As consumers become increasingly conscious of their purchasing choices’ environmental and ethical impact, the demand for sustainable makeup brands continues to rise. Ethical and sustainable makeup brands prioritize eco-friendly practices and clean beauty, offering cosmetic products that align with the values of environmentally conscious individuals.

In this article, we will explore the characteristics of ethical and sustainable makeup brands, how to identify the best brands to try, the benefits of choosing eco-friendly cosmetics, the role of sustainable cosmetic brands in promoting clean beauty, and how individuals can contribute to sustainable makeup practices in their beauty routine.

Navigating the Impact of Personal Style and Makeup Choices

Personal style, expressed through fashion, accessories, and makeup, has been a part of human history for thousands of years. The use of makeup dates back to ancient Egypt. 

The cosmetics industry is booming today, driven by the growing importance of self-care and wellness for consumers globally. Although there was a slight dip in 2020 due to the pandemic, the market has consistently grown since 2004. It is expected to reach nearly $129 billion in revenue by 2028.

However, the beauty industry creates over 120 billion non-recyclable packaging units annually worldwide. In the U.S. in 2018, nearly 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were made exclusively for beauty products. The issue is escalating, with the global cosmetics market expected to reach $560.50 billion by 2030, contributing to growing plastic pollution. 

Additionally, the production of beauty products contributes to environmental issues such as deforestation, soil contamination, and water pollution due to the demand for natural oils like palm, soy, rapeseed, and coconut oil. Consumers must be aware of the environmental impact of their beauty choices and consider sustainable alternatives.

List of Sustainable Makeup Brands 

Elate Cosmetics

Elate is a low-waste and sustainable makeup brand that prioritizes people and the planet in decision-making. Their commitment to sustainability has resulted in the preservation of hundreds of thousands of packages from ending up in landfills, thanks to their refillable products. 

Additionally, their seed paper packaging has contributed to the growth of over one hundred thousand gardens. Elate proudly maintains a 100% vegan and cruelty-free status. Noteworthy products from Elate Cosmetics include the Revere Lip & Eyes Makeup Kit, Essential Black Mascara, and Organic Creme Concealer, with prices starting from $21.

Their offerings are free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Ethically, Elate is a B Corporation Certified brand, demonstrating dedication to sustainable packaging, cruelty-free practices, veganism, carbon neutrality, and safe and fair labor standards.

River Organics

River Organics products

River Organics, a wonderful makeup brand based in Wilmington, North Carolina, stands out for being natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and zero-waste. Founder Corinne Lefebvre adopts a simplified and transparent approach to formulation, using mostly certified organic ingredients, and prides herself on the recognizable names of 99% of the components.

With products free from harsh chemicals and ranging from $11.99, River Organics emphasizes eco-friendly and compostable packaging, 100% vegan ingredients, Leaping Bunny certification, and conflict-free and certified organic components. They offer shipping within the United States and worldwide. 

100% Pure

Recognized as one of the premier affordable sustainable makeup brands, 100% Pure strongly emphasizes natural and organic ingredients, ensuring the safety and vibrancy of your makeup routine. Their vegan cosmetics, enriched with antioxidants, essential oils, and natural vitamins, nourish your skin.

Beyond makeup, they offer an extensive collection that includes soaps, shampoos, and conditioners, facilitating a complete and non-toxic beauty routine. Best-selling products like Bamboo Blur Powder and Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick are priced from $20.

Free from gluten, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, 100% Pure is committed to ethical practices, including biodegradable formulas, conscious packaging, eco-friendly shipping, and cruelty-free vegan products. They ship within the United States and worldwide.

Juice Beauty 

Juice Beauty, renowned as one of the most sustainable makeup brands, is celebrated for its tinted moisturizers seamlessly blending skincare and makeup benefits. Using solely natural and USDA-certified organic ingredients, they take pride in being vegan and cruelty-free, aligning with a compassionate animal approach. 

