A natural beauty? How to give your bathroom shelves a green makeover

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Pretty packaging and exotic ingredients mean many beauty and makeup products come with a high environmental cost. But there are easy ways to make your skincare regime greener

Beneath its shiny layer of glossy, luxurious perfection, the environmental impact of the beauty industry makes grim reading. Companies produce a reported 120bn units of packaging (much of it plastic); products are shipped all over the world; some supply chains are dubious; and we wash harmful chemicals into our waterways every day. The personal care and beauty industry seems to have caught on to the sustainability movement relatively late. “It takes a long time for big corporations to turn around systems and to make big change,” says Katie Service, a writer and beauty editorial director of Harrods. “But at the same time, beauty is a nimble and agile industry. There are a lot of small, independent companies, and they’re able to pioneer lots of sustainable practices.” Service has written a book, The Beauty Brief, about skincare, but she is also passionate about her industry becoming more environmentally friendly. Here are her tips on what we, as consumers, can do, and also on the changes the big brands need to make right now.

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