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When we were deciding whether to move forward with Byrdie's 2020 Eco Beauty Awards in the face of a pandemic, it boiled down to one question: Does beauty still have a place in times of adversity? The answer—resoundingly, from our team and our readers—was yes. As a website that covers all things beauty, Byrdie has always existed to spread the message that beauty isn’t vanity; it's self-expression, exploration, armor, rebellion, comfort, and a way to spread joy. Those last two feel especially relevant right now given our current circumstances, and they’re the reason why we’re unveiling our fourth annual Eco Beauty Awards today featuring the best clean beauty products in the industry. We hope reading about these eco-conscious brands—all of which are doing thoughtful and innovative things in the world of sustainability, and proof that "clean" is the new normal—will bring you comfort and joy during this uncertain time. Another thought: What better time than now to lift up smaller brands in the current economic climate? We hope as you scroll, you discover new favorites.
A little about our selection process: Our editors and guest judges (more on them later) tested hundreds of products throughout the year and nominated over 300 that qualified as “clean” by Byrdie’s Clean Beauty Pledge. From there, we narrowed down the winners based on three things: ingredients (are they high-quality and non-toxic?), sustainability (does its creation take into account environmental impact or are there charitable elements?), and efficacy (does it work?). We placed a heavy emphasis on ingredients and sustainability this year, choosing to highlight brands that are really going above and beyond to formulate with sustainably-sourced, clean ingredients while minimizing their carbon footprint—and lucky for us and our planet, there are so, so many.
To help us spotlight the best in eco beauty, we recruited four clean beauty experts to serve as guest judges. Learn a little about them below:
A model, photographer, and clean beauty buff, Braina Laviena is an expert on all things clean, especially when it comes to products for sensitive skin. She also writes and photographs a monthly column for Byrdie highlighting the best in clean beauty.
Katherine writes about sustainable, low-impact living for Treehugger, a website dedicated to all things green and eco-conscious. With her eco expertise, she also played tiebreaker for certain categories, judging a product's sustainable practices and ingredient quality.
Romain Gaillard is one of the first purveyors of the natural beauty movement and the founder of The Detox Market, the leading green beauty retailer in North America.
Tennille is a clean beauty advocate and sustainable living expert. Her blog, The Tennille Life, was created as a place to uplift, inspire, and promote clean beauty and wellness routines.
The Praise: "This cleanser is my holy grail. It removes makeup so I don't have to double-cleanse on nights when I feel lazy (which is most nights), has a pleasant, faint scent of flowers and citrus, and leaves my skin clean, soft, and hydrated—never too tight. I recommend it to everyone." - Faith Xue, editorial director
The Eco Factor: All Alpyn Beauty products are made with sustainably-harvested, wildcrafted ingredients and the brand donates 1% of all brand sales to Grand Teton National Park in their hometown of Jackson Hole, WY.
The Praise: "I love how effective Cocokind’s prebiotic Oil to Milk cleanser is at breaking down oil, sunscreen, and even eye makeup. Once mixed with water, it creates a lovely milky wash that gently rinses away, leaving my skin clean and refreshed without feeling tight and stripped." - Tennille Murphy, creator of The Tennille Life
The Eco Factor: The brand uses only clean ingredients and opts for packaging is completely plastic-free—instead, it uses recyclable tubes made from sugarcane materials.
The Praise: "This is our number one cream cleanser year after year. It's alcohol and detergent-free and when used with the muslin cloth that comes with it, leaves no trace of dirt behind." - Romain Gaillard, founder of The Detox Market
The Eco Factor: Pai products are Cosmos Nautural certified and made with sustainable vegan ingredients. The brand also works with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which promotes responsible management of the world's forests and produces recyclable packaging.
The Praise: "We launched Naturopathica one year ago and this product has solidified it as one of our fastest growing brands. The blend of ingredients is so lush—royal jelly, manuka honey, and sea buckthorn to name a few. The Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm feels like a spa treatment every time I wash my face." - Romain Gaillard
The Eco Factor: All of the ingredients in Naturopathica products are sustainably and responsibly sourced, with most of the packaging made from glass or recycled material.
