On the look out for sustainable and eco friendly makeup?
Thankfully, there are quite a few ethical makeup brands out there to choose from. And many are based in the UK and US!
In fact, according to this report, the global vegan and eco friendly cosmetics market is set to reach $20.8 billion by 2025 – great to know the trend is going in the right direction.
The problem though, is trying to find cosmetics brands that are truly ethical and sustainable. That is, they make sustainable and eco friendly makeup in all senses of the phrase.
You can spend literally hours researching which makeup brands are not only good for you but also for the environment.
That’s why we’re always on the lookout for the best cosmetics brands that meet each of our sustainable beauty criteria (which you can read more about the end of the article).
For this list, however, we’re not prioritizing zero waste (it’s just a big bonus!). Here we’re diving into brands that are vegan and cruelty free.
There are so many great options we almost hate to pick favorites, but a few did stand out above the rest. First, Axiology is an “evil free” brand that also makes some of the highest quality lipsticks we’ve reviewed.
If you’re looking for a zero waste option, Dab Herb makes an excellent range of makeup products.
And if you’re looking for something in the UK, PHB Ethical Beauty is a great option with a wide range.
We also provide our thoughts on reusable cotton rounds, an essential for reducing waste and vegan makeup brushes, an animal friendly alternative.
*This post contains affilate links
Axiology is a luxury lipstick specialist that’s “100% evil free”, refering to their strict policy against things like palm oil and animal testing.
The quality of their products are some of the best we’ve reviewed.
So, it’s no surprise that around 70% of their ingredients (e.g. avocado oil and butter, orange essential oil, elderberry extract, coconut oil, and grape seed oil) are organic.
And rest assured knowing they are 100% safe and non-toxic.
We’re super excited about their new “balmies” range which are essentially delicious looking lipstick crayons but with no unecessary and wasteful packaging!
As an ethical cosmetics brand, they have exceptional sustainability credentials.
They’re certified by PETA as being cruelty-free and completely vegan.
They’re a palm oil free makeup brand and they source all of their outer packaging from a woman-owned recycled-paper boutique in Indonesia.
Axiology also provides financial support to the Orangutan Foundation International where funds are needed to save and rehabilitate those precious and endangered animals from the devastating effects of the palm oil industry.
Their shea butter and moringa oil are purchased through fair trade channels.
Available: All Natural Collection | The V Spot (Aus)
Dab Herb Makeup offer a wide range of eco friendly makeup.
For eyes (including zero waste mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and eyebrow grower), face (including natural foundation, tinted moisturizer, concealer, luminizer, primer, contour powder, cheek pinch, blush and color corrector), lips (gloss, tint and balm), the cutest makeup sets and makeup tools (including vegan brushes).
They also carry a range of zero waste skin care products to keep the skin beneath the makeup naturally healthy and glowing.
Many of these eco products come in glass or tin containers and have refill options (the product costs less when you refill, yay!).
The instructions for which are very clear once you open the product description.
All Dab Herb’s products (including their affordable organic makeup) are vegan, cruelty-free, mostly organic, food grade (on some of their products they have a useful comparison of the organic food grade ingredients in their product compared to your typical popular brands which are full of synthetics and chemicals, and it’s scary!).
Importantly, all their cosmetics are made without palm oil.
What started as small scale sustainable cosmetics brand, made just for their founder Crissy’s personal use, developed into an advocate for green beauty standards.
For every product, they use onlyfood-grade, certified organic, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients. Many of these of herb and plant oils to heal the skin itself, not just disguise it.
Dab Herb’s zero waste products are all palm oil free (including free of palm oil derivatives). Ingredients are sourced from fair trade certified farmers and suppliers.
Dab ships their plastic free makeup products and they re-use their own suppliers’ shipping materials for larger orders.
Back in the office, any printing they do is on recycled materials.
Dab Herb also support Made In The Free World which focuses on developing and implementing high impact solutions to human trafficking by working with the most effective partners to rescue and care for victims worldwide.
*Note: Not all products are vegan but there are many vegan options
Fat and the Moon offer a HUGE selection of eco friendly makeup and personal care products including zero waste deodorant, skincare and non toxic perfume.
As for their sustainable make-up range, or their “adornment” collection, they focus on lip and eye products, including various colors of “eye coal” (which is pretty much like eyeliner but less waxy and in pot form) and several tinted, lip/cheek stains and highlighter.
Drawing inspiration from herbalists and natural healers, Fat and the Moon creates all natural, mostly organic (and they’re very clear about noting which items are organic on each product page) “potions” that prioritize healing and “empowerment through self-care”.
