Rewind to New Year’s day 2020…My resolution for that year was to reduce my consumption of single-use plastics. And then, well, something happened, if you remember. We were catapulted into a global pandemic and suddenly my “goal” of not using plastic bottles seemed naive and took a backseat to more pressing issues—like not contracting and spreading disease. But we’ve come a long way, and being a conscious consumer is definitely a priority of mine.
Brands love to throw the phrase “sustainable” around so much that after a while it almost loses meaning. Just like “organic,” “natural” and “clean,” sustainable is a word that can be ambiguous and fuzzy. One of the best ways to determine how sustainable a brand really is to always read the fine print. Spend the extra time on the FAQ section of a brand’s site. The legit ones will answer questions like how the brand calculates its carbon footprint, how sustainably-sourced their ingredients are, how they offset shipping, etc.
One brand that has been on my radar for a while is Uni. It’s a refillable body care line that’s devoted to environmental causes like protecting our ocean. All of the ingredients in Uni products are certified reef-safe, meaning they aren’t harmful to the land or the sea after they’re washed down into the waterways.
And of course the packaging is key. The aluminum bottles are refillable, so once you finish a bottle of product you simply return it to Uni to be refilled and then reinserted into the dispenser, or you can recycle it via curbside recycling. Their newest product (launched in February) is their Restoring Hand Wash ($31), which intrigued me the most since I’m a bit of a hand soap aficionado; I know, soap is kind of a weirdly specific thing to be really into, but what can I say?
An honest review of Uni Restoring Hand Wash
Now onto the review of the actual product. The packaging is very sleek and minimalistic. One issue I always have with refillable products is that they claim to be easy, but then in reality you basically have to be a NASA engineer to put it together. Uni’s hand wash you can put together in your sleep. You just remove the cap from the refillable bottle and screw it into the dispenser until it clicks into place.
As for the actual formula? It’s a gel that turns into a creamy lather with ingredients like Australian kakadu plum and a blend of marine actives that hydrate and nourish skin. I have naturally dry skin, but my hands tend to get the driest—especially after long commutes with my hands on the wheel, baking in the Los Angeles sun. People don’t realize it, but even through the windshield your hands are in direct sun exposure during long drives.
W+G's editorial commerce director, Gina Vaynshteyn, has been testing the Restoring Hand Wash, and she's also incredibly impressed. "Going from Dial hand soap—which I love, but, it's drying!—to Uni's soap is like night and day. I didn't have any expectations because it's just...soap," she shares. "But I could tell the difference right away—the formula is potent enough to make your hands feel squeaky clean, but after you wipe them dry on a towel, it feels like you also applied hand lotion. I've been using hand lotion at night a lot less now, because the skin on my hands is so soft all the time."
But by far my favorite thing about Uni’s hand wash is the scent. When it comes to bath and body products, scent is huge for me. I’ve used shampoos that weighed my hair down simply because I love the fragrance. The scent is very light, but herbal-forward–not overly sweet. I’m not a fan of floral hand soaps or lemon scents (they always remind me of cleaning products). Uni’s scent is so fragrant but natural.
Now, the price. It should be noted that there’s a certain amount of privilege that comes with being a conscious consumer and prioritizing sustainability. Sustainable products are more expensive and require more time (returning the bottle, etc.) than their plastic counterparts. Uni’s hand soap is $31 for the bottle and dispenser set and $28 for the refill. So if that’s just not viable for you financially at the moment, that's totally understandable. But if you are looking for an entry point to help reduce your carbon footprint and protect our oceans (and can swing the price!), Uni is an excellent place to start.
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