presents for eco-chic friends. From sustainable scrubs to refillable make up, please pals (while doing your bit for the planet!) with these conscientious cosmetics…

The beauty industry is (slowly) waking up to its environmental impact. A pot doesn’t need to be housed in Baboushka-esque boxes and polythene chips to succeed at its primary task. Yes, looking good is important (we all like gratuitous ‘grams of impeccable #shelfies) but, it’s no longer ‘normal’ to shop at the planet’s expense. 

More and more of us are challenging the way our creams and serums are contained – with customers questioning how things are packaged and asking for other, sustainable options. The Blue Planet worked wonders for raising awareness and triggering shifts in the world’s buying habits (R.I.P. plastic straws!), and the beautysphere’s recently witnessed an influx of small, independent brands striving to put the world first!

With this burgeoning sense of responsibility, and an audience who’re championing change, an ethical stance is the future of beauty. So, if you’re buying for someone who’s already stocked up on glass straws and ‘Keep Cups’, invest in these cute beauty heroes for those on a mission to clean up their act…

Dispelling the myth that ‘eco’ = ‘slightly unsightly’, beautiful brand {Kjaer Weis} is spearheading refillable make up. Sleek silver compacts which house the most stunning, all-natural colours, everything – even {Mascara} – is swiftly replaced with the minimum waste. A luxe indulgence with a conscience, the {Glow Kit} unites the {Highlighter} and {Bronzer} in a crimson gift box (we’d keep it for trinkets).

Appalled to discover that half a million tonnes of coffee grounds end up in landfill each year (in the UK alone!), {OPTIAT} is the brainchild of two caffeine addicts who paused to consider the impact our global ‘espresso dependence’ is having. On a quest to help promote a ‘circular economy’, brother-and-sister co-founders, William and Anna, up-cycle grounds into natural scrubs – scrounging from cafés to minimise waste. Perfect for party season, the {Hungover Peppermint Scrub} puts a zing in your step.

As well as having sworn to be completely vegan by 2020, Hourglass are also doing their bit when it comes to reducing their ‘footprint’. A thing of beauty (and a joy to use), their {Confession Lipstick} is sleek, chic and… earth-friendly! Making it easy to chop-and-change shades, this elegant wand is essential for ethical lovers of colour.

The world’s first entirely waterless make up range, Pinch of Colour’s phenomenal balms and lip pigments were born of the founder’s experiences with water deficiency as a child. In lieu of water, {Pinch of Colour} uses soothing botanicals, nourishing natural oils and skin-loving fruit butters to create hydrating, non-toxic and self-adjusting pigments – your bestie will worship the {Waterless Beauty Set}!

The seaweed washed up on the Thanet coastline was something bemoaned by the local community – left to decay in the sunshine, the seaweed became pretty pungent – which is why {HAECKELS} applied for one of only two UK licences, to harvest the ‘weed’ and create something special. Their beautiful {Sea Buckthorn Body Cleanser} looks, smells and does good. A heavenly gift sure to thrill anyone on your list!

The award-winning salts every bath addicts swears by, Michelle Roques-O’Neil’s pale pink {Himalayan Detox Salts} have been hailed by our founder as ‘natural Valium’. Laced with amethyst powder to neutralise electromagnetic energy and ease you towards a restorative slumber, these precious salts now come in pouches to ‘top up’ the gorgeous black jar – meaning less waste without compromising the bathroom’s aesthetic. Ideal for house-proud (and sleep-deprived) mums, dads or hedonist sidekicks…

Just remember, there’s no Plan(et) B beauties!


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...