We round up the beauty brands across skincare, hair, make-up, oral care, fragrance, candles and body care that are making an effort to leave a positive impact on the world.
We don’t need to tell you that we’re experiencing a climate crisis. Of course, there are many ways in which we can try to do our part and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Some of the changes we can make lie within our beauty routine.
The beauty industry is a major contributor to plastic pollution but over recent years, many brands have been making a conscious effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
From offsetting their carbon use and only using fully compostable packaging to eliminating plastic completely and ensuring all of their ingredients are responsibly sourced, here we round up the brands that are leading the way in sustainable beauty.
Sustainable hair brands
While the brand has committed to a world against animal testing since 1989, the Leaping Bunny requires brands to forensically investigate its entire supply chain. So, Garnier has spent the last 18 months securing declarations from more than 500 suppliers, who source more than 3,000 different ingredients, to ensure every inch of its global hair, skin and body portfolio is cruelty-free.
The landmark move comes after the brand announced its Green Beauty initiative in 2020. In a bid to improve its sustainability efforts, Garnier has stated it is working on reducing the ways it impacts the environment. A lot of its recent launches are eco-friendly, including zero waste make-up removal pads, shampoo bars and fully compostable sheet masks.
It has also made a series of targets that it hopes to achieve by 2025. This includes using zero virgin plastic, having carbon neutral industrial sites and making sure 100% of its plastic packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable.
Try: Garnier Ultimate Blends Repairing Hair Food Papaya and Amla. This silicone-free and vegan formula contains papaya and amla extracts to deeply nourish and hydrate your hair. The best bit? It’s a three-in-one formula and can be used as a conditioner, mask or leave-in conditioner. It smells incredible, too.
Beauty Kubes is committed to creating products that are free from plastic, sulphates, silicones and other materials that can have a negative impact on the environment and your skin’s health.
Try: Beauty Kubes Plastic Free Solid Shampoo Kubes for Oily Hair. These solid shampoo cubes are formulated with safflower oil and nettle powder to help balance the scalp. One box contains 27 individual shampoo bars, which are wrapped in 100% plastic-free, plant-based, home compostable film.
Born out of the frustration of waste created by the cosmetics industry, Ethique has created a range of plastic-free hair and skincare bars. It is carbon neutral, plants a tree for every order and powers its office with 100% renewable energy.
Try: Ethique Tone It Down Solid Conditioner. Alongside its range of shampoos and conditioners, Ethique created this purple solid conditioner. It helps to bring out the brightness in blonde and silver hair and eliminates signs of brassiness.
With sustainability and animal welfare at its core, Davines aims to create products while leaving a positive environmental impact. It offsets its carbon footprint and sources environmentally friendly ingredients made by organic and/or ethical farming.
Try: Davines LOVE Hair Smoother. This leave-on cream smooths out flyaways and comes in 100% carbon neutral recyclable packaging.
Shop Davines LOVE Hair Smoother at Feelunique, £21.50
Nature & My
From its packaging to its postal materials, Nature & My is committed to being as eco-friendly as possible. All of its products are manufactured and packaged in a fair trade environment, too.
Try: Nature & My Bamboo Hair Brush – Oval. This plastic-free hairbrush is made from bamboo and natural rubber, making it biodegradable. Each bristle has a cushioned, rounded end to massage the scalp and help stimulate hair growth.
You may also like
These are 9 of team Stylist’s favourite vegan beauty products
Sustainable skincare brands
Alongside products committed to improving your skin’s health, BYBI uses raw materials and only 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients. It has also pledged to be a net zero carbon brand by the end of this year and runs an event series called the BYBI Susty Summit, which tackles a range of sustainable-related subjects.
Try: BYBI Beauty Babe Balm. This cult balm is packed with shea butter, calendula and hibiscus oil, which serve to soften, protect and soothe skin. It can be used on lips, hands, cuticles, knees, elbows, heels and any other rough patches.
Shop BYBI Beauty Babe Balm at Feelunique, £18
Since it launched, UpCircle has pledged to never use any SLS, SLES, palm oil, silicones, parabens, mineral oil, parfum or sulfates in its products. It also uses upcycled ingredients (hence the name), 100% recyclable packaging and is ocean friendly.
