Product Reviews Sustainable Living

March Product ‘Empties’ with a Sustainable Twist

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My March empties packaging laid out on a dark green background

I have seen quite a lot of ‘empties’ posts around recently, especially by beauty bloggers showing the products they have used up in the past month. Although I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘beauty blogger’, I thought it would be fun to join in the trend!

You might be thinking, ‘Hey, I thought you were into sustainable living, so what’s with you consuming all these products, most of which come in plastic bottles and tubes?!’

You’re absolutely right, I do strive towards living a sustainable lifestyle, and I aim to buy products with minimal packaging and avoid plastic where possible! But I am certainly not anywhere near ‘perfect’ in this respect! The fact is, I HAVE used up several packaged products this month, so I might as well talk about them!

Although most of my ‘empties’ this month did happen to come in some kind of tube or bottle, I do also currently use some ‘naked’ products including shampoo bars and soap bars. So if I do any future ‘empties’ posts, there’s no reason why I have to have empty packaging to show for it. I can include ‘invisible empties’ and simply write about the products I have used up! 

Trying to make my future ‘empties’ posts as packaging free as possible will be a motivating challenge for me, and it will encourage me to buy ‘naked’ products on a larger scale, in place of packaged ones. It will be a way to monitor what I am buying and consuming, and make me more aware of what materials are left over afterwards. Of course, some products have to come in some kind of packaging. But I can aim for minimal packaging, and sustainable materials such as cardboard and glass.

I will include various types of product in my ‘empties’ posts, not just cosmetics and beauty products. For example, I will include some food and drink products, supplements, stationary, and basically anything that can be ‘used up’!

So, what did I use up in March?

Garnier Skin Naturals – BB Cream: Miracle Skin Perfector Eye Roll-On. Shade: Light
An empty tube of Garner Skin Naturals - BB Cream: Miracle Skin Perfector Eye Roll-On
I cut the end off the tube so that I could get the last of the product out with my finger! The tube originally came in a cardboard box, which I no longer have.

This is a product that I have been using to conceal the dark circles under my eyes. It is the best product I have tried so far for this purpose. A little goes a long way, and the 7ml tube has lasted me for around 5 years. I don’t wear make-up every day, but if I apply even just one product then it would be this one. It brightens up my eyes and makes me look more healthy and awake! 

I usually start by moisturising under my eyes, because if I apply the product on its own, the skin under my eyes tends to get dry and flaky. This especially happens if I have used make-up for several days in a row. Lately, I have been using LUSH Enchanted Eye Cream for this purpose, and I have used their Gorgeous moisturiser in the past. I then apply a little of the BB Cream and blend with my finger. Lastly, I dab some powder on top so that my skin looks matte, not oily.

The shade of the BB Cream is perfect for me, because it is quite orangey. My dark circles are blueish, so the orange cancels out the blue. But if your dark circles are more grey, brown, pink or another colour, then you may find this cream a bit too orange!

The product is easy to apply as you just roll on the amount you need. Occasionally though, a bit too much product comes out, especially if the tube has been stood on its end. When this happened, I tended to just dab a bit onto my finger first instead of rolling it straight onto my under-eye area.

In terms of functionality, I would purchase this product again because it works well, but for other reasons I don’t intend to re-purchase it right away. I have some other similar products that need using up, so I will use those first (provided they effectively cover my dark circles!) Also, in terms of sustainability, I would try and find a similar product that comes in a tin or glass jar, instead of a plastic tube. Furthermore, Garnier is not a cruelty-free company, so I would prefer to avoid them in the future, and choose a cruelty-free brand instead.

Hairburst Conditioner for Longer, Stronger Hair.
An empty bottle of Hairburst conditioner

As you may have read in my previous posts, I am currently using the Hairburst range of hair products, in an attempt to get my hair to grow longer and thicker. I have already written a lot about this product in my latest update, so feel free to check it out. I have got through the conditioner a lot faster than the shampoo, so that’s why the conditioner alone has made it into my empties this month!

Of course, the Hairburst products come in plastic bottles, which is not ideal from a sustainability point of view. I am really keen to find out whether these products help with my hair growth. If not, I will be back to my favourite LUSH shampoo and conditioner bars!

LUSH Snow Fairy Shower Gel
An empty bottle of LUSH Snow Fairy Shower Gel

I won a LUSH gift set in a raffle in January, which I was delighted about because I love LUSH products! This 100g bottle of Snow Fairy Shower Gel was one of the items in the set. On closer inspection, I found that the products in the set were actually a year out of date! It must have been an unwanted gift the Christmas before last. I was still happy to use the products, but I thought I’d better use them sooner than later!

