Design Inspiration Sustainability

Your Favorite Products Have a Big Secret

And it’s really, really incredible…

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We all buy basic goods—things like body wash, shoes, swimsuits—but did you know certain brands have been low-key making those items available in incredibly sustainable versions? Not only sustainable, they’ve been pushing their conservation efforts even further, making the goods and packaging with recycled plastic, often fished out of the ocean.

As you’re probably well aware, our oceans aren’t doing so well. According to Scientific Reports, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (yeah, it’s a proper name) contains over 79,000 tons of plastic across 1.6 million kilometers. And while those numbers are incredibly depressing and daunting, there are brands tackling the problem head-on to try to inspire the consumer industry to clean up its act. Good thing, too, since it’s calculated that only 9 percent of plastic is recycled, meaning 8 million tons end up in our oceans every year. (Which also translates to more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.)

Not to be dramatic, but as activist Captain Paul Watson recently said, “If the oceans die, we die.” And while that might feel overwhelming or impossible to change on an individual level, there are brands working to save not only the oceans, but also every aspect of life that’s associated with our planet’s waters.

Here, a list of the chicest products you’d already want to purchase on their quality alone, but now please allow their incredible conservation efforts to convince you to purchase immediately.

REN Skincare

The gentle-yet-effective British skincare brand REN Skincare is already a beauty darling for their bevy of beautiful and conscious products. But they’ve cemented themselves as one of the most eco-conscious brands around with their newest initiatives. Firstly, they have announced their Clean to Planet initiative, a partnership with the incredible Surfrider Foundation, to bring awareness and change to ocean pollution.

Secondly, Ren has pledged to become a zero waste company by 2021, which is super impressive for a beauty industry brand, which traditionally has a tremendous amounts of waste in the production, packaging, and shipping departments. They’ve even gone so far as to make their packaging foolproof recyclable by removing excess cardboard, using single-layer labels that easily peel off, and switching from metal to plastic pumps.

All those initiatives are absolutely incredible, but perhaps their boldest conservation move is with their newly repackaged Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash ($27). It’s already one of the greatest body washes around: sulfate-free, energizing, and thanks to the awakening essential oil blend, it can actually get body circulation flowing in a sluggish body. And it even has the most lovely, ocean-esque sea salt scent that’s incredibly uplifting.

That’s all great, but the packaging itself is actually the pioneering part: REN teamed up with recycling innovators Terracycle to create a plastic bottle made of 100 percent recycled plastic, 20 percent of which is actually plastic reclaimed from waters, collected by global NGOs from oceans, beaches, rivers, lakes, and shorelines. The other 80 percent comes from empty plastic bottles. Even the pump itself had to be re-engineered (no easy feat) so it was entirely recyclable.

One Ocean Beauty

Ocean conservation is the entire inspiration for One Ocean Beauty—from packaging to partnerships to ingredients, every single aspect has sustainability in mind.

Let’s break that down: The packaging is 100 percent recyclable, and they too are working towards zero waste. The ingredients in the five products (cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream, serum, and marine collagen supplement) are inspired by the ocean—with superpowered ingredients like algae and kelp—but are also entirely focused on big results, like major hydration, firming, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

But most impressively, all ingredients are free from GMOs, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, PEGs, EDTAs, nanoparticles, mineral oil, and synthetic fragrance. It’s rare for a brand to be eco-conscious, and also be effective in results.

As far as partnerships go, One Ocean Beauty has works with Oceana (the largest global science-based organization) to help protect the oceans. And it’s not just for show: “One Ocean Beauty’s support of Oceana is visionary and remarkable,” says Matt Littlejohn, SVP Marketing & Communications for Oceana. “They are making a commitment to Oceana based on their values and a desire to make real change happen for our oceans. Their commitment is long-term, not tied to the percentage of sales model but built into the operating structure of their company. This represents a new corporate model. They are true ocean heroes.”


Beloved bath bomb and body care company Lush has always had a mind towards ethical issues. But they’ve quietly been reducing ocean plastic for years. One of those initiatives is with The Ocean Legacy Foundationa nonprofit focused on getting dirty and actually cleaning up the oceans, have teamed up for a very symbiotic relationship. Ocean Legacy recovers the plastic from the ocean, and Lush purchases this plastic to create their packaging. A match made in plastic heaven, as Lush has said. Lush hopes by offering a financial incentive to collectors, companies will be motivated to remove even more plastic from oceans.

