Like that dysfunctional relationship you thought was impossible to shake off, break it off with single-use plastics right now. We’ve got clean, sustainable beauty swaps for you.
We’re already down with cruelty-free and vegan make-up and natural, organic beauty brands in Singapore. But think back to your last beauty haul and all the single-use plastic bags, wrappers and cellophane you had to peel off, sometimes more than once for a single product. Along with every non-recyclable bottle of body wash, shampoo and serum… they all end up in landfills and oceans, not decomposing for 1000-odd years. Before it turns into a Wall-E situation (without the cute sentient robots), it’s not too late to make some changes of your own. We’ve scooped out these seriously luscious, effective and sustainable beauty swaps right here in Singapore to help you cleanse your dresser and life.
Best zero-waste and sustainable beauty products in Singapore
1. Powder shampoo that saves gallons of water
Did you know that up to 80% of our shampoos consist of water? The Powder Shampoo is here to revolutionise your showers with its powder-to-foam vegan formulas. Yup, these powdered shampoos give you up to 100 washes and are packaged in refillable aluminium bottles with no plastic in sight.
2. Shampoo bars that won’t hurt
Love a good lather but also want to save the environment? Swap to shampoo bars – they require no liquids, have minimal packaging and last longer. Oasis Beauty Kitchen has a variety of handcrafted solid shampoo caneles that are made with quality natural ingredients. We’re particularly fond of the ginger one, filled with nourishing herbs to combat hair loss, stimulate hair follicles and boost hair growth.
Plus, we simply can’t get enough of The Clean Attempt’s zero-waste shampoo bars. There’s even one for pets! Pro tip: pick up a soap saver bag to help your shampoo bars last longer.
3. Lip balms and scrubs that won’t bite
Kiss single-use plastic lip balms and lip scrubs goodbye with Hurraw! Balm’s vegan lip balms. These babies are crafted with organic and raw ingredients with flavours ranging from chai spice to Earl Grey. Get ‘em at the Naturally Better Co. Though the packaging isn’t 100% plastic-free, up to 50% of it is made up of recycled pellets. The brand has also reduced plastic usage by choosing more readily recyclable packaging such as aluminium, glass and tin.
Or, give your lips a quick detox with Handmade Heroes’ ultra sexy lip scrubs. Gently exfoliate your pout with goodies like jojoba avocado and coconut oil.
4. Body scrubs that don’t get into our food
You know those exfoliating body scrubs with colourful microbeads that are supposed to exfoliate your skin? Oh, they’re doing much more than that. They’re deadly dangerous! About 1 millimetre to 1 micrometre in size, these plastic beads (banned in many countries) are polluting our oceans. They get eaten by fish and have entered even our bodies via food and water.
So do your bit and pick a natural body scrub like the ones by MandyT. The scrubs are made with all-natural ingredients and packed in a sleek, eco-friendly glass bottle. Our pick? Try the calming and gorgeously scented Lavender + Chamomile + Bergamot one.
5. Skincare that doesn’t turn on us
It’s rather easy to spot an Aesop store in a mall. But its cult status products and alluring storefront aren’t the only reasons to love this brand. To reduce its environmental footprint, Aesop has made a conscious choice to use amber glass bottles to retail its famous formulas. Take the skin toner, for instance. Packaged in apothecary-style glass, it extends the shelf life of the product and can be easily recycled too! Closer to home, we’ve got Kew Organics’ eco-friendly skincare packaged in energy-enhancing Miron Violet Glass. It’s not only plastic-free but activates and energises the molecules of the contents in the glass too.
6. Shampoos & body washes? It’s all about the refill…
You know we love The Social Space for all sorts of reasons. This lovely little ethical boutique, social enterprise and cafe has its own refillery for shampoos and body washes. It’s got some good stuff on tap: Ecostore for conditioner, Green Kulture for hand wash, and Soapnut Republic for hand soap. It’s best to BYOB here – bring your own bottle to eliminate wastage.
7. Face masks that won’t end up in landfills
A bed of fluffy jasmine rice sounds great but did you know that using rice powder is part of an ancient Thai beauty regime? Soothe your skin from the heat or treat inflamed or irritated skin with this face, body and hair mask. Happy Earth Farm uses jasmine rice grown from its organic farm in Thailand and uses recyclable packaging too.
8. Hair dyes that don’t kill
Changing your hair colour is good but changing your relationship with chemical-heavy, plastic-packaged dyes is even better. Get rid of those greys with plastic-free hair dyes by Lush made of henna, essential oils and cocoa butter – because we gotta condition. These dyes come with no plastic wrapping, multiple sachets of random powder or disposable gloves – they’re just bars of dye with a paper label.
9. Deodorants that do good
We’ve got a nose for natural deodorants and we’re loving Jomingo for more than its au naturel, chemical-free ingredients. This handmade roll-on is packaged in a biodegradable, plastic-free casing. It lets you free all kinds of pits (if you get the drift).
10. Face oils that don’t clog our oceans
Give your skin the TLC it deserves with toxic-free and vegan-friendly face oils. Fields of Yarrow’s Wild Rose illuminating face oil is rich in vitamins E and F, targeting fine lines, wrinkles and dullness. The blend of Abyssinian, cucumber and tea tree essential oils accelerates collagen production and provides anti-oxidant protection. Plus, the packaging is part of the Print Green program where soy-based ink is used. They also collaborate with One Tree Planted so you’re planting a tree with every purchase.
11. Soaps that don’t slip up decades later
Get your hands on Rough Beauty’s bar soaps that’ll make you feel great about your life choices. These handcrafted bars of wonder are wrapped in donated magazine paper if you opt for the low-waste option at checkout. Oh, and My Naked Bar prides itself on its smart sustainable packaging – using upcycled milk cartons contributed by the company.
Likewise, homegrown brand Oasis Skin’s soaps are made with no nasties and no single-use plastic packaging. Almost all the soaps come in sweet cloth bags that can be easily reused at home. We’re also crushing on eco-friendly natural hemp soap bags for daily exfoliation.
12. Remove your makeup the right way
After a long day, removing makeup with makeup wipes is super tempting. But stop right there! Not only is it one of the worst ways to remove makeup, but some wipes are also non-biodegradable. Wipe your face clean with reusable cotton pads or makeup remover towels from The Clean Attempt. Eliminate cotton buds from your routine with Unpackt’s reusable swabs, made of medical silicone.
Staying eco-friendly and having a solid sustainable beauty routine can go hand in hand.
[This article was originally published in 2021 and updated in 2023 by Nicole Nithiyah.]