Up your eco-friendly beauty game by Mandy Gakhal

Up your eco-friendly beauty game by Mandy Gakhal

Up your eco-friendly beauty game by Mandy Gakhal

Here at AMB we caught up with one of our professional Makeup Artists Mandy Gakhal who gave us her top tips on becoming more eco-friendly and how to be more conscious of how our beauty routines are impacting the world.

With the world stopping in its tracks during the pandemic, it offered us all a chance to reset and connect with nature and our planet. New data has also revealed consumer interest in the environment is on the rise as a direct result of COVID-19 with 85% of people worldwide prepared to take personal action to combat environmental and sustainability issues in 2021.

With more green initiatives than ever before, people are realising that it’s actually cool to care about the planet and to be more eco-friendly and that it doesn’t necessarily mean waving a placard and campaigning for climate change – although that is cool too.

There is now a plethora of ethical fashion brands that champion up-cycling, using recyclable fabrics, and being mindful of the whole supply chain. In fact, my last two fashion campaigns were for ethical fashion brands. And at the time of writing, my beloved Nespresso has just emailed – other coffee brands are available - to inform me of their new care movement, which involves sustainability, being at one with nature, and of course, Clooney. So if coffee and fashion are doing it, is there more we could do for the planet when it comes to our beauty routines?

Sure, it's tricky to go sustainable overnight, and beauty brands still have a long way to go before being completely green, but there are ways in which we can introduce small steps that will help make positive contribution to the planet. As a makeup artist and a self-confessed product junkie, I am guilty of layering all my skincare, buying lipstick even though I have ten similar shades, and purchasing products under the pretence they are for my kit. So, in all reality, this article isn’t about shaming those who don’t shop eco-smart, rather, it’s about being mindful and sharing tips. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin, but read on to find out simple ways we can all make a start in our eco-conscious journey.

What does sustainable mean anyway?

Sustainability is a mixture of things. It is how we purposefully develop products and make formulations in a way to positively impact the environment long-term. It also includes ethical sourcing, which is about ensuring the products made are obtained responsibly. Things like packaging and production also come into play. If a brand offers recycling options, then that brand is considered as being sustainable. The following 8 tips are to care about the planet.

Ditch the wipes

Everyone knows wipes are bad for the planet; they take 100 years to break down in landfill but also, they are not really great for your skin either, nor, the most effective method of cleansing.

Swap cotton pads for reusable pads

This is a big one for me. I was going through so many cotton pads and didn’t realise how much was going into cotton production and then I discovered reusable cotton pads were a thing. This is a game-changer, with my favourite being Face Halo. They are so soft! This swap-out is crucial for me, given how many pads I used to go through. Sure, on shoots it’s more difficult but the change starts with me.

Keep empties

Once you’ve used up your jars and pots of potions, don’t just throw them away! I often keep my smaller pots and jars and sample size pots I get with gift with purchases and refill for holidays and travel. I travel a lot for work both nationally and internationally so this is a crucial step for me. I decant the products I use into those little pots. Not only does it prevent me from buying unnecessary plastic containers, but it is more cost-effective than buying a separate travel-size potion which is often so much more expensive for a tiny, tiny amount of product. Furthermore, when it comes to sample sizes, you are often restricted in the brands you can buy so have to settle for whichever moisturiser or mouthwash is available.

I also fill some of my empties with product and share with my trusted skincare junkies. It allows them to try the product without committing to purchasing something they don’t really need or love, and I also remain their best friend. As beauty junkies, we end up getting tempted to try every potion that ever existed, when you already have four other types of that very thing to get through. I am very, very guilty of this.

Bigger jars and pots can be repurposed as makeup brush holders, or holders for things like lip liners, eye pencils, and tools such as tweezers and eyelash curlers. 

Join recycling schemes

Obviously, you can’t repurpose and hoard every single empty you own, but anything you do need to get rid of should be recycled where possible. Much of this can be recycled through your curb-side collections, but Boots are running a recycling scheme that allows you to return empties even if they haven’t been bought at Boots. And the beauty is the scheme accepts traditionally hard-to-recycle parts like makeup palettes and retractable makeup brushes. Boots will then issue Advantage Card points, subject to terms and conditions. Other brands that offer their own schemes include Mac, L’Occitane, Lush, Origins, and Kiehl’s.

Look for recycled packaging

Seek out products that use recycled packaging, or even better, that are packaging-free! You don’t actually have to venture too far to find packaging-free products with mass retailers like Lush actively championing their cause to become waste-free and fully recyclable. They have a vast choice in what they called ‘naked’ products, ranging from shampoo bars and facial oils and even body butters!

And when it comes to packaging, brands will shout about their eco-friendly packaging so this shouldn’t be hard to find. And as a quick win, try and opt for products in glass jars as opposed to plastic as they more easily recycled. 

Find multi-tasking products

Opting for multi-purpose products not only reduces our packaging and waste but could be kinder to our wallet too. Why not try a lip and cheek stain, rather than two separate products, or a powder foundation rather than using a separate foundation and powder? I often use my contouring powders as eyeshadows, to illuminate the need for lots of products. A matte brown shadow can work just as well on the brows as any brow powder and in fact, I have used this hack many times on shows and shoots. I personally don’t wear any foundation but get my concealer to work double duty as both a concealer and an eye base, and on a bad skin day, it works triple duty as a light foundation, where I dab it on with slightly more pressure, only on the areas where it’s needed.

Don’t leave the water running

I was brought up by my nan, and I’d often get told off for leaving the tap running whilst brushing my teeth. At the time, I thought she was being moany, but turns out she had the right idea and was way ahead in her eco-friendly game. If you turn off the tap whilst brushing and cleansing and turn it on only when you actually need water, not only will you be less wasteful, but you will save pennies on your water bill in the long run. 


Start with one product and take it slow

Rather than making a whole change at once, it's best to start slow. Don’t waste the products you do have in your beauty stash. Seek out and do your research now on the brands which offer more sustainable options, so when you next run out of shampoo or moisturiser, you know exactly what your next kind-to-the-planet purchase will be. Making a slow and gradual change will allow for a more successful transition and form better habits in the long run.


Remember, this is the long game! It may not happen overnight, but if we all incorporated just some of these changes, together we could make a huge difference. And for that, it’s a game I’m willing to try. Who else is in?

Blog Author

Mandy Gakhal