The Praise: "I was surprised the first time I used this product—I was expecting a gritty scrub, but it was so much gentler and still somehow left me with bright, smooth, calmed skin. I love that I can use this elderflower and castor oil-infused exfoliating wash as often as I want without fearing over-exfoliation. Plus, the smell and creamy texture makes it feel like a treat." - Faith Xue
The Eco Element: All of Codex's products contain sustainably sourced ingredients housed in plant-based polyethylene tubes, which reduce each product's carbon footprint from about 50% to 80%.
The Praise: "Before using this, I had been using diluted ACV as a toner and it seemed like the only thing that could keep my allergic reactions and eczema under control. One week after putting the ACV down and using this regularly, I noticed that my skin texture and moisture had improved significantly. After using it for a longer period of time, it even helped fade stubborn acne scars—plus, my allergic reactions and eczema felt more under control than they'd ever been. The sweet orange scent that helps wake me up every morning is a very pleasant bonus." - Braina Laviena, model and clean beauty advocate
The Eco Factor: All LOLI products are food-grade, fair-trade, organic and ethically made, with the brand donating $1 for every $75 spent to organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking.
The Praise: "This is the definition of a luxury product. When I use Blue Cocoon, it’s a full holistic experience—from the beautiful packaging to the way it melts into my skin to the blue tansy, which soothes my skin and reduces any redness or inflammation. It's pricey, but a little goes a long way!" - Tennille Murphy
The Eco Factor: This balm-to-fluid moisturizer is made with fairtrade, wild harvested blue tansy (as well as marula, baobab, and myrrh oils) to provide relief to irritated skin. All May Lindstrom products are made with organic, responsibly-sourced ingredients housed in Miron violet glass to protect their potency.
The Praise: "My skin is incredibly dry and for this reason, I have tried many, many lotions and creams. For me, I need a moisturizer to truly hydrate without being too heavy or clogging my pores. Enter: Moisture Riser, a silky and decadent formula made with all-natural botanicals that's truly everything and more I've ever wanted in a moisturizer. Applying it in the mornings has even become a sort of meditative ritual; I take deep breaths of its calming scent to get ready for the day ahead of me." - Braina Laviena
The Eco Factor: Noto is transparent about its focus on reducing its ecological footprint, with a goal of fully compostable packaging, synthetic-free tints, and less overall waste in its production process.
The Praise: "This. Product. Does. Everything! It's an incredible moisturizer, can be dabbed onto the high points of the face like a highlighter, soothes cuticles, and rough zones on the body, and so much more. The full-size is a must, as is the travel-size, which is always in my makeup bag." Leah Wyar, editor-in-chief/GM
The Eco Factor: What's more eco than one product that replaces 13? You can use this to soothe dry skin on your elbows, hands and feet, but also as a face cream, highlighter, eye cream...the list goes on. Weleda prioritizes raw ingredients that come from organic or biodynamic farming. In 2013, the brand reduced its water consumption by 25%, with 50% of its direct energy coming from renewable sources. You can also recycle your empties through the brand’s TerraCycle Recycling Program.
The Praise: "After a week of consistent use, my skin looked plump, even, and visibly smoother along my forehead and crow’s feet. And not once did I suffer from any negative effects—no irritation, no redness.” - Hallie Gould, senior editor
The Eco Factor: The brand recently started conversion to carton packaging made of 100% post consumer waste material, saving over 357,000 pounds of wood and 537,000 gallons of water in the process.
The Praise: "I'm on my third bottle of Circumference's Vital-C Antioxidant Day Serum and that's saying something, considering that I generally never get through even a full jar of any other product before moving on to try something else. This bouncy serum comes with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide and provides a moist, even baseline for me to layer my makeup on top of—not to mention the protective barrier it provides against daily pollution and UV rays. The application is like an herbal aromatherapy session—I'll take any excuse to add some deep breathing into my morning routine." Elspeth Velten, group editorial director
The Eco Factor: Circumference uses natural, toxin-free ingredients sourced from their own native growing regions for higher potency. The brand also keeps a close eye on its supply chain, noticing when certain botanicals are at risk for over harvesting and swapping in more affluent crops that are just as effective when necessary—pretty rad.
