On the look out for sustainable and eco friendly makeup?
Thankfully, there are quite a few ethical makeup brands out there to choose from. And many are available and based in the UK and US!
In fact, according to this report, the global vegan and eco friendly cosmetics market is set to reach $20.8 billion by 2025 – great to know the trend is going in the right direction!
The problem though, is trying to find cosmetics brands that are truly ethical and sustainable. That is, they make sustainable and eco friendly makeup in all senses of the phrase!
You can spend literally hours researching which makeup brands are not only good for you but also for the environment. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for the best cosmetics brands that meet each of our sustainable beauty criteria.
ETHICAL AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MAKEUP BRANDS
If this is your first time visiting Sustainable Jungle, our approach to sustainable beauty is to look for brands and products that are:
- organic / natural
- palm oil free
- have ethical ingredient sourcing policies and
- use thoughtful packaging (which is at the very least recyclable).
We know it’s tall order and believe us, it takes a fair bit of time to find truly eco friendly makeup brands that meet all or most criteria (note this list prioritizes vegan and cruelty free).
While we hope to provide a useful resource for you, we would also love to hear your thoughts and suggestions if we missed anything or if you have any experience with these brands. While we’ve tried our fair share of them, we haven’t tried them all…yet.
SUSTAINABLE COSMETICS… REUSABLE COTTON OR BAMBOO ROUNDS
Cotton pads or cotton balls are a must in a makeup staple. We all use them. But, these little unassuming aids are not all that benign.
They are one of the major contributors to makeup waste. There are millions upon millions of these cotton pads tossed in the landfill every single month. But, it’s not just the waste generated it’s the environmental impact of growing cotton.
Pollution, soil degradation, water contamination are just some of the examples of the impact this crop has on the surrounding areas.
That’s why its super environmentally helpful to buy some reusable cotton rounds or reusable cotton pads. They’re easy to use and clean, they’ll last you an age and you’ll be saving on mountains of plastic packaging and single use waste!
You can pick up some beautiful options on Etsy too (including made from bamboo, cotton, hemp)
If you are considering compostable or biodegradable makeup wipes as another alternative be extra sure that they are indeed compostable and then actually compost them…
There’s a lot of marketing these days, and often when a product says it’s biodegradable or compostable it may just mean that on an industrial scale. I.e. it won’t just break down in your composter at home (or worm farm) or worse, it basically won’t break down at all.
…AND ECO FRIENDLY MAKEUP BRUSHES
Another important makeup tool is the trusty makeup brush.
We recently did a deep dive on this topic and found a few sustainable makeup brands that make highly rated vegan makeup brushes. Importantly the bristles on these brushes are as effective if not better than their non-vegan friendly counterparts.
If you don’t have the time for another read, no worries, we’d recommend EcoTools who have a huge selection of brushes and are available worldwide.
All brushes feature hand cut “stunningly soft” synthetic bristles attached to a recycled aluminum ferrule and bamboo handle. Their retractable brushes (great for travel and on the go touchups!) come in a fully recycled aluminum case too.
Otherwise Antonym create vegan makeup brushes with the help of a professional-grade laser cutting machine. Which is probably why this is apparently the go-to for many celebrity makeup artists.
I, (somewhat sadly) have an old set of makeup brushes that still work perfectly well so can’t quite justify getting a new set but wow, if I did, there is so much choice these days!
ZERO WASTE MAKEUP – SERIOUSLY SUSTAINABLE COSMETIC BRANDS
Also, if you are trying to live a zero waste lifestyle or just trying to reduce your plastic impact (good on you!), you may be interested in our article on zero waste makeup.
It lists a bunch of zero waste makeup alternatives for an even greater environmentally positive impact! Importantly, almost all of the brands featured are vegan and cruelty free too.
We definitely recommend you give it a read, plastic free makeup is making waves and we’re inviting as many people as we can to join the surf!
QUICK LINKS FOR SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL MAKEUP BRANDS
SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL MAKEUP BRANDS AVAILABLE IN THE UK AND US
1. AXIOLOGY NATURAL ORGANIC LIPSTICK
Axiology’s Makeup Range
Axiology is a luxury lipstick specialist. The quality of their products are some of the best we’ve reviewed. So, it’s no surprise that around 70% of the ingredients (e.g. avocado oil and butter, orange essential oil, elderberry extract, coconut oil, and grape seed oil) are organic.