Beyond eco packaging, Juice Beauty actively incorporates sustainable energy sources in its production. Top picks from Juice Beauty, including the Phyto-Pigments Complexion Kit and Nude Lip Crush & Blush, start at $12.

Their products are free from parabens, petroleum, sulfates, pesticides, etc. They adhere to ethical practices like using organic ingredients, cruelty-free formulations, Certified Vegan and Leaping Bunny certifications, and sustainable packaging.

Kjaer Weis

Kjaer Weis ensures that conscious beauty choices don’t compromise quality. This sustainable makeup brand formulates premium products using certified natural and organic ingredients while maintaining luxury beauty standards.

A standout is their Liquid Foundation, a next-gen product with clean ingredients that hydrate, even skin tone, and nourish, promoting smooth skin. Top picks from Kjaer Weis, like the Build Your Own Beauty Kit and Matte Liquid Lipstick, start at $17.

Their products are free from gluten, fragrance, parabens, and sulfates. Ethical practices include sustainable packaging, refillable options, certified organic ingredients, cruelty-free formulations, and ethically sourced ingredients.

Well People

Well People presents a range of sustainable makeup products that nurture your skin while delivering desired color and coverage. Remarkably, over 35 products have earned the esteemed EWG verification. With a commitment to being vegan-friendly, non-toxic, and affordable, Well People embodies qualities we appreciate in eco-friendly makeup brands.

Top picks include the Multi-Use Blush, Power Palette Eyeshadow, and Expressionist Volumizing Mascara, starting at $15. Their products are free from various harmful substances, and ethical practices include using ethically sourced and renewable botanicals, EWG verification, plant-powered formulations, cruelty-free commitment, and Leaping Bunny Certification.

RMS Beauty

RMS Beauty stands out as one of the premier environmentally friendly makeup companies due to its commitment to using raw, food-grade, and organic ingredients. The brand goes beyond traditional makeup by infusing healing and nourishing elements into formulas, promoting skin health.

With a range from concealers to highlighters, all offerings are non-toxic and GMO-free. Top-selling items include Eyelights Cream Eyeshadow, Back2Brow Powder, and UnCoverup Concealer, with prices starting at $22. RMS Organics prioritizes sustainability with recyclable glass jars, refillable packaging, and 80% post-consumer recycled paper, showcasing dedication to ethical and transparent practices as a member of PACT.

Izzy

woman holding Izzy makeup product

Izzy is an eco-friendly beauty brand that makes products without harming animals. Their items can be used and recycled again and are good for the environment. They don’t use a lot of plastic and send their products in reusable packages. Their tubes are made of strong metal and can be filled again.

They give some of their money to organizations like The National Forest Foundation, Her Justice, and Pencils of Promise, so you’re helping good things happen when you buy their products.

Fat and the Moon Lip and Cheek Stain

Fat and the Moon draws on herbalist and natural healer traditions, crafting their products from ethically and organically harvested plants. Prioritizing self-care and self-love, their handmade items are created per order. Emphasizing cruelty-free and natural ingredients, Fat & the Moon challenges the notion that natural makeup must be dull.

 Their commitment to zero waste is evident in using small glass or tin pots, recyclable or reusable containers, and minimal packaging. The cheek and lip paint, available in beautiful shades, complements all skin tones, offering hydration and moisture to the skin.

Pyra Beauty 

Pyra Beauty, a female Latin-owned makeup brand, is dedicated to creating a positive impact with superior products and exceptional ingredients. Carefully chosen for their skin benefits, durability, and sustainability, each ingredient in Pyra Beauty products reflects a commitment to quality.

Every Pyra Beauty item is cruelty-free, talc-free, paraben-free, and phthalates-free, offering fragrance-free options. Infused with powerful ingredients like Green Tea, Cranberry, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, and Aloe, these products provide nourishment and enhancement for the skin.

