Low Cost & Easily Accessible Eco Friendly Beauty Swaps That I Plan To Make

In the last few months I’ve been trying really hard to clean up my beauty act. I’ve swapped to zero waste razors and deodorant, given up plastic bottled soaps and gels for paper wrapped bars and tried to prioritise brands with better eco credentials. I know I still have a long way to go. The only reason these swaps are in the pipeline and haven’t already happened is because I have a stash of beauty products or essentials to work my way through. As someone who likes to make the most of their money I’ll often stock up on items I trust or rely on in advance of needing them to ensure I’m not caught out having to pay full price which means I’ve accumulated quite the stash.

Bar Soap Facial Cleanser

I’m aware that last year I mentioned wanting to try Carbon Theory’s bar cleanser but have found such conflicting advice online that I was put off from this. Reviews I read said the formula could be quite drying and as I use prescription acne treatment or ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, AHAs, BHAs which can be drying I now use and need a more hydrating cleanser. I’ve seen that Cerave, one of my favourite brands for cleansers, released their famous formulas in bar form with cardboard packaging. So far I’ve yet to see this on sale in the UK in stores but have seen it on Amazon and as I love the original bottled formulas I’ve a lot more confidence that my skin will get on well with this. I think Cerave must be sick of me and my enthusiasm for this product on Instagram as I keep trying to find out when I might be able to buy this in UK stores!

Via Instagram SebaMed UK’s cleansing bar came onto my radar. It too comes in cardboard packaging, has a ph of 5.5 and is designed for sensitive acne prone skin meaning it is gentle and non stripping.

Once my stash of bottled cleansers has been worked through I’ll be transitioning over to one of these alternatives. Interestingly I recently saw online that Nivea have released bar facial cleansers and I’m aware The Body Shop also have a variety. I’m just incredibly fussy as my skin is very acne prone but if yours is less temperamental than mine and your face is less likely to break out faster than you can say “spots” then this is becoming a really easy swap to make.

Bar Shampoo or Refillable Shampoo

I am thrilled that The Body Shop now have refill stations in their stores up and down the country. I didn’t expect my smaller local stores to have this option but both do which made me very happy. As they’re little stores they only have 6 options but this includes 1 hand soap, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner and 3 shower gels. The shampoo in my local store would be my one of choice out of all their options which was a very happy discovery.

I’m torn between trying the refillable shampoo and Garnier’s new Ultimate Blends bars. I’ve seen these several times in Boots on half price offers making them £3.99 instead of £7 which sounds like a great affordable swap option to me. As they’re stocked in Boots I can see myself using my Advantage Card points to give this a go without spending a penny. I think I’ll try one of their bars first and if I don’t get on with the shampoo bar experience then I’ll go for The Body Shop refillable option as a back up.

I’ve got quite a collection of shampoo bottles that I’ve accumulated from clearance deals thinking these were too good to pass up at the time. I’ll move towards bars once I’ve emptied the bottles I have. I know so many people rave about Lush but their expensive prices put me off slightly when I’ve no idea how I’ll get on with shampoo bars hence waiting it out this long to make an eco switch.

Reusable Cotton Pads

I’ve been incredibly wary of these given that my skin is really acne prone. I didn’t want to potentially waste my money on these. Since delving into using an oil cleanser I’ve been using a wash cloth to remove this and as long as I chuck it in the wash once or twice a week I’ve not had any issues. This has given me the confidence to venture into trying reusable cotton pads. I’d only really be using these for exfoliants and don’t tend to use that many cotton ads as it is hence not making this switch sooner.

One of my wonderful followers and “insta-pals” as she likes to call us, The Acne Pharmacist, kindly sent me a surprise pack of 3 reusable pads recently so I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to try these out.

Plastic Bottle Free Make Up Remover

I’ve been a huge fan of the Garnier Micellar Water since discovering it a few years ago. It’s my go to for removing eye make up as it is cheap, cheerful, highly effective and doesn’t break me out. However, given that I really want to try and make my beauty routines more eco friendly I’m intending to try The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter instead as this comes in an aluminium tin. Their mini retails for £5 and as I’m a loyalty card holder I received a £5 voucher for my birthday month so I was able to pick this up at no cost. All that’s required is a wash cloth which is far better than plastic bottles and disposable cotton pads so I’m really hoping my skin gets on well with this.

