How to make your Hygiene practices sustainable after Lockdown

Our entire industry has changed in the face of COVID-19. New safety protocol risks us falling back into the trappings of unsustainable practices, with single-use consumables and unnecessary product waste. Here are our recommendations for a safe and sustainable makeup artistry practice as we start to return to work.

Sustainability is not just about the environment. It is a holistic plan that considers an end goal that takes the Planet, natural and human eco-systems into account (net-zero emissions, water security, ecology, human rights, material resource security). The bottom line is that a sustainable kit and practice is one that has the most minimal impact on all of the above while allowing you to earn a living and stay healthy while doing so.

Developing a sustainable kit and hygiene practices is not a one-size-fits-all plan – however, health and safety in the face of COVD-19 is more of a blanket approach.  So here are some of our favourite sustainable solutions to keep you and your clients safe. Ultimately, with very little government guidance (certainly here in the UK), it will come down to you and your client as to what the appropriate measures are when returning to work. 

If you are working with private clients, discuss your mutual concerns around how you would both like to handle the interaction –  and be sure to respect their concerns and ask them to respect yours.

If you are working on a film, tv or advertising industry – you might be required to wear enhanced PPE in order to be allowed to work. We have included links to the different unions and governing bodies that have set out the guidelines we refer too in this article.  Please remember to do your own research and follow the guidelines issued by your own government. 

Kit Basics


Instead of having new, separate products for each artist/client, using a clean, sterile knife to cut or scrape what product you will need for that artist/client/model throughout the day, into this lightweight pocket pallet. You would need one pallet for each person you are working on. 


This helps in minimising product waste and is easy to clean and sanitise afterwards. You can even sterilise the pans between uses in a UV box if you have on.



Good hygiene and hand sanitiser are not new to us! However, with the omnipresent concern around the virus, we will be using more of it. Most commercial hand sanitizers are designed to kill all the bacteria living on our skin – which contrary to popular belief, is not a good thing. We need good bacteria to keep our skin (an ecosystem) healthy and fighting fit. Not to mention, many of these hand sanitisers come in small, plastic bottles.

Beauty Kitchen offers a truly sustainable solution. Refillable glass hand-sanitister bottles and plastic-free refills. Moreover, their Return, Refill, Repeat system offers a solution to the single-use system. Remember, it’s not only plastic that is the problem – it is our single-use mindset we need to change. Their products are also certified vegan.



  • For cotton buds – look for paper sticks and cotton from fairtrade, organic sources. This is the best solution in the current climate.
  • Cotton pads – if you or your client feel more comfortable with single-use cotton pads, ensure they are fairtrade and organic cotton, but it’s worth remembering that if you have reusable wipes, they can be washed at 60C or above to kill the virus. If you decide to use reusables, make sure you have enough that between washes you can still “quarantine” them for 72hours+ between uses.
  • Face and hand wipes – seek out biodegradable options – again, ensure that the manufacturer/supplier provides details about their biodegradability and how you need to dispose of it (otherwise, you’re just buying into their greenwashing).
  • Tissues: look for unbleached options and opt for ones made from renewable feedstocks like bamboo. We love Who Gives A Crap – because they also give back 50% of their profits into building toilets and providing water sanitation for communities around the world who do not have such privileges (a.k.a human rights).



You may be required to wear disposable gloves as part of your PPE or to respect your client’s concerns. These are often made from vinyl and other synthetic materials (made from petrochemicals) and are not biodegradable, and latex/natural rubber, while natural, is associated with unsustainable harvesting practices. Not to mention, many people have latex sensitivities – so always check with your artist/client/model.


When looking for biodegradable gloves – make sure the manufacturer or retailer provides information about how long the gloves take to degrade and under what conditions – so you ensure that they are disposed of correctly and can degrade as intended.


Remember, that gloves do not stop the spread of the virus, so if you do opt to wear them, or are required to wear them by production, they should be changed after each interaction and they do not reduce the need for enhanced hand-washing and hygiene practices.


This helps in minimising product waste and is easy to clean and sanitise afterwards. You can even sterilise the pans between uses in a UV box if you have on.


Plastic-Free Face Shields

The Plastic Free Face Shields by Reel Brands is made from recyclable and compostable materials – wood pulp + Cellulose. the new more advanced “Flip Up” model is very convenient. The Minimum order is rather larger (150 pieces) so do what we did and share an order among a few people if it’s more practical.




Again, if you are required to wear advanced PPE – which includes clothes coverings – rather than single-use plastic aprons – which are required for advanced PPE, look for natural fabric capes, gowns, aprons or even boiler suits. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, or you know someone who is, you can make some from organic cotton, other eco-friendly fabric or at the very least –  end-of-roll fabrics. We love Offset Warehouse for finding quality fabrics. 


Make sure you have one gown per cast/model/client – so you are always wearing a clean one – and once you’re done working on that client, remove the gown, throw it straight into an old pillowcase and take it home to be washed. Again, wash at 60C+ to ensure the virus is killed and air dry to reduce emissions associated with washing and drying.

Photo by who?du!nelson on Unsplash

Other things you can do to Limit your impact


  • Buy in bulk to minimise shipping costs and delivery emissions – you can even share the costs with friends and other colleagues who live nearby or you know you will be seeing soon (physically distancing, of course). 


  • Support small, independent stores wherever possible. Avoid buying from Amazon. 


  • Call brands out publicly – but politely (nastiness gets you nowhere and just shuts people off from paying attention to what you have to say) – when they are greenwashing, or use unnecessary packaging, or using irresponsible language or messaging. 


  • And lastly, finish what you have before buying anything else!


UK Guidelines

*page numbers correct at the time of writing this article.


We will continue to add to this list as more guidelines become available – please feel free to send any that you might come across that we can add to this list.

In Conclusion

While many of the brands and products mentioned here are not readily available all over the world, my hope is that I have provided you with enough insight on how to seek out the most sustainable solutions for you, wherever you are. It’s imperative that you do your own research too. We would love to hear what you find so we can share if with CBU’s growing global community of beauty professionals.

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The four pillars of CBU are: Education, Sustainability, Ethics and Health & Wellbeing. Read about values, vision and mission and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about our Clean Beauty Sessions, special discounts and more!

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