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Beauty Boss: Fill your beauty bag without damaging the planet

© Tony Barson/FilmMagicActress Jessica Alba, founder of Honest, an ethical beauty brand.
Actress Jessica Alba, founder of Honest, an ethical beauty brand.

Jo Chidley, founder of Beauty Kitchen, shares why we should go green and focus on sustainable cosmetics.

Did you know, every year more than 120 billion single-use plastic toiletry products are produced by ­manufacturers around the globe?

In the UK, fewer than 30% of those products are recycled.

There are lots of everyday changes we can make to limit our impact, while still filling our beauty bags.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Just like food packaging and household products, opting for recycled materials is your first step towards sustainable beauty.

Jo explained: “My make-up bag is made from organic cotton, and I would recommend everyone look out for bags that are made from recycled or upcycled materials.

“Another thing to consider is, for example, if you no longer like an eyeshadow or a lipstick, pass it on to a friend who can use it rather than throwing it away. And always look for products that contain sustainable ingredients and packaging. Many cosmetics companies are really far behind on this, so every little helps.”

Read the labels

Jo urges us all to read the back of our bottles, jars and pots of make-up. Here are the three main ingredients to keep an eye out for:

Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate DBP DEP and DMP). These are used in cosmetics as a plasticiser, including products such as nail polish, hairspray and fragrances. They are a genuine health risk and should be avoided wherever possible.

Petrochemicals (such as propylene, ethylene, butadiene, benzene or xylene). Petroleum-based and derived from crude oil, these products carry similar health-related risks.

Synthetic Fragrances. Many of these items are derived from petroleum, which can cause skin irritation and contains chemicals that can disrupt normal hormone function.

Au naturel

Jo said: “Abyssinian oil is one of my favourite natural ingredients. It does a better job than argan or jojoba oils because it mimics the skin’s natural sebum, which helps to rebalance it. It can also be grown almost anywhere. It is super sustainable.”

Give green a go

“Synthetic materials are actually based on nature, but manmade products tend to be cheaper to produce and generally originate from the petroleum industry, which is heavily polluting,” explained Jo.

“Scientifically, natural ingredients generally achieve better results because they are plant or marine-based. They create zero pollution.”