All products are hand-made fresh to order (because “body products, like food, are not meant to last forever!”) using only “plants that are abundant, ethically harvested and organically cultivated and combine them in formulations that are radically non-toxic”.
All Fat and the Moon products are made without palm oil.
Depending on your stance on the whole Is beeswax vegan? debate, not all their products may be considered vegan friendly.
Their eye coals and lip stains contain beeswax, but their highlighter does not.
Either way, all ingredients are cruelty-free and ethically sourced and every single product comes in reusable tins and are shipped without superfluous packaging.
Their packaging is also re-usable, and they “encourage customers to find fun and creative ways of reusing our jars. We design packaging to be a joy to reuse and a breeze to recycle.”
Fat and the Moon is a women owned and run business. They also support various charities and causes in their community.
“We should take as much care selecting the things we put on our bodies as we do in shopping for the foods we put in them,” says founder Rachel Budde.
“The goal of Fat and the Moon is to make that a pleasure!”
*Note: Some products contain beeswax however, vegan options are widely available.
Plant Makeup’s range includes anything and everything from foundations creams and powders, to shimmery eye products.
Shop lip balm, eye shadows, shimmer sticks, mascara, highlighter, makeup primer, and more.
As the name suggests, every ingredient is plant-derived. No minerals, carmine coloration, nano-particles, palm oil, synthetics, or preservatives.
While all products are cruelty-free, never tested on animals and most are vegan, there are a few products that contain organic USA-sourced beeswax or honey so if you’re looking for a vegan option, check the label first.
Not only are they made in fresh, small batches, but are zero waste.
Choose between glass pot products and compostable cardboard tubes.
Plant Makeup was founded by artist, musician, and all-around creative goddess Jes.
After discovering a passion for plants, she started blending herbal teas and eventually starting turning plants into makeup, skincare, haircare, incense cones, and vegan and cruelty-free fragrances.
Plant Makeup use local or organic ingredients, all completely non-GMO, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, and sustainably sourced: “We only want the best in each of these creations so they vibrate with as much vitality as they were first gathered from the earth.”
As for packaging, they use purely recycled and compostable materials (right down to the labels which Jes draws herself).
Shipping materials follow suit.
*Note: While most Nudi Goods contain beeswax, some items can be made vegan upon request.
Nudi Goods makes a variety of eco-friendly makeup goods, which include lip balms, mascara, highlighter sticks, and brow taming wax.
All products are packaged in either metal tins with a slide-off lid or compostable cardboard tubes.
Even shipping is plastic-free!
Nudi’s ingredients (which commonly include bentonite clay, activated charcoal, coconut oil, shea butter, safflower oil, sweet almond oil, and sustainably sourced Mica) are 100% non-toxic, cruelty-free, and palm-oil free.
While not vegan due to use of beeswax, they accommodate vegan requests by making custom orders.
Nudi prioritizes small-scale suppliers that adhere to organic practices.
Nudi Goods invite you “to take the risk for creating a new normal for our planet.” Founded in 2017 while on a marine mammal research voyage, Jaime Boddorff started making products all the while working at a wildlife hospital and ocean conservation non-profit.
Jaime still makes just about every product herself (only hiring extra hands in especially busy times).
As for ingredient sourcing, she opts for local when possible and ethical outsourced channels when not.
Their Mica and mineral pigments, for instance, from from “suppliers providing a child-labor free guarantee”.
Their beeswax, while not strictly vegan, is very mindfully sourced:
“We want to know where our ingredients are coming from, and many vegan alternatives are tropical plant products that come from a large supply chain where we cannot trace who is sourcing of the ingredients. This means we don’t know if laborers are paid fairly, if the sourcing is ethical, if the sourcing displaces animals in the wild or causes deforestation, among other concerns.
Since our beeswax is currently sourced plastic-free and closes the waste loophole, switching to an alternative that is shipped in large plastic bags or buckets would mean moving backwards.”
A couple of years ago, they switched from a beeswax supplier that could not provide traceable apiaries or guarantee plastic-free shipping.
Now they source beeswax from a small, family-run apiary that adheres to cruelty-free and organic beekeeping practices – no hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, or moving of hives (which can stress the bees).
This includes eye makeup (pressed and loose powder, mascara, eyeliner and brow balm), face makeup (foundation, powder, concealer, blush, highlighter, bronzer), lipstick, lip gloss, palettes (which you can custom create for your complexion) and kits.
All of which are cruelty-free International certified, PETA certified vegan, and gluten free.
They do use palm oil derivatives and their supplier states that this is derived from RSPO certified palm.
