6 Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Brands to Shop Online (2021)

Eco-friendly Makeup - Stock Image from Canva of a zero-waste makeup set with wooden brushes

If you’re looking for eco-friendly makeup, there are loads of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for zero-waste, ethically sourced, vegan, or organic makeup, there are dozens of companies that claim to offer ‘green cosmetics’.

Unfortunately, not all companies are as green as they seem. Many make claims that are exaggerated or misleading to lure in consumers trying to make better choices and use eco-friendly alternatives.

So, how do you find great eco-friendly makeup brands? What do you look for when comparing brands and how do you know their products are truly as good as they sound?

In this guide, we’re looking at how makeup and cosmetics impact the environment, what it means for makeup to be sustainable, how to choose eco-friendly makeup, and six of the best eco-friendly makeup brands to shop online in 2021.

Let’s jump right in!

How Do Cosmetics Impact the Environment?

When it comes to cosmetics, there are environmental impacts at every step of the process. The way ingredients are grown or sourced, how they’re processed and how they’re packaged all impact the environment.

Here are some common environmental impacts of makeup:

  • Chemical ingredients that harm water quality, and aquatic organisms during manufacture and when they’re washed down the drain after use.
  • Pollution that occurs during the farming of ingredients – crop pesticides impact water and soil quality in surrounding areas.
  • Unethical farming of ingredients can lead to deforestation and loss of habitat, which impacts biodiversity.
  • Excessive water use during manufacturing.
  • Excessive and unmitigated carbon and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the supply chain.
  • Packaging that is made from unsustainable materials, like plastic and that cannot be reused or recycled adds ends up in landfills.

Palm oil is a particularly contentious ingredient that appears in a huge number of cosmetics. Check out this video by Our Changing Climate for an overview of why palm oil is so problematic:

The environmental cost of the cosmetics industry is huge and the impacts are felt at every step of the process, from manufacture to when you wash it off at the end of the day.

Cosmetics are also very poorly regulated and manufactures can get away with using ingredients that are not only harmful to the environment but human health too.

In the Unites States, only a handful of chemicals are banned from use in cosmetics, whereas over 1600 are banned in Europe. This huge discrepancy illustrates how poorly, and inconsistently, cosmetics are regulated.

How all these toxic chemicals impact our health ranges from skin rashes and eye irritation to diabetes and increased cancer risk.

What is Eco-friendly Makeup?

So, what exactly makes a makeup brand eco-friendly? And how do you find makeup brands that care for the environment, and your health?

Essentially, you’re looking for products that are made with sustainability in mind, by companies that are transparent and accountable.

It can be hard to distinguish between brands that are greenwashing and misleading consumers by making vague claims about their products being ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, or ‘organic’.

Here are some useful things to look for when you’re shopping for sustainable makeup:

  • No harmful chemicals – look for natural, plant-based ingredients instead
  • Certified Organic ingredients
  • Minimal, sustainable packaging that is thoughtfully designed to use as little material as possible
  • Plastic-free or recycled and recyclable plastics
  • Packaging that is compostable and biodegradable
  • Certified Cruelty Free and/or Vegan
  • Does not use Palm Oil
  • Has verifiable eco-certifications for their ethical sustainability efforts
  • Is made in facilities that mitigate their impact through renewable energy or carbon offsets

There are loads of great options to choose from and in most cases, a product will meet some but not all of these criteria.

Choose products that align best with your values – you will just feel better using them!

To make finding great products that you love (and that love you and the planet) easier, we have curated a list of our favorite sustainable beauty brands:

6 Awesome Eco-friendly Makeup Brands

 1. Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty makes a wide range of cosmetics and skincare products. They only use natural, certified organic ingredients in all their products, which are also cruelty-free and vegan.

Eco-friendly Makeup - Juice Beauty

Based in California, Juice Beauty believes in a ‘farm to beauty’ approach and uses only locally sourced ingredients.

Their natural pigments are great and create highly pigmented makeup products, without the synthetic colors used by conventional makeup brands. We love their lipsticks and blushers!

Their packaging is recycled and their facilities use solar and wind power for sustainable energy.

 Snapshot – Juice Beauty: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Certified organic (USDA) and natural ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Recycled packaging
  • Animal Ethics: Cruelty-Free and Vegan
  • Palm Oil Free: Not stated (if they do, it is organic)
  • Where it is Made: California, USA
  • Price Range: $10 – $100
  • Where to Buy: Juice Beauty

2. Clean-Faced Cosmetics

Clean-Faced Cosmetics offers a beautiful range of cosmetics such as eyeshadows, mascara and eyeliner, and pigmented lip balms.

Eco-friendly Makeup - Clean-faced Cosmetics

They will also make up custom orders for clients who want something special and will even switch out ingredients for those who are sensitive to particular ones!

Clean-faced Cosmetics’ products are all palm-oil free, vegan, and cruelty-free, and use natural and mostly organic ingredients. They also go out of their way to source their ingredients ethically.

All their packaging is recycled, reusable, or biodegradable. They’re in the process of going zero-waste, so minimal and sustainable packaging is a focus point for them.  As an Esty vendor, their shipping is carbon-neutral too.

Snapshot – Clean-faced Cosmetics: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: All natural and mostly organic ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: All packaging is either biodegrade, recycled, or reusable. Labels use eco-friendly ink.
  • Animal Ethics: Cruelty-Free and Vegan
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: Michigan, USA
  • Price Range: $4.99 – $18.99
  • Where to Buy: Clean-faced Cosmetics on Etsy

3. Vapour Beauty

Vapour Beauty has an impressively comprehensive range of beauty products. From primers, foundations, blushers, and bronzers, to lipsticks, eyeshadows, mascaras, and eyeliners – they have something for everyone.

