Makeup can be super fun and glamorous, and recently there’s been a resurgence in the popularity of makeup and makeup products. There are tutorials for days on how to achieve the perfect look and we totally get the appeal. But what’s in all of the liquids, powders, pencils, stains, lipsticks, and other products we layer on to achieve that perfect look?
Unfortunately, these products contain ingredients that are not as benign as we might hope. That’s why looking for eco friendly makeup brands is a priority for us at The Eco Hub and we want to help understand why considering switching to eco friendly makeup is a good idea.
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Of course, we have your back in terms of what to look for when shopping for eco friendly cosmetics and a list of our top picks for some of the best eco friendly makeup brands out there.
Why consider switching to eco friendly makeup?
Makeup should really only be a good experience but all of the toxins and unwanted chemicals they can contain really kill the vibe. Children’s makeup has even been found to contain asbestos. So it’s really important we look into what is in our makeup, especially since we apply it right on our faces.
For more natural sustainable makeup, the most common ingredients to avoid are benzophenone & related compounds, coal tars, ethanolamine compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA, And Others), lead and other heavy metals, mica, nanomaterials, petrolatum, phthalates, parabens, Teflon, titanium dioxide, and talc to name a few.
Many of these chemicals and ingredients are outright banned in the European Union and have been found to be linked to serious health concerns. Best not to have them in our makeup routine.
Be on the lookout for these things when Shopping for eco friendly makeup
Whether we are looking for sustainable skincare brands or zero waste makeup, we consider our clean beauty criteria to simplify the process and do our best to pick the best brands and products available to us. It consists of the following:
1. Is it local?
Shopping locally reduces the carbon emissions associated with distribution and helps to support the local economy.
2. Is it made of natural ingredients?
We also look for products made from the best natural ingredients possible, for our skin and for the planet.
3. Is it certified organic?
Products that are certified organic are better because it means better agricultural practices and ingredients. Think minimal pesticide use. This is better for us and for the planet too.
4. Is it vegan?
We also look out for our vegan friends out there and make note of whether products contain any ingredients that are derived from animals in any way.
5. Is it cruelty-free?
We don’t want any products that could be tested on any animals either. The Leaping Bunny certification is one way to verify this, but there are a lot of brands that no longer test on animals now.
6. Palm oil-free?
Right now, the palm oil industry is pretty bad for many of the people involved in making it and for the environment. We try to steer clear of it wherever possible. There are certifications to help with this too but it is pretty difficult to track the origins of palm oil at this stage.
7. Are the ingredients sustainably sourced?
This is especially important for things like mica (typically found in powder makeup) which can involve unethical labor practices and unsustainable production methods. We look for brands who omit it entirely or can speak to its origins, wherever possible.
8. Does the company use environmentally-conscious packaging?
Packaging is also super important. We look for brands that offer products that come in compostable, zero waste, recyclable, and/or reusable containers like some of our favorite blue beauty brands.
9. Is it inclusive?
Eco friendly cosmetics, like clothing and other essentials, should be available to people of different complexions and skin types. We make sure to take note of this too. Brands that offer affordable natural makeup options also get major props.
Our Top Recommendations for Eco Friendly Makeup Brands
Here are top picks for the best eco friendly and cruelty-free makeup:
1. Dab Herb
A vegan makeup brand, Dab Herb specializes in offering handcrafted, artisanal makeup, using organic and food-grade ingredients. Made in California it is a great option for eco makeup. Find all sorts of essentials including eye shadow, bronzer, foundation, concealer, rouge, and more.
They also offer kits like their Organic Make-up Set which comes with a free cotton bag and includes their top-rated organic mineral-free Petal Translucent Powder, Organic Coconut Liquid Eyeliner, organic Herb/Henna mascara, organic Root Lip Tint, and their organic Petal Powder Blush.
People absolutely love these kits. They especially like the packaging, the translucent powder and the way it smells, and how all of the products come together to make a perfect little bundle.
2. Plant Makeup
Plant Makeup is a plant-based, natural eco friendly makeup and skincare brand based in Massachusetts. The brand was created by an artist and plant lover, starting with an interest in herbalism which grew into the makeup we get to enjoy now.
Their selection features bronzing powder, eye shadow, lip gloss, lip stain, lip balm, primer, finishing powder, highlighters, and foundation. We also found a freckle paint, and a Cinnamon Lip Plumper, and really like their take on clean cosmetics. It is colorful, light, and bright! We also love that all of their products are made with all-natural and organic ingredients, wherever possible.
Their most popular products are lip tints, balms, and salves. Customers also seem to love their bamboo makeup applicators.
If you are looking to create a zero-waste bathroom or a zero-waste makeup routine, this is the place for you. Clean-Faced Cosmetics (CFC) is one of our top choices for eco friendly makeup brands. Self-described as “mostly organic, completely vegan, and zero waste AF”, we totally love it.
Based in Michigan, CFC offers a wide selection of zero-waste items, including zero-waste mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, highlighter, and custom makeup palettes. All zero waste and all mindfully crafted without any potentially harmful ingredients or toxins.
Their best-selling zero-waste mascara is especially well received and works very well. It is made with activated charcoal, aloe vera, bentonite clay, and vitamin E, and comes in a cute little glass vial, along with an eco-friendly bamboo spoolie for application. Just cut off the plastic bristles to compost the bamboo end when you are finished with it.
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.