Try: UpCircle Coffee Body Scrub with Peppermint. This coffee scrub is made with used Arabica coffee grounds sourced from artisan coffee shops. It also contains shea butter, vitamins A and E and essential fatty acids so skin isn’t left feeling stripped.
Palm-free, vegan and housed in 100% domestically compostable packaging, SBTRCT has made a conscious effort to reduce the water content that goes into its products.
Try: SBTRCT Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Formulated with vegetable derived emollients, coconut based surfactants and a beautiful blend of geranium, rose and tonka essential oil, simply wet this cleansing bar, lather it in your hands and apply it to your face.
Shop SBTRCT Gentle Foaming Cleanser at SBTRCT, £22
Neal's Yard Remedies
Neal’s Yard Remedies has many sustainable campaigns running throughout its brand. It lobbied the UK government, alongside Greenpeace and Fauna & Flora International, to ban the use of microbeads in products in the UK. It also supports bee-friendly organisations.
Try: Neal’s Yard Remedies Rose and Mallow Moisturiser. One of the brand’s bestsellers, this rich cream absorbs into skin quickly and contains mallow and almond oil to leave it feeling soft.
Sustainable make-up brands
Axiology is strongly against the use of any animal ingredients in its products, as well as testing on animals or selling to countries that test products on animals. It also donates to animal welfare organisations.
Try: Axiology The Bullet Lipstick in Bonafide. This 100% recyclable lipstick is rich in pigment and has a long lasting formula.
Shop Axiology The Bullet Lipstick in Bonafide at ASOS, £20.40
Beauty brand Odylique harnesses the impressive benefits of plants in its products. It avoids all synthetic chemicals, sources its packaging in Europe to reduce its carbon footprint and packs its deliveries with biodegradable nuggets that dissolve in water instead of polystyrene.
Try: Odylique Organic Mineral Eyeshadow in Lagoon. Free from potentially irritating chemicals, vegan and rich in plant oils, this eyeshadow is kind to eyes and blends out beautifully.
PHB Ethical Beauty
British family-owned business PHB Ethical Beauty has a large range of vegan, cruelty-free and halal-certified products. Its products are handmade in the UK and are also palm oil free. To give back, PHB launched its own charity, The OneLove Foundation Support, with which it donates 20% of net profits each year to charities and causes that inspire the team.
Try: PHB All in One Natural Mascara. Lengthening, thickening, water-resistant and non-smudging, this mascara is housed in an aluminium tube.
The core of Nudi Goods products is plastic-free formulas (even its shipment is plastic-free). It also strives to use as few ingredients as possible in each of its formulations, doesn’t test on animals and uses responsibly sourced mica.
Try: Nudi Goods Bioluminescence Plastic Free 100% Biodegradable Shimmer Stick. This highlighter is handmade and 100% biodegradable. Swipe it along your cheekbones, brow bone and forehead for a gorgeous lit-from-within shimmer.
You may also like
Where to recycle beauty product containers on the high street
Sustainable body brands
Soaper Duper avoids the use of SLS, SLES, parabens and artificial colours in its products and packaging. It aims to use recycled plastic in its packaging (they rely heavily on recycled milk bottles) and all of its pumps are 100% recyclable. It also supports WaterAid to bring soap and water to communities who need it.
All of KanKan’s products are handmade in the UK by artisan makers using sustainable, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients. All of its products come in aluminium cans, which are known for their ability to get recycled many times, so it’s easy to refill your glass bottle (if you don’t have one, you can buy one from KanKan). Plus, for every can sold, it plants a tree.
Try: KanKan Starter Set º1 Hand Wash. Formulated with natural botanicals, this hand wash set comes with a glass “Forever Bottle” and one refill can.
Frustrated by the amount of single-use products on the market, LastObject aims to bring you everyday objects, like a tissue and cotton bud, that you can use time and time again.
Try: LastSwab Basic. This reusable swab replaces the need for over 1,000 cotton buds. Once used, it can be easily washed using soap and water.
Shop LastSwab Basic at LastObject, £10
Made from durable aluminium and recycled plastic, completely compostable and refillable, these deodorants tick all of the boxes. It also contributes a percentage of sales to charity On A Mission to support reforestation projects and offset its carbon use.
Try: Wild Deodorant in Mint Fresh. One of the best things about Wild Deodorant is the ability to customise your purchase exactly to your needs. Pick a colour (aqua, coral, purple or silver) and then one of six scents. You can make a one-off purchase or subscribe for refillable top-ups.
