We’ll just come out and say it: Eco beauty is the future of beauty. In Byrdie’s fifth annual Eco Beauty Awards (yup, we've been doing this since 2017), we're spotlighting the best of the best in clean, sustainable, eco-conscious beauty. Products that use good-for-you ingredients, are mindful of their carbon footprint, offer transparency and nuance, and also work. You’ll find smaller, up-and-coming brands leading the way when it comes to ethical ingredient sourcing, as well as some of your favorite mass and luxury brands making big moves in sustainable packaging (you can read more about the greenfication of big beauty here). Below, find the process we used to select winners, what our Eco Tags mean, and an introduction to our knowledgeable guest judges.
Our Winner Selection Process
Our team of nine editors and four guest judges tested hundreds of products throughout the year and nominated over 200 as contenders for our Eco Beauty Awards. From there, we selected winners based on the three categories below:
- Clean Ingredients: Does the product fulfill Byrdie’s Clean Beauty Pledge? Is the product made with high-quality and ethically-sourced ingredients? Is there transparency in its ingredient-sourcing process?
- Sustainability: Does this product's creation, from packaging to ingredients, take into account its environmental impact? Does the brand employ ethical standards throughout its production process?
- Efficacy: Does the product do what it promises?
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.
What Our Tags Mean
We know the world of eco beauty can be confusing to navigate, so this year, we’re making it easy for you with our new Eco Tags feature. With these tags, you'll instantly see which of our winners are Byrdie Clean, made with sustainable packaging, vegan, cruelty-free, Black-owned, and/or have a charitable element—we’ll even note if the product has won a Byrdie Eco Award in the past. Here’s what each of these tags means below:
- Byrdie Clean: This means the product fulfills our Clean Beauty Pledge and does not contain any of the ingredients listed in the pledge.
- Sustainable packaging: A product made with sustainable packaging means it’s made from either fully-recycled or partially-recycled materials—or, that the brand made an effort to reduce excess plastic or packaging waste somewhere along its product creation process.
- Vegan: A vegan beauty product contains absolutely no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts. That includes popular natural moisturizing agents such as beeswax, honey, and lanolin, plus the color pigment carmine.
- Cruelty-free: If a brand does not test on animals at any point during a product’s creation, then we consider that brand cruelty-free.
- Black-owned: As part of our Diversity Pledge, we feature at least 15% Black-owned brands in all of our product roundups, in accordance with the 15% Pledge started by Aurora James. Our Eco Beauty Awards are no different—at least 15% percent of our winners are Black-owned brands.
- Gives back: This means the brand has a charitable element, such as donating a percentage of proceeds to a social justice organization or sustainable initiative.
- 2020 Winner: We love our previous Eco Beauty Award winners so much, sometimes we are them twice. Yes, they’re really that good.
Meet Our Guest Judges
To help us make our selections this year, we employed four guest judges who are all leading experts in the world of clean, ethical beauty. Get to know them below.
Annie Jackson, co-founder of Credo Beauty
Annie’s a beauty industry veteran who began her career at Estée Lauder, then was recruited to be one of the early members of the team that launched Sephora USA and Japan. Her love of beauty and quest for cleaner options led her, alongside Shashi Batra, to found Credo Beauty, a trusted clean beauty retailer.
Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist
Krupa merges her background in biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology with her lifelong practice of Ayurveda to create new concepts and innovations in the clean beauty space. Starting her 10+ year career at Estée Lauder and Neutrogena, Krupa pivoted her focus to creating safer products after seeing firsthand the impact of potentially harmful ingredients used in personal care products. As the founder of KKT Consultants, Krupa continues to create innovative, sustainable, clean products for top beauty brands.
Charlotte Palermino, esthetician and clean beauty expert
Charlotte Palermino is a clean beauty expert and co-founder/CEO of Dieux, a clinically-vetted and price-transparent skincare line that launched the now-viral Forever Eye Mask. Prior to that, Charlotte was formerly the editorial development lead at Snap Inc. developing brands like The New York Times, Vogue, Complex, Le Monde and Al Jazeera. She's a self-described "skincare fairy godmother" and one of Team Byrdie's favorite people to follow on Instagram for no-B.S. skincare advice.
Tennille Jenkins, clean beauty blogger
Tennille started her blog The Tennille Life to uplift and inspire women to embrace their uniqueness. As a self-care guru, Tennille promotes clean beauty and wellness routines that build confidence and teach women to be kind to themselves both physically and emotionally. She believes that natural hair is beautiful, silver hair is sexy, age is just a number, and that beauty truly shines from the inside out.