The Praise: "While I've used eye creams on and off in the past, I didn’t make one a permanent part of my routine until I tried one in balm form. The way this thick, peptide-packed formula sinks into my under eyes makes me feel like it’s working immediately, and massaging it into my skin just feels luxurious. It’s truly one of the only eye products that's ever made a noticeable difference in the appearance of my dark circles." - Karli Bendlin, newsletter editor
The Eco Factor: All of Tata Harper's products are made with organic ingredients from her own farm in Vermont and come with a batch number that allows you to see how fresh your product is, who made it, and more.
The Praise: "I trust everything True Botanicals makes—each of its products is thoughtfully formulated and has never done my skin wrong. I particularly love this orange-tinged oil for patting on top of serum as the final step in my routine. It balances my skin and helps unclog pores for an overall smoother and more radiant complexion (which is quite fitting, given its name)." - Lindsey Metrus, senior editor
The Eco Factor: Every True Botanicals formula is MADE SAFE® certified, meaning its free of 5,000+ ingredients known to cause human and environmental health.
The Praise: "“This is our best selling acne treatment product and one of my favorites from Odacité. It is so easy to use and so effective as both a spot treatment and a serum. It's truly magical." - Romain Gaillard
The Eco Factor: The California-French brand uses only organic, non-GMO ingredients grown without environment-damaging chemicals. The brand is also pledging to plant 20,000 trees in 2020, which we can def stand behind.
The Praise: "The first time I tried this mask was just after spending a week with family in arid Arizona. My normally-dry skin was drier and duller than ever, so I was more than impressed when I used this mask and my skin suddenly felt ridiculously soft and supple, with all my congestion gone. It's truly a facial in a bottle that's gentle enough for sensitive skin. I love using it regularly in between facial appointments to keep my skin in check and help brighten my skin tone." - Braina Laviena
The Eco Factor: African Botanics sources its botanical ingredients from Fair Trade communities in South Africa, allowing it to help local communities invest in the preservation of their land.
The Praise: "I'm a fan of so many Youth to the People products, and one of my favorites is this brightening and hydrating mask (which is really more of a rich night cream). I swear I see a noticeable difference in the tone and texture of my skin after just one use, and with continued application, my skin looks exponentially dewier and more even. It doesn't hurt that it smells great, too." - Lindsey Metrus
The Eco Factor: Youth to the People excludes over 1,300 ingredients that are banned in the EU from its products and opts for recyclable glass packaging.
The Praise: "I had high expectations the first time I dipped my finger into this little blue pot, based primarily on its steep price tag and partially on its Miranda Priestly-approved name (cerulean!). While a lot of masks make my skin look great for a day or two, this is one of the only ones I’ve tried that has made a major long term difference in my skin’s hydration and texture. Tip: try leaving it on overnight for maximum benefits. " - Karli Bendlin
The Eco Factor: Kypris uses natural, clean ingredients from small farms and co-ops throughout the world, which supports communities and provides a source of additional income.
The Praise: "I love peppermint in every form, so you can imagine how excited I was to find it paired with geranium in this fabulous body wash. The scent is fresh and zingy, but not overpowering, and it stays on my skin long after the shower has ended. Better yet, all of Plant Apothecary's products are vegan, cruelty free, GMO-free, and made in the USA." - Katherine Martinko, Senior Editor at Treehugger
The Eco Factor: PLANT products contain no silicones, which can build up in soil and water, and prioritizes glass packaging when possible; when the brand does use plastic, it ops for PET plastic, which can be recycled many times over.