More Eco Friendly Body Lotion

I’m aware The Body Shop recently redesigned their packaging for body butters to include an aluminium lid to make them more eco friendly. I’m torn between purchasing this which I’ve used before and enjoy or branching out to try products from Lush. I’m equally open minded about using a moisturising product in a cardboard tube or similar so intend to do my research for when the products I have run out.

I’m open to low cost suggestions of ways I can continue to clean up my beauty routine.

Comments Welcome

Easy Eco Friendly Beauty Swaps I’ve Made – Many Of Which Are Cheap or Low Cost

I decided to write this post after having a shower the other day using bar soap instead of bottled shower gel, realising I was shaving with a zero waste razor then getting out to apply zero waste deodorant and realised I’d come a long way with positive changes.

I’m fully aware that I still have along way to go when it comes to making my beauty routine or bathroom more environmentally friendly. Below are just some of the ways I’ve started to make improvements. It’s worth noting that as a frugal bargain hunter I’ve accumulated a stash of products I trust and essentials meaning I’ve got to work my way through these before making eco switches. I have many more swaps in the pipeline which I intend to make beyond the few examples listed below.

Giving Up Bottles of Hand Soap & Shower Gel For Paper Wrapped Soap or Packaging Free Alternatives

I’ve swapped to bars of soap which come wrapped in fully recyclable or biodegradable packaging like paper. This was an easy swap and I’m fully converted to life with bar soaps now. It’s easy to find paper wrapped bar soaps in general shops like Boots, Superdrug, Tesco and more making this swap budget friendly and accessible. I’ve bought 1 large bar and used a sharp knife to chop it in two pieces to use one lump at the sink and the rest in my shower. I’ve picked up branded bars in paper packaging for as little as 49p. I thought using bar soap would get horribly messy or be annoying as I wear rings but it’s been no bother. I keep my bar in the shower in an empty hair conditioner tub which saved me buying a special container, keeps it from being washed away excessively in the shower and means a tub is being reused so it’s win win all round from me.

I recently picked up a large bag of unwanted Lush products from someone local via Olio. They were advertised as soap but turned out to be bubble bath bars. I wouldn’t normally buy bubble bath at all but like that I’m able to try these zero waste ones and save them from being thrown out. I wouldn’t buy bottled bubble bath.

Giving Up Buying Some Items Altogether

  • Plastic shower scrubbies
  • Unnecessary extra products
  • Plastic cotton buds

Last year I stopped buying those plastic shower puffs or scrubbies and realised I could make do perfectly fine without them. I don’t buy plastic cotton buds and am now aware that if I decided I needed cotton buds reusable silicone swabs exist as well as bamboo ones which are biodegradable. I discovered via Holland and Barrett’s website and Home Bargains that even bamboo interdental tooth picks now exist which is great if anyone is seeking a plastic free alternative.

Goodbye Toilet Paper Wrapped In Plastic

I’ve always lived in places without much storage so never been able to give companies like Who Gives A Crap a go as I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere to keep the giant boxes of loo roll. Last year I discovered Tesco sell 9 rolls of 3 ply toilet roll make entirely from recycled sources wrapped in paper which is also recyclable. The quality is fine and since buying my first pack I haven’t looked back. I’ve seen via Instagram that Aldi now offer toilet paper wrapped in paper packaging too and love that this is becoming more accessible.

Looking For More Eco Friendly Skincare Suitable For Acne Prone Skin

My skin is very fussy and breaks out at the drop of a hat so finding effective formulas that are also less damaging for the planet hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve been hunting for companies which use more eco friendly packaging such as biodegradable or fully recyclable made from recycled plastic. I’ve equally been trying to find products with packaging I feel I can reuse and upcycle as well. Below are some of the brands or products I’ve tried and some others I love:

  • The Body Shop – Himalayan Charcoal Mask – Love
  • REN – Ready Steady Glow AHA / BHA Toner – Love
  • Bolt Beauty – I tried their Vitamin A Game capsules and have added these to my skincare wishlist to buy a large pack of in the future as I liked them lots from first impressions.

Eco Friendly Skincare – Bolt Beauty Stackable Review – Filthy Clean Cleanser, Glow Don’t Shine + Vitamin A Game Serums & Mad About Moisture Used On Acne Prone Skin

Being Far More Mindful Of What I’m Buying

I have quite a hoard of beauty products that I’ve either picked up when deals have been too good to resist, or that I’ve received for birthday or Christmas presents in the last 12 months. I’ve made a list of all of these to work my way through to not only save me money but also to make me more mindful of what I’ve buying. I fully intend to replace items with more environmentally friendly alternatives once I’ve gone through the products I have. For example I’m keen to find a more planet friendly body lotion that doesn’t come in a single use plastic bottle once mine are empty.

