Sustainable Makeup Brands
Makeup has been an integral tool for self expression throughout human history. While the intent of makeup has remained consistent over the centuries, the exact kind of makeup we’ve used has changed drastically.
There are popular trends nowadays, such as contouring, highlighting, and the soft glam aesthetic; then there are trends that had a strong grip on past fashionistas, like pencil-thin eyebrows and radioactive lip color.
As the makeup looks we’re drawn to evolve, so does the makeup we use. The products that we choose can send a much more profound message than just our favorite colors.
The makeup industry is massive, and unfortunately, a lot of makeup companies produce a lot of waste because of standard practices that are harmful to the environment.
When companies strive to offer the cheapest possible option, both ethics and the quality of the product move to the bottom of the priority list.
Here are some sustainable makeup brands we think are worth starting with, and a little background on why it’s worth making the switch.
Here at Bite, we stand by the idea that self-care and environmental care go hand in hand — choosing sustainable products and starting as small as swapping out your toothpaste or moisturizer are easy places to start to bridge the gap between the two.
Why Is Sustainable Makeup Important?
While we’d love if everyone made moves toward sustainable everything, sustainable makeup is an easy and practical place to start.
A lot of long-standing makeup companies unfortunately have sustainability at the bottom of the agenda. The beauty industry as a whole is still working its way toward better ingredients that are safely sourced and sustainably manufactured.
Making sustainable choices during the production process and material selection process can largely contribute to a greener planet. With small changes like using Earth-friendly packaging or avoiding environmentally toxic ingredients, both individuals and the planet at large can see huge benefits that are being implemented at a large scale.
When we consider how expansive the beauty industry is, making positive changes can bring impactful effects for the environment, like decreased waste, lower carbon emissions, and safely-obtained resources.
Better for the Environment
Sustainable makeup brands help lessen the effects of climate change. For makeup to be sustainable, it has to both use sustainable, natural ingredients and be made through sustainable means.
Most makeup is also created and delivered with an abundance of unnecessary packaging. Even though this may look trendy or eye-catching on store shelves, it’s an afterthought to most people in the long run.
With excessive packaging, makeup companies guarantee that consumers will end up throwing out most of what they receive in the mail or buy from a store. This contributes to the already staggering sums of plastic polluting our oceans and clogging landfills.
Not to mention — the fumes and greenhouse gasses released while creating products to keep up with demand can be substantial.
Sustainable makeup brands place a stronger emphasis on the use of renewable resources, organic ingredients, and biodegradable materials, which can help reduce the impact of the cosmetic industry on the environment.
For example, sustainable makeup products that make use of bamboo, glass, or metal for packaging make for a green alternative to conventional products packaged in plastic. Bamboo grows very quickly, meaning it’s easy to grow and use, not to mention bamboo can be used to craft sustainable makeup brushes, boxes or packages, and other key components of cosmetics.
Better for Us
When a company doesn’t prioritize sustainability, it’s common that they don’t have ingredient quality at the top of the list either.
Clean ingredients are usually more expensive to source and use, which is why we end up seeing a lot of artificial ingredients like synthetic coloring and fragrance in big brand cosmetics.
Just as these ingredients aren’t as good for our skin, they’re usually not great for the environment either, both because of how they’re sourced and because they end up being toxic when they’re disposed of.
Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the toxic ingredients included in many makeup products.
Just a few of the concerning ingredients that often find their way into common products include:
- Parabens (both isobutyl and isopropyl)
- Methylene glycol
- Dibutyl and diethylhexyl phthalates
Companies that play fast and loose with the ingredients they use often end up with products that can irritate sensitive skin. However, even those who do not have sensitive skin could still find themselves experiencing discomfort, redness, or swelling due to the toxicity.
There is an abundance of harsh chemicals that are too often used in many formulas including lipstick, mascara, blush, face cream, and more. As sustainable makeup brands often highlight, products made with natural, organic ingredients tend to be much safer and more nourishing.