Shop Wild Deodorant at We Are Wild, £25 for a one-off purchase. Includes one case and three refills.
Sustainable dental brands
Founded by three dentists, the idea behind Parla came from the shocking figures that revolve around the dental market. It uses eco-friendly ingredients and aims to cut out plastic from dental products to help protect the ocean.
Try: Parla Original Tabs. We know, toothpaste tablets sound weird but hear us out. They’re made from kind-to-teeth ingredients and come packaged in a reusable jar. Simply put the tablet in your mouth, chew for five seconds and then brush your teeth.
Shop Parla Original Tabs at Parla, £6.95
georganics is committed to only using pure, natural and organic ingredients in its products in a bid to avoid the environmentally harmful effects of some dental care products.
Try: georganics Dental Floss Orange. Dental floss can cause harm to oceans and so, georganics has created an alternative made from fully compostable corn-PLA. It also comes in a refillable glass dispenser and floss refills can be purchased from the brand.
Shop georganics Dental Floss Orange at georganics, £4.90
Did you know that plastic toothbrushes don’t actually break down very well? As a result, they’re contributing to the large amount of plastic that ends up in oceans. Truthbrush is a brand that sets out to change that. It harnesses the fully biodegradable properties of bamboo instead.
Try: The Truthbrush Petal Pink with Medium Plant Based Bristles. The handle is made from bamboo, the plant-based bristles are made from 62% castor oil and 38% nylon, the packaging is fully recyclable and shipping carbon neutral. Tick, tick, tick.
As well as being sustainable, fair trade and vegan, the founders of Hydrophil set out to create products that are also water-neutral.
Try: Hydrophil Pure Mint Vegan Toothpaste. As well as fresh peppermint notes that leave your teeth and breath fresh, this toothpaste comes in a tube made from wood. Yep, it uses wood to avoid the use of plastic tubes.
Shop Hydrophil Pure Mint Vegan Toothpaste at And Keep, £5.25
You may also like
Toothpaste tablets: the sustainable beauty swap your bathroom needs?
Sustainable fragrance and candle brands
Sun.Day of London
Hackney-based brand Sun.Day of London handcrafts all of its candles in apothecary jars, which are also produced in the UK. As for the candle blend, it’s vegan, palm oil-free and contains aromatherapy-grade essential oils.
Try: Sun.Day of London I. Beyond the Pines Candle. This candle contains notes of pine needle, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lime and peppermint to make your home feel and smell fresh. What’s more, it has a 100% pure cotton wick.
Ever since it launched in 2017, Floral Street has created vegan and cruelty-free perfumes that contain sustainably sourced ingredients. Plus, its packaging is reusable, recyclable and compostable. But that’s not all, every perfume is carefully formulated to deliver a unique scent blended with unexpected notes.
Try: Floral Street Ylang Ylang Espresso Eau de Parfum. Floral with a twist, this perfume contains notes of red rose, ylang ylang and jasmine which are combined with the scent of just-brewed coffee, fresh cream and Sichuan pepper.
Shop Floral Street Ylang Ylang Espresso Eau de Parfum at Floral Street, £60 for 5ml
Haeckels launched with a pledge to protect the coastline. It harvests ocean vegetables from a cretaceous chalk reef to create natural products and also runs a Rubbish For Product scheme. If you bring a bag full of beach rubbish to its shop (with visual proof that it came from the beach), the brand will give you a free product.
Try: Haeckels Dreamland Candle. Harnessing the emotive powers of scent, this candle was made to evoke the memory of wooden rollercoasters at Dreamland, the iconic amusement park in Margate (the brand’s hometown).
Shop Haeckels Dreamland Candle at Haeckels, £55
bel rebel is passionate about remaining a small batch brand. It struggled to find anywhere in Europe that would produce environmentally friendly glass bottles in small quantities, so it had to bring them in from China. However, it ships these over by sea rather than sky to minimise its impact on the environment. Meanwhile, its clever full compostable packaging is made from mushrooms grown in the Netherlands.
Try: bel rebel born to rebel. This uplifting perfume is blended with zesty lemon and bergamot to recreate the feeling of golden hour on the beach. Dreamy.
Shop bel rebel born to rebel at bel rebel, £139 for 69ml
Main image: courtesy of brands