2021 Winners The Clean Beauty Heroes 2021 Eco Beauty Awards
clean beauty heros
2021 eco beauty awards

The Clean Beauty Heroes

Meet the people making it happen.

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). with the help of a few eco-beauty superstars who have gone above and beyond in the way of education, sustainability, and brand transparency. So, for our fifth annual Eco Beauty Awards we decided to amplify their contributions to unmuddling an often confusing category in the beauty industry. Ready? Meet Byrdie's 2021 Eco Beauty Heros.

The Changemaker: Anitra Marsh, VP of global sustainability at P&G

Anitra Marsh

Anitra Marsh/Design by Cristina Cianci

"Procter & Gamble, which owns brands including Native, Olay, Secret, Old Spice, and SK II, has a lot of power. And you know what they say about great power—it yields even greater responsibility. Anitra Marsh is a force in the industry who wields that responsibility with grace and purpose, heading up teams to better the environmental and community impact of P&G brands. Under her leadership, the company introduced all-paper deodorant tubes for select Secret and Old Spice brand products. 'If we convert just 10% of our current deodorant packages to recycled paper or another recyclable material, it could eliminate up to 1.5 million pounds of plastic waste annually,' Marsh told us in an exclusive interview last year. 'This is just one example of how we are trying to make a difference and build a more sustainable future.'"
- Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

The Disruptor: Priscilla Tsai, creator and founder of Cocokind

Priscilla Tsai cocokind

Priscilla Tsai/Design by Cristina Cianci

"Priscilla Tsai founded Cocokind in 2015, and has since become a stand-out leader in the clean beauty space. Her niche? Radical transparency. Tsai lets consumers in on all of her decisions—from packaging, to testing, to ingredients. In 2021, she rebranded her mission from 'clean' to 'conscious' skincare after realizing the toll confusing marketing jargon can take on all of us. 'I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of brands to constantly improve and educate; this onus should not fall on consumers,' she wrote on her site. This is the type of leader we need making our products and these conversations will lead to better stability testing, sourcing, holistic sustainability, claims vetting, and standardized rules in this industry."
- Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

The Formulator: Robyn Watkins, founder of Holistic Beauty Group

Robyn Watkins

Robyn Watkins/Design by Cristina Cianci

"For over two decades, Watkins has been championing the beauty industry’s adoption of clean, sustainable, and safe ingredients. She is behind the ingredient policies of some of beauty’s buzziest brands like Estée Lauder, Smashbox, and Arbonne. With her work at the Holistic Beauty Group, Watkins spends her days helping brands develop innovative and effective beauty and wellness products. She oversees formula development, packaging development, and ingredient sourcing along with lab iterations. Previously, when Watkins was in corporate beauty, she was always pushing for clean, pushing for fair trade, reviewing consumer complaints about ingredients, and working with various packaging engineers on sustainability. She isn't just riding the clean beauty wave, she is the clean beauty wave."
- Olivia Hancock, associate editor

The Educator: Jen Novakovich, cosmetic scientist at The Eco Well

Jen Novakovich the eco well

Jen Novakovich/Design by Cristina Cianci

"I love following science-based beauty accounts on Instagram because they’re such an easy, digestible way to receive information—the only problem is the space is flooded with misinformation and fear-mongering, so it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. One source I know I can always trust, however, is Jen Novakovich of The Eco Well. She’s a cosmetic chemist who specializes in green beauty and hosts an informative podcast where she covers topics like 'natural' not being synonymous with 'sustainable' (harvesting certain botanical ingredients can actually be damaging to the environment). Novakovich presents her information in such a trustworthy and friendly way that I never feel as though I’m being pressured into believing something, and I always leave her platform having learned something new."
- Lindsey Metrus, editorial project director

The Influencer: Dr. Michelle Wong, PhD scientist and educator at Lab Muffin Beauty Science

Dr. Michelle Wong

Dr. Michelle Wong/Design by Cristina Cianci

"Dr. Michelle Wong is a science educator with a PhD in chemistry. She's an OG in the clean beauty space, as she started Lab Muffin a decade ago to help consumers understand the science behind beauty products. She offers easy-to-understand explanations, sans confusing buzzwords and marketing jargon, and is clear about her stance on, in her words, "science, healthy skepticism, honesty, transparency, money well spent, and sunscreen." You can use her site to get clarity on beauty myths, research, ingredients, marketing, formula efficacy, and so much more."
- Hallie Gould, associate editorial director

The Innovator: Cary Lin and Angela Ubias, co-founders of Common Heir

Cary Lin and Angela Ubias of Common Heir

Common Heir/Design by Cristina Cianci

"Cary Lin and Angela Ubias are clean-beauty veterans working to bring sustainability to the brand's entire supply chain. They've packaged the first plastic-free vitamin C experience, and they seek to do the same with all future products. Common Heir capsules are sold in a recyclable paper tube, keep the (incredible) formula stable for use, and then degrade in hot water when you're done."
- Kathryn Vandervalk, editorial & strategy director

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