As an ethical cosmetics brand, they have exceptional sustainability credentials.
They’re certified by PETA as being cruelty-free and completely vegan. They’re a palm oil free makeup brand and they source all of their outer packaging from a woman-owned recycled-paper boutique in Indonesia.
Axiology also provides financial support to the Orangutan Foundation International where funds are needed to save and rehabilitate those precious and endangered animals from the devastating effects of the palm oil industry.
Their shea butter and moringa oil are purchased through fair trade channels.
2. DIRTY HIPPIE COSMETICS
Dirty Hippie’s Sustainable Makeup Range
Dirty Hippie offers a pretty large range of sustainable makeup including foundation, bb cream, primer, liquid eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, brow powders, blush, lipstick pots, and cheek tint (as well as a decent range of skin and hair care products).
Their entire product range is not only vegan and cruelty free but they also qualify as a zero waste cosmetics brand.
About Dirty Hippie
Hailing from Australia, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics are one of the best sustainable makeup brands we’ve had the pleasure of connecting with.
They create handmade organic and clearly quality products (based on hundreds of super reviews). Their entire handmade range is also cruelty-free, vegan, and will soon be entirely palm oil-free again once they find a new supplier for some of their ingredients.
When it comes to sourcing they’ve covered all bases, either purchasing through fair trade channels, buying local or growing their own raw ingredients!
As for packaging, they haven’t skipped a beat. Their lip balms, sunscreens, deodorants (we’re currently testing this out and so far so good!) and eco tubs are made using recycled paper (which can be composted!). They also use tins and glass bottles which can be recycled or reused of course!
Their labels are printed with refillable veg-ink and their operations (which currently have a 50% carbon offset) will be powered with solar when they move into their new HQ. They are based in a zero waste community (read more about it here).Their lab also makes use of naturally collected rain water!
Finally, they’re involved in a number of charitable initiatives and projects from raising awareness for suicide prevention to animal rescue to support for cancer sufferers. Truly inspirational!
3. DAB HERB MAKEUP
About Dab Herb Makeup
Dab Herb Makeup offer a wide range of eco friendly makeup: for eyes (including mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and eyebrow grower), face (including foundation, tinted moisturize, concealer, luminizer, primer, contour powder, cheek pinch, blush and color corrector), lips (gloss, tint and balm), the cutest makeup sets and makeup tools (including vegan brushes).
Many of these eco products come in glass or tin containers and have refill options (the product costs less when you refill, yay!). The instructions for which are very clear once you open the product description.
All Dab Herb’s products are vegan, cruelty-free, mostly organic, food grade (on some of their products they have a useful comparison of the organic food grade ingredients in their product compared to your typical popular brands which are full of synthetics and chemicals, and it’s scary!).
Importantly, all their cosmetics are made without palm oil.
About Dab Herb
Dab Herb is a “Nature to Nurture” beauty and skincare company that believes “beauty and self-care are inseparable from sustainability, transparency, and wellness”.
What started as small scale sustainable cosmetics brand made just for their founder Crissy’s personal use, developed into an advocate for green beauty standards.
For every product, they use onlyfood-grade, certified organic, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients. Many of these of herb and plant oils to heal the skin itself, not just disguise it.
Dab Herb’s zero waste products are all palm oil free (including free of palm oil derivatives). Ingredients are sourced from fair trade certified farmers and suppliers.
Dab ships their plastic free makeup products and they re-use their own suppliers’ shipping materials for larger orders. Back in the office, any printing they do is on recycled materials.
Dab Herb also support “MADE IN THE FREE WORLD” which focuses on developing and implementing high impact solutions to human trafficking by working with the most effective partners to rescue and care for victims worldwide.
4. FAT AND THE MOON
*Note: Not all products are vegan but there are many vegan options
About Fat and the Moon Ethical Makeup
Fat and the Moon offer a HUGE selection of eco friendly makeup and personal care products.