The bottle needed a good shake because the ‘glitter’ had separated and was all sat at the bottom. But apart from that, I didn’t notice any negative effects of it being out of date.

I have used Snow Fairy Shower Gel in the past, and it has a really nice, sweet scent. It works just as you’d expect a shower gel to work, and there’s not much more I can say about it!

It is suitable for vegans, and the bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic, so it’s not too bad on the sustainability side of things. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it again, because I get on well with soaps and solid shower gels, which are an even better option for the environment. 

Country & Stream – Natural Honey Lip
An empty tube of Country & Stream Natural honey lip balm
The writing you can see here is in English, but on the back of the tube it is all in Japanese!

I bought this lip balm in Tokyo when I visited there in 2015! I had managed to drop and lose my other one (long story!) so I needed to buy a new one as I get dry lips and use lip balm regularly.

As most of the writing on the tube is in Japanese, I have no idea what is actually in this lip balm! However, I assume that it contains honey, which means that it is not suitable for vegans. 

This lip balm has been a staple in my bag for the last 4 years, and I’ve found it to be very smooth and moisturising.

They sell this lip balm on amazon.com but I haven’t found any UK suppliers. If you are lucky enough to be in Japan, I’m sure you will have an easier time sourcing this product!

The product comes in a plastic tube, which for lip balms, I find much more convenient than those that come in a tin. However, for sustainability reasons, I am moving towards using more ‘tinned’ lip balms instead of ‘tubed’.

I probably wouldn’t purchase this again, because I prefer to buy vegan products. It would also be hard for me to get hold of this product in England! But if I ever visit Japan again, I will keep a look out for this brand. Maybe they sell any other ‘flavours’ of lip balm that are vegan.

Eloments Organic Vitamin Tea – Summer Orange
An empty teabag pouch of Eloments organic vitamin tea in Summer Orange flavour. A red mug is next to the pouch.
I know the mug is empty… Of course that’s because I drank the tea weeks ago! 😉

I received a free sample (1 teabag) of this tea when I was shopping in a health food shop. The cashier explained that Eloments is a new, fair-trade brand that is owned and founded by women. The teas are enriched with vitamins and minerals, which is unusual – I have never come across vitamin enriched tea before. The website claims that the vitamins are 100% natural and organic, unlike most vitamin supplements which are synthetic.

A gif showing the packaging of the Eloments Organic Vitamin Tea

The company makes several flavours but I got Summer Orange. It was nice, and very orangey. The top ingredient is green tea, followed by orange peel. I wondered if the green tea might overpower the orange taste, but this was not the case.

I wouldn’t order this tea specially, as I already have a lot of other teas to use up. But if I saw this product in a shop, I would purchase it, and try the other flavours too!

Peppersmith Sugar Free Gum – English Peppermint
An empty box of Peppersmith sugar-free gum in English Peppermint flavour

It is only within the past year that I have got into chewing gum, and this was mainly as a way to help ease anxiety. I always choose gum that is sugar free and does not contain artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame. The Peppersmith gum is sweetened with Xylitol, a plant based sweetener that is considered safe to consume. (Be aware that Xylitol is toxic to dogs, so make sure your furry friends don’t get hold of your gum!) The gum is vegan and gluten free.

This gum is very strong and minty when first chewed. It has the effect of making you suck air inwards to relieve the strong, almost painful tingling sensation. I don’t see this as a bad thing, because this stage doesn’t last for long, and after that it keeps its minty flavour for a long time compared to some other gums I’ve tried, for example, PUR gum.

I have also used Peppersmith’s ‘English Spearmint’ gum, which is definitely a different kind of mint taste to the Peppermint. The Peppermint has a stronger, sharper flavour, whereas the Spearmint has a softer flavour.

The texture is chewy (as you would expect!) and it is not ‘slimy’ as some gums can be.

The gum comes in a cardboard box, which opens and closes in a neat, satisfying way. Unfortunately the box comes wrapped in plastic film. I would love to see this company ditch the plastic film, or at least use a biodegradable equivalent.

You get 10 pieces of gum in the box, which is more than you get in most ‘pill pack’ style gums such as PUR gum where you get 9. (Don’t get me wrong, I like PUR gum! I’m just using it for comparison as it is the main other brand of gum I have used.)

I would definitely purchase this gum again, but if I found a brand of gum that doesn’t use plastic packaging, then I would switch to that. Even better, a gum that is biodegradable itself!