Eco-friendly Makeup Brand Vapour Beauty

They use only natural ingredients, most of which are plant-based and many are organic. Vapour uses natural minerals and carmine for pigmentation and many of their formulas are water-based. They do not use parabens, fillers, or preservatives.

They’re ‘Champion Status’ certified safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which certifies ingredients in cosmetics and skincare as safe and non-toxic. They’re also Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free.

Their facilities in New Mexico are powered with solar power and they use eco-friendly packaging. Their packaging is FSC certified paper and cardboard, recyclable plastics, and compostable shipping products.

Snapshot – Vapour Beauty: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and some USDA Certified Organic ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Paper packaging is FSC Certified
  • Animal Ethics: Certified Cruelty-Free and some products are vegan
  • Palm Oil Free: No (but uses responsibly sourced Palm Oil)
  • Where it is Made: New Mexico, USA
  • Price Range: $18 – $50
  • Where to Buy: Vapour Beauty

4. River Organics

River Organics makes a great range of beauty products, including concealers, bronzers, blushers, and highlighters, as well as lip and eye products.    Eco-friendly Makeup Brand River Organics

For an organic makeup brand, they’re very well priced and do not compromise on quality. Their ingredients are EWG certified, and mainly organic. They do not use synthetic fragrances or colors.

They emphasize ethical sourcing, with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients, as well as ingredients that are conflict-free and ethical for humans.

With the aim of zero-waste, River Organics designs their products and packaging to produce as little waste as possible. Packaging is minimal and made from sustainable materials like recycled paper and cardboard. They use recycled shipping sleeves and upcycled fillers. All their labels are made from sugar-cane waste.

River Organics also supports various environmental initiatives, like the Plastic Ocean Project and reforestation charities. You can also purchase/donate to carbon offsets at checkout, and River Organics will match your donation.

Snapshot – River Organics: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and some Certified Organic ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Minimal packaging, recycled shipping sleeves, plant-based labels, and upcycled filling
  • Animal Ethics: Vegan and Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: North Carolina, USA
  • Price Range: $11.99 – $27.99
  • Where to Buy: River Organics

5. Alima Pure

Alima Pure products are made from only natural ingredients and do not contain any of the nasties that you see in so many conventional cosmetics.

Their sustainable makeup lines include options for your skin, cheeks, eyes, and lips. Most of their products come in reusable packaging and are refillable.

Eco-friendly makeup brand - Alima Pure

They’re not vegan as they use beeswax but they are completely cruelty-free. Alima Pure is B Corp Certified. This means they’re verified by one of the strictest sustainability certifications, which looks at every aspect of their business and products.

Alima Pure has been 100% carbon neutral since 2008, offsetting all their carbon emissions through Carbon Fund. They’re part of the Green Source Renewable Power Program, using 100% renewable energy, and donate to causes like 1 for the Planet.

Snapshot – Alima Pure: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and non-toxic
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Reusable and recyclable packaging
  • Animal Ethics: Cruelty-Free
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: Oregon, USA
  • Price Range: $14 – $46
  • Where to Buy: Alima Pure

6. Dab Herb Makeup

Dab Herb Makeup and Skincare offer a great range of natural, non-toxic, and mostly organic makeup and skincare products. They have everything from zero-waste mascara and vibrant eyeshadows, to lip stains, tinted moisturizers, and foundations.

Eco-friendly makeup Brand - Dab Herb Makeup and Skincare

All their products are cruelty-free, vegan, and palm oil-free and most are organic too. Dab uses fair trade certified farms and suppliers for their ingredients and they support Made In The Free World to fight human trafficking.

They do not use synthetics in any of their products and provide a full breakdown of the ingredients they use on their website.

Dab uses as little plastic as possible and ships its products in the packaging they re-use from their suppliers.

Snapshot – Dab Herb Makeup: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and some Certified Organic ingredients  
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Plastic-free, recycled, and reusable packaging
  • Animal Ethics: Vegan and Cruelty-Free
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: California, USA
  • Price Range: $6 – $39
  • Where to Buy: Dab Herb Makeup and Skincare

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re looking for cruelty-free and vegan makeup, organic makeup, or zero-waste makeup products there are loads of great options to choose from on this list!

We selected eco-friendly makeup brands that truly deliver on their sustainability claims so that you can shop from any of these brands with confidence!

What sustainable makeup will you try first?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best eco-friendly makeup?

There are loads of great options for eco-friendly makeup. Our favorite sustainable cosmetics brands are:
1. Juice Beauty
2. Clean-faced cosmetics
3. Vapour Beauty
4. River Organics
5. Alima Pure
6. Dab Herb Makeup.
Check out the full article for more on each of these sustainable cosmetics brands and what makes their makeup products eco-friendly.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging refers to packaging that is thoughtfully designed to have the least environmental impact possible. This means it is made out of responsibly sourced materials and it can be re-used or recycled, or it can be composted at home. Check out the full article for more on sustainable packaging.

Why is palm oil in cosmetics bad?

Palm oil is used in many, many applications from food to cosmetics and cleaning products. The product itself is not harmful but the manner in which it is produced is highly problematic. Commercial palm oil plantations have lead to devastating deforestation in tropical areas, loss of habitat and biodiversity and massive increases in carbon emissions. Read the article for more on palm oil in cosmetics and a list of brands that do not use it.

References

Brightly: Cosmetic Ingredients That Are Harmful to the Environment

Eco-Label Index: Searchable Directory of Eco-labels and Certifications

Environmental Working Group: Skin Deep Database of Ingredients

Green America: The Ugly Side of Cosmetics

Healthline: 6 Faux Eco-Friendly Beauty Products to Avoid

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