As for their sustainable make-up range, or their “adornment” collection, they focus on lip and eye products, including various colors of “eye coal” (which is pretty much like eyeliner but less waxy and in pot form) and several tinted, lip/cheek stains and highlighter.
About Fat and the Moon
Drawing inspiration from herbalists and natural healers, Fat and the Moon creates all natural, mostly organic (and they’re very clear about noting which items are organic on each product page) “potions” that prioritize healing and “empowerment through self-care”.
All products are hand-made fresh to order (because “body products, like food, are not meant to last forever!”) using only “plants that are abundant, ethically harvested and organically cultivated and combine them in formulations that are radically non-toxic”.
All Fat and the Moon products are made without palm oil.
Depending on your stance on the whole Is beeswax vegan? debate, not all their products may be considered vegan friendly.
Their eye coals and lip stains contain beeswax, but their highligher does not. Either way, all ingredients are cruelty-free and ethically sourced and every single product comes in reusable tins and are shipped without superfluous packaging.
Their packaging is also re-usable, and they “encourage customers to find fun and creative ways of reusing our jars. We design packaging to be a joy to reuse and a breeze to recycle.”
Fat and the Moon is a women owned and run business. They also support various charities and causes in their community.
“We should take as much care selecting the things we put on our bodies as we do in shopping for the foods we put in them,” says founder Rachel Budde. “The goal of Fat and the Moon is to make that a pleasure!”
5. ELATE BEAUTY
About Elate Beauty Cosmetics
Elate Beauty offers a large range of sustainable makeup “products that don’t compromise the health of any person, animal or the planet.”
This includes eye makeup (pressed and loose powder, mascara, eyeliner and brow balm), face makeup (foundation, powder, concealer, blush, highlighter, bronzer), lipstick, lip gloss, palettes (which you can custom create for your complexion) and kits.
All of which are cruelty-free International certified, PETA certified vegan, and gluten free.
They do use a small amount of palm oil derivatives and their supplier states that this is derived from RSPO certified palm, which unfortunately is no real guarantee that it is sustainable.
About Elate Beauty
This Canadian company uses ingredients that are ~90% organic (the other 10% is a result of their commitment to “always choose fair trade over organic”) and they are phasing out a couple of non-natural ingredients so they will truly be 100% natural.
In the last few years, they’ve moved dramatically toward zero-waste beauty products (including compacts, tools, and palates) that are made of or housed in reusable (and beautiful!) bamboo (bamboo is self-regenerative!).
These can then be easily refilled with new product that comes in a seed paper pouch. Just refill your palate then wet the pouch and plant it in your garden to grow herbs and wildflowers. Such a great concept!
They also offset all their emissions with Bullfrog Power and give back to multiple local and women’s-based charities, like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (they sponsor three elephants named Maisha, Dololo, and Larr – which we love!).
6. BAREFACED BEAUTY
About BareFaced Beauty’s Eco Friendly Makeup Range
Barefaced Beauty is an award-winning brand that produce a range of naturally derived cosmetics.
Their products are free from chemicals, parabens, ethanol alcohol and synthetic fragrances, making these an ideal choice for normal or sensitive skin.
About BareFaced Beauty
BareFaced Beauty is a good example of an eco friendly makeup brand.
They’re certified cruelty-free by Cruelty Free International (Leaping Bunny) and PETA. They’re certified vegan friendly by the Vegan Society. All of their cosmetics are made without palm oil (and palm oil derivatives) so are a truly palm oil free makeup brand!
BareFaced Beauty ensures that their raw materials are ethically sourced.
For example their mica (naturally occurring mineral dust) comes from a legal (i.e. no child labor involved) and fenced off mine which also runs a charity for children. In fact, they also have theirown charitable initiatives for the benefit of animals.
All their packaging is recyclable and most of it (including their plastic jars) is made from post-consumer materials. They also strive for a paperless work place to reduce waste and their own carbon footprint.
7. CLEAN-FACED COSMETICS
*Note: We have attempted to confirm the policies directly with this brand
About Clean-Faced Cosmetics Makeup
Clean-Faced Cosmetics make tinted lip balm, eyeshadow, and a mascara that doubles as eyeliner.
