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 (which you can read more about the end of the article).
If you’re interested in sustainable beauty brands that go the extra mile to help you reduce your trash generation, see out list of the best zero waste beauty brands.
For this list, however, we’re not prioritizing zero waste (it’s just a big bonus!). Here we’re diving into brands that are vegan and cruelty free.
There are so many great options we almost hate to pick favorites, but a few did stand out above the rest. First, Axiology is an “evil free” brand that also makes some of the highest quality lipsticks we’ve reviews. If you’re looking for a zero waste option, Dab Herb makes an excellent range of makeup products. And if you’re looking for something in the UK, PHB Ethical Beauty is a great option with a wide range.
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 that’s “100% evil free”, refering to their strict policy against things like palm oil and animal testing.
The quality of their products are some of the best we’ve reviewed. So, it’s no surprise that around 70% of their ingredients (e.g. avocado oil and butter, orange essential oil, elderberry extract, coconut oil, and grape seed oil) are organic. And rest assured knowing they are 100% safe and non-toxic.
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. DAB HERB MAKEUP
About Dab Herb Makeup
Dab Herb Makeup offer a wide range of eco friendly makeup: for eyes (including zero waste mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and eyebrow grower), face (including foundation, tinted moisturizer, 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).
They also carry a range of zero waste skin care products to keep the skin beneath the makeup naturally healthy and glowing.
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.
3. 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!”
4. PLANT MAKEUP
*Note: Some products contain beeswax however, vegan options are widely available.
About Plant Makeup’s Ethical Makeup Products
Plant Makeup’s range includes anything and everything from foundations creams and powders, to shimmery eye products. Shop lip balm, eye shadows, shimmer sticks, mascara, highlighter, makeup primer, and more.
As the name suggests, every ingredient is plant-derived. No minerals, carmine coloration, nano-particles, palm oil, synthetics, or preservatives. While all products are cruelty-free, never tested on animals and most are vegan, there are a few products that contain organic USA-sourced beeswax or honey so if you’re looking for a vegan option, check the label first.
Not only are they made in fresh, small batches, but are totally zero waste. Choose between glass pot products and compostable cardboard tubes.
About Plant Makeup
Plant Makeup was founded by artist, musician, and all-around creative goddess Jes. After discovering a passion for plants in 2004, she started blending herbal teas and eventually starting turning plants into makeup, skincare, haircare, incense cones, and vegan and cruelty-free fragrances.
Plant Makeup use local or organic ingredients, all completely non-GMO, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, and sustainably sourced: “We only want the best in each of these creations so they vibrate with as much vitality as they were first gathered from the earth.”
As for packaging, they use purely recycled and compostable materials (right down to the labels which Jes draws herself). Shipping materials follow suit.
5. NUDI GOODS
*Note: While most Nudi Goods contain beeswax, some items can be made vegan upon request.
About Nudi Goods’ Eco Friendly Makeup Range
Nudi Goods makes a variety of eco-friendly makeup goods, which include lip balms, mascara, highlighter sticks, and brow taming wax. All products are packaged in either metal tins with a slide-off lif or compostable cardboard tubes. Even shipping is plastic-free!
Nudi’s ingredients (which commonly include bentonite clay, activated charcoal, coconut oil, shea butter, safflower oil, sweet almond oil, and sustainable sourced Mica) are 100% non-toxic, cruelty-free, and palm-oil free.
While not vegan due to use of beeswax, they accommodate vegan requests by making custom orders.
Nudi prioritizes small-scale suppliers that adhere to organic practices.
About Nudi Goods
Nudi Goods invite you “to take the risk for creating a new normal for our planet.” Founded in 2017 while on a marine mammal research voyage, Jaime Boddorff started making products all the while working at a wildlife hospital and ocean conservation non-profit. Jaime still makes just about every product herself (only hiring extra hands in especially busy times).
As for ingredient sourcing, she opts for local when possible and ethical outsourced channels when not. Their Mica and mineral pigments, for instance, from from “suppliers providing a child-labor free guarantee”.
