Irish Daily Mail

Setting a new bar for anti-agers

From serums to wrinkle-busting balms, eco beauty brands are . . .

- By Anna Maxted

FOR decades, solid beauty wasn’t cool. Who wanted a miserable, soggy shampoo bar as part of their beauty routine? But priorities change. While we’re still not keen on soggy soap, we are more committed to sustainabl­e beauty, reducing plastic pollution and avoiding forest-ravaging ingredient­s such as palm oil.

Sales of minimally packaged solid products — oil in the form of a solid slab, or a balm that comes as a tablet — increased by over a third this year.

And, tellingly, it’s not just haircare and soap that are being developed as solid products, but sophistica­ted midlife skincare staples such as wrinkle-busting serums and night creams.

As attitudes shift, more luxury brands are joining the solid beauty revolution — such as skincare company Sbtrct, which recently launched the first ever solid retinol product.

‘There’s an ever-growing awareness that we need to make significan­t changes in our lifestyle, says founder Benjamin Grace. ‘It used to be that there were two very clear groups of consumers — the environmen­tally conscious ones and then mainstream consumers. But now there’s no line between them. The two groups have merged.’

So if we wish to consolidat­e our eco-friendly beauty arsenal but stay stylish, what’s out there?


Saving Face Serum, €29 for 65g, by NZ brand Ethique. WHAT IS IT? Unscented, and launched in frustratio­n at the cosmetic industry’s ‘abhorrent amount of waste’, this contains delightful ingredient­s (100 per cent palm-free) — shea butter, rosehip and pomegranat­e oils. Previously it arrived as bars in a box, but now it’s in a compostabl­e push-up tube. VERDICT: Excellent quality and top marks for inventiven­ess. But good storage is essential as once it dries out, it’s like trying to rub candle wax into your face. 3/5


Sbtrct’s Rejuvenati­ng Night Balm, €30.50 for 24g, WHAT IS IT? A groundbrea­ker, this is the first solid product containing a gentle form of retinol. It contains moisture-retaining squalane (an olive-derived skinhydrat­ing compound). VERDICT: It feels richer than mere moisturise­r and takes effort to massage in. Hours later, my skin feels pleasingly plump. 5/5


Bloom Jelly Serum Bar by Dew Mighty, €40, WHAT IS IT? A skincare superhero, it apparently does the job of up to eight products (calming redness, adding moisture, smoothing roughness, for example) and certainly contains hard-working ingredient­s — vitamin C, squalane, blue chamomile oil, magnolia bark extract, jojoba seed oil and liquorice extract. VERDICT: It’s water-free and impressive in both style and substance. 4/5


The Perfector by Ethique, €32 for 65g, feelunique. com WHAT IS IT? This face moisturise­r for dry to mature skin contains butters, seed oils and wax. Strictly speaking it’s a balm, not a cream, and ideally needs an airtight container to protect it. VERDICT: It softens quickly and does a thorough job, feeling silky and protective. Aesthetics aside, I heartily approve. 3/5


Gallinée’s Prebiotic Cleansing Bar, €15.50 for 100g from

WHAT IS IT? Perfume-free and soap-free for sensitive skin, it contains lactic acid and prebiotics to support the skin’s microbiome. VERDICT: My skin felt nicely hydrated after using it. 4/5


Black Gold Polishing Bar by Buttah Skin. €15.50 for two

109g bars, WHAT IS IT? Containing vitamin C and vitamin B3 to help protect skin from free radicals, this bar also boasts African cocoa butter, plus minerals such as activated charcoal powder. VERDICT: With an intoxicati­ng musky scent, this feels like an affordable, everyday sort of luxury. 4/5


Full of Grace Facial Oil, €12 for 20g, WHAT IS IT? This oil bar contains Murumuru butter (made from fruit fat found in murumuru nuts), organic almond oil and rose oil. VERDICT: It melts onto my skin, absorbs well and feels softening but non-greasy. 3/5

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