2021 Winners The Best Eco Makeup Products Eco Beauty Awards
Eco Makeup 2021
2021 eco beauty awards

The Best Eco Makeup Products

Keep scrolling for Byrdie's 2021 Eco Award winners.

After the year we've had, beauty has only become more paramount in our lives. It's the rituals and sensorial experiences that eased our anxious minds and helped us feel cared for amidst enormous adversity. Beauty is so much more than products—in fact, for many of us, it's been a lifeline during a time when we've had very little control over anything else. Vivian Diller, Ph.D, explains, "Like rhythmic breathing during meditation, morning beauty routines induce a feeling of calmness and control." With that, we've also had more time at home to dig into formulas—and better understand what works for us (and what may work against the planet). And thus, our fifth annual Eco Beauty Award winners were tested and chosen. You can read all about our process here, as well as learn a little more about the history of "clean" beauty. Ready? Let's get to the products.

Though makeup may have taken a backseat this year for some—for others (we see you), it's been the catalyst for fun, experimentation, joy, and creativity. Nothing is more exciting than the first swipe of a lip gloss or highlighter, a shadow that's pigmented and blendable in equal measure, or makeup that feels like skincare. Add clean ingredients, transparency, and sustainability and we're sold. Below, find our 2021 Eco Beauty Award winners in the makeup category.

01 of 19

Best Foundation

Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation $48
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Highlights

  • Provides light, dewy coverage and SPF 40
  • Formulated with ingredients including squalane, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid
  • Ilia partnered with Terracycle on a recycling program for your empties
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Gives Back
  5. Sustainable Packaging
  6. 2020 Winner

Read our review: I Put Ilia's Foundation-SPF Hybrid to the 12-Hour Wear Test

And more on the shade range: Ilia's Launching 12 New Shades of the Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40—We Tried Them

"I swore off foundation at the beginning of the pandemic, until I discovered Ilia's formula. This is the only foundation I ever want to use. I pat it into my skin for dewy, my-skin-but-better coverage, with SPF 40 to boot. Ilia uses clean ingredients, and they've also implemented a program with TerraCycle where you can send in your empty products. Even if you recycle, your packaging often ends up in a landfill if it's a material expensive to recycle—Ilia will make sure your empties don't."
- Kathryn Vandervalk, editorial strategy director

02 of 19

Best Primer

Face Base Priming Moisturizer
Isla Beauty Face Base Priming Moisturizer $46
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Highlights

  • Plumps and hydrates your skin
  • Made with a blend of botanical oils, rose water, and beeswax 
  • Blocks damaging blue light from screens, cellphones, and visible sunlight
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging

"I've never been much of a primer person—until I tried Isla's Face Base Primer with organic rose water, botanical oils, and beeswax. It plumps, hydrates, visibly smooths, and protects your skin from High Visible Energy (HEV). I use it even when I'm not applying makeup. Plus, the brand is incredibly transparent—offering up easy-to-understand ingredient reports for each product (this one is 90% from natural origin and 10% synthetic) and recyclable glass packaging."
- Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

03 of 19

Best Tinted Moisturizer

Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer $33
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Highlights

  • Provides sheer, buildable coverage and an SPF of 30
  • Made with hyaluronic acid, olive-derived squalane, and mineral-based sunscreen
  • The brand uses FSC-certified paper from responsibly managed forests
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Gives Back
  5. Sustainable Packaging

"The texture and feel of this tinted moisturizer is like no other. It feels like splashing refreshing, cool water on my face. It does a fabulous job at evening skin tone, hydrates, nourishes, all while providing SPF protection.
- Tennille Jenkins, clean beauty influencer

04 of 19

Best Concealer

Revealer Concealer
Kosas Revealer Concealer $28
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Highlights

  • Provides medium coverage with a dewy finish
  • Ingredients include caffeine, pink algae, hyaluronic acid, and arnica
  • Combines the benefits of a concealer, eye cream, and spot treatment
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Gives Back