The Praise: "This isn’t just a body moisturizer—it’s now one of my favorite rituals. I love picking up my Body Stone and smoothing it over my limbs before bed. It soothes my eczema-prone legs and arms, has a really soothing rose and neroli scent, and leaves a really subtle sheen behind, which makes it great for daytime too. I introduced my boyfriend to it recently and used it on his dry, cracked knuckles—it soothed them instantly and he’s hooked now too." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: A lot of moisturizers are made with over 80% water and filler ingredients—the Body Stones are made with 80% pure cocoa butter and come housed in bamboo canisters that can be reused (you can order Body Stone refills that come packaging-free). The organic, unbleached linen cloths they come wrapped in can be upcycled as gentle cleansing cloths.
The Praise: "If the shiny purple packaging doesn't hook you first, just try to resist the luxurious oil inside. The rosehip-jojoba-grapeseed dry oil blend melts into your skin in a way that's so therapeutic. This was a gift during my pregnancy and will forever be a part of my body pampering routine." - Leah Wyar
The Eco Factor: MUTHA's products are made out of glass and are recyclable; the brand is moving to using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper for future packaging. The brand also donates 5% of all its website sales to International Medical Corps, which helps educate nurses and midwives in places where maternal mortality rates during childbirth are the highest. How's that for a brand living up to its name?
The Praise: "This body scrub has blown every other body scrub I've tried out of the water. It's the perfect amount of scrubby (but not abrasive), and I love that the bamboo charcoal and pumice physical exfoliators melt into my skin as I scrub. I have really sensitive skin on my body and it's so rare to find a fragrance-free product that feels luxurious, looks chic, and is just an all-around indulgent experience to use from start to finish. Plus, my skin always feels ridiculously soft afterwards." -Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: Beyond having strict, EWG-guided clean ingredient standards, Necessaire also invests in 100% recyclable and 85% post-consumer waste materials (including recycled ink) and avoids using any virgin forest materials in its packaging.
The Praise: "Caring for my body and my mind has never felt more important. To remedy all my aches, pains, and dry patches, I’ve been reaching for Kopari’s CBD Balm—an otherworldly mix of full-spectrum CBD, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and aloe.” - Hallie Gould
The Eco Factor: All Kopari products are made with coconut oil sustainably sourced from the Philippines, where the brand introduced the Sustainable Agricultural Network (SAN) standard to over 2,500 farmers.
The Praise: "I've been using more hand cream than ever given the fact I'm also washing my hands more. I'm obsessed with this one from Juara, which smells like coconut and is made with shea butter, buriti oils, and sea algae extract to be intensely hydrating. Another reason I love it: the cream sinks in instantly and doesn't leave my hands feeling greasy or oily, which is a must when I'm constantly typing." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: Juara is a brand founded on the idea "jamu," an Indonesian herbal tradition that's all about wellness from the inside out. The brand uses traditional ingredients like anti-inflammatory turmeric, candlenut, ginger, rice bran oil in its products, along with a slew of other NPA, Ecocert, Cleangredients, or Cosmos certified ingredients.
The Praise: "As someone who writes regularly about clean beauty products, I feel like I've tried most of the green deodorants on the market. None works as well as PiperWai, which is why I keep coming back to it. It feels dry and non-oily, lasts all day (even through a sweaty CrossFit workout) and has a super fresh, gender-neutral scent. Bonus points for the glass jar." - Katherine Martinko
The Eco Factor: Instead of the aluminum found in most antiperspirants, PiperWai uses activated charcoal to absorb sweat and a blend of 11 essential oils to keep your underarms smelling fresh.
The Praise: "Whether I need to add a lick of moisture to my visibly dry lips or I'm going for a thick protective layer before heading out into harsh weather, Biossance's Rose Vegan Lip Balm does the trick. It's petroleum-free and lists hyaluronic acid and ceramides as actives, meaning that the plumpness I perceive after application is actually real. Applying it is addictive." - Elspeth Velten
The Eco Factor: Biossance ships all of its products carbon neutral, thanks to the brand’s funding of tree planting and reforestation projects. All of the brand’s products are made with vegan, non-toxic, EWG Verified formulas and come in renewable sugarcane packaging and compostable boxes.
