Everything you need to know about eco-friendly bridal hair and makeup
Hi, I’m Nicola Whitfield, a cruelty free hair and makeup artist based in Yorkshire. As well as using eco-friendly, biodegradable products I am really passionate about cruelty free and vegan makeup, skin and hair care products. Several years ago, after spending time to research animal testing, I was horrified to discover the way it is carried out and how it causes so much unnecessary suffering and pain. I also found out how animal derived ingredients are commonly used in many types of makeup, haircare and skincare.
It has become so much easier to source cruelty free and sustainable products in the last couple of years. There is a greater variety and much wider choice of products at prices to suit all budgets. Many people don’t realise just how many great alternative products there are. I wanted to help people to make it easier to choose cruelty free and sustainable swaps for their everyday products.
What should you look out for when choosing sustainable, eco-friendly products?
The most commonly used animal derived ingredients include:
- Squalene – This ingredient is extracted from shark liver oil. Used in lip balm, moisturiser and other common products. Plant based squalene is becoming more widely available and is derived from wheat germ and olives.
- Animal hair – Mink lashes anyone? From the fur of the mink, there is no such thing as cruelty free mink lashes using the fur from the animal. Although the description can be used to describe the type of finish and ‘look’ of the lashes, synthetic ones are widely available and just as lovely without any mink being harmed.
- Hair Brushes – These can be made from boar bristle and badger hair. Makeup brushes are often made from fox, sable, mink and squirrel. Again synthetic eco-friendly ones are available made using bamboo handles, recycled aluminium for the ferrule and the synthetic fibre of the brush is specially designed to mimic the feel and texture of animal fur.
- Collagen – Found in many anti-ageing products, it is a protein derived from animal bone and ligaments, usually from cows. Plant based alternatives include almond oil and soya.
Increased demand for eco-friendly sustainable products
If you want to choose eco-friendly sustainable products, it has become much easier in recent years as many companies, due to public demand now produce a wide variety of products.
According to the WWF it takes around 20,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of cotton that’s equivalent to nearly six months water usage for the average person. Cotton farming uses many different types of insecticide in its production which is also very harmful to the environment and can be contained in the finished product. Many sustainable products are using bamboo as an eco-friendly alternative. It is a fast growing grass that does not need pesticides or fertiliser to grow and it is much more efficient at taking carbon dioxide out of the air and producing oxygen than trees.
As people want to live in a more sustainable way, reduce their impact on the planet, and plan their wedding in a more eco-friendly way, biodegradable, cruelty free and vegan products are becoming more and more popular, and widely available.
Here are my top 5 sustainable and easy to swap recommendations:
1 – Cotton buds
From the 1st October 2020 plastic cotton buds, straws and coffee stirrers are banned in the UK. It’s estimated 1.8 billion cotton buds are used each year many of which end up being flushed down the toilet which then can clog our waterways causing damage to the environment and animals. There are many companies now producing organic cotton buds made from bamboo which are 100% biodegradable. Silicone washable, reusable ones are also available and make an alternative choice.
2 – Makeup wipes and rounds
Makeup wipes should never be used on your skin, yes they are convenient, however they contain lots of plastic and do not cleanse the skin properly which can lead to breakouts and other skin issues. Ditch the cotton balls and rounds and switch to a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution, face clothes and rounds made from bamboo are super soft, anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic which is good for sensitive skin and a far more sustainable solution. Organic, recycled, washable cotton pads and clothes are also popular or you could just stick with the good old, traditional face cloth. Make sure to double cleanse your skin for a super clean, glowing effect.
3 – Shampoo bars and solid soap
Solid bars of soap and shampoo means no plastic bottle to dispose of, which is better for the environment and great for travelling – no leaky bottle tops to contend with either.
4 – Face & body scrub
Exfoliating your skin is a must as it rejuvenates your skin and allows any moisturising products to penetrate properly for that all out healthy glow. It can also improve the texture and circulation to the skin. Regular exfoliation will also help to stimulate collagen production. It is important to use a naturally based scrub, you can even make your own basic one just using sugar and olive oil. Many larger companies’ products contain harsh chemicals and plastic beads to exfoliate the skin which is bad for you and the environment.
5 – Biodegradable and eco-friendly glitter
Okay, I know it may not be part of everyone’s daily routine. However, I thought it was worth a mention, so if you want to add your own bit of sparkle to glam up your outfit or go all-out at festival time you know what to look for. It is wise to check as most traditional types of glitter are made from plastic or metal. One of the services I offer to my lovely clients is an eco-friendly, cruelty free glitter bar which is great for a party or corporate event. After all everyone loves glitter; don’t they?
Plastic and metal glitter can take hundreds if not thousands of years to degrade and is rougher in texture. Eco-friendly, biodegradable glitter is made from cellulose sourced from eucalyptus, it is softer in texture which is great if you have sensitive skin as it’s less likely to be irritating. It is round in shape and available in many different sizes, from chunky festival blends to finely milled, which can be worn on your eyes and nails. Once it comes into contact with moisture or soil, it has been proven to degrade in as little as four weeks. Which is great news people who don’t want to be still wearing it several nights after application! Be wary of brands claiming to be biodegradable that are different shapes (stars, hearts, diamonds etc.) as biodegradable glitter comes in only one shape, round.
So there you have it. I hope you have found this article useful and if you would like any further information don’t hesitate to get in touch, thanks so much for reading.
You can find out more about Nicola and her company on her website and social media channels: