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January 11, 2019 —

Ethical living: a beauty & skincare guide

Kay Prestney rounds up a selection of skincare and beauty products that are ethical and sustainable.
Kay Prestney
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We’ve had such a great response to the ethical living theme in our AW18 issue of the magazine, that we decided to run a series of blog posts, highlighting great products for living more ethically. First up, Kay Prestney investigates the best buys to switch into your beauty and skincare regime.

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

With shocking daily headlines and images highlighting the plight of our planet and the negative impact on our health, we are all feeling overwhelmed and concerned by the amount of waste and chemicals in our lives. The products in our bathroom are one area for great concern – we are aware of the things we should be trying to eradicate such as animal testing, chemicals, palm oil and plastic packaging – but we don’t all have the time to research the alternatives.

So, to help out, we have gathered together some brilliant small brands founded by people who want to make a difference to both our health and that of the planet. Every small act really does make a difference, so try some (or all!) of our swap tips to start the new year with some positive changes for yourself and the environment.

91 ethical beauty guide

Drink up!

One of the biggest and simplest things we can do to improve our health and cleanse our bodies is to drink more water. After the festive party season and with the heating turned up for winter, we are probably all dehydrated, so rather than reaching for more beauty products promising to hydrate and plump, start with an eco-friendly water bottle and make sure you are getting your two litres a day. Try adding some natural flavours, such as a twist of cucumber, lime or lemon, for added taste.

Mintie 350ml and 500ml stainless steel water bottles – £9.50 / £12

Environmental Life is a small Brighton business founded by young parents Vic and Dan who were concerned about the BPAs and toxins associated with the plastic containers and food wrappings they were using for their children’s packed lunches. They also wanted to reduce the amount of waste they were producing. They have designed a range of chemical free, eco-friendly and re-useable containers for food and drinks suitable for all the family.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

ONE great, natural facial oil

Using too many products on your face and body can cause adverse effects as your skin adjusts to each product. Keeping it simple and natural encourages your skin to regulate itself. You can also use oils on your hair to discourage split ends and on your body as a moisturiser; use when your skin is slightly damp after a bath or shower to encourage absorption.

MOA Aphrodite facial oil – £26

This rosehip, damask rose, yarrow and geranium organic facial oil by MOA hydrates, calms and nourishes the skin without the use of any chemicals or environmentally damaging ingredients.


Alternative stockist: 19 Alexandra Road

LA-EVA Jasmina oil 50ml – £25

Organic UK brand LA-EVA makes what founder Louisa Canham calls ‘units of well-being’. Each product has been inspired by the memory of a scent or place and this blend of jasmine, argan, rosehip, safflower and almond oils evokes images of white muslin curtains floating on a summer breeze in a warm climate, transporting you to Mediterranean summer days.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Natural lip colour

Swap out endless lipsticks or lip balms and keep just one great product in your handbag for smooth, natural lips with a hint of colour.

Bloomtown red & berried lip balm – £4.80

Bloomtown are a small indie business creating palm oil-free, cruelty-free, natural, vegan body and skincare products handmade in Cornwall. They also donate 10% of their profits to environmental and social causes.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

No more single use

Single use items are having such a significant impact on our planet – consider how many cotton wool pads you may have went through in your lifetime?! Ditch the single use for a reusable alternative.

La Nature reusable makeup remover pads – £15 (for 8 re-useable pads with a laundry bag, travel pouch and recipe book download)

UK small brand La Nature was founded by Anna and her husband in 2018 when they got tired of all the disposable toiletries they were throwing away and wanted to make a difference. Using one of these can save on average 300 disposable cotton pads. Made from a natural bamboo derived rayon fabric, they are more absorbent than cotton or hemp and are chemical and dye-free. Bamboo is naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic and the plant is fast-growing and biodegradable so these can be put on the compost heap when they wear out. They come with a brilliant free recipe book for five natural makeup removers (e.g. banana and soya milk) that you can make yourself, further helping the planet and your body.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Non-plastic dental care

While toothbrushes might not be single use, we still go through a lot of them in our lifetime and the plastic versions end up in the landfill. Swap for a compostable wooden one instead.

The Humble Co bamboo toothbrush – £3.99

The Humble Co toothbrush has bio-degradable nylon bristles and bamboo handle, and each purchase funds projects for children in need.

Georganics vegan charcoal dental floss with English peppermint essential oil and natural wax – £4.90 (refills available at £6.90 for two reels)

Started from a farmers market stall in London, Sussex based company Georganics produces natural, organic, hand-crafted, zero-waste dental care products from ingredients sourced as locally as possible.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide


Earth Conscious jasmine & rose natural deodorant – £7.60

Handmade in the UK using natural, vegan ingredients, these deodorants by Earth Conscious are cruelty and palm oil free. They use sodium bicarbonate to prevent bacteria and odours whilst arrowroot keeps perspiration at bay and coconut oil and shea butter moisturise. Not only will you avoid harmful gases found in aerosols, the container is biodegradable cardboard.