Wild Refill Deodorant

I was very fortunate to be gifted a Wild Refill case and a sample of their new upcoming sensitive skin zero-waste deodorant. It mentioned that it may take up to two weeks for your body to adjust to using a natural formula but I found this an easy transition. I love the ethos of this company, the packaging for the deodorant’s is compostable, the cases can even be recycled with Terracycle for free if you don’t get on with the product. I have since bought one block in their orange scent from Sainsbury and will continue to work my way through the flavours as I trust this product to keep me smelling fresh whilst being better for the environment!

Each refill works out at £5 which is pricier than deodorants I’d buy previously which cost £1. They offer 10% off for new customers and 15% student discount. Individual bars can be bought in Sainsbury. I messaged Wild and they kindly gave me a discount code for my readers and Instagram followers to use – this isn’t affiliate so I won’t earn anything from this – FSFARD20

Friction Free Shaving Razors

I wish I’d found these razors sooner as I haven’t had any awkward shaving cuts since this swap. I’m really grateful to FFS for gifting me this starter set to try and will be purchasing blades in the near future. I won’t be going back to single use razors again. They have a blade recycling scheme and the handles are made from aluminium which feels far more slick than any plastic handle I’ve ever held. Huge fan. The (affiliate) code: BLG_RAINYDAY saves £3 on subscription sets. You can also follow this link.

Refillable Glasses Cleaner

My local optician offers a spray bottle of glass cleanser which they refill for free after you purchase it once or spend over a certain amount on glasses. I’m really pleased with this refillable bottle option as it is far better for the planet than using disposable wipes and accumulating all the packaging they come in. I’m unsure if large optician chains offer services like this but it can’t hurt to ask.

With every product I use up I try to purchase a more eco alternative that is of a similar cost to my previous product. I’m always open to suggestions.

Comments Welcome

What To Do With Unwanted Beauty Products To Reduce Waste & Save Money – Including How To Repurpose Skincare

Have you ever bought a hyped skincare product, not loved it anywhere near as much as you’d hoped and now its collecting dust and taking up space as you’re no longer using it? Now consider this thought across all your make up, skin care, hair and beauty items. I’m thinking perfume samples that weren’t to your personal taste, skin care products that just didn’t agree with you and more. Over a year ago when having a giant clear out I was hit with this exact dilemma and found a few ways to safely rehome or repurpose items as it felt horribly wasteful to just throw them out.

Consider A Swap With Friends and Family. A friend purchased a pink shampoo and conditioner from Bleach London that I’d been really keen to try and didn’t like the results. She kindly gifted me the partly used bottles that I planned to buy new as they would otherwise go to waste. In exchange I traded her some perfectly usable bottles of nail varnish from Essie that I no longer wore. We were both happy with the trade and this saved me around £15. I’ve also previously gained a Lancome lipstick from a relative in exchange for a deluxe free sample of Elizabeth Arden skin care I’d collected but was unsuitable for my skin type.

In the past I’ve also filled up shoe boxes with partly used hair styling products, hotel miniatures, lipsticks, new hair elastics in a colour I wouldn’t use that came in a multipack etc and posted these to friends happy to receive these goods. In exchange I received “care packages” with copies of glossy magazines, hot chocolate sachets, craft supplies etc that they know I’ll appreciate. It’s a fun way to have a clear out and exciting to see what you might receive in return. The trick with these is to not spend any money apart from delivery costs as its more about the thought than the price spent.

Look Up Charities that are able to accept unwanted toiletries as this saves landfill waste and can benefit others in need. It’s also worth reaching out to your local women’s refuge centres to see if anything you have is likely to be of use to them as another option. I think this is a great option for any beauty items received as unwanted gifts. I’ve also seen some people on Instagram saving up free samples of things such as sanitary towels and period products to then donate to shelters which I think is a lovely idea as it’s a great way to help people in need at no cost.

Get Creative With Repurposing

Below are just a few examples I’ve done when I’ve had skincare products which my face hasn’t enjoyed but I haven’t wanted to waste them.