This Canadian company uses ingredients that are ~90% organic (the other 10% is a result of their commitment to “always choose fair trade over organic”) and they are phasing out a couple of non-natural ingredients so they will truly be 100% natural.
In the last few years, they’ve moved dramatically toward zero-waste beauty products (including compacts, tools, and palates) that are made of or housed in reusable (and beautiful!) bamboo (bamboo is self-regenerative!).
These can then be easily refilled with new product that comes in a seed paper pouch.
Just refill your palate then wet the pouch and plant it in your garden to grow herbs and wildflowers. Such a great concept!
They also offset all their emissions with Bullfrog Power and give back to multiple local and women’s-based charities, like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (they sponsor three elephants named Maisha, Dololo, and Larr – which we love!).
*Note: We have attempted to confirm the policies directly with this brand with no response to date
Clean-Faced Cosmetics make a wide range of sustainable makeup including tinted lip balm, eyeshadow, and a mascara that doubles as eyeliner.
They also makes some speciality products we didn’t find with other companies, such as lash lengthening primer powders and custom foundation powders (matched to your skin tone for free) in either shimmery or matte finishes.
All products come in reusable metal tins, or you can just use containers you already have and order a refill packaged in biodegradable cello bags (which look like plastic but are assuredly not!).
Less waste on postage sending back the containers like other take-back programs!
CFC, based in Michigan, makes custom made-to-order eco-friendly makeup products that are palm-oil free, vegan, cruelty-free (tested on friends, never animals), and as organic as possible.
They use artificial colours, Yellow No. 5 FD&C Lake and Red No. 40 FD&C Lake to properly create skin tone matched foundation powders. Neither of these ingredients appear to be considered Toxic by EWG.
If getting a custom palette, however, just request they not use these, if you’re concerned.
Clean-Faced Cosmetics’ ingredients are ethically sourced. Their mica, for example, is from a cruelty-free supplier based in US and the mica itself is mined in Germany and the US.
Creator Laura is currently striving to operate the company entirely waste free, though she, just like the rest of us, knows this is very much a process.
Currently, all product packaging is either biodegradable or reusable (like their metal palates, bamboo applicator, and organic cotton storage bags).
All labels are printed on recycled paper with eco-friendly ink.
*Note: Sea Witch Botanicals use RSPO-certified palm oil in their soap. Makeup products are palm free
Sea Witch Botanicals sustainable makeup range only includes lip balms and tints.
They also have a lovely skincare range.
A “nature-first” brand that’s also certified vegan by Vegan.org, these items do not include parabens, synthetic fragrances, plastic-based preservatives, or animal byproducts.
And absolutely no animal testing is involved.
Only their soaps contain RSPO-certified palm oil, and they do not support slash-and-burn deforestation practices.
All products are bottled in reusable glass dropper bottles, glass pots, or tins.
Sea Witch Botanicals is first and foremost a zero waste skincare and soap company (which includes household soaps like zero waste dish soap).
Based in Bellingham, Washington, the name of this family-run business refers to their commitment to “keep the world’s waters healthy”.
This means not only designing and making sustainable products but operating sustainably as well.
They use solar energy and purchase from renewable energy suppliers. They also use Sustainable Connections to audit their production facility’s waste stream; currently, they divert about 90% of their waste away from landfills!
Sea Witch Botanicals may not have a huge beauty range, but they hit the nail on the head with their eco credentials.
They’re not only a certified B-Corp, but Toward Zero Waste certified and like us are members of 1% for the Planet. This means 1% of their profits gets donated to various causes, like Earthjustice, the Environmental Working Group, and their local Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood.
When it comes to sourcing ingredients, Sea Witch Botanicals uses a strict Supplier Code of Conduct. Many ingredients, like their cocoa and shea butters, are sourced Fair Trade.
They write, “We’re committed to our core values of stewardship, charity, health, and prosperity. We pay a premium for these butters because we know that fair trade helps the people who harvest and produce our cocoa pods have access to education, safe working conditions, and a better life.”
We love the transparency all around here.
You can even see their yearly published Sustainability Report for exact percentages on how many of their ingredients are certified organic and non-GMO!
On the sales side, they try to support local business and sustainably minded sellers. That’s why they refuse to sell their products on Amazon.
Their “Fruit Pigmented” makeup line includes just about anything you could need for the face (primer, foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, highlighter), eyes (organic eyeshadow, liner, mascara, brow products), and lips (sticks, glosses, and tints).
Aside from Mica for shimmer, they do not use mineral-based compounds. All coloration comes from fruits and vegetables.
