Every minute, the equivalent of one rubbish truck full of plastic is leaked into our oceans. In fact, Hong Kong also has her fair share of ocean pollution problems, with around 17.5 million plastic waste entering the ocean alone from the Shing Mun River in Sha Tin each year. What’s more, it’s estimated that if we don’t change the way we use plastic, this could increase four times by 2050. Although the plastic pollution problem can feel overwhelming, a growing number of people are ditching single-use plastics in favour of a cleaner, greener way of living. Not sure how to take the packaging-free plunge? Meet the naked skincare range going the extra mile for your complexion.
Whether it’s the ever-growing Pacific Garbage Patch - an area of ocean microplastics bigger than Texas, footage of albatross parents feeding their chicks plastic, or “fatbergs” - fatty masses made from sanitary products blocking our sewers - awareness and evidence of the damage done by single-use products is stacking up. The word “single-use” was even named word of the year by Collins Dictionary in 2018, defined as products made predominantly from plastic “that are ‘made to be used once only’ before disposal.” On the other hand, Green Peace, an international environmental organization, conducted a series of surveys of 9 waterways in 2018 and discovered that 48 thousand plastic pieces make its way to the sea every day. Worse still, the number of plastic runoff doubled after a rainstorm, with a staggering rate of 56 pieces of plastics entering the sea per minute. Perhaps it’s no surprise that following the exposure of these issues an increasing amount of people are taking the zero waste lifestyle leap.
Disposable products such as makeup wipes are sold to us as convenient timesavers, meaning we can clean our faces without even having to leave our beds. While this may sound inviting when running late for work, this convenience often comes at the cost of excessive packaging that cannot be recycled or reused. Plastic is continuing to be produced at an alarming rate, reaching 311 million tonnes in 2014, the equivalent of more than 900 Empire State Buildings. This figure is expected to double again over the next 20 years. Scary huh?
But it’s not all bad news - as consumers we’ve begun to demand more when it comes to transparency, ethics and sustainability. In a small space of time we’ve seen bars and restaurants ditch plastic straws, we’ve heard talk of introducing a tax on plastic packaging in the UK, and single-use plastic bag sales have dropped by 86%, showing that change is within our reach.
While revolutionary campaigns like Plastic Free Planet are gaining global momentum and media coverage, demanding that supermarkets offer customers a plastic-free aisle; cutting back on packaging is nothing new for Lush. Now, with three naked shops (Milan, Berlin and Manchester) under our belt, there’s no stopping us. The latest innovation is a stripped back, luxury skincare range that doesn’t compromise on your skin’s needs.
Product inventor Alessandro Commisso introduces the range, he says: “There is something beautiful in using our naked skincare products. Each bar is made with few, effective natural materials that go directly into the skin in their most simple form. The moment you stop worrying about the packaging, you really can start enjoying the benefits.”
What can you expect from the range apart from glowing skin and a decluttered bathroom cabinet? The collection features nake facial oils and cleansing balms, all brimming with beautifully enriching ingredients, but none of the excessive packaging that so often comes with the usual “cleanse, tone, moisturise” routine. Here are some highlights from these hard-working skin-saviours.
Did someone say a reusable face wipe made from seaweed? It may sound strange, but trust us on this one. When product inventors Helen Ambrosen and Gary Shears heard about the damage that facial wipes were doing to our environment they decided to take action. 7 to 3 (no, not a Dolly Parton rip off, but the hours our manufacturing teams work) is a cleansing pad made from carrageenan, a jelly-like substance made from Irish moss seaweed. These cleansing pads which look remarkably like cotton pads are an effective way to clean your face or remove makeup. These delicate cleansers contain clarifying fresh dove orchid infusion and balancing ylang ylang. After around three to five uses, you can pop these pads in your compost bin or general waste and they will safely biodegrade. Happy fishies, happy skin - everybody wins.
Helen tells us more: “The added benefits of using this cleanser are that it’s self preserving, it’s not in a plastic bottle and what is released into the environment is biodegradable. Compared to face wipes where you’ve got a plastic wrapper and ingredients inside that won’t biodegrade either, it’s a huge step forward and really great for the skin as well. After use, just gently rinse away the residue and pop it somewhere dry ready for the next time you use it.”
Banana peel may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of looking after your skin, but it turns out banana skins are rich in nutrients and have some serious skincare superpowers. Before you start rubbing your mid morning snack on your face, there’s a far easier way to reap this fruit’s benefits. Banana Skin is a naked facial oil that challenges the way we view waste. Normally chucked in the compost and left for the worms, leftover banana peels are used to create a tincture that not only adds a beautiful banana aroma to the facial oil, but is also effective at toning and clearing the skin. This calming formula contains mango butter to deeply moisturise and sandalwood to soothe, made with sensitive-skinned Sally’s in mind.
If you like to ‘roll’ with the trends, then you’ve probably heard about jade rollers. This crystal massage tool has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine, but now seems to be the latest must-have in shelfie-worthy skincare. While there are big claims about what these aesthetic gizmos can do for our skin, why not try Jade Roller naked cleanser, a skincare product that will cleanse, tone and massage all in one go. Studded with mung beans on one side and containing stimulating peppermint oil, this solid bar will boost blood flow to the skin, giving you a post-facial glow. Marula oil helps to increase your skin’s elasticity, while chamomile and rose tighten, tone and leave skin feeling calm and clear. Those short on time but big on skincare will love this multi-use product.
If you like the sound of this time-saving, waste-cutting range then there’s good news, there are seven other packaging-free products in this collection, from primers that tackle fine lines with electric daisies, to cleansers with ground coconut shell to keep pores clean. Spend less time unwrapping excessive packaging and more time luxuriating over stripped back skincare - build your zero-waste skin regime here.
Translated by Ester Cheng and edited by Kadii Chan.