“This is really setting a precedent to allow us to offer incentive to the communities that we’re working with,” says Chloé Dubois, co-founder of Ocean Legacy in a Lush press release. “The long-term vision is to set up these intake centers around the world where people can bring in waste plastics for compensation or other resources they may need…it’s really creating a springboard for the rest of the world to follow.”

Beyond just recycling, Lush is also working on reducing their packaging all together—around 40 percent of their products come naked (i.e. no packaging at all), including their shampoo bars, which save the production of nearly 6 million plastic bottles globally every year. Scrub away, knowing your favorite body care brand is doing good in this world.


Kaleidosoaps’s entire mission is to keep you clean, while saving the Earth at the same time (just a small to-do). But they are bound and determined to take on the overwhelming mission, as evidence from their very fun, but very purposeful products.

The colorful, trippy items may look just for fun at first glance, but they’re also sustainably sourced, eco-friendly, fair trade, and plastic-free. They’ve even created an entire Blue Collection, with ingredients inspired by the ocean, and in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Ocean Conservancy, and Oceana, 10 percent of proceeds go to help each foundation’s ocean conservation projects.

One of my favorites is the solid shampoo bar, Sea My Salt ($11.95) that is meant to replicate the texture of sea-salt waves at home, all while helping to save the oceans.


Chic swimwear brand Fisch notes a statistic that is rather mind blowing: Around 650,000 tons of fishing nets are currently estimated to be dwelling in our oceans. Studies say that in 35 years, the number of fish swimming will be outweighed by the amount of plastic waste.

Guys, that’s horrifying, we can do better than that, right? Fisch thinks so, too, which is why they use 100 percent regenerated nylon fibers from fishnets and other waste to make their swimsuits. If that wasn’t enough, every year Fisch donates 10 percent of profits to the Healthy Seas initiative, a nonprofit that walks the walk when it comes to cleaning up fishing nets and waste in the ocean.

If all of this wasn’t winning you over already, the suits are SPF 50+, handmade in Italy, and absolutely gorgeous. I am seriously eyeing this Colombier Submarine Yellow suit ($105 for each separate) for the minimalist design but maximalist color scheme of my dreams.


While we’re on the subject of swim, did you know OG brand Volcom has an entire sustainability line? And it’s good. Like this Simply Seamless Bodysuit ($145), which is flawless and made of 82 percent recycled nylon nets, which don’t disintegrate in water—they’ll literally float around in our oceans until the end of time.

Volcom has also partnered with Project 0, which is focused on actionable steps to make ocean waste history. Together they’re hoping to restore and protect the world’s oceans, in part by helping take nets out of the waters and upcycle them into nylon swimwear. In addition, Volcom will donate $1 to Project 0 for each bodysuit sold (so buy one for you and your friends!).


Shoes, and especially sneakers, tend to have a negative association when it comes to the labor process. But recently, big name brands are trying to be transparent in their processes, and to partner with nonprofits doing great things, too, including Adidas.

The sportswear brand’s partnership with Parleya nonprofit interested in empowering people to enact small changes for ocean conservation, is extraordinary for many reasons. First, it’s rather incredible that one of the largest shoe companies in the world is making shoes and clothing with recycled soon-to-be ocean waste, intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before it even reaches the water. Secondly, the products really do look great, like these Deerupt Runner Parley Shoes ($120).

We’re feeling outright inspired now by all these incredible brands and products, but did we miss other brands doing good things for the oceans? Let us know!

Keep on recycling: Doing This One Thing Could Get You Secret Beauty Product Discounts You’d Never Guess These Stylish Products Are Actually Recycled Finding Clean (Affordable!) Beauty Is Easier Than You Thought

Kristin Limoges


Kristin can usually be found face, hair, and body masking simultaneously, while thinking-up clever DIYs for her small-space Chinatown apartment. She’s always on the search for the greatest and most life-changing beauty and wellness hacks (hello nootropics and adaptogens) and is happy to report she loves dogs and cats equally.