Over the past few years, as consumers have become more aware of the impact of single-use plastic on the environment, there’s been a backlash against certain harmful products, and an effort to eradicate them from our lives.
Plastic drinking straws have been replaced with metal or bamboo versions, and clear plastic water bottles with trendy reusables. In bathrooms all over the world, face wipes and cotton pads have disappeared, and washable fabric rounds or flannels have become hugely popular.
For beauty lovers who want to remove their make-up or apply skincare products such as toner daily, ditching wipes and pads makes a big difference to their environmental footprint. Sheet masks, on the other hand, have escaped the backlash so far – but that might be about to change.
The UK’s leading health and wellbeing store, Holland and Barrett, have announced they are banning single-use sheet masks in stores and online. The retailer is encouraging customers to switch to multi-use masks instead.
Originating in Korea, face-shaped sheet masks soaked in serum are loved for their moisturising and glow-giving properties, and have been a massive beauty trend in recent years. An estimated one million masks are thrown away each day.
Joanne Cooke, beauty trading director at Holland and Barrett, says: “Beauty sheet masks can only be used once, so following a review, we feel they no longer fit our clean and conscious beauty ethos, which is why we’ve decided to act now and stop selling them.
“We know our customers are eco-conscious and passionate about protecting the environment, and we hope this move makes it a little bit easier for them to make their beauty regimes more sustainable. We’re encouraging them to join our #notanothersheetmask movement, and pledge to switch to more sustainable options.”
Generously soaked in active-packed serum, sheet masks are incredibly effective, because they prevent the liquid from evaporating while you wear them, meaning more of it penetrates your skin. Fans will know how satisfying it is to peel off the sheet and find a dewy, healthy-looking complexion after just 20 minutes.
But beauty products made for one use, such as make-up wipes and sheet masks, create a lot of unnecessary refuse. In the case of sheet masks, there’s a pouch, the mask, and sometimes the mask is even wrapped in a plastic sheet. Usually, none of the components are recyclable and they need to be thrown away. At best, these materials end up in a landfill; at worst, they end up in the ocean.
More sustainable options include Skin Republic’s Reusable Silicone Mask, a reusable sheet mask with all the benefits of a sheet mask and more.
Ultra-thin silicone masks such as this, have advanced 3D technology that provides the perfect fit, adheres to the contours of the face, locks in moisture and enhances serum absorption whilst being a low waste skincare alternative. It has the added benefit of being able to be used with any serum your skin needs at the time.
Balance your beauty habits
If you absolutely cannot bear the thought of a self-care Sunday without a sheet mask, you shouldn’t feel ashamed. You could look for brands that use organic, biodegradable and recyclable materials. Or try to purchase masks in multi-packs as opposed to those individually wrapped.
Some people even make their own sheet masks by draping a warm face cloth over their face after applying serums and creams.
As with many product categories, it’s a bit of a minefield when it comes to finding masks that are effective but don’t leave you drowning in eco-guilt. With so many different skincare options, the choice is up to you.
If a sheet mask is your go-to pick-me-up, you can always look at other parts of your beauty regime to reduce waste.
Do you use face masks? What is your favourite brand? Share your go-to home beauty treatments in the comments section below.
– With PA
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