Unlike eco-friendly hotels and sustainable fashion, the concept of ‘green beauty’ dates back centuries. Ancient beauty rituals saw Japanese female farmers bathing in rice water to nourish their skin and South Asian women slathering their faces in anti-oxidising turmeric. Famously, one of Cleopatra’s many grooming secrets included soaking in milk and honey. Many of such traditions have been shelved aside for modern products and understandably so — today’s world of beauty is dominated by innovative formulas and ingredients.
But with shoppers now increasingly socially and ethically conscious, the demand for ‘green beauty’ is booming. These buyers are well informed on all fronts — while they understand the benefits of natural ingredients, they too know that these don’t automatically work for your skin. Some organic beauty brands, especially small scale ones, lack access to proper skincare know-how, manufacturing processes and top-quality botanicals. These can deliver minimal results or even trigger skin aggravation. Your best bet? Paying top dollar for a luxury natural beauty brand. These combine advanced skincare technology with high performance and potent natural ingredients. Ahead, we pick five sustainable makeup and skincare brands that’ll make you want to green your beauty routine.
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1. Tata Harper
Tata Harper proves that natural skincare does not mean compromising on high-performance, quality formulas. The brand abides by a strict farm-to-face ethos: All of its products are made on its own farm through small batch production. Formulas are 100% natural: They’re free of synthetics, artificial colours and fragrances, fillers and toxins. Packed with highly concentrated ingredients, they’re packaged at their peak to retain their potency. But Tata Harper’s green beauty measures also extend to its packaging. At present, most of its products are packaged in glass bottles, while its boxes are made from post-consumer materials and recycled paperboard. Whatever little plastic used is derived from corn.
2. Ren Clean Skincare
British beauty brand Ren Skincare believes in being both clean to skin and the planet. Its extensive face and body line uses natural bio-actives that benefit skin health; there are no toxins, no harsh or controversial chemicals, and no potential irritants used. One of our favourites from the brand is the Perfect Canvas Skin Enhancing Primer. Not only is it a great silicone-free primer to mattify skin and blur fine lines, it also contains probiotics to strengthen skin’s natural barriers, agave extract to smooth skin and alpha glucans to balance skin’s natural bacteria. Ren is currently working towards a zero waste goal for all of its packaging — this would mean recyclable bottles made from reclaimed ocean plastic. At the moment it’s partnering with global activist partner, Surfrider, to clean oceans and beaches worldwide.
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3. Kjaer Weis
Not everyone is on board the natural beauty train, and for good reason. Makeup, in particular, is limited in this field, as natural pigments lack the vibrancy and intensity of its chemically-infused counterparts. Kjaer Weiss – named after the Danish makeup artist and founder – uses certified natural or organic ingredients of optimum quality. Bestsellers include cream highlighter, blush, foundation and mascara — all of which are packaged in sleek, refillable metal compacts.
4. Hourglass Cosmetics
If you’re looking for organic ingredients, Hourglass Cosmetics may not be your calling. What it does offer in the world of sustainability is its kind approach to the environment and its inhabitants. Hourglass Cosmetics made headlines with its vow to be completely vegan by 2020 — it’s one of the few luxury brands to take on such a responsibility. At the moment, many of its products are vegan (they do not contain animal-derived ingredients). It is also strictly cruelty-free: An ethos the brand has abided by since its inception.
Though commonly associated with more mature ladies, luxury French skincare label Caudalie has been quietly changing the game with its green philosophy it calls ‘cosm-ethics’. The cruelty-free brand’s extensive list of banned ingredients include parabens, animal-derived raw materials and paraffins. Instead, its formulations contain active green ingredients like botanical and essential oils, plant extracts and natural emulsifiers. Unfortunately, the brand has some way to go with producing eco-friendly packaging, but it does take an active stance on partnering with non-profit organisations to restore forests all around the world to preserve wildlife, the livelihood of local communities and ecosystems.