Better for Animals
Opting for sustainable makeup brands rather than conventional brands’ products may also help you avoid buying products that have been tested on animals. Animal testing is, unfortunately, very prevalent, with millions of animals being used in lab experiments every year.
Sustainability commonly focuses on animal ethics in addition to environmental protection, meaning that the majority of genuinely sustainable brands steer clear of animal testing. Animal testing not only places animals at risk, but also increases waste production and uses nonrenewable resources.
What Are Some Sustainable Makeup Brands To Look For?
Now that we know what to avoid in products, let’s discuss some of our favorite ethical, sustainable makeup brands that will help you be your most confident self.
RMS Beauty is all about utilizing raw, natural, non-toxic ingredients to highlight the beauty that’s already there (there’s lots of it!). Their organic ingredients are food-grade to provide all the nourishing benefits the plants have to offer.
ILIA is renowned for offering equal parts skincare products and makeup options. This eco-friendly makeup brand is 100% clean and works wonders for many different skin types.
Axiology was founded to be more ethical, so their products are vegan and cruelty-free. They also offer zero waste makeup, so nothing ends up in the landfill when you’re done with it.
Fat and the Moon
If you are looking for body care products free of any toxic chemicals and only utilize ethical, natural ingredients, Fat and the Moon has a lot to offer.
Clean Faced Cosmetics
Also known as CFC for short, this organization offers cosmetics that are low waste, totally plastic-free, and completely vegan.
Tata Harper focuses on natural luxury skincare that puts the Earth first with eco-friendly packaging and natural ingredients, and they’re working on making refillable packaging as their next initiative.
Dirty Hippie is largely fair trade and has eco-friendly packaging, not to mention refill options for when you inevitably want your next of their beautiful products.
All formulas from 100% Pure are biodegradable, and they have vowed to replace all their packaging materials with post-consumer recycled components by 2024. Their shipping materials are biodegradable as well, not to mention much of their makeup is dyed using fruit and mineral pigments.
Elate Beauty’s ingredients are 75% organic, and they always prioritize fair trade materials. They also have makeup brushes crafted out of sustainable bamboo.
How Do Brands Qualify as Sustainable?
The term “sustainable” can sometimes feel like a moving target. However, there are a few principles that brands need to prioritize to qualify.
From the materials and resources manufacturers use to the processes involved in creating and delivering their products, each step needs to be altered to mitigate negative impacts on the environment.
Where Do Sustainable Materials Come From?
Sustainable materials come from sources that do not harm the environment, and the processes used to obtain them must be eco-conscious.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are sustainable because they are renewable resources, as well as being biodegradable and compostable. Fruits and vegetables can be fantastic, sustainable sources of pigments, fragrances, and nourishing extracts for cosmetics.
Sustainably Derived Oils
Oils derived from natural sources and ethical means are perfectly sustainable, as the whole process has the potential to be organic and environmentally friendly. Natural oils can also make for more skin-healthy cosmetic formulas — that said, we still prefer to stay away from palm oil, which is a massive contributor to deforestation. This is why we emphasize ethical means of obtaining ingredients.
The Bottom Line
The green beauty industry has been booming and expanding over the past few years. This is resulting in long-standing makeup companies slowly making the effort to switch to more sustainable practices.
As each of us do our best to make sustainable swaps in our own lives, the brands and companies we purchase products from help to drive the overall mission we’re all on to do better for the planet.
Bite is proud to offer sustainable products ranging from oral care to deodorant, so you can make your everyday life a little more eco-friendly.
Radioactive Cosmetics and Radiant Beauty | Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas
What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It a Problem? | Ethical Consumer
The Toxic Twelve Chemicals and Contaminants in Cosmetics | Environmental Working Group
What Are Sustainable Materials? | Rutgers
(PDF) Bamboo – A Renewable Resource of Incessant Possibilities | ResearchGate
Animal Use Statistics | Humane Society International
Review of Evidence of Environmental Impacts of Animal Research and Testing | Semantic Scholar