The Praise: "My favorite part of this turmeric-infused, microbiome-balancing sunscreen is the finish—the formula adjusts to your skin tone and blends easily, then leaves the most flattering, light-reflecting sheen behind. If I really want to blind people with my glow, I’ll use a face oil before applying this in the morning, then wait for the compliments to pour in. Plus, I love that the brand is super open about its sustainability goals when it comes to packaging." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: Many of Kinship's products are made with Ocean Waste Plastic that's been collected from the shores of Indonesia; the brand aims to use 100% OWP in the near future.
The Praise: "It’s hard to choose which of the scents in Michelle Pfeiffer’s clean fragrance line Henry Rose I love best. Honestly, I love them all. But Queens & Monsters is a new favorite, with notes of violet leaf, neroli, vanilla and sandalwood all blending together for a woodsy, cozy, intoxicating scent. Spritzing it is an instant mood-boost." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: All Henry Rose fragrances are EWG Verified and offer complete transparency around what goes in each one (only 300 ingredients made the cut as being safe to use, as opposed to to the 3,000 traditional perfumes are made with).
The Praise: "I can not say enough about this brand! I love that Cocokind is thoughtful with every detail of their products. They use minimal, organic ingredients and I appreciate how much effort goes into the sustainability of their packaging. Most of all, they make effective products that are affordable and accessible to all." - Tennille Murphy
The Eco Factor: The brand is super open about its sustainability initiatives, which include using organic, sustainable ingredients whenever possible to "powder coating" their bottles, a pollution-free and way less energy-consuming way to add color than traditional means.
The Praise: "As someone with bleached hair, I choose my shampoos very carefully—anything too harsh, and my hair starts looking (and feeling) like straw. I was intrigued by this Davines shampoo for its sustainability claim as the the brand’s first 100% carbon neutral shampoo, but nervous it might be too drying. Instead, it left my hair feeling clean (and nicely scented), but not stripped. I also just love using it and knowing that I’m leaving no environmental footprint behind." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: Davines created this shampoo with 95% ingredient from a natural origin and a 98.2% biodegradable formula. The brand also recently launched an initiative called Beauty from The Ground Up, a commitment to raise awareness and funds for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in all 50 states.
The Praise: "I’m very particular when it comes to conditioners—my hair is ultra-fine, and I normally avoid anything with 'oil' or 'butter' in its name. I was pleasantly shocked when this conditioner made my hair melt-through-my-fingers soft, without any of the dreaded post-shower residue that's left behind with a lot of hydrating products. I found out after it's actually designed to rinse out faster than the average conditioner, so it doesn’t weigh down my hair and helps me save water without even really thinking about it. Plus, it makes my shower smell like a rose garden, which is an absolute dream." - Karli Bendlin
The Eco Factor: This formula is 97% naturally derived and 100% cruelty-free. And how's this for sustainability goals: Love Beauty & Planet tracks greenhouse gas emissions across every stage of production and distribution, contributing $40 per carbon ton to third party programs that help reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste.
The Praise: "This mask is beloved by The Detox Market staff for its ability to soften coarse hair, as smoothing fine hair without weighing it down. Our customers love it for providing them the perfect at-home deep conditioning treatment." - Romain Gaillard
The Eco Factor: Rahua was founded by environmentalists, so sustainability is at its core. The two co-founders work with the indigenous people of the Amazon to gather rainforest-grown ingredients from self-sustained forests, with a promise to never harvest non-regenerative ingredients.
The Praise: "This is a cult classic in eco-friendly hair care and is great for anyone who uses heat to style or has breakage. I use it daily after I shower when I'm heat styling and when I'm not—it helps to give my dry, damaged ends a bit of moisture and my hair dries feeling soft and hydrated." - Kelly Gallagher, senior social media manager
The Eco Factor: Aveda is an OG eco hair brand and has now been manufacturing products in its primary facility using 100% wind power for over10 years. This April, the brand pledged to offset carbon emissions from all shipping orders by working with a renewable energy partner called 3D.
