More than £1 billion in wasted skincare products sitting in homes across the UK
New research from The Body Shop has revealed that UK skincare users have millions of unused, unopened or abandoned products collecting dust on their shelves – equating to more than £1 billion in wastage across UK homes.
The Body Shop surveyed 2,000 Brits who reveal that their average spend on each skincare product is £17.51. Additionally, they revealed an average of two unused, unopened or abandoned products sat at the back of their cupboard - an average of £35.02 per person. Across the UK, this equates to over £1 billion in total.
According to the survey answers, 26% of Brits ditch skincare products because they find something newer and more exciting, suggesting that over a quarter of UK skincare users are motivated by novelty and that trend-led social media shopping is having an impact on our buying habits.
A further 27% of people abandon products because the formulation wasn’t right for their skin from the get-go, or because they initially worked but later failed (18%).
The research also found that one in 10 people abandon products when the packaging doesn’t look good on the shelf.
This troubling research comes as the UK’s cost-of-living crisis continues to crunch, with many Brits feeling the effects and looking to save wherever possible.
At the time of writing, there are currently 55,106,377 adults in the UK population. 70% of people buy skincare products at least once per month. From this, The Body Shop estimated that a total number of 38,574,464 adults are currently regular skincare users in the UK.
Sheffield, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff are the five cities buying and wasting the most skincare products in the UK while Leeds, Norwich, Nottingham, Southampton and Glasgow spend the least on skincare and therefore waste the least.
The Body Shop, founded by Anita Roddick in 1976, says that avoiding product wastage comes down to one key thing: getting it right the first time.
The high-street store is working with renowned dermatologist Dr Cynthia Bailey on a campaign to “shake up” the UK’s skincare cabinets. She provided advice on how to streamline products and skincare routines in future and recommends a simple routine of four steps - “Cleanse, Correct, Hydrate, Protect.”
Additionally, Bailey said products such as masks, mists, scrubs, peels and dermarollers can be used intermittently based on your complexion's needs and goals.
Stale on the shelf?
Another big part of the campaign is centred around storing products correctly and ensuring they are safe and not out of date.
“Skincare products are designed to withstand the range of normal room temperature. Temperature extremes, including the freezer, the heat of direct sun or storage in a hot car will all impact product shelf life and stability. Skincare labelled as ‘preservative free’ will be particularly sensitive to degradation and microbial contamination under excessively hot conditions,” explained Dr Bailey.
“Any product that was stored in extremes of temperature (beach bag/hot car/freezing holiday home during winter) should be discarded. The same goes for products stored in direct sunlight. Start clean, mark containers after opening and have confidence that your skincare is safe and effective going forward.”
Around half (54%) of Brits are aware that skincare has an expiry date but 31% of this group never get around to checking them.
Most skincare products will only be good to use for up to a year before they are discarded, says The Body Shop, however, their survey found that 13% of respondents are using at least one product that is more than 12 months old.
“It’s so important to check expiration dates on skincare. Products that are medicines and regulated by the FDA, such as sunscreens and acne medicines, will clearly list the date after which you should not use the product,” said Dr Bailey.
“The effectiveness of the active ingredients in these products cannot be guaranteed after the expiry date. Many skincare products don’t note expiration dates and you have to use your best judgement based on the storage conditions and what preservative systems are used in the product.”
The survey also found that only one in five Brits recycle their skincare packaging. The Body Shop has a recycling scheme for hard-to-recycle product packaging and says, “In shaking up your skincare cabinet, it’s important to not only ensure the health of your skin, but also the environment, and not to forget your purse too.”
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Do you have many unused or abandoned products? Let us know in the comments...