The Vegan Illuminator Powder is versatile for everyday use or can be layered for a more dramatic look. Meanwhile, the Vegan Setting Powder, enriched with Green Tea and Cranberry extracts, hydrates, blurs imperfections, and controls oil, leaving a flawless finish.

Pyra Beauty packages its products in compostable cardboard or recyclable glass containers to align with their eco-conscious values.

Zerra & Co

Zerra & Co makeup product

Crafted from natural ingredients, entirely petroleum-free, and housed in palettes made from robust paperboard designed for repurposing, Zerra & Co takes a firm stance against single-use plastics. They minimize plastic in their packaging, ensuring a commitment to sustainability.

The shipping process is carbon neutral, utilizing 100% recyclable and compostable materials, including the tape. Zerra & Co extends their dedication to reducing single-use plastic by monitoring its usage in the lab and prioritizing suppliers with similar sustainability goals.

Packaged in small glass jars suitable for upcycling, Zerra & Co offers liquid eyeliner in versatile shades like black, brown shimmer, and brown. Whether you’re searching for mineral eyeshadow, palettes, tinted lips, cheek color, or the latest addition, a new mascara, Zerra & Co stands out as a go-to zero-waste makeup brand.

What are the Characteristics of Ethical and Sustainable Makeup Brands?

Regarding ethical and sustainable makeup brands, several key characteristics set them apart from conventional cosmetics companies. These include using sustainable packaging, incorporating organic ingredients, and efforts towards zero waste.

Use of sustainable packaging

Sustainable makeup brands prioritize using eco-friendly packaging materials, such as recyclable or biodegradable components, to minimize the environmental impact of their products. By opting for sustainable packaging, these brands reduce the reliance on plastic and promote responsible waste management practices.

Incorporation of organic ingredients

Organic ingredients are at the core of sustainable makeup brands, prioritizing natural and organic ingredients sourced from ethical suppliers. By avoiding synthetic chemicals and harmful additives, these brands promote clean beauty and ensure their products are gentle on the skin and the environment.

Efforts towards zero waste

Zero-waste makeup brands are committed to minimizing their environmental footprint by implementing innovative solutions to reduce waste throughout production and distribution. From sustainable sourcing to eco-conscious manufacturing practices, these brands strive to minimize their environmental impact.

Benefits of Using Sustainable Makeup Brands

Environmentally Friendly Choices

  • Sustainable makeup brands prioritize clean ingredients and sustainable sourcing.
  • Choosing these brands enhances personal care and reduces ecological impact, aligning with the EPA’s goal of decreasing environmental degradation.
  • Products with eco-friendly features, like vegan, cruelty-free, reusable, and plastic-free options, show higher growth rates, according to a Nielsen report.

Mitigating Plastic Waste

  • Sustainable makeup brands actively address the global plastic waste crisis, unlike conventional brands.
  • They use recyclable or reusable packaging, supporting the United Nations Environment Programme’s call to reduce single-use plastic and protect marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Advocacy for Ethical and Sustainable Values 

  • Opting for sustainable makeup brands supports ethical practices, cruelty-free ingredients, and charitable initiatives.
  • Consumers, as shown by a CGS survey, increasingly prioritize sustainability and prefer brands aligned with their values.
  • Choosing these brands reflects a commitment to responsible consumerism and contributes to a more eco-conscious future, in line with organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Conclusion

The shift towards ethical and sustainable makeup brands marks a transformative journey in pursuing beauty. With their commitment to clean ingredients, sustainable practices, and eco-friendly packaging, these brands embody a powerful alliance between beauty and responsibility. 

As consumers increasingly recognize the environmental impact of their choices, the beauty industry is witnessing a positive evolution. Beyond personal care, embracing sustainable makeup becomes a declaration of support for ethical values, plastic waste reduction, and the broader mission of responsible consumerism. By choosing these brands, individuals contribute to a more conscious and eco-friendly future, where beauty and sustainability harmoniously coexist.

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