Boots General Health Multivitamins – 6 months supply
An empty bottle of Boots General Health Multivitamins

I actually acquired this product from a friend, who bought these vitamins by accident, thinking they were chewable vitamins rather than tablets. He gave them to me as he was not going to use them. They sat on my shelf for quite some time, as I wasn’t in the habit of taking vitamin tablets regularly at the time, and I had another bottle of vitamins of a different sort which I used first. 

The product claims to provide ‘13 essential nutrients to support general wellbeing’, including ‘Vitamin C to support your immune system and B Vitamins to help release energy from food’. It warns that is it not suitable for children under 12, and to consult your doctor before taking it when pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or taking blood thinning medications.

By the time I got round to using these vitamins, they were actually out of date! The Best Before End date is January 2017. It’s probably not recommended to take out-of-date vitamins, but I figured that they were unlikely to do me any harm. The worst that could happen is that the vitamins would be slightly less effective. So I started to take one each morning.

The tablets are fairly small and I found them easy to swallow, but I have no trouble swallowing pills anyway. I can’t say I’ve noticed any particular benefits to taking these tablets, but it’s difficult to know whether they have had an effect or not. I’ve been fortunate not to have had many colds or illnesses over the past few years, but that could also be attributed to my oil pulling and healthy lifestyle in general.

I probably wouldn’t choose these particular vitamins in the future because they seem to have quite a few questionable added ingredients such as anti-caking agents, colours, modified corn starch, and corn oil (although they do claim to be free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives). They also contain shellac which means they are not vegan. If I was buying vitamins again, I would choose ones that are vegan, and that have less added ingredients. I would also try to find vitamins that come in a glass jar instead of a plastic container, if such a brand exists! Perhaps I will just drink lots of Eloments vitamin tea!

I cannot find these particular vitamins on the Boots website, so I think they may have been discontinued anyway! But they sell plenty of similar vitamin products.

Bach Original Flower Remedies – Rescue Remedy Drops (20ml)
An empty bottle of Rescue Remedy drops, alongside the empty cardboard box it came in

I have used Rescue Remedy drops a lot over the past year, since I began struggling with anxiety. I often put several drops into my bottle of water, and use that in conjunction with the Rescue Pastilles. Whether it actually helps to calm me down, I don’t know! But it’s comforting to know that I have it on hand, even if it just provides a placebo effect. 

The product contains various flower extracts in a grape alcohol solution, and it is suitable for vegans. It tastes quite strong, especially if you drop it directly onto your tongue, but the taste is pleasant, in my opinion.

The remedy comes in a glass bottle, within a cardboard box. The lid is made of plastic though, and it comes with a small piece of plastic film sealed around the lid. But compared to other products, it is not too bad in terms of the amount of plastic used. However, I do wish that a larger bottle was available. I tend to get through bottles pretty quickly, a bottle every 1-2 months, so it would be great if I were able to ‘bulk buy’ and save on packaging that way.

As I said, I use this product a lot, so I am bound to purchase it again, and I would recommend it to anyone who struggles with anxiety.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the products I have used up this month!

If any of you have used these products or similar, I would love to hear what your experience was with them. And if you have any recommendations of more sustainable and plastic free alternatives to some of these products, I would love to know!

10 Comments

  1. I’m trying to get more into green beauty and sustainable living. I am a beauty blogger and it’s sooo hard to resist all the new releases. This year though I’m doing “Project Pan” where Im using my makeup enough to see the pan (the base of it) and eventually empty it.

    Hannah the Mad Dog

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      That’s great that you are trying to get more into sustainable living! I know what you mean… I very rarely actually use up a make-up product! Project Pan sounds like a great idea!

  2. I love how you’ve used up everything. I tend to use everything up to the very end as well. We love Lush products in our house. Thank you for your post. Raheela

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I also like to use my products to the very end, but I do end up with a lot of half-used products which I don’t get around to using for years! I love LUSH products! 🙂

  3. Jessica says:

    Great Post Sophie !! 💕 I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thanks Jessica! Have a wonderful week too! 💕

  4. It’s great that you’re working towards being more sustainable! I love reading what people use up and that conditioner sounds perfect! That’s exactly the kind of thing that I usually go for so I’ll be looking into that. I’ve read about those tea bags before and think they sound like an amazing way too easily boost your intake x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I would recommend the conditioner (and the shampoo to go with it) – I haven’t been using it long enough to tell if it’s making much of a difference to my hair growth, but it’s definitely a nice conditioner anyway. That’s cool that you’ve heard of those tea bags! Yeah, it’s a much more enjoyable way to get vitamins, rather than just taking tablets! x

  5. I love reading through empties posts! This is great and I’m the same with recycling/using less packaging.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I love reading them too! That’s great that you’re trying to recycle more / use less packaging too!

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