All products are non-toxic and their Tea Tree products are USDA organic certified.
Some of their products are not vegan as they contain beeswax so be sure to check the label if you’re looking for vegan options. Their products do contain palm oil or derivatives.
Their sourcing policy statest that this should be sourced ethically but there is no further information available on their palm oil sourcing.
All product housing (including various materials like post-consumer recycled glass, plastic, tin, and paper) is recyclable either through their in-store recycling program or in curbside recycling bins if you don’t live near a 100% Pure location.
100% Pure was co-founded and run by three individuals that prioritize corporate responsibility, change, and transparency.
For example, we noticed some of their more shimmery products contain the mineral Mica (one of the only mineral ingredients they use).
When we reached out to inquire about the sourcing of this material (as Mica can sometimes come from supply chains that endorse practices like child labor), they told us:
“it’s produced in the most ethical and safe way possible. The mill, located in Andhra Pradesh, is a modern, high-tech facility, that never utilizes child labor and holds product quality to exceptional standards.”
Their ingredients are sourced globally using an Ethical Trade Initiative base code.
While for proprietary reasons they don’t disclose every sourcing location, they told us: “We only use fair trade farmers and distributors who ensure us that they are only fair trade. We also work with numerous charities around the world that help to create sustainable jobs for countries in need.”
All items are shipped in recyclable materials with cornstarch packing peanuts that are 100% compostable.
Finally, for every order placed, 100% Pure donates either one bowl of vegan dog food (of which a single bowl can save to 2 livestock animals, 90 lbs of grain, 2000 gallons of water, and 60 sq. ft. of rainforest) to animal shelters.
If you’d prefer, you can instead opt for your purchase to plant one tree through Trees for the Future. Either way, they’re making a difference.
So far they’ve donated thousands of bowls of dog food and donated hundreds of thousands of trees.
100% Pure’s head office is powered 100% by solar power.
Available: 100% Pure
PHB’s entire makeup range is handmade.
They use mineral colours that are rich in pigment. They also enhance the makeup’s overall effectiveness and performance by including organic oils, vitamins and plant waxes which nourish and protect sensitive skin.
Their products are also suitable for those who wear contact lenses or have sensivtive eyes.
PHB are a great example of an eco friendly makeup brand that have branched out beyond makeup.
From skincare, to body care (think organic body wash) and haircare, they have a comprehensive range of entirely handmade, natural / organic and palm oil free products.
PHB is registered with Cruelty Free International and PETA’s Beauty without Bunnies campaign and they have an unequivocal statement on their website that they only source their ingredients from companies who are aligned with their ethical stance.
They’re also accredited by the Vegan Society UK.
PHB use 100% natural ingredients and / or organic ingredients across their range of products. While they are not currently certified organic they are working towards it.
They also provide a list of ingredients that they avoid from parabens and petrochemicals to formaldehyde and micro plastics.
They also have a selected range of products that are 100% gluten free for coeliacs / anyone who may have gluten and wheat allergies.
PHB’s packaging is recyclable and also comes from recycled material.
PHB are members of the Global Shea Alliance – a non-profit organisation in the shea nut/shea butter industry that are committed to:
“promoting women’s empowerment [the pickers of the shea nuts], decent working conditions, development of local communities, and the protection of ecosystems by outlining best business practices for all stakeholders”
They donate 20% of their net profits to various charities, like Sense.
They’ve also been featured in The Good Shopping Guide and The Good Scrub Guide.
Both independent publications that rank only the most ethically and environmentally conscious brands.
*Note: While 100% Vegetarian, not all products are vegan. In their makeup range, their eye shadows are vegan friendly.
Odylique offer a range of makeup including concealer, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip liners and lipstick.
All their products are 100% cruelty free and suitable for vegetarians.
However, in the makeup range, only the eye-shadows are vegan-friendly.
See the full list of vegan products here.
Odylique by Essential Care has a comprehensive range of environmentally friendly cosmetics including skincare and haircare products.
They unequivocally state that none of their products have ever been tested on animals.
They also ensure that their suppliers of ingredients are aligned with their ethos and they have a fixed cut-off date of 1990 (i.e. they won’t buy any new ingredients that have been tested on animals since 1990).
All of Odylique’s products are certified organic by the Soil Association. This is the gold standard certification in the UK and the standards are some of the strictest in the world.
To gain certification, 95% of your ingredients must be truly organic, which means (among many other strict criteria), that they come from a sustainable farming system.
While Odylique may not be accredited with any vegan associations because a few products in their range contain honey and beeswax, they are otherwise completely vegan.