Their beeswax, while not strictly vegan, is very mindfully sourced:
“We want to know where our ingredients are coming from, and many vegan alternatives are tropical plant products that come from a large supply chain where we cannot trace who is sourcing of the ingredients. This means we don’t know if laborers are paid fairly, if the sourcing is ethical, if the sourcing displaces animals in the wild or causes deforestation, among other concerns.
Since our beeswax is currently sourced plastic-free and closes the waste loophole, switching to an alternative that is shipped in large plastic bags or buckets would mean moving backwards.”
In September 2019, they switched from a beeswax supplier that could not provide traceable apiaries or guarantee plastic-free shipping. Now they source beeswax from a small, family-run apiary that adheres to cruelty-free and organic beekeeping practices – no hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, or moving of hives (which can stress the bees).
6. 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 palm oil derivatives and their supplier states that this is derived from RSPO certified palm.
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!).
7. 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.
8. 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 use artificial colours, Yellow No. 5 FD&C Lake and Red No. 40 FD&C Lake to properly create skin tone matched foundation powders. Neither of these ingredients appear to be considered Toxic by EWG. If getting a custom palette, however, just request they not use these, if you’re concerned.
Clean-Faced Cosmetics’ ingredients are ethically sourced. Their mica, for example, is from a cruelty-free supplier based in US and the mica itself is mined in Germany and the US.
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.
9. SEA WITCH BOTANICALS
*Note: Sea Witch Botanicals use RSPO-certified palm oil in their soap. Makeup products are palm free
About Sea Witch Botanicals Eco-frienly Makeup
A “nature-first” brand that’s also certified vegan by Vegan.org, these items do not include parabens, synthetic fragrances, plastic-based preservatives, or animal byproducts. And absolutely no animal testing is involved.
Only their soaps contain RSPO-certified palm oil, and they do not support slash-and-burn deforestation practices.
All products are bottled in reusable glass dropper bottles, glass pots, or tins.
About Sea Witch Botanicals
Sea Witch Botanicals is first and foremost a zero waste skincare and soap company (which includes household soaps like zero waste dish soap). Based in Bellingham, Washington, the name of this family-run business refers to their commitment to “keep the world’s waters healthy”.
This means not only designing and making sustainable products but operating sustainably as well. They use solar energy and purchase from renewable energy suppliers. They also use Sustainable Connections to audit their production facility’s waste stream; currently, they divert about 90% of their waste away from landfills!
Sea Witch Botanicals may not have a huge beauty range, but they hit the nail on the head with their eco credentials. They’re not only a certified B-Corp, but Toward Zero Waste certified and members of 1% for the Planet. This means 1% of their profits get donated to various causes, like Earthjustice, the Environmental Working Group, and their local Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood.
When it comes to sourcing ingredients, Sea Witch Botanicals uses a strict Supplier Code of Conduct. Many ingredients, like their cocoa and shea butters, are sourced Fair Trade. They write, “We’re committed to our core values of stewardship, charity, health, and prosperity. We pay a premium for these butters because we know that fair trade helps the people who harvest and produce our cocoa pods have access to education, safe working conditions, and a better life.”
We love the transparency all around here. You can even see their yearly published Sustainability Report for exact percentages on how many of their ingredients are certified organic and non-GMO!
On the sales side, they try to support local business and sustainably minded sellers. That’s why they refuse to sell their products on Amazon.
10. 100% PURE
About 100% Pure’s Ethical Makeup Line
Their “Fruit Pigmented” makeup line includes just about anything you could need for the face (primer, foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, highlighter), eyes (eyeshadow, liner, mascara, brow products), and lips (sticks, glosses, and tints).
Aside from Mica for shimmer, they do not use mineral-based compounds. All coloration comes from fruits and vegetables. All products are non-toxic and their Tea Tree products are USDA organic certified.