Learn more: Kosas' New $28 Concealer Applies Like a Dream

"This concealer is hands-down the one I reach for most often. The formulation provides seamless, light coverage that lasts all day and does not settle into my fine lines. I use this in place of foundation, and everyone thinks I have nothing on my face. That's how spot-on the color matching is. I like to use multiple shades to highlight, brighten, and spot-treat my entire face. The concealer is infused with caffeine and pink algae to boost the skin's radiance. Arnica and provitamin B5 soothe the skin, and peptides and hyaluronic acid work to plump the skin."
-Tennille Jenkins, clean beauty influencer

05 of 19

Best Mascara

w3ll people Mascara
W3ll People Expressionist Pro Mascara $19
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Highlights

  • Creates full, layered, separated, clump-free lashes
  • Sustainably made with organic beeswax, carnuba wax, and sunflower seed oil
  • EWG-verified and made with no fillers
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Cruelty-Free
  3. Gives Back
  4. Sustainable Packaging

"I'm always on the hunt for a supersized, dense-bristle brush to coat my lashes in a lifting, separating, and volumizing formula (that doesn't smudge). This, my friends, is it. The sustainably-made coating (with organic beeswax, carnauba wax, and sunflower seed oil) is EWG-verified, cruelty-free, and made with no fillers, propylene glycol, and non-renewable petrochemicals or petroleum by-products."
- Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

06 of 19

Best Cream Blush

Refillable Cream Blush
Kjaer Weis Refillable Cream Blush $32
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Highlights

  • Buildable formula with dewy-sheen finish
  • Formulated with rose rubiginosa seed oil to protect your skin from premature aging
  • Refillable to prevent waste
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Gives Back
  5. Sustainable Packaging
  6. 2019 Winner

"From the beginning, sustainability has been a pillar of the Kjaer Weis philosophy. Their iconic packaging is good for the planet and the skin without compromising luxury. The compact is created from quality metal that can be refilled over and over again. This cream blush delivers a beautiful dewy finish and is formulated with certified-organic ingredients rooted in skincare, like jojoba seed oil and sweet almond oil. It’s also super buildable, so you can customize the color intensity."
- Annie Jackson, co-founder of Credo

07 of 19

Best Powder Blush

Blush
MOB Beauty Blush $25
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  • Buttery, buildable, talc-free formula
  • All packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials and each component is refillable
  • Ingredients are bio-degradable and ethically sourced
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging

"I genuinely enjoy wearing this buildable, high-performance blush every day (and I know plenty of makeup artists who feel the same way). But what's really impressive is MOB Beauty eliminates unnecessary packaging from the equation entirely. All of the packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials, and each component is refillable. So when you finish your blush, you keep the pan that it came in and order a refill—which arrives plastic-free, packaged in a 100% recyclable cardboard vessel. The pan is meant to last you forever, but if you ever do want to replace it, this item is completely recyclable, too. The blush is definitely my favorite product from MOB at the moment, but this is a major disruptor and a brand to watch."
- Holly Rhue, editor

08 of 19

Best Liquid Highlight

Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer
Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer $26
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Highlights

  • Offers subtle champagne shimmer for a healthy, dimensional glow
  • Formulated with 100% pure argan oil to hydrate and smooth your skin
  • The brand is committed to converting carton packaging to 100% post-consumer waste material
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back

Learn more: Everything You Need to Know About Argan Oil for the Skin

"A little bit of this highlighter goes a long way, which makes it perfect for dropping a dot into a tinted moisturizer for a lit-from-within glow. The formula includes 100% pure argan oil, sourced from UNESCO-protected regions in Morocco. Josie Maran is also currently in the process of converting its carton packaging to 100% post-consumer waste material."
- Eden Stuart, associate editor

09 of 19

Best Powder Highlight

Supernova Crushed Diamond Highlighter
Aether Beauty Supernova Crushed Diamond Highlighter $38
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Highlights

  • Delivers a soft, ethereal glow
  • Formulated with ethically-sourced diamond powder and organic rosehip oil
  • Sustainably packaged using FSC-certified paper and soy inks
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Gives Back
  5. Sustainable Packaging

Learn more: Āether Beauty Launched a Clean "Golden Supernova" Highlighter Formulated for Deep Skin Tones

"This highlighter uses ethically-sourced diamond powder for its light-reflective properties to create a highlighter that's pure shine. This product is clean, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and formulated without talc, parabens, nanoparticles, and fragrance. Sustainably packaged using FSC-certified paper and soy inks, this product is 100% recyclable."
- Annie Jackson, co-founder of Credo