Alternative stockist: Greener Habits

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide


Our bathrooms are often overrun with a vast collection of potions and lotions all contained inside plastic bottles. Cut down on these by opting for alternatives to shampoo, shower gel, bubble bath and hand soap.

Soapnut vegan shampoo bars – £6

Alternative stockist: MiApparel

Soapnuts have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, known for their anti-inflammatory, toning and softening properties which comes from the saponin. Organic, botanical ingredients such as coconut milk, rice bran and avocado oil have been added to these shampoo bars for additional conditioning properties. All of Living Naturally’s bars are cold-pressed and free from palm oil and chemicals.


The Printed Peanut solid shampoo bar with lavender and rose geranium – £5.95

Equivalent to the contents of three plastic bottles of shampoo, this natural, hand-made, vegan, palm oil-free, non-animal tested soap bar smells great and is packaged in recycled paper with beautiful artwork by The Printed Peanut designer Louise Lockhart, which is printed in the UK using eco-friendly inks.


Alternative stockist: Firain

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Wild Grove dark forest charcoal & sea salt spa soaps – £4

Canadian Lisa Pasquill is based in Bristol and makes all her Wild Grove natural beauty products by hand, selling them on her popular farmer’s market stall in the city. These soaps are made in the traditional way using natural essential oils and butters in a hot process technique which allows the fragrances to hold for longer. The rough finish of these soaps adds to the artisan feel and the scent fills the whole bathroom long after use.


 Join Vitamin sea & hedgerow soap bars – £8

East London brand Join began producing essential oils and soy wax vegan candles inspired by the two sister’s childhood on the Cornish coast. All the products have evocative names conjuring the natural scents of the sea and cliff tops. The range has recently expanded to include diffusers, room mists and soap bars. The soaps are handmade, vegan, natural and are sent out in recyclable packaging.


Greener Habits Co lemongrass & hemp soap – £2.90

Greener Habits is a small indie company based in London founded to make a positive environmental impact and to support the Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary in Kent. Hemp bran and essential lemongrass combine to produce a naturally antibacterial and deodorising soap with a fresh, zingy smell. Handmade in Yorkshire they are also free from palm oil chemicals as well as being vegan and cruelty free. Full points for the compostable label made with elephant dung and water based eco inks!

Sisal Soap pouch – £4

This clever biodegradable bag made from the Mexican agave plant serves the triple purpose of holding your soap in the shower, exfoliating your skin as you use the soap, and can be used to merge several small pieces of soap so you can use them until they are completely finished. Made by Hydrophil, stocked by Greener Habits in the UK.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Yellow Gorse is based on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, this small company produces natural and environmentally friendly therapeutic products created to help alleviate the stresses of modern life and to encourage energy flow. Made using botanical ingredients in small batches, their products are ethical, vegan, natural and sourced locally where possible.

Herbal bath tea 500g – £24.95

Wild chamomile, lavender and clary sage essential oils mixed with mineral rich epsom salts help to remove toxins, stimulate circulation and promote energy in this relaxing bath tea. Fill the little bag with a handful of the beautifully scented ingredients and let your worries and toxins wash away!

Himalayan bath soak 175g – £12.95

With geranium to relieve stress, patchouli to ground, frankincense to calm and lavender to relax this blend of pure natural oils and Himalayan salt restores and revives you. A recyclable glass bottle and metal top and pure ingredients make it planet friendly as well as chemical free.

Lavender, frankincense & nutmeg bath & body oil 100ml – £16

This can be used in the bath or applied directly to skin to calm and moisturise with an uplifting blend of essential oils.

Chamomile & lavender Sleep balm – £4.80

Finally, after a busy day, try their chamomile & lavender sleep balm to help you drift off into a restful night’s sleep.


91 Magazine ethical beauty guide


With switching out bottles for bars, there has been a come back of the humble soap dish. Repurpose a vintage saucer or support indie makers by purchasing a beautiful handmade one.

Libby Ballard Ceramics soap dish – £18

Libby Ballard’s work is all individually thrown, trimmed and glazed in her studio in Wiltshire and is inspired by her coastal childhood on the Isle of Wight. Libby uses a flecked stoneware clay which produces beautiful, tactile pieces. The swirls in this soap dish keep the bars raised allowing them to dry quickly, thus prolonging the life.


Remember folks…. “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world” Harold Zinn.

Thank you to the following brands for supplying samples of their products for trialling and photographic purposes to put this guide together: Environmental Life, 19 Alexandra Road, Bloomtown, La Nature, Georganics, The Humble Co, MiApparel, Firain, Wild Grove, Join, Greener Habits, Yellow Gorse & Libby Ballard Ceramics

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