Some of their products are not vegan as they contain beeswax so be sure to check the label if you’re looking for vegan options. Their products do contain palm oil or derivatives. Their sourcing policy statest that this should be sourced ethically but there is no further information available on their palm oil sourcing.
All product housing (including various materials like post-consumer recycled glass, plastic, tin, and paper) is recyclable either through their in-store recycling program or in curbside recycling bins if you don’t like near a 100% Pure location.
About 100% Pure
100% Pure was co-founded and run by three individuals that prioritize corporate responsibility, change, and transparency.
For example, we noticed some of their more shimmery products contain the mineral Mica (one of the only mineral ingredients they use). When we reached out to inquire about the sourcing of this material (as Mica can sometimes come from supply chains that endorse practices like child labor), they told us “it’s produced in the most ethical and safe way possible. The mill, located in Andhra Pradesh, is a modern, high-tech facility, that never utilizes child labor and holds product quality to exceptional standards.”
Their ingredients are sourced globally using an Ethical Trade Initiative base code. While for proprietary reasons they don’t disclose every sourcing location, they told us,
“We only use fair trade farmers and distributors who ensure us that they are only fair trade. We also work with numerous charities around the world that help to create sustainable jobs for countries in need.”
All items are shipped in recyclable materials with cornstarch packing peanuts that are 100% compostable.
Finally, for every order placed, 100% pure donates either one bowl of vegan dog food (of which a single bowl can save to 2 livestock animals, 90 lbs of grain, 2000 gallons of water, and 60 sq. ft. of rainforest) animal shelters.
If you’d prefer, you can instead opt for your purchase to plant one tree through Trees for the Future. Either way, they’re making a difference. So far they’ve donated thousands of bowls of dog food and donated hundreds of thousands of trees!
100% Pure’s head office is powered 100% by solar power.
11. KAT VON D (Now KVD Vegan Beauty)
We have attemped to reach out to this brand to confirm their policies. Given it seems they don’t meet most of our criteria, we will remove them from this list if we don’t hear back in the next short while
About KVD Vegan Makeup
KVD offers all-vegan luxury makeup, designed for professional make-up artists and those of us still using YouTube tutorials alike.
For actual makeup, you can find any manner of products for the face, lips, and eyes, as well as sets of all three to create a complete look. They achieve traditional makeup forms by using things like plant-based fats rather than animal byproducts. No beeswax or carmine, either!
However, they don’t mention much more about the ingredients beyond that and the ingredients list for a selection of products we looked at looks very complex with very non-natural sounding names. We can’t find any information on their site that claims their products are non-toxic.
We also can see numerous common palm oil derivatives in their products with no further information available on their sourcing.
Aside from actual makeup, they also offer a great selection of vegan makeup brushes (which we’ve covered here).
About Kat Von D
Kat Von D provides “fur free artistry”, originally brought to you by (you guessed it) tattoo artist Kat Von D. Although recently Kat has left the business.
Cruelty-free was the platform on which Kat Von D was founded. Kat herself is all about “makeup made with love, not animals.” Not only is Kat Von D PETA certified cruelty free, but their parent company Kendo is, too (which is NOT always a given in big brand cosmetics).
Neither Kat Von D nor Kendo sell into China, wither, and they have a sourcing policy that lead them to do business only with companies that follow the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010. This seems to cover mostly human slavery and human trafficking but we don’t see much more explained from an environmental perspective.
Packaging is lovely, but does not seem designed with any particular sustainability motives in mind.
We do love that Kat Von D is so dedicated to cruelty-free and vegan initiatives and we have included them on the list for now as they are often hailed as a role model brand but we have not received any confirmation from them about their other ethical policies so will remove them from this list in the next short while if we still don’t receive a response.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MAKEUP BRANDS BASED IN THE UK OR EUROPE
12. 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 donate 20% of their net profits to various charities, like Sense.
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.
