Glitter, face wipes, lashings of dry shampoo – they’re all recognised as standard festival beauty fare, but with sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s minds and a report showing that UK festivals alone create around 23,500 tonnes of waste a year (with most of it going to landfill), everyone from the organisers to the attendees needs to be more mindful that what they’re purchasing, and packing, is planet-friendly.
“Beauty waste is one of the most harmful environmental impacts from festivals and when looking at this year’s IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) it's truly shocking. Every festival usually has each festival-goer create one unique look a day and in total, each individual creates around a kilogram of waste a day. The majority of this tends to be wet wipes and glitter that just get dumped on the ground,” warns Trisha Daswaney, founder of Kohl Kreatives, a brand striving to create sustainable beauty solutions.
Luckily there are now plenty of eco options available. Wipes (which are also a huge culprit of sewer blockages) now tend to be compostable or biodegradable, while there are also plenty of reusable make-up remover pads on the market. “Solid bars are another brilliant multi-purpose solution,” says Millie Kendall, a beauty industry advisor and CEO of the British Beauty Council. “You can use them for your face, body, hair and even to brush up your brows. Single-dose products like Wo Skincare or Bolt Beauty are a good idea too because you can take exactly what you need and if you’ve got skin challenges it means you can still pack targeted solutions.”
Glitter has also had a makeover. Rather than tiny fragments of plastic that pollute the water stream and cause a danger to marine life, there are biodegradable and dissolvable shimmers that mean you can still get your sparkle on without sacrificing ecosystems.
Claire O’Neill, CEO at A Greener Festival, which is dedicated to helping festivals reduce their footprint on the planet, suggests packing by these rules: “Choose flannels instead of wipes; take reusable period products; refill small bottles with your toiletries to pack light and reduce waste; use products that are kind to aquatic life and take home what you bring with you.”
Ready to rethink your travel toiletry bag? These are the best eco beauty festival buys out there…
The best sustainable festival beauty buys
Plastic-free, made from FSC-certified paper with rice paper backing, and using a water-based kelp adhesive instead of glue, if you want to level up your festival eye make-up, these sticker stencils are the answer. Compostable, biodegradable and reusable up to three times, simply stick them on, then colour them in using your favourite eye shadow shades.
Both innovative and sustainable, Spectra is a subtle silver-grey eye cream that’s almost invisible to the naked eye in the day but under a camera flash or lights, it transforms into a bright reflective silver. Vegan and cruelty-free, in a recyclable aluminium tube and packaged in a biodegradable vacuum pouch, it’s high impact visually, low impact environmentally.
You might not use up an entire eye liner at a festival but there is a possibility you might lose it in a field! Not that you need to worry with these eyeliners, because they’re completely zero waste - and if the non-nib end (the green part) gets planted into damp soil, bee-friendly wildflowers will appear in one-to-two weeks. It’s rewilding at its best.
The world’s first ever freshwater biodegradable holographic glitter, this ethically sourced, plant-based sparkle can be applied to the face, body, nails and even hair. In return you’ll get an amazing kaleidoscopic effect.
Made with all-natural ingredients and cruelty and paraben-free, this smudge-proof and water-resistant formula will keep your lashes looking perfect come wind, rain or shine. A seriously volumising formula, it eliminates the need for throwaway falsies, too.
Rather than cotton, these vegan hair cleansing cloths are made from tree pulp cellulose that biodegrades in six weeks. A dry shampoo alternative, simply wipe them across your hair and they’ll mop up grease, impurities and product build-up from the hair and scalp. Infused with the Sam McKnight signature hair fragrance, they ensure no mustiness - despite skipping a hair wash or two.
Containing 14 Amaku tooth powder tablets in a tiny aluminium tin with protective cork cushioning, simply pop one in your mouth, wet your toothbrush and brush as normal. Easy, eco and effective, they’re also super lightweight. Plus, there’s zero risk of a tube bursting or getting squashed at the bottom of your bag.
Have you ever seen a chicer manual toothbrush? Made with biodegradable FSC bamboo that’s naturally antibacterial and antifungal (important when your accommodation is a little more al fresco) and with castor oil bristles (the most sustainable option there is that’s effective for cleaning teeth), one per cent of all sales also goes to environmental non-profits.
SPF is always an absolute must and this biodegradable formula uses four organic filters that won’t put algae or marine life in danger. The brand’s 100 per cent Plastic Collect initiative also means that they collect and recycle the same amount of ocean plastic as they use to ensure their impact on the planet is kept to a minimum.
Dissolving waterproof mascara and hydrating the skin for up to 12 hours, these biodegradable pods are filled with just the right amount of cleanser for a single wash. Containing botanical oils that help calm and soothe, the compact case fits seven capsules – enough for an am and pm cleanse across a three-day festival.
Your make-up wipe alternative. Made with bamboo and organic cotton, labelled with the different days of the week and in a handy laundry bag to keep your dirties together, these are super soft on the skin and easy to wash.
The world’s first carbon negative beauty product, this uses upcycled blackcurrant seed oil to eliminate waste while the cap and nozzle are completely compostable and have been created using bacteria found in marine and soil environments (this means it basically ‘eats itself’ after one-to-three years). Besides the sustainability benefits, it also gives tired complexions a shot of radiance.
Fully recyclable, these pocket-sized single dose serums eliminate the need to take bulky bottles away. A threesome of targeted treatments that restore the skin barrier, boost radiance and hydrate, even if you’re flagging on the inside your skin won’t give the game away.
A truly innovative product, this soap-free, pH-balanced ultra-fine mist transforms tissue into a recyclable and biodegradable wipe, so all you need to do is make sure you don’t run out of toilet roll. Developed with gynaecologists and dermatologists, it’s suitable for use all over the body, including intimate areas, and will leave you feeling clean and fresh. Plus, one bottle equates to 100 wipes.
A huge step in both period products and sustainability, these could be a lifesaver. Period-proof, the stretchy, comfortable undies seal in fluids so you don’t have to panic about being miles from a portaloo or having to carry extra period supplies with you across muddy terrain. 97 per cent biodegradable, when they come to end-of-life (after around 100 washes), cut off the elastics and discard with your landfill waste where they will break down and degrade in around six months.