From shampoo to soap, shower gel, period products & more, these sustainable essentials can help you go green for good

The world of sustainable beauty has transformed over the last few years. No longer is being eco-friendlier seen as a niche need, but more of a pressing one, with a growing number of brands ranging from the mainstream to the more specialist consciously doing their bit to provide a greater choice of products that deliver both in terms of eco-credentials and performance. 

From sustainable skincare to plastic-free packaging and sustainable beauty brands, here’s what you need to know in order to make your routine greener. 

What is a sustainable beauty product? 

In a nutshell, a sustainable beauty product is one that is kinder to the environment. There are a range of ways that brands are looking to achieve this. Some use sustainable packaging that is recyclable, plastic-free, biodegradable or made from recycled materials. Others use renewable ingredients in their formulations, a mixture of both and even adopt a zero-waste approach, meaning that all elements of production and consumption have been developed to eliminate, and reuse, waste while conserving resources. 

How can you make your beauty routine more sustainable? 

Thanks to huge strides in development and formulation, it’s never been easier to make your beauty routine more eco-friendly. From shampoos to shower gels, soaps and cleansing bars, there is something for every need and bank balance. Small changes can make a big difference. Try these 20 swaps to reduce your carbon and plastic footprint.

Check out these other great sustainable beauty options here.   

Best sustainable shampoo

Garnier Ultimate Blends Coconut Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera 

• Size: 60g

• Vegan

If you’re looking for an eco-friendlier swap for your plastic bottle of shampoo, try a shampoo bar. As well as being generally longer lasting, it’s also more compact to save you shelf and suitcase space. This sustainable zero plastic waste option from Garnier is great for a range of different hair types. Its packaging is recyclable, it has a 97% biodegradable formula and with sustainably sourced coconut oil and aloe vera, it offers benefits for both hair and the environment. Intrigued? Read more about solid shampoos in our guide to the best shampoo bars for all hair types.

Best sustainable conditioner

Beauty Kitchen The Sustainables Fragrance Free Organic Vegan Conditioner

• Size: 300ml

• Fragrance-free

• Vegan

Whenever a bottle of this conditioner is returned, it’s washed and reused to cut down on waste and single-use packaging. It’s also vegan and full of gentle, natural and sustainably sourced ingredients, such as aloe vera and coconut oil, to leave hair feeling soft and hydrated.  

Best sustainable shower gel

Try: Milly&sissy Zero Waste Shower Creme Passion Fruit

• Size: 40g/500ml

• Vegan

• Compostable sachet

• Recyclable label

• Suitable for sensitive skin

It’s time to get mixing with this innovative ‘just add water’ shower creme. Simply fill the reusable bottle with up to 450ml of water and add as much shower creme powder to your liking to make a rich, creamy lather. You won’t be able to resist this passion fruit scented formula made from 99% natural ingredients.

Best sustainable soap

Little Soap Company Organic English Lavender and Citrus

• Size: 110g

• Vegan

• SLS-free

This organic soap boasts a host of qualities that make it kinder to your skin and the planet. In addition to being plastic-free, it also contains RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil and is formulated without harsh detergents such as SLS, as well as alcohol – both of which can leave dry skin types feeling stripped. 

Best sustainable make-up remover

Face Halo Makeup Remover Pads

• Pack of three

Reusable and recyclable, these dual-sided cleansing pads are a game-changer. Simply wet them and gently sweep across face and eyes to quickly remove all remnants of the day – no rubbing needed. You’ll wonder what you did without them.

Best sustainable eye make-up remover

Botanics All Bright Soothing Eye Makeup Remover

• Size: 150ml

• Vegan

• Fragrance-free

Shake to activate this bi-phase eye make-up remover, housed in a fully recyclable bottle and cap. Containing natural AHAs, it also has a subtle exfoliating effect to brighten the eye area, too.

Best sustainable cotton buds

Bambaw Bamboo Cotton Buds

• Pack of 200

Let bamboo take the place of plastic on the cotton bud front courtesy of these eco-friendlier alternatives from Bambaw. Biodegradable but sturdy, they offer both form and function to seamlessly slot into your routine.

Best sustainable dental floss

Humble Triangular Bamboo Toothpicks

• Size: 100 pack

• Vegan

• Cruelty-free

A great alternative to plastic, these dentist-approved interdental sticks are made from 100% biodegradable and sustainably-grown bamboo, and can be used between teeth to help dislodge food. Better yet, the box and inside wrapper are made from recycled materials and can be thrown out with organic waste.

Best sustainable toothpaste

Colgate Smile for Good Whitening Toothpaste

• Size: 75ml

• Vegan

This sustainable toothpaste’s carton and tube can both be recycled. Its high performance formula provides plenty of reasons to smile, too. Want to go completely tube-free? Try Pärla Original Naturally Whitening Toothpaste Tablets. Containing 62 vegan and gluten-free tablets, it will have you rethinking your entire dental regime.

