For many women, applying a face of makeup is part of their everyday routine. Foundation, lipstick, mascara, and more become a regular step in getting ready, for some just as much as picking out an outfit or brushing your teeth. And while putting on makeup is a great way to take care of and express yourself, using the wrong products could be doing more harm than good. That’s why choosing some of the best eco-friendly makeup brands is an important step in utilizing sustainable beauty.
Most of us are careful about what we eat. You probably wouldn’t eat something you’re allergic to, or was made with harmful ingredients. But when it comes to our largest organ – our skin – we often forget that ingredients matter. In fact, researchers from George Mason University have urged women to consider the harm that can be caused by exposure to chemicals from cosmetics. Hormonal changes, they warn, can lead to serious conditions, including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.
What’s in your makeup bag doesn’t just affect you if you have children. A recent study shows the toxic chemicals found specifically in kids’ makeup and body products (CMBP), such as heavy metals, appear to be particularly harmful to both infants and children. Such chemicals, whether manufacturers are adding them intentionally or they appear as contaminants, have a link to numerous health problems like cancer, neurodevelopmental harm, and other serious and irreversible health consequences. Next time you’re thinking of buying makeup for your kids to try too, make sure you do your research.
Switching to eco-friendly products can provide better outcomes for your skin and for the planet. And with more brands than ever taking extra time to seek out non-toxic, low-waste solutions for makeup, it’s easier than ever to find earth and skin safe beauty. If you’re ready to switch out your old makeup for newer, cleaner products, StudyFinds is here to help. We searched the internet for expert reviews to find the best eco-friendly makeup brands and compiled this list of the top recommendations. These are our picks, but as always, if you have a favorite that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments.
The List: Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Brands, According To Experts
Lipstick lovers rejoice! Axiology is a lips-focused beauty brand with clean, organic ingredients and ethical processes. “When Ericka Rodriguez founded Axiology, her main goal was to create what she calls ‘evil-free’ and ‘super ethical’ lipstick that wasn’t just vegan but also harmless to both humans and the planet we live on,” explains Allure. “The result is way more than just lipstick. Instead, it’s a whole slew of makeup products that are always made with 10 ingredients or fewer: mineral pigments paired with botanical extracts like that of elderberry, plum seed, and moringa.”
Of course, beyond looking good, Axiology products are also working on doing good. “Besides having a zero tolerance policy for palm oil and animal testing, the brand provides financial support to the Orangutan Foundation International where funds are used to save and rehabilitate orangutans from the effects of the palm oil industry,” Earth.org notes. “Further, it sources its shea butter and moringa oil through fair trade channels.”
In keeping with its low-waste principles, Axiology products can be used in a multitude of ways. “Axiology is best known for making the first plastic-free, zero-waste, multi-purpose crayon, and we absolutely love that. Called Balmies, they are available in a wide variety of colors and can be used on the eyes, lips, and cheeks,” says The Eco Hub. “The packaging around the Balmies is 100% zero waste, and can be recycled. The box they come in can also be recycled or composted. Some of their Balmies can be used as highlighters and you will find sets of various kinds as well.”
2. ILIA Beauty
An easily recognized name in the clean beauty space, ILIA Beauty has grown significantly in recent years. The company boasts zero-waste makeup products, and has multiple earth-honoring initiatives in place all year long. “Ilia Beauty is focused on creating clean, pure products with organic bio-active botanicals that nourish skin as they wear,” Allure states. “From lipstick to eye shadow and multiple base products, Ilia’s products give you a luxurious feel, look, and wear, while being some of the cleanest makeup you can use.”
And the eco-friendly measures are more than just lip service. “Ilia not only encourages customers to send in their Ilia Beauty packaging for recycling, but they also ask for packaging from other brands. So if you have empties from any other brand, Ilia will take them and recycle them for you,” says Trvst. “They make their packaging from recycled aluminum, glass, and paper, all sourced responsibly.”
“Ilia’s sustainable makeup products are designed to instantly rejuvenate your look. Ilia uses a great formulation that has high levels of skincare ingredients to act as a defense against environmental stressors,” adds Sustainably Kind Living. “Moreover, this brand is produced organically and is vegan and cruelty-free. Clean beauty is what they aim for.”
3. Elate Beauty
Whether you need foundation or mascara, Elate Beauty has you covered with their complete range of clean and eco-friendly makeup products. From ingredient selection to packaging, Elate always seeks to do right by the planet and by its customers. “Elate is a low waste and sustainable make-up brand that puts people and the planet at the forefront of their decision-making,” claims Sustainably Kind Living. “Because of this, hundreds of thousands of packages have been saved out of landfills due to their refillable products.”
Among the more unique things about Elate is its packaging. “Elate products come in bamboo and recyclable aluminum packaging. And they ship using post-consumer paper fill-to-pad orders during transit,” Trvst explains. “They also make their envelopes from seed paper. Packed with seeds, you can literally plant them and watch flowers, herbs, or vegetables grow while the paper naturally biodegrades.”
Elate also makes it easy to find your entire routine within its product offerings. Rather than searching through multiple different brands, Elate carries a diverse range of beauty products all made with the same ethical standards. As The Eco Hub says, “Elate has a wide selection of zero-waste makeup products, they offer everything from foundation, bronzer, and primer, to eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner, all with a very mindful eye for our health and for sustainability.”
4. Kjaer Weis
If you find it hard to part with your luxe beauty items in search of a more eco-friendly routine, you’ll love Kjaer Weis. The brand has a quality, luxury-like feel to it that is representative of its refusal to compromise on either ethics or function. “Kjaer Weis believes that being conscious of your beauty product should not sacrifice quality,” explains Sustainably Kind Living. “That is why this sustainable makeup brand formulated a prime makeup uses certified natural and organic products, but they also make sure to achieve the standards of luxury beauty.”
At Kjaer Weis, everything from ingredients to packaging is considered in terms of the planet and the consumer. The ultimate result is sustainable, luxe products that exceed expectation. “Naturally-derived and organic ingredients meet luxury beauty with quality cream and powder formulas housed in the brand’s signature, luxurious, chrome packaging. A bonus, those compacts are refillable, which means sustainable,” says Allure.
“It’s hard to believe the glam metal and lacquered paper cases are refillable, but they are. With products that look this good on you and on your vanity, you’ll want to click refill,” TreeHugger adds.
Notable for its exceptional quality and commitment to sustainability, Antonym Cosmetics is another successful attempt to prove that clean and planet-friendly makeup can be just as fabulous as its less wholesome counterparts. “A Miami makeup artist started this brand to close the gap between clean makeup and high-performing makeup that anyone would love to wear,” explains Trvst. “The brand’s primary focus is on formulations that are natural while offering great pigmentation and color payoffs.”
“Antonym’s Ecocert certification tells those who insist on organic products everything they need to know. But it’s the beautiful colors and impressive formula performance that tell everyone else that this brand deserves a spot in your makeup bag regardless of your ingredient priorities,” claims Allure. “Antonym Cosmetics offers professional-level makeup performance with clean ingredients,” Sustainably Kind Living adds.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.