The best eco-friendly beauty brands
Up your eco-beauty game
Words— Kate Dingwall
With it being Earth Month, there’s no better time to reconsider your beauty regime. After all, if you are conscious of what you put in your body, you should be equally as concerned at what you're putting on your body. If you’re willing to spend extra dollars on organic produce, why lather your lashes with chemical-laden mascaras?
It’s surprisingly painless to swamp out your beauty products for ones packed with good-for-you ingredients. Growing demand for better products from conscious shoppers has brought a whole array of great natural brands to the shelves of beauty stores, drug stores, and beyond.
But one thing to be aware of, with so many new brands on the market, is that there are quite a few brands who only seem eco-friendly.
To aid you in your shopping, we’ve put together a few tips on deciphering and decoding confusing ingredient lists. Keep an eye out for petrolatum (what petroleum jelly is made of), formaldehyde (do we have to explain this one?), toluene and oxybenzone, as well as the below huge no-nos.
- Parabens: A preserving agent found in around 75% of beauty products, parabens have been found to interfere with hormone function.
- BHA and BHT: Studies have directly linked BHT to tumour promotion
- Sodium Lauryl Suflate: It’s most commonly used to make cosmetics bubble and foam, and has been deemed a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Keep this list on hand when you’re hitting the store, or download the Think Dirty; an app that scans your products and dubs them with a ‘clean’ rating.
The eponymous brand began when Tata Harper’s stepfather received a skin cancer diagnosis. While she helped him jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, the events pushed her to consider what she was putting on her own body. She realized that while much of the fashion industry was veering to sustainability, the beauty industry was far behind. So she set out to start change. What she created was a high-end line of beauty products that completely sidestep any hippie tropes - the packaging is super chic (the brand is a Sephora staple), and the quality is uncompromising. Products like a Resurfacing Mask to zap problem skin or the nutrient-rich Face Oil have earned the brand a cult following.
The Canadian-based beauty brand has such high standards that you could eat the lipsticks. Not that you want to, but Bite Beauty ensures that everything that goes into the products is of food-grade. The brand narrows in on high-pigmented lipsticks (both liquid and stick), and lip glosses with serious staying power. Use the shade finder on the brand’s website to pick the perfect pigment, or stop into their Toronto beauty lab to customize a lipstick from scratch.
Consonant’s line of 100% Gluten-Free products run the full of the gamut of personal care, ranging from olive-oil based bar soaps to body scrubs and bath bombs. They even turn out hard-to-find products, like a dealkalizing deodorant (that actually works!) and sunscreen. Best of all, Consonant’s price points are utterly affordable - you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything over $40.
The brand initially started making organic lip balms from a beeswax base, but they’ve since expanded to a full range of cosmetics, all leveraging the restorative powers of natural beeswax. An ultra-light foundation is designed to moisturize while evening skin tone, and a jojoba oil-based lip and cheek stain comes in a variety of light hues. At the end of the night, wipe it all off with the range of remover towels packed with botanicals; like a micellar blend that will clear out clogged pores, and a skin-calming cucumber wipe.
This isn’t beauty for the granola set - Vapour Beauty is designed for the modern person on the go. Luminous foundation comes in stick form, as do high-pigment lipsticks, which can be tossed easily in a purse for anytime applications. Nourishing multi-sticks are infused with scents of Frankincense and Lotus to calm and relax. If you’re looking to make a swap over to clean beauty, check out the “Clean Swap” page on their website, where the brand will sub out products from big-name, less-clean beauty brands for the Vapour alternatives.
Kjaer Weis’ (pronounced kigh-yer why-ss) is easily identifiable by its Instagram-friendly silver packaging but looks aside, the brand’s cream blushes and highlighters are richly pigmented and apply with a smooth, natural finish. Quality formulas and a full list of organic ingredients mean Kjaer Weis can hold its own amongst heavyweight make-up brands. Fully embracing sustainability, each of the lux chrome is completely refillable once you run low.
The name juice beauty isn’t just a cheeky name; Juice Beauty begins each product with an organic botanical juice packed with antioxidants, like; lemon juice rich in vitamins and clarifying antioxidants or malic acid apple juice with beautifying antioxidants and phytonutrients. Their lines range from skincare to make-up, but fan favourites include a shimmering bronzing cream and a CC cream with fruit cell extract.