  • Facial SPF – use on your neck or body
  • Liquid Exfoliants – I used up the last of a glycolic acid toner on my legs where I had some bumpy uneven texture as it was too strong for my face. I noticed some slight improvements and it meant no product was wasted.
  • Cleansers – in the past I’ve used up simple gel cleansers that I haven’t loved to wash my hands with. I appreciate this doesn’t work for all formulas though. I’ve also used cleansers with acne fighting ingredients like salicylic on my body, in particular after noticing uneven texture spots on my legs. Some may also work well to clean make up brushes.
  • Moisturisers – again can be used on your neck, hands or body. I’ve found smaller, simple moisturiser formulas are great to chuck in a handbag to use as hand cream which is a luxury I wouldn’t normally buy.


I’ve written an entire blog post on ways to recycle beauty products and empty packaging previously. Most of these schemes are now very accessible and some come with financial rewards which is an extra bonus to knowing your unwanted items aren’t going to end up in landfill. Garnier launched make up recycling bins nationwide in some supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury as well as in drugstores. Despite not living in a big city I’ve come across three of these on my travels. John Lewis also offer a beauty recycling scheme for any branded packaging as do Boots. For full details and more examples please check out my earlier post.

Comments Welcome

Where To Send Your Unwanted Items So They Don’t End Up In Landfill. Including Recycling Used Make Up, Prescription Glasses and Worn Bras

This is a slightly different post theme to my usual frugal hacks and freebie collections. Like a lot of us during any of the lockdowns in the last 12 months I’ve had a bit of a tidy up, rearrange and organise of my house which prompted me to write this post. A few years ago when having a huge deep clear out I came across some items which initially cost me a lot of money such as old prescription glasses, make up products, underwear etc that I didn’t want to throw out but simply didn’t need or use anymore. On a whim I began online research to find out what to do with them as opposed to sending them to landfill. Below I’ve included just a few of the schemes I came across for my items. Nowadays I tend to quickly Google items to find further solutions. Obviously local charity shops are a great option for standard donations, freecycle or Facebook Market Place are other popular choices.

Ask Your Friends and Family

This is my number one port of call when getting rid of a few bits. For example when tidying I came across some colour depositing hair products that I wouldn’t use again as I didn’t fancy red toned hair anymore. They were 3/4 full and remembered a friend within my social bubble pre-lockdown 3 mentioning colouring theirs so this was re-homed with her. Whilst asking another friend for houseplant advice I realised I had some small empty plastic plant pots and one decorative one that I’d planned to donate to charity but asked if she’d like them instead. I’ve done this in the past with so many things including items of clothing if I’ve decided not to sell them on eBay – if you do decide to sell them a post on my best tips for eBay can be found here.

H&M Textiles Recycling Scheme for worn out fabrics, clothes and textiles

In all H&M stores there are collections for bags of unwanted clothing and a system for all items donated. Some are sold for charity and really old unwearable items are recycled into loft insulation or cleaning cloths etc. I’ve filled at least 5 bags in the last 6 months with old paint stained t shirts, socks with holes in, bobbled jumpers or faded bed sheets. In exchange you will be given a £5 off your next £25 spend voucher with usually a long use by date on. I tend to gift these to friends as I buy the vast majority of my clothes second hand. I like this scheme for being really easily accessible but admit it doesn’t solve the fast fashion problem as the voucher gives an incentive to buy more fast fashion. But for me personally it’s probably saved the equivalent for 3 bin bags of textiles going to landfill with no further purchases which is better than me just chucking them in general household waste.

Clarks x Unicef For Old Shoes in any condition

Clarks have partnered with Unicef since 2008 and use any old shoes you donate by taking to their stores and putting in a collection bin (even including wornout £1 Primark flip flops and holey slippers) to help fund children’s education in poor 3rd world countries. In 2018 they saved nearly 190 tonnes of shoes going to landfill whilst providing “school in a box” kits that turn any space into a learning area for 40 children.

Donate Old Glasses Frames via The Lion’s Club or New Eyes

I’ve worn glasses since I was 4 and struggle to adjust from one pair to another meaning I only wear 1 pair at a time and had lots of old prescription frames. My local optician, like many, have a link with The Lion’s Club who send the glasses to 3rd world countries after servicing them. In some African countries the cost of an eye test is the equivalent of one month’s wages. Both charities  The Lion’s Club and New Eyes also accept hearing aids as well as glasses for children, men and women. Try your local opticians to see if you can donate the pairs in store or check online for addresses to ship items to a good cause.

