Ready to ditch single-use plastic when it comes to your skincare routine? Here are five of the best plastic-free face moisturiser brands to try, including vegan-friendly and palm oil-free brands.
Let’s face up to facts. The beauty industry – as glamorous and feel-good as it may appear – has an ugly side.
Statistics report that 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. The majority of which isn’t recyclable or easily recyclable. And much of this plastic packaging ends up in landfills and in our oceans, where it’s bad news for the environment.
Thanks to consumer pressure, many brands have started to reduce the amount of plastic they use in their packaging. And when it comes to moisturiser, some pioneering brands have gone completely plastic-free. These brands have removed every last bit of plastic packaging, for a truly zero-waste beauty routine.
But where to start? Let me help! Over the last few months, I’ve thoroughly tested lots of plastic-free face moisturisers to help you find the right brand for your skin type.
Guide To The Best Plastic-Free Moisturiser
Here are the best zero-waste and plastic-free facial skincare brands out there right now, delivering impressive results without compromising on ethics.
Use these quick links to jump to information about each brand, or keep scrolling for the full details.
The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser
⭐ Best for dull or tired skin
|Palm oil-free||❌ (uses RSPO palm oil)|
|Jar size||50 ml|
|Price per ml||40p|
|Available from||The Body Shop|
The Body Shop was a huge part of my childhood in the early 1990s. My friends and I loved spending our pocket money on fruity soaps, bath pearls, and lip balms by a brand that was at the forefront of greening the beauty industry.
With L’Oreal buying The Body Shop in 2006, I gave up on The Body Shop. L’Oreal’s links to animal testing and other factors felt incompatible with everything The Body Shop stood for.
Now that L’Oreal no longer owns The Body Shop – selling it to sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free beauty brand Natura & Co (who also owns Aesop) in 2017 – it’s a brand that I’ve been excited to get re-acquainted with.
I’m glad to see that The Body Shop has been quietly switching out plastic where possible. Now many of its products come plastic-free.
The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser is one of them. This comes in fully plastic-free packaging. The recyclable glass jar is topped with an aluminium lid and is packaged inside a cardboard box.
The Body Shop says:
“Our moisturiser instantly peps up skin, helping it feel hydrated and refreshed, with a glowy finish! Made with 96% ingredients of natural origin, our vitamin C moisturiser is infused with camu camu berry extract. Camu camu berries are known to contain more than double the vitamin C content you’d find in juicy oranges. Skin feels instantly smoother and softer, with a visibly less dull and more radiant complexion.”
I was surprised to find that the moisturiser itself has more of a gel texture to it than a cream, but it doesn’t affect how moisturising this lovely product is.
I have found that it takes a minute or two to sink into my skin, but once it does it leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed, without any stickiness or pilling. It really does feel like a boost for tired skin. I don’t think it’s quite moisturising enough for my maturing skin care needs though – I think next time I would try its Edelweiss moisturiser – also plastic-free.
I also love its slightly citrus scent. It’s very mild, so if you don’t like strong scents then I don’t think this would bother you.
And on an entirely superficial level, this sleek jar looks very pretty in my bathroom cabinet!
💷 Moral Fibres can get 20% off full-priced items at The Body Shop online (excluding gift cards and gifts) until 31st March 2023 by using the discount code 14315 at the checkout. This can only be used once per customer, and cannot be redeemed in conjunction with any other promotion or offer.
Silvan Skincare Rejuvenate Face Cream
⭐ Best for plastic-free moisturiser for over 40s
|Palm oil-free||❌ (from a COSMOS-approved sustainable source)|
|Made in||The UK|
|Jar size||50 ml|
|Price per ml||46p|
|Available from||Blomma Beauty|
Looking for a plastic-free, vegan and cruelty-free moisturiser for more mature skin? It might feel like an impossible find, but thankfully Wales-based Silvan Skincare fills this niche perfectly.
Silvan’s mission is to create effective, affordable and gentle skincare using the highest quality organic and sustainable plant-based ingredients.
Using organically, ethically and fairtrade sourced ingredients, each product is blended by hand in small batches. Its award-winning products are blended to suit sensitive and reactive skins.
Whilst Silvan offers a wide range of plastic-free beauty products, I opted to buy its Rejuvenate face cream.
Silvan Skincare says:
“[Use this] nourishing vegan moisturiser to care for naturally ageing skin with organic macadamia oil, frankincense and rose geranium to replenish the skin and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines.”
Ever since I came across Silvan Skincare, I’ve been keen to try out its award-winning Rejuvenate moisturiser, that’s specifically formulated for more mature skin. Since I hit my 40s, my skin does feel like it needs more TLC, especially in winter.
I was instantly impressed. This really rich cream provides instant hydration – day and night – and has quickly become a new favourite. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tacky or oily – making it a great base for applying makeup.
I was worried the smell would be powerful, but it wasn’t at all. Instead, it’s incredibly delicate,
💷 Take 10% off at Blomma Beauty when you use the code MORALFIBRES10 at the checkout.
Miniml Multi-Vitamin Glow Face Cream
⭐ Best plastic-free moisturiser for teens and 20s
|Made in||The UK|
|Jar size||50 ml|
|Price per ml||26p|
Shopping on a tighter budget? Miniml’s Multi-Vitamin Glow Moisturiser, which features Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), C and E, is a more affordable option compared to the other brands featured, without compromising on ethics.
