As many of us have spent most of 2020 — and 2021, so far — at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the need for a daily makeup routine has effectively diminished. But that hasn’t stopped beauty brands from rolling out new, innovative products to make self care a little greener.
Read on to learn more about five of our favorite new, innovative, and sustainable beauty products from 2021 (and late 2020) — these items will help reduce waste in your makeup application, hair care regimen, and skincare routine, all while supporting companies who are actually trying to be as zero waste as possible.
EcoTools’ BioBlender makeup sponges
In February 2021, EcoTools launched the BioBlender, which the cruelty-free and vegan company claims is the world’s first biodegradable and compostable reusable makeup sponge. You can simply throw it in the compost bin (including home composts) at the end of its life, which should last at least 30 days. How cool is that?
The BioBlender is made from a new biodegradable foam material, which is composed of five ingredients: water, corn, bionanopol, natural preservative, and natural pigment. The BioBlender makeup sponge comes in three sizes, and the BioBlender line also features a reusable facial cleansing mitt and body cleansing sponge, which can also be composted after 30 days of use. The plastic portion of the packaging can be recycled, and the paper part of the packaging can be recycled or planted in the ground.
Beautyblender’s Bio Pure
That said, EcoTools has some serious competition: Beautyblender, the company behind the original reusable makeup sponge, rolled out a new and improved Beautyblender called Bio Pure, also in February 2021. Up to 60 percent of the Bio Pure is made with waste products of sugarcane, and it performs just like the original Beautyblender, according to Allure.
Unlike EcoTools’ BioBlender, the Bio Pure is not compostable and must be trashed at the end of its life, since about 40 percent of it is still made from synthetic materials. A zero waster would probably opt for the BioBlender before the Bio Pure, but it’s still exciting to see a move like this from a mainstream beauty company with a cult following like Beautyblender.
Experiment’s Avant Guard reusable silicone sheet mask
Single-use sheet masks may feel nice, but they’re super wasteful — so in 2020, a company called Experiment rolled out the Avant Guard reusable silicone sheet mask. The neon mask is made from food grade silicone, it is occlusive (locks in moisture), and it even has earloops so the mask doesn’t fall off your face.
To use the Avant Guard, just slather your face with a thick layer of a hydrating product or serum (Experiment sells one serum option), and cover it with the reusable silicone sheet mask, which will lock in the moisture. After a few minutes, remove the mask, gently hand wash it with a mild soap and water, hang to dry, and then store it in the reusable packaging. The mask comes in two sizes, and at $22 for one mask, any diehard sheet mask user is sure to save money after just a few uses.
Eva NYC’s aluminum-packaged hair products
In February 2021, Eva NYC ditched plastic packaging for good. The affordable hair care brand now packages all of its hair products in aluminum containers, which are much more recyclable than plastic. Finding zero-waste, specialty hair care products such as dry shampoo, hair masks, and styling creams be a challenge, but Eva NYC is now giving zero wasters a plastic-free solution.
“We really feel our planet doesn't have time to sit around and wait for years,” Jane Moran, Brand Vice President of the vegan and cruelty-free company, told Green Matters in an interview about the launch. “We can’t let the responsibility just rest on consumers, so companies can’t keep producing without thinking about the environmental impact … I think we've shown that it’s possible to do it in a very sustainable way.”
Ethique is best known for its bars — bars similar to bars of soap, ranging from shampoo to body scrub to deodorant. But in late 2020, Ethique took its bars to the next level with concentrates. These highly-concentrated bars of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, handwash, and even home cleaning products simply need to be combined with boiling water, whisked until melted, and then poured into a bottle you already have.
Ethique is a completely vegan, cruelty-free, and plastic-free company, and these concentrates are a great solution for people who want to avoid plastic packaging but prefer liquid products to bars.