They also makes some speciality products we didn’t find with other companies, such as lash lengthening primer powders and custom foundation powders (matched to your skin tone for free) in either shimmery or matte finishes.
All products come in reusable metal tins, or you can just use containers you already have and order a refill packaged in biodegradable cello bags (which look like plastic but are assuredly not!).
Less waste on postage sending back the containers like other take-back programs!
About Clean-Faced Cosmetics
CFC, based in Michigan, makes custom made-to-order eco-friendly beauty products that are palm-oil free, vegan, cruelty-free (tested on friends, never animals), and as organic as possible.
They sometimes using tiny amounts of Yellow No. 5 FD&C Lake and Red No. 40 FD&C Lake to properly create skin tone matched foundation powders. If getting a custom palette, however, just request they not use these and they’ll oblige.
Creator Laura is currently striving to operate the company entirely waste free, though she, just like the rest of us, knows this is very much a process. Currently, all product packaging is either biodegradable or reusable (like their metal palates, bamboo applicator, and organic cotton storage bags).
All labels are printed on recycled paper with eco-friendly ink.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MAKEUP BRANDS BASED IN THE UK
8. PHB ETHICAL BEAUTY
PHB Ethical Beauty’s Ethical Makeup Range
PHB’s entire makeup range is handmade.
They use mineral colours that are rich in pigment. They also enhance the makeup’s overall effectiveness and performance by including organic oils, vitamins and plant waxes which nourish and protect sensitive skin.
Their products are also suitable for those who wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes.
About PHB Ethical Beauty
PHB are a great example of an eco friendly makeup brand that have branched out beyond makeup. From skincare, to body and haircare, they have a comprehensive range of entirely handmade, natural / organic and palm oil free products.
PHB is registered with BUAV Cruelty Free (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) and PETA’s Beauty without Bunnies campaign and they have an unequivocal statement on their website that they only source their ingredients from companies who are aligned with their ethical stance. They’re also accredited by the Vegan Society UK.
PHB use 100% natural ingredients and / or organic ingredients across their range of products. While they are not currently certified organic they are working towards it. They also provide a list of ingredients that they avoid from parabens and petrochemicals to formaldehyde and micro plastics. They also have a selected range of products that are 100% gluten free for coeliacs / anyone who may have gluten and wheat allergies.
PHB’s packaging is recyclable and also comes from recycled material.
PHB are members of the Global Shea Alliance – a non-profit organisation in the shea nut/shea butter industry that are committed to “promoting women’s empowerment [the pickers of the shea nuts], decent working conditions, development of local communities, and the protection of ecosystems by outlining best business practices for all stakeholders”
They’ve also been featured in The Good Shopping Guide and The Good Scrub Guide. Both independent publications that rank only the most ethically and environmentally conscious brands.
9. DIVINA ORGANICS
Divina Organics Sustainable Makeup Range
Divina has an impressive range of foundations, concealers, blush, bronzers, highlighters, eye pencils, lip colours, eye shadow and even skincare.
All their products are cruelty free and vegan friendly.
About Divina Organics
Divina Organics is a small batch cosmetics manufacturer who use the “highest quality organic, wildcrafted, and sustainably harvested ingredients”. Their products are all cruelty free and vegan.
They use minimal packaging and are natural – they do not contain any synthetic chemicals like petrochemicals, silicones, phtalates, PEG, SLS, parabens, or other preservatives. However, some of their products do contain ingredients like glycerin.
Divina confirmed their products are palm oil free however, are yet to confirm their use of palm oil derivatives. They ensure ethical sourcing though, where possible.
10. ODYLIQUE BY ESSENTIAL CARE
Note this brand is 100% Vegetarian and many of their products are Vegan. In their makeup range, their eye shadows are vegan friendly
About Odylique’s makeup range
Odylique offer a range of makeup including concealer, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip liners and lipstick. All their products are 100% cruelty free and suitable for vegetarians.
However, in the makeup range, only the eye-shadows are vegan-friendly. See the full list of vegan products here.
Odylique by Essential Care has a comprehensive range of environmentally friendly cosmetics including skincare and haircare products.