The Praise: "This product is 100% my go-to for achieving my very best wash-and-go results. It always surprises me how smooth and hydrated my hair feels, even after rinsing. While I'm detangling in the shower, this conditioner provides perfect slip and has an uplifting citrus-y scent. It makes my wash-and-go last longer, because my curls stay smooth and defined. All curly girls should give this product a try!" - Star Donaldson, associate social media editor
The Eco Factor: All Bounce Curl products are made with botanical, mostly-natural ingredients and oils. The brand also focuses on giving back to and supporting female founders who come from challenging circumstances.
The Praise: "Since I have white hair, scalp care is very important to me. Briogeo’s entire scalp revival line is amazing. The charcoal in this product does a wonderful job of removing build up, while the peppermint has such a wonderful aromatherapy experience and is so soothing." - Tennille Murphy
The Eco Factor: Briogeo products are all sulfate-, silicone-, and cruelty-free, while the packaging is made with at least 25% post consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.
The Praise: "The Ritual Oil from Playa is a dry hair savior. I apply it to the ends of my hair at night and leave it on while I sleep as an overnight treatment and wake up with soft, hydrated ends. It smells great and I feel confident that I'm putting only the best, cleanest ingredients in my hair." - Kelly Gallagher
The Eco Factor: Playa currently offers a product recycling program for its customers to help reduce virgin plastic production.
The Praise: "With so many brands entering the natural beauty space, you would think finding clean stand-ins for my favorite products would be a breeze. But so often when I find a clean product I love, it costs eons more than it’s non-clean counterpart would, or it has an ingredients list that's longer than a pharmacy receipt. Love Beauty & Planet’s products check off all the boxes for me; they actually work, cost less than I spend weekly on coffee, and every aspect of their production is sustainable (or aiming to be), from the ethically-sourced ingredients they’re made with to the recycled-plastic packaging they’re housed in." - Karli Bendlin
The Eco Factor: We stan a budget-friendly beauty brand that's upfront about its six biggest sustainability goals, prioritizes natural, ethically-sourced ingredients, and uses recycled materials for its packaging. Plus, the brand is constantly innovating on the sustainability front--try their shampoo and conditioner bars, an eco, plastic bottle-free way to cleanse your hair.
The Praise: "Byrdie HQ has collectively fallen head over heels for this lightweight tinted serum from ILIA. I'm generally a full-coverage-or-bust kind of girl, but this glow-inducing formula helps smooth and even out my skin so well that I don't miss my usual thick foundation. A huge added bonus is that it also has a whopping SPF 40, which is rare for a product of this consistency." - Lindsey Metrus
The Eco Factor: ILIA's been making clean makeup products before clean makeup was cool, prioritizing skin-loving, non-toxic ingredients in all its formulations. Sustainability-wise, the brand uses recycled aluminum, glass components, and responsibly sourced paper in its packaging and recently partnered with Terracycle on a recycling program.
The Praise: "As an early adopter of no makeup-makeup, I’m always looking for products that combine the offerings of skincare and makeup. This tinted moisturizer with SPF hydrates, protects, and gives my skin a slight suggestion of coverage that keeps it looking natural, but backlit. Plus, unlike a lot of other skin tints I’ve tried, it passes my phone test (does it transfer to my screen the minute I place the phone to my ear?) and actually stays put." - Karli Bendlin
The Eco Factor: Beautycounter has a "Never List" containing over 1,800 ingredients the brand has deemed harmful and will never use, and is doing some pretty cool things when it comes to cosmetic ingredient regulation and advocacy. The brand also recently redesigned its packaging without any additional plastic parts, which saves an estimated 800,000 parts from being made in the next year.