13. ODYLIQUE BY ESSENTIAL CARE
*Note: While 100% Vegetarian, not all 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
14. VYANA PLANT BEAUTY
*Note: Many Vyana products are palm oil free, however some contain palm derived magnesium stearate (which can be omitted upon request)
About Vyana Plant Beauty Makeup
Browsing their products, you may notice how simple the ingredient lists are (only about 5-8 items). Everything one natural, either plant-derived or safe mineral-derived (such as Mica and iron oxide).
They’re not entirely palm oil-free, as some products contain palm oil derivative magnesium stearate. When we inquired about this, the founder told us, “I simply have not been able to find a supplier that sells magnesium stearate with a certified palm oil-free certificate. I’m hoping to have a palm oil-free certificate for all ingredients in the next few months.”
She also told us she could alter any recipe to exclude magnesium stearate upon request. It might have a bit less adhesion and thus need a touch up through the day.
About Vyana Plant Beauty
Swedish beauty brand Vyana Plant Beauty offers all vegan and cruelty-free make-up company, which aims to harness “all the richness the earth has to offer”. Their mica has a sustainable mining certificate and is 100% guaranteed child labour free.
Aside from offering zero waste packaging for shipping (compostable envelopes with corn-starch dissolvable packing peanuts), their product housing is thoughtfully chosen. By opting to use recycled plastic tins, metal tins, or cardboard tubes, they actually have a smaller carbon footprint than if they’d use glass pots (as they used to). Glass is heavier to ship and thus has a higher environmental impact.
You can also order power product refills which come in compostable cello bags. For liquids, you can also get a refill by returning your clean container to the company for 25% off the refill.
The only products not strictly speaking zero waste are their lipsticks. The tubes are 100% recycled plastic and can be refilled or recycled as per their company-sponsored program.
15. LUSH COSMETICS
*Note: Not all Lush products are vegan, however there are vegan makeup options
Lush’s Makeup Range
Lush’s range includes 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.
Unfortunately, Lush products are not palm oil free (read more here). Their products also contain the sulfate SLS (read more here) which many consider unsafe but EWG agrees with Lush that SLS is safe in cosmetics. For us, the palm oil thing (and the SLS is made from palm oil) is a deal breaker 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.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MAKEUP BRANDS BASED IN AUSTRALIA
16. DIRTY HIPPIE COSMETICS
*Note: Dirty Hippie has announced that one of their suppliers no longer guarantees certain ingredients to be palm oil free. While they search for a new supplier, see below for some of the products to avoid.
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.
Unfortunately, their supplier of Olive and Coconut oils (Cetearyl and Sorbitan olivates on ingredient lists) no longer guarantees they are palm oil free. While Dirty Hippie is in the process of moving to a 100% Palm Oil Free alternative supplier it’s something to be aware of when reading product ingredients.
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 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) and 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!
17. NEEK SKIN ORGANICS AUSTRALIA
About Neek Skin Organics Makeup
Neek specializes in ethical and sustainable lipstick, which come in all sorts of shades from subtle sheens to poppin’ pinks. All non-toxic, you won’t find synthetic dyes, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oils, palm oil, perfume, lead, gluten, carmine, sheep grease, or even beeswax.
All products Choose Cruelty-Free certified and vegan.
Despite the fact that lipstick is one of the hardest things to thoughtfully package, they manage by using mostly bamboo twist tubes that greatly cuts down on plastic usage.
About Neek Skin Organics
Neek is an Australian brand founded by lipstick-lover Angelique. Neek empower consumers with ethical makeup and skincare options, filled with sustainably sourced and organic grade ingredients.
All products are made entirely in Australia and are cruelty-free, “tested on sisters, not animals”. They only work with ingredients that are certified as sustainably sourced and organic grade.
Aside from minimizing virgin plastic content in their containers, they use minimal shipping materials as well and mail via plastic-free compostable satchels. This is all in line with their company ethos to reduce the trash they product
And to seal the ethical deal with a kiss, they also donate to support Liptember, a campaign raising awareness for women’s mental health.
OUR CRITERIA FOR 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:
- 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 and/or hemp rounds. 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!
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 in the comments for questions, suggestions, or comments.