Are You Using Solid Beauty Products? You Should Be, According to Experts

Environmental experts share the eco-benefits of using solid skin and hair care.

<p>Goir/Getty Images</p>

Goir/Getty Images

We’re going to lead with some not so savory news: The skincare and beauty industry has a monumental impact on the environment, with unsustainable product packaging being the worst offender. Those empties are satisfying, sure, but they also all end up in a landfill.

“The beauty industry also consumes massive amounts of water,” notes Sara Gutterman, the CEO of Green Builder Media in North America. “Studies show that the sector used 10.4 million tons of water in 2020.”

On that note, water is the most urgent issue of this moment—and it’s unfortunately one we haven't adequately solved yet. Gutterman says it’s imperative that all industries change their approach to water usage in order to address both water quality and availability issues.

“We need an all-hands-on-deck approach—every sector of our economy, every business, every individual needs to start thinking about the role they can play to conserve and protect water,” she says. As sole consumers we may not have as much power as companies or global entities, but we can certainly do our part. Utilizing and demanding solid skincare? It might just be a smart place to start.

Solid Skincare: An Eco-Conscious Alternative That Still Delivers

Not all hope is lost. The good news is that there’s greater awareness around this issue, and the resulting demand from beauty consumers has led to an uptick in cosmetic brands examining their environmental impact.

“Water is typically the number-one ingredient in skincare products—traditional moisturizers, cleansers, and creams are composed of about 60 to 80 percent water,” Gutterman explains. “[For example], solid bars only use minimal amounts of water and utilize active, natural ingredients instead.”

Numerous powder-based products and solid skincare have popped up as a viable alternative to liquid-based products. Not only do these products require zero water, but many also require less packaging, notes Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist who focuses on clean and sustainable formulations. She’s also the founder of KKT Innovation Labs. And, because they’re lighter in weight, shipping them doesn’t take up quite as big of a footprint. Koestline adds, “Solid products also last longer and are consumed slower (in most cases) compared to traditional products.”

Environmental Benefits of Solid Skincare

  • Uses zero water

  • Often requires less packaging

  • Typically lasts longer

  • Smaller and lighter to ship

7 Solid Skincare Products to Try

If you’ve ever been hesitant to use solid skincare because you’re worried it’s not as luxurious or well-formulated, we’re here to tell you that the game has seriously changed. Today, you can find elegant products that are a joy to use. Maybe start with a small switch, like swapping out that giant bottle of body wash for a slim bar of soap, or try a gorgeous moisturizing bar over a tub of lotion.

1. Nopalera Flor de Mayo Cactus Soap

Koestline says this is one of her favorite brands for solid skincare. Founded by Mexican-American Sandra Velasquez, the brand champions cactus as their primary ingredient and sells a range of beautiful solid soaps and moisturizers.

Shop Nopalera

2. Kitsch Deep-Moisturizing Conditioner Bar for Dry Damaged Hair

Yep, your shampoo and conditioner can come in solid form, as well. Switch up your mindset and consider trying an award-winning product, like this conditioner bar for dry and damaged hair from Kitsch.

Shop Kitsch 

3. Eco Roots Fresh Mint Zero Waste Shampoo Bar

For a shampoo to go with your conditioner, check out Eco Roots’ lineup of hair care products. The Fresh Mint bar features a minty and cool blend of peppermint and tea tree oils, and nourishes with coconut oil and cocoa butter.

Shop Eco Roots

4. Osmia Rose Clay Facial Soap

“I love Osmia,” says Gutterman. “The company uses high-quality ingredients, plants trees with every purchase, doesn’t use synthetics, petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens, or sulfates. And its products come in recyclable, FSC-certified paper boxes printed with non-toxic UV inks.”

Shop Osmia 

5. Ethique Saving Face Nourishing Solid Face Serum

Follow up your cleansing session with a deeply moisturizing serum. This bar—which operates like one of those old school push up pops—features a blend of moisturizing shea butter, kokum seed butter, jojoba esters, and oil from pomegranate and rosehip.

Shop Ethique

6. Kate McLeod Daily Stone Lotion Bar

This luxurious body bar from Kate McLeod went viral for good reason. It’s incredibly rich and hydrating, smells like rose, frankincense, and neroli, and instantly melts by simply rubbing it across your skin.

Shop Kate McLeod

7. Local Handmade Products

“Also, visit your local farmers’ market or shop sites like Etsy for handmade selections,” advises Gutterman. “These ‘homemade’-type products have a low-carbon overhead and typically have formulations with just a few organic, natural ingredients.”

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