Plastic Free Ear Buds and other Eco-Friendly Beauty Swaps

By Kelly Green

A small estuary seahorse, Hippocampus kuda, drifts in the polluted waters near Sumbawa Besar, Sumbara Island, Indonesia. Photo credit: Justin Hofman, SeaLegacy


A year on from Blue Planet II and a week after the EU Parliament proposed a ban on single-use plastic items including cotton buds, we’re sharing some simple plastic-free swaps for your everyday beauty kit.

Photographer Justin Hofman's heartbreaking image of a tiny seahorse swimming with a discarded plastic ear bud sent shockwaves around the world when it was selected as a finalist in the Natural History Mueseum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

“It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it,” Hofman wrote on Instagram. “This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans.”

Since that photo was shared in September 2017, a ban on single-use plastic items has been proposed by the EU Parliament to come into effect in 2021. This will include plastic ear buds - a bathroom staple in many households. Luckily there are increasing numbers of alternatives out there to help you build a plastic-free and environmentally-friendly beauty kit. Here are some of our favourites: 


Plastic Free Ear Buds and other Eco-Friendly Beauty Swaps