One of my favorites is their Essential Mascara. It is water-resistant and sweat-resistant, but it also works super well. You can find it in two shades (True Black/Deep Brown). And for packaging, Elate uses a recyclable plastic inner tube, encased in bamboo. The bamboo tube can be crushed and composted, and the rest can be thoroughly rinsed and recycled curbside.
Always at the top of our list of sustainable makeup brands, we also love their bronzer, eye shadows, blushes, and pressed powders. Their customizable, refillable palettes stand out from the rest in terms of sustainability. You can make them your very own with any combination of blush, concealer, foundation, or brow balms, for a perfectly compact makeup kit, full of your favorite essentials. Best of all, their packaging can be returned for recycling.
Handmade in Grass Valley, CA, Fat and the Moon was created as an alternative to the standard narrative surrounding personal care products. That’s why they want to help celebrate and empower both people and the planet with their collection of eco-friendly cosmetics. No “fixing, taming, or eliminating” here, but thoughtfully sourced, and organically cultivated ingredients, are put together to make a wide array of beautifying formulations. Inspired by age-old remedies and plant-based ingredients, here you will find healing balms, aside from lip & cheek stains, lip paint, lip salve, highlighters, and eye coal.
Their lip and cheek stains are particularly well-liked. Customers rave about the color and note that they are buildable for darker hues. These stains are also moisturizing, but there seems to be some debate about the scent so be mindful of that if you are particularly sensitive to smells.
Clove + Hallow is developed in the USA and focuses on offering products that are safer and more sustainable, with a “do no harm” philosophy. To choose ingredients, the brand relies on peer-reviewed studies, third-party testing and expert advice. They are also committed to Clean15 and certified to sell in the EU which means they abide by their stricter regulations.
For packaging, the brand also focuses on post-consumer recycled plastics, bioplastics, recyclable glass, as well as refillable options. Find priming serum, primer, concealer, foundation, cheek color, bronzing powder, eye shadow, lipstick, lip lacquer, lip serum, lip polish, compacts for their refillable products and more.
Their best sellers include their Lip Velvet, their Conceal + Correct concealer, their Lip Creme lipstick, and their Bronzing Powder. The Conceal + Correct is designed to camouflage under-eyes, blemishes, redness and hyperpigmentation. Customers say it does just that, offering good coverage but also going on smooth and lasting all day.
SAPPHO New Paradigm was founded by Emmy-nominated makeup artist, JoAnn Fowler. The brand was born exactly as she began her clean makeup journey. A combination of expertise, care and research, SAPPHO’s products are all vegan and designed to perform.
Their selection includes organic liquid foundation, vegan mascara, C.C. cream, setting powder, primer, concealer, refillable compacts, and everything you would expect from a professional makeup kit. For packaging, they also make sure to use non-laminated paper, no acetate windows for blushes and powders, and some recyclable plastics.
One of their best selling products is their Essential Foundation. It is available in several shades, and made with primarily organic ingredients. It does contain some mica, and may contain titanium dioxide, which is mostly a concern for inhalation and doesn’t apply here. Customers rave about how easy it is to apply and how well it works for different skin types.
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. They are free of unnamed fragrances, alcohol free, and vegan but they may contain some titanium dioxide and mica for color, and a synthetic bulking agent called synthetic fluorphlogopite.
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.
Their most reviewed set is the Of The Earth set featuring a caramel, nude plum and cherry Balmie. Customers really love the colors and find them easy to apply though they may not be as bright on certain skin tones. New Customers 15% off First Order with Email Signup 15% off on 1st Order.
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics is a family run business that prides itself on creating small batch beauty products, as well skincare and hair care products. Based in Australia, everything is handmade, and packaged in minimal packaging including newspaper collected from local businesses and post consumer recycled paper tape and boxes. They also accept empties for all their full sized tin and bottle products but only from Australian residents, to avoid the carbon emissions associated with air travel.
Find liquid eyeliner, mascara, mineral brow powder, mineral eyeshadow, raw cocoa BB creams, foundation powder, highlighters, mineral cream concealer, finishing powder, and more!
Their best sellers include the Mineral Cream Concealers, the Nourishing Cheek and Lip Tints, and the Raw Cocoa BB Creams. Customers especially love the BB creams and describe it as a high quality product that goes on smooth and feels good on skin.
9. Lily Lolo
Founded by Vikki Khan, Lily Lolo merges clean, natural ingredients and mineral based technology to offer clean mineral makeup that nourishes skin. Some of their products are refillable like their Mineral Foundation SPF 15 paired with the Mineral Foundation Jar. Customers especially love the Mineral Foundation for the quality it offers at a much more affordable price point than competitors.
You will also find pressed bronzer, mascara, eye palettes, eye liner, blush, and lipstick. Another one of their best sellers in the Natural Eye Pencil which comes in Black and Brown. It is made with lots of natural ingredients and is described as easy to work with. It is also designed for sensitive skin and meant to moisturize and condition skin.
A final word on eco friendly makeup brands
Finding more eco friendly makeup brands is definitely a little more involved than choosing whatever people are raving about these days. And it looks like avoiding mica and titanium dioxide proves to be quite difficult. But it also reveals something brands can work on figuring out to make their products more sustainable.
That said, it’s definitely possible to find better makeup even though they may not be perfect, all while avoiding any greenwashing. We are big believers in small improvements (and sometimes quite big ones like with packaging) and these brands make it easier to find what we are looking for.
Consider pairing natural cosmetics and your eco friendly makeup routine by trying out some reusable cotton rounds if you haven’t already. They work well for makeup removal and/or applying anything that might otherwise require a disposable cotton round.
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