Odylique is accredited as cruelty-free with both PETA and Naturewatch Foundation. They unequivocally state that none of their products have ever been tested on animals. They also ensure that their suppliers of ingredients are aligned with their ethos and they have a fixed cut-off date of 1990 (i.e. they won’t buy any new ingredients that have been tested on animals since 1990).
All of Odylique’s products are certified organic by the Soil Association. This is the gold standard certification in the UK and the standards are some of the strictest in the world. To gain certification, 95% of your ingredients must be truly organic, which means (among many other strict criteria), that they come from a sustainable farming system.
While Odylique may not be accredited with any vegan associations because a few products in their range contain honey and beeswax, they are otherwise completely vegan. They also specifically note that none of their products contain any insect based ingredients like carmine (crushed beetles used as dye).
Odylique is palm oil free makeup brand and explicitly against the use of it and all its derivatives.
Odylique strive to use locally made, recyclable and non-toxic packaging. Currently, all of their 200ml, 50g and 175g jars are also made with recycled material. 98% of their packaging is made in Europe and just about half of their bottles, jars and product boxes are made in the UK, thereby reducing their carbon foot and emissions.
Their eye-shadows come in a recyclable steel pan and a sleeve printed in the UK on FSC-certified card.
Many of Odylique’s products are certified to Fairtrade standards. While they try to source ingredients locally to reduce their carbon footprint, when they have to look abroad they buy Fairtrade ingredients where available
11. LUSH COSMETICS
*Note: Not all Lush products are vegan, however there are vegan makeup options
Lush’s Makeup Range
Lush’s range is somewhat limited as they’re not only a makeup brand.
They have concealers, blush, foundation, highlighters, skin tint, blush and in some countries, mascara and eyeliner.
Lush’s products are completely vegetarian but not all are vegan so be sure to check the ingredients first. They do have a way of quickly filtering on the website for vegan friendly products.
Lush offers a variety of fresh, handmade personal care products, including perfumes, deodorants, soaps, make-up, sunscreens, even Henna hair dyes. Their products are vegetarian (and many are vegan) and cruelty-free.
They only purchase ingredients from suppliers who are also cruelty-free and do not participate in animal testing.
Lush products are not palm oil free or entirely natural, as many of them do contain the sulfate SLS. For us, the palm oil thing is a deal breaker (see our thoughts here, here and here) and we choose not to use Lush for this reason.
However, Lush does seem to be putting in a tremendous amount of effort to do the right thing and we appreciate their transparency. If you’re considering using Lush, do read up on them and make your own decision based on your ethical priorities.
Happily, Lush have a very clear policy on their ethical sourcing (read more here) which we don’t often see so clearly articulated.
Lush are doing a great job on the packaging front. For creams, bottles, lipstick tubes, and the like, Lush uses a simple black plastic pot, a simple, no-frills packaging that “ensures customers pay for the ingredients inside their product, not the distractions on the outside”.
These Lush black pots can supposedly “have more lives than a cat”, made from BPA-free mixed polypropylene (PP) that can be reused again and again.
Because PP plastics are harder to recycle, Lush will do it for you at an in-house recycling center where old pots are chipped, washed, melted, and remolded before refill. As a thanks for returning your pots and reducing plastic waste, they’ll send you a free face mask.
Gift boxes and tags are made of recycled cocoon paper and cardboard that can later be composted. Delicate items that require some padding are wrapped in biodegradable cellulose that can actually be composted!
They also provide clear guidelines on how to recycle all their products.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABLE MAKEUP
Synthetic ingredients, cheap fillers and additives. It’s a wonder that the whole consumer base hasn’t already jumped ship from the conventional to eco friendly makeup brands.
Beauty is and should be all natural and have as little negative impact as possible. So if you do need to buy, buy intentionally!
Elate Cosmetics sums it up quite nicely: “Intentional, purposeful, ritual. For many of us, putting on makeup is an automatic act, a routine. […w]e believe everyday routine becomes ritual when the action is more meaningful than the outcome.”
Also remember, if you’re looking to reduce the plastic packaging in your life, then check out our Zero Waste Makeup Article for some great brands doing special things.
We hope this article has given you some food for thought on ethical makeup brands. Who says you can’t spend Saturday night out on the town and still be sustainable?!
As always, please reach out for questions, suggestions, or comments.