All of Miniml’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free products are proudly made in Britain. What’s more, the brand uses only plant-based formulas and has a zero-waste supply chain.
What’s also to love is that Miniml offers a true zero-waste solution to smooth skin. The plastic-free glass jar (which has a metal lid) can be refilled. Either refill at your local zero-waste shop, or through Miniml’s clever closed-loop refill scheme that operates by post.
“A hydrating, cream moisturiser that’s suitable for all skin types. Niacinamide, Vitamin C, E & Aloe vera creates a daily protective barrier which will support your skin barrier and even skin tone; soothe irritated skin; hydrate skin; and improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines and wrinkles.”
I felt that this plastic-free moisturiser, as much as I wanted to love it, wasn’t moisturising enough for my 40+ skincare needs.
I think for teens and those in their 20s or early 30s, it would be fantastic, especially as it’s not as expensive as the other brands. My oldest daughter, a real skincare aficionado – loves this cream. It’s non-greasy, leaving a matt finish, and sinks in quickly. Plus it doesn’t contain palm oil, which is a real plus point. But for me, after application, my skin sadly felt dry and tight.
What I did love about this cream is that, unlike some moisturisers I’ve used in the past, it doesn’t pill. This cream is also unscented, which if you have sensitive skin or a sensitive nose, would be a real plus point.
💷Get 15% off with the code Miniml15 at the checkout.
Ethique The Perfector
⭐ Best For truly zero-waste plastic-free moisturiser
|Made in||New Zealand|
|Price per ml||32p|
|Available from||Holland & Barrett|
If you want a plastic-free moisturiser that is truly zero-waste then try Ethique’s The Perfector. This solid face cream comes in a cardboard push-up tube that is fully recyclable and home-compostable when you’re done.
This New-Zealand based beauty brand – available in the UK at Holland & Barrett – is not only certified cruelty free and vegan, but every single product is palm oil-free and packaged without plastic.
Ethique is also a certified B-Corp, is certified climate neutral, and donates a percentage of its profit to charity. In short, it’s got a whole lot of eco credentials!
“A creamy, deeply nourishing face cream that’s formulated for even the driest skin, The Perfector is chock full of luxuriously replenishing ingredients such as kokum butter, jojoba, and hydrating hyaluronic acid. The smoothing blend helps soften skin and protect it against transepidermal water loss for nourished, healthier-looking skin.”
Whilst I happily use a solid shampoo bar, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy using a solid moisturiser bar on my face.
At first, it felt like the stick dragged on my skin and didn’t do anything. However, I quickly found that if popped the tube on my radiator for 30 seconds, this warms the bar, making it much easier to apply.
When I’m in a hurry, or the heating isn’t on, then I’ve found that applying the moisturiser to damp or freshly cleansed skin also helps the stick to glide across your skin. You can then use your fingers to press this rich moisturiser into your skin.
I prefer to use this moisturiser at night time. It is quite oily and feels like it sits on top of your skin – leaving it feeling greasy, which isn’t so great for daytime use.
When I first tried this stick out overnight, I didn’t think it would do much because it wasn’t sinking in. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my skin felt incredibly soft the next morning – softer than any other plastic-free moisturiser I’ve tried.
I really like that it is truly zero-waste. I just wish it was made closer to home – it does come from quite literally the other side of the world.
Whilst Ethique says this moisturiser doesn’t have any added fragrance, this doesn’t mean it’s fragrance-free. It’s got a beautiful herbaceous smell – similar to a blend of rosemary and lavender. I really like the smell, but if you aren’t a fan of scented products then it may not appeal to you.
UpCircle Face Moisturiser With Vitamin E
⭐ Best for palm oil-free and organic plastic-free moisturiser
|Made in||The UK|
|Jar size||60 ml|
|Price per ml||35p|
Finally, if you prefer your face cream to be palm oil-free AND organic then you are in luck. UpCircle’s award-winning and fully plastic-free moisturiser avoids palm oil and uses organic ingredients.
New to UpCircle? UpCircle is a British brand specialising in upcycling food waste ingredients into effective skincare products. All of its products are vegan and cruelty-free. Meanwhile, UpCircle never uses any SLS, SLEs, parabens, mineral oil, perfume or sulfates in its products.
“A multi-award-winning deeply hydrating, fast-absorbing face moisturiser with Vitamin E to nourish and brighten the skin.
This dermatologically approved vegan face cream is suitable for all skin types. Vitamin E-rich argan powder is combined with skin-soothing cocoa butter, aloe vera and blood orange.”
I was excited to try this moisturiser as I was impressed by its eco credentials. It ticks so many boxes. What’s more, if your local zero-waste shop offers UpCircle refills, you can even refill your jar there, minimising your environmental impact further.
I’m pleased to report that it lived up to my expectations (and beyond). This rich yet non-greasy cream sank quickly into my skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple all day. It didn’t pill or leave a sticky or oily finish.
I also like that it’s not heavily scented. Instead, it has a delicate fresh scent that isn’t overbearing.
The only I would say is that I think it’s best for daytime use – it feels a little too light for overnight use.
Hopefully, my guide can help you in your search for sustainably moisturised skin. As always, if I come across any more plastic-free moisturiser brands that I rate, I’ll be sure to update this article. Do check back soon! I’ve also put together a guide to the best organic body lotion – including lots of plastic-free options.