The Praise: "I didn’t like primers until I tried this primer. Unlike silicone-y, grippy primers, this texture melts into a water the second you apply it to your skin. It’s extremely soothing and cooling when you apply. The best part is how it makes my foundation (or just a few dabs of concealer, if I’m having a good skin day) apply so much more smoothly. Plus, since I live in NYC, it’s nice to know I’m using a product that’s protecting my skin from the city smog and dust." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: Grown Alchemist products are made with certified organic botanical ingredients and come in glass, aluminum, or PET plastic packaging.
The Praise: "W3ll People created a concealer that feels so light on the skin, yet can cover the darkest of under-eye circles and the reddest of spots. Bio Correct blends so easily and is made with algae to soothe and caffeine to brighten, so it also acts as a treatment for the skin." - Romain Gaillard
The Eco Factor: W3ll People products are EWG-verified, cruelty-free and made with no fillers, propylene glycol, and non-renewable petrochemicals or petroleum by-products.
The Praise: "I love dark eye makeup and am often frustrated by how thin and light many natural mascaras can be. That's not the case with this product. It makes my lashes look long, dark, and thick with no clumping, and an extra layer makes it even more dramatic. Thanks to clean ingredients, it never irritates my eyes or contact lenses, and I like how it washes off easily without leaving dark smudges on my skin. The company has a wonderful philosophy of striving to "heal humanity and the Earth." - Katherine Martinko
The Eco Factor: Dr. Hauscha's manufacturing facilities have run on 100% certified green electricity for years, and the products are only made with ingredients from certified organic cultivation and under fair trade conditions. The brand also cultivates a sustainable "biodynamic plant garden" in Germany—field trip, anyone?
The Praise: "There are very few clean liquid liners that last all day—this is it! Plus, it glides on so smoothly, creating the tightest, neatest line along my lashes. I love that it doesn't irritate my eyes—a big plus, especially during spring allergy season!" - Leah Wyar
The Eco Factor: NakedPoppy creates all of its products under its super-strict ingredient standards, allowing just 700 clean, highly-vetted ingredients into its formulations (for reference, there over 12,000 usually used in the cosmetic industry).
The Praise: "Nothing makes me happier than a shimmery eye shadow palette, but most can be filled with some sketchy ingredients beneath (or because of) the sparkle. I was first introduced to this rose quartz-inspired palette from Aether a few years back, and I still use it to this day. The colors are super wearable for everyday but still offer a sizable shimmer factor, thanks to the real rose quartz infused into the coconut oil- and shea butter-based formulas. I also love that the palette itself is fully recyclable, which is rarely ever the case." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: Aether was started by the ex-head R&D for sustainable materials at Sephora and only uses ingredients that are ethically & sustainably sourced, certified organic, and certified fair-trade whenever possible.
The Praise: "I've tried so many cream blushes over the years, and still keep coming back to this one. Not only is it the creamiest consistency (so many others take forever to warm up in your hand, while this one melts on impact), but it comes in the most flattering shades. It's incredibly easy to apply, wakes up my face instantly, and I love knowing that it's free of any sketchy ingredients." - Faith Xue
The Eco Factor: This blush is CCPB Certified, which means a minimum of 95% of the naturally-derived ingredients in it come from organic farming. Also, all Kjaer Weis products are refillable to help save on excess packaging.
The Praise: "If I could only use one makeup product for the rest of my life, it would probably be this highlighter-serum hybrid. The first time I tapped it on, I literally could not stop looking at my cheekbones in the mirror. I like to apply it on days where I'm not wearing any other makeup, or I'll sometimes layer it on another highlighter when I want to take a really good selfie; I swear it makes me 1000% more photogenic." - Karli Bendlin
The Eco Element: Maya Chia gives back by serving as corporate sponsor of Adopt-a-Village Guatemala, a grassroots organization that helps Mayans by providing them the tools for a better education.
The Praise: "In what has become signature for so many RMS products, this cream-gel combo does triple duty: swipe it along your cheekbones, eyelids, even lips for the perfect sun-kissed glow. I used it directly on top of just-moisturized skin when I want it super dewy and even over powder bronzer as a more glistening topcoat." - Leah Wyar
The Eco Element: RMS products are made with organic, food-grade ingredients and come in minimal, mostly-glass packaging (the rest can be recycled or upcycled).