10 of 19

Best Bronzer

No Limits Matte Bronzer
LYS Beauty No Limits Matte Bronzer $18
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Highlights

  • Pressed-powder formula
  • Formulated with niacinamide, green tea extract, and sodium hyaluronate
  • The brand uses FSC-certified packaging and 30% post-consumer recycled materials
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Black-Owned

Learn more: LYS Beauty Is the First Black-Owned Cosmetics Brand With Sephora's "Clean" Stamp

"Some bronzers can appear chalky and cakey, especially on melanin-rich skin. You don’t have to worry about that with the LYS Beauty No Limits Matte Bronzer. When I apply it on top of my foundation, it instantly sculpts and defines my complexion. The formula contains niacinamide to blur and limit excess shine, as well as sodium hyaluronate to skin moisture and plump fine lines. The products also come in FSC-certified folding cartons and packaging, featuring glass and tubes using 30% post-consumer recycled materials."
- Olivia Hancock, associate editor

11 of 19

Best Eyeliner

Kulfi Beauty Kajal Set
Kulfi Beauty Kajal Set $85
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Highlights

  • The brand donates to mental health organizations to serve the South Asian community
  • Formulated with aloe vera extract and vitamin E
  • Waterproof, smudge-proof, and long-wearing
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Gives Back

Learn more: Kulfi Beauty Authentically Celebrates South Asian Culture

"If you’re in search of a creamy, ultra-pigmented eyeliner, look no further than Kulfi Beauty. I’m able to effortlessly create a winged-liner look or line my waterline with these. The brand thoughtfully formulated the products with high-quality vegan ingredients like moisturizing aloe vera and antioxidant-rich vitamin E. I love that they’re long-wearing, waterproof, and smudge-proof as well."
- Olivia Hancock, associate editor

12 of 19

Best Glitter

Biodegradable Glitter
Projekt Glitter Biodegradable Glitter $21
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Highlights

  • Biodegradable and cruelty-free
  • Formulated as superfine glitter for precise looks
  • Comes with an all-natural aloe-vera primer and glitter brush
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging

Learn more: 9 Sustainable, Earth-Friendly Glitters to Feed Your Sparkle Obsession

"I'm not much of a glitter buff, but when the occasion calls for a little extra shimmer, I'm only on board for something biodegradable. I love the fun tubes Projekt Glitter comes in, like you're a cosmic chemist. To apply, you simply paint on a base of the brand's aloe vera primer, then paint the glitter on top. When you wash it off, it'll biodegrade in soil and seawater rather than sit eternally in the ecosystem."
- Lindsey Metrus, editorial project director

13 of 19

Best Eye Shadow

Pure Pressed Eyeshadow
Alima Pure Pressed Eyeshadow $26
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Highlights

  • Creamy pressed powder texture
  • Comes in a refillable compact
  • Made with avocado oil, jojoba oil, and rice powder
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back

"One of the OGs in clean, mineral makeup, Almia Pure's shadows give bold color payoff and come in beautiful, rich shades. They are buildable for a weightless wash of color, and can easily be worn over the lid or as a liner. The pan is refillable, so you can enjoy the compact over and over again and swap in different shades, meaning less mess and minimal waste. It's also made with rice powder—an oil-absorbing ingredient an alternative to talc—which helps to create a smooth canvas and prevent creasing."
- Annie Jackson, co-founder of Credo

14 of 19

Best Multi-Use Makeup Product

The Ultimate Organic Multi-Use Colors
Habit Cosmetics The Ultimate Organic Multi-Use Colors $28
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Highlights

  • Creamy, moisturizing, and buildable formula
  • Habit Cosmetics uses post-consumer plastic packaging and FSC-certified paperboard boxes
  • Made with organic shea butter, avocado oil, and moringa oil
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Black-Owned

Learn more: 5 Sustainable Beauty Brands That Make a Zero-Waste Routine Actually Doable