Best sustainable toothbrush

Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush

• Tapered slim-tip bristles

• Charcoal infused 

Made from 100% sustainably sourced biodegradable bamboo with bristles that can be removed and composted, this brush has been developed to ensure that its afterlife isn’t an afterthought. Performance is at its core thanks to its non-slip handle, tapered bristles that are infused with charcoal and a beeswax coating to prevent it from going mouldy. If your teeth or gums are particularly delicate, opt for the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Soft Toothbrush instead.   

Best sustainable mouthwash

Waken Mouthwash Spearmint

• Size: 500ml

• Alcohol-free

• Vegan

With its elegantly designed bottle, this mouthwash proves that sustainable packaging needn’t be boring. Made from carbon-neutral sugarcane and recycled plastic, it offers bags of style as well as substance. Plus, its zero-alcohol formula containing mint extracts will leave your mouth gently refreshed. 

Best sustainable face wipes

Boots Biodegradable Micellar Cleansing Wipes

• Pack of 25

• No added colour or fragrance

Face wipes – their convenience have usually come at a cost for the planet. This is where sustainable versions like this come in. Biodegradable, plastic-free and enriched with soothing aloe vera, they aim to be as caring to the environment as they are to skin.

Best sustainable facial cleanser

Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil

• Size: 200ml

• Suitable for all skin types

Looking for an alternative to make-up wipes? Why not try this lightweight cleansing oil to dissolve make-up and remove daily impurities? It’s infused with vitamin C, nourishing rosehip oil, vitamin E and soothing cucumber oil to refresh and revive skin, leaving you with a healthy-looking glow.

Best sustainable face cream

Florena Fermented Skincare 24H Hydrating Day Cream

• Size: 50ml

• Vegan

As well as a recyclable jar made from 97.5% recycled plastic (excluding its cap) and a box made from 70% recycled paper, this hardworking day cream serves up impressive skin benefits, too. Containing antioxidant-rich fermented olive oil, as well as coconut and avocado oils, it helps to strengthen the skin’s barrier and soothe away dryness for a more glowing complexion. 

Best sustainable pads

Flo Natural Bamboo Ultra Thin Day & Night Pads

• 15 pack

• Winged

These sustainable pads, made with 100% organic bamboo, are absorbent and breathable too. Wrapped in plant-based biodegradable packaging, they’re a better choice for the environment but what’s also great is that 5% of the brand’s profits go to charities supporting girls and women in need, too. 

Best sustainable sanitary disposal bags

FabLittleBag Starter Pack

• Contains 25 bags and recyclable refill case 

Fighting against tampon and pad flushing, FabLittleBag are here to help you dispose of your sanitary products with no fuss, no stress and no mess. The discreet and opaque bags are made from plants and recycled materials and are designed to easily hold a rolled up sanitary pad or your tampon, applicator and wrappers, all at once. Simply place your sanitary product inside, close up the bag and hygienically dispose of it in the bin.

Best sustainable period product

Mooncup Reusable Menstrual Cup

• Made of soft medical grade silicone

For those looking for a more discreet alternative to pads, try a reusable menstrual cup – especially if your flow tends to be heavier. It can hold up to three times as much as a tampon and when full, can be rinsed out, wiped and reinserted.

Best sustainable period pants

Thinx Briefs

• Available in S, M and L

For a complete period product overhaul, consider period pants. With in-built protection to keep you feeling dry and comfortable, simply pull up, cold wash, dry and wear again. Designed to absorb up to five regular tampons’ worth of fluid, to prevent leaks and wick away moisture, they’re particularly effective on lighter flow days.

Best sustainable hand wash

Method Pink Grapefruit Gel Hand Wash

• Size: 354ml

From packaging to formula, Method products have been created with a cleaner home and planet in mind. As well as being recyclable, the brand use 100% recycled plastic in their bottles (excluding caps, triggers and pumps) to reduce their footprint. The company also offer refill pouches so that topping up their stylish bottles is refreshingly easy. We also love their scents, such as this re-energising plant-based blend of pink grapefruit, blood orange and cassis, and use of biodegradable ingredients too.

Best sustainable perfume

Mugler Angel Refillable Eau de Parfum

• Size: 50ml

• Fragrance family: amber

A perfume bottle such as Mugler’s Angel is like a work of art and thanks to the brand’s refill service, you can keep enjoying it for years to come. After spraying your last spritz, visit your nearest Boots store[1] and save up to 37%[2] when you refill it at the Mugler Source Fragrance Fountain. As an extra perk, each empty bottle is polished and reconditioned to keep it looking its best for longer. Can’t get to a store? No problem. You can order an Eco Refill bottle online, and enjoy a 20% saving too[3].

All prices correct on date of publication
Photography: Stocksy
[1] *MUGLER Source Fragrance Fountain available in selected stores  
[2] Saving shown is based on Boots retail price of the equivalent full-size refillable bottle.  
[3] Saving shown is based on Boots retail price of the equivalent full-size refillable bottle.