The Praise: "Vapour recently rebranded and I'm loving the sleek new packaging. What I love even more is this easy-to-use, does-everything stick, which I swipe on my cheeks and lips (and sometimes even eyes) to wake up my face. It's creamy, hydrating, and silicone-free—insead, it's made with organic avocado and jojoba oils for a super-moisturizing effect." - Faith Xue
The Eco Element: The brand earned a "Champion Safety Status" from the EWG for its responsibly sourced and organically farmed ingredients. Plus, it's got a great recycling program for empties.
The Praise: "Saie’s Brow Butter rivals all my holy grail gels—only it’s softer, more flexible, and the formula is entirely clean. It makes my unruly brows look polished, feathered, and fluffy. I love itss liquid pomade formula, which holds your brows without any flaking or stiffness.” - Hallie Gould
The Eco Element: Saie 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, non-toxic products.
The Praise: "I find it absolutely remarkable how well the Bite Beauty colors work on my skin tone. Aesthetically, I’m obsessed with their perfectly color matched packaging. The lip crayon provides a hydrating matte finish without drying my lips; I love the rich, saturated finish that applies easily. The shades Negroni, Hard Cider and Acai Smash are my top three." - Tennille Murphy
The Eco Element: Bite Beauty uses natural fruit pigments like pomegranate oil, African mango, and orange peel wax instead of sketchy ingredients and makes sure all of their ethically sourced ingredients are reviewed by licensed toxicologists for safety, allergens and efficacy.
The Praise: "I first fell in love with Kosas when I tried its Weightless Lip Color in Rosewater, my signature color that goes on so creamy and stays put for hours. As such, I knew I'd be smitten with the brand's tinted lip balms, which are made with hyaluronic acid to hydrate my lips and offer up a hint of color. Both shades, a soft pink and coral-rose, are universal and brighten up my entire face." - Lindsey Metrus
The Eco Element: All Kosas products are free of parabens, pthalates, BHA/BHT, mineral oil, propylene glycol, and more. Plus, the signature Weightless Lip Colors come housed in aluminum tubes, instead of plastic.
The Praise: "From what I remembered, lip gloss always had a strange taste and felt sticky and unpleasant. It wasn't until I found Tower 28 and its Jelly Lip Gloss in subtle but buildable colors that I fully embraced lip gloss. Not only is it not sticky (the biggest selling point for me) but it has clean ingredients created for sensitive and allergy-prone skin in mind. Now I find myself reaching for it constantly to finish a look and will even apply it on eyelids for a wet look when I'm feeling adventurous." - Braina Laviena
The Eco Element: All Tower28 products are free of potentially sketchy and irritating ingredients, allergy and dermatologist-tested, and formulated to be non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and gluten- and fragrance-free.
The Praise: “Sundays Nail Polish offers a really beautiful curation of shades that are entirely non-toxic. So, you can look good and feel good the entire time. No. 15 is my forever favorite—a perfect siren red that’s classic, full-bodied, and gorgeous.” - Hallie Gould
The Eco Element: Sundays polishes are 100% cruelty-free, vegan, 10-free, and non-toxic.
The Praise: "W3ll People was the first clean makeup brand I ever tried and loved; i's been instrumental in swapping my routine to consist of mostly-clean makeup products. I particularly love the Narcissist Foundation sticks, the Bio Brightener highlighter stick, the Expressionist eyebrow gel, and the Expressionist volumizing mascara. I love that the brand is affordable, so I never feel guilty stocking up. Also, the formulas feel high quality and the products actually do what they promise, which is essential." - Kelly Gallagher
The Eco Factor: W3ll People is one of the few makeup brands that's completely EWG Verified, skipping toxic, non-renewable petrolatum and petroleum-based ingredients and favoring plant-based ingredients that are safe, renewable and biodegradable. Plus, all the products just work really well.
Art design: Cristina Cianci