Donate Old Bras to help raise money for breast cancer charities and help those less fortunate in 3rd world countries. There are lots of charities online that accept used bras, you simply pop them in the post after paying a small postage fee. Free donation options include Bravissimo stores across the UK who have collection bins that you can drop them off at “in any condition”. The charity Against Breast Cancer also have bra banks where you can donate. Their website has a handy map to find your nearest one.

Duvets, bedding and towels may be collected by local homeless shelters or animal shelters. It’s worth giving them a call to check what they can accept. I once managed to donate lots of towels to a local animal sanctuary to help keep the animals cold in the winter! If they’re really grotty take them to a local textiles recycling bank or use the H&M scheme.

Recycle printer ink cartridges and used postage stamps for charities such as the RSPB. There are lots of recycling options online for these with freepost options so it won’t cost you anything to do so.

Recycle Used Make Up. Garnier have twinned with Terracycle to provide recycling bins in selected Superdrug, Tesco, Sainsbury and Boots stores ensuring that nothing you throw in the bins ends up in landfill. I love that they’ve added these to supermarkets as it meant the scheme can still be accessed even in UK lockdowns. I always hold onto old make up even if I don’t wear it because I’ve always felt bad for just throwing it out and now I have the perfect solution. In some Boots stores there are now bins to recycle products, if you throw in 5 selected items and follow their instructions you receive £5 worth of Boots points.

The Reduce Reuse Recycle website is really helpful for tips on where to send obscure items, upcycling projects etc.

How To Recycle Your Beauty Empties For Discounts & Freebies To Avoid Them Ending Up In Landfill

I love an incentivised recycling scheme as it tends to engage lots more people in the idea of recycling. Lots of beauty packaging is tricky to recycle. Some items once cleaned like shampoo bottles and even completely empty beauty aerosols etc can go in household recycling bins but others like foundations with pumps etc are more difficult which is where in store recycling services come in. Lots of high street stores have partnered with Terracycle to transform your previously “unrecyclable” items.

Below are some of the schemes available and discounts available on the high street which I found online at the time of publishing. I also recently wrote a post on changes I’d like to make overall to reduce my beauty waste which can be found here as I’m keen to make easy, cheap swaps to reduce the plastic I use.

Discount / Voucher Incentives In Store For Beauty Empties

  • The Perfume Shop – 10% discount valid on the day you take in 1 empty bottle. I have heard people having great success selling empty perfume bottles on eBay so this may work out better than the 10% saving and it is saving the bottle from being binned!
  • 5 clean LUSH containers will earn you a free face mask
  • 6 MAC Containers will earn you a free lipstick RRP £15.50
  • Kiehl’s have a reward card – 10 stamps gets you a free travel mini – stamps can be earned by recycling their packaging or shopping with a reusable bag
  • & Other Stories give you a 10% off voucher valid for 3 months if you return their beauty packaging
  • L’Occitane recycle any branded beauty empties and will give you a 10% off full price voucher
  • John Lewis offer a £5 voucher to My John Lewis members who return 5 beauty empties from any brand.
  • The Body Shop recycle their packaging in all stores but there’s no longer a discount / voucher. I personally wouldn’t hesitate to ask for a few samples after engaging with this as the company are known for being very generous with sampling.

Essentially John Lewis and L’Occitane will accept packaging from any brand providing it fits with their lists of items they can accept – e.g. nail varnish, perfume bottles, aerosols, hair brushes, tooth brushes or electrical items can’t be recycled as part of this scheme. John Lewis even state they’ll recycle minis as part of this scheme. This is worth baring in mind regardless of the financial incentive to do our bit for the planet in my opinion.

In the past The Body Shop offered a £5 voucher for recycling their packaging which I claimed to get 3 travel minis for free. Clarins once gave out deluxe minis for recycling beauty empties from any brand which I claimed 3 times over a few months. I’ve recently joined My John Lewis to recycle some of my beauty empties into another voucher once this service is back up and running again – understandably it’s been paused in lots of stores given the pandemic. Their website does say this service is available but its worth checking with your local stores in advance as many don’t currently offer this.

I keep small empty products that I’ve collected to make the most of schemes like this as one usually comes around fairly quickly and it helps me recycle as much as possible.

Comments Welcome