"This has been my go-to when I want to look put together in a flash. The cream-based color pot can be applied to your lips, cheeks, and eyes—and it always delivers a moisturizing flush of color. It's infused with organic shea butter, avocado oil, and moringa oil. The multi-use product is also vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free. When it comes to sustainability, Habit Cosmetics uses post-consumer plastic packaging and FSC-certified paperboard boxes."
- Olivia Hancock, associate editor

15 of 19

Best Lipstick

Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayon
Bite Beauty Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayon $26
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Highlights

  • All Bite products are reviewed by toxicologists for safety, allergens, and efficacy
  • Formulated with pomegranate oil, wild African mango, and orange peel wax
  • Comfortable, creamy matte finish
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back
  6. 2020 Winner

"Bite Beauty consistently proves clean color cosmetics can be vibrant and rich, and the Power Move Creamy Matte Lip Crayons are perhaps the best example. There are 20 colors to choose from and the formula is smooth and creamy, a feat for a matte. The ingredients include pomegranate extracts, mango butter, and orange peel wax and do not include any animal-derived ingredients. Plus, all Bite products are reviewed by licensed toxicologists for safety, allergens, and efficacy. The company has a Supplier’s Code of Conduct for its direct product suppliers, addressing working conditions and explicitly prohibiting child and forced labor, human trafficking, harassment, and abuse."
- Eden Stuart, associate editor

16 of 19

Best Tinted Lip Balm

Tinted Lip Balm
Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm $5
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Highlights

  • Available in eight shades
  • Delivers eight hours of moisture
  • Made with nourishing shea butter and botanical wax
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back


"Despite the many, many tinted lip balms I've tried in my time as a beauty editor, the product I always come back to is Burt's Bees classic range. I'm constantly battling dry lips, which is tough when you also want to wear a color product, but this product covers all of my bases. It's also sourced from 100% natural ingredients like botanical wax and shea butter. (PS: try the Sweet Violet shade—purple is a surprisingly universally striking hue)."
- Lindsey Metrus, editorial project director

17 of 19

Best Lipgloss

ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss
Tower28 ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss $14
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Highlights

  • Allergy and dermatologist-tested and formulated to be non-comedogenic and non-irritating
  • Delivers high shine, non-sticky finish
  • Made with apricot kernel oil, raspberry seed oil, and rosehip oil
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back
  6. 2020 Winner

Learn more: Tower 28’s New Milky Lip Jellies Are the Grown-Up Version of the ‘90s Juicy Tubes

"I’ve been a lip gloss fanatic since elementary school and Tower28’s ShineOn Lip Jelly has blown me away. It coats your lips with a non-sticky moisturizing gloss and a subtle hint of color. It also contains a blend of oils (like apricot, raspberry, and rosehip) to nourish and protect your lips from environmental aggressors and free radicals. The glosses are also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free."
- Olivia Hancock, associate editor

18 of 19

Best Brow Product

Brow Butter Styling and Volumizing Eyebrow Gel
Saie Brow Butter Styling and Volumizing Eyebrow Gel $20
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Highlights

  • Oil-based, liquid, buttery-texture pomade
  • Formulated with plant-based fibers
  • Made with cacao seed butter, jojoba, and candelilla wax
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back
  6. 2020 Winner

"Saie’s Brow Butter rivals all my holy grail gels—only it’s softer, more flexible, and the formula stays put for hours. The brand is hyper-transparent about its stance on sustainability (it admits the brow brush is made of plastic and says it hopes to develop its own plastic-free bristle someday) and is open about the ingredients in (and not in) its EWG-certified products."
- Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

19 of 19

Best Nail Polish

Plant Pots
Ciate Plant Pots $12
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Highlights

  • Formulated with up to 80% natural and sustainably-sourced ingredients
  • Bottles are made with recycled glass and have a recyclable cap
  • Provides long-wearing, hardened, and high-gloss shine
  1. Byrdie Clean
  2. Vegan
  3. Cruelty-Free
  4. Sustainable Packaging
  5. Gives Back

"A nail polish that's mostly natural, fortified with nail-nourishing ingredients, and long-lasting seems like a pipe dream, but somehow Ciaté was able to craft the ideal formula. It's made with up to 80% natural origin ingredients, including biotin and bakuchiol extracts to strengthen and rejuvenate nails, and lasts for up to six days of wear."
- Lindsey Metrus, editorial project director

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