They also specifically note that none of their products contain any insect based ingredients like carmine (crushed beetles used as dye).
Odylique is palm oil free makeup brand and explicitly against the use of it and all its derivatives.
Odylique strive to use locally made, recyclable and non-toxic packaging.
Currently, all of their 200ml, 50g and 175g jars are also made with recycled material.
98% of their packaging is made in Europe and just about half of their bottles, jars and product boxes are made in the UK, thereby reducing their carbon foot and emissions.
Their eye-shadows come in a recyclable steel pan and a sleeve printed in the UK on FSC-certified card.
Many of Odylique’s products are certified to Fairtrade standards.
While they try to source ingredients locally to reduce their carbon footprint, when they have to look abroad they buy Fairtrade ingredients where available
Browsing their products, you may notice how simple the ingredient lists are (only about 5-8 items).
Everything is natural, either plant-derived or safe mineral-derived (such as Mica and iron oxide).
After eliminating magnesium stearate from production, they are now palm oil free.
Their mica has a sustainable mining certificate and is 100% guaranteed child labour free.
Aside from offering zero waste packaging for shipping (compostable envelopes with corn-starch dissolvable packing peanuts), their product housing is thoughtfully chosen.
By opting to use recycled plastic tins, metal tins, or cardboard tubes, they actually have a smaller carbon footprint than if they’d use glass pots (as they used to).
Glass is heavier to ship and thus has a higher environmental impact.
You can also order product refills which come in compostable cello bags. For liquids, you can also get a refill by returning your clean container to the company for 25% off the refill.
The only products that are not (strictly speaking) zero waste are their lipsticks. The tubes are 100% recycled plastic and can be refilled or recycled as per their company-sponsored program.
*Note: Dirty Hippie has announced that one of their suppliers no longer guarantees certain ingredients to be palm oil free. They are on the hunt for a new supplier
Dirty Hippie offers a pretty large range of sustainable makeup including foundation, bb cream, primer, liquid eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, brow powders, blush, lipstick pots, zero waste makeup remover and cheek tint (as well as a decent range of skin and hair care products).
Their entire product range is not only vegan and cruelty free but they also qualify as a zero waste cosmetics brand.
Unfortunately, their supplier of Olive and Coconut oils (Cetearyl and Sorbitan olivates on ingredient lists) no longer guarantees they are palm oil free.
While Dirty Hippie is in the process of moving to a 100% Palm Oil Free alternative supplier it’s something to be aware of when reading product ingredients.
Until then, the following products could include palm oil: Hydrating Hempseed and Red Raspberry Facial Primer, facial moisturising creams, mascara, eye liner, and vegan concealers.
Hailing from Australia, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics are one of the best sustainable makeup brands we’ve had the pleasure of connecting with.
They create handmade organic and clearly quality products (based on hundreds of super reviews).
Their entire handmade range is also cruelty-free, vegan, and will soon be entirely palm oil-free again once they find a new supplier for some of their ingredients.
When it comes to sourcing they’ve covered all bases, either purchasing through fair trade channels, buying local or growing their own raw ingredients!
As for packaging, they haven’t skipped a beat. Their lip balms, sunscreens, deodorants and eco tubs are made using recycled paper (which can be composted!).
They also use tins and glass bottles which can be recycled or reused of course!
Their labels are printed with refillable veg-ink and their operations (which currently have a 50% carbon offset) and they’re involved in a number of charitable initiatives and projects from raising awareness for suicide prevention to animal rescue to support for cancer sufferers.
Available: Etsy | Biome Stores
Neek specializes in ethical and sustainable lipstick, which come in all sorts of shades from subtle sheens to poppin’ pinks.
All non-toxic, you won’t find synthetic dyes, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oils, palm oil, perfume, lead, gluten, carmine, sheep grease, or even beeswax.
All products Choose Cruelty-Free certified and vegan.
Despite the fact that lipstick is one of the hardest things to thoughtfully package, they manage by using mostly bamboo twist tubes that greatly cuts down on plastic usage.
Neek is an Australian brand founded by lipstick-lover Angelique.
Neek empower consumers with ethical makeup and skincare options, filled with sustainably sourced and organic grade ingredients.
All products are made entirely in Australia and are cruelty-free, “tested on sisters, not animals”. They only work with ingredients that are certified as sustainably sourced and organic grade.
Aside from minimizing virgin plastic content in their containers, they use minimal shipping materials as well and mail via plastic-free compostable satchels.
This is all in line with their company ethos to reduce the trash they product
Available: Biome Stores | Love Lula (UK)
- palm oil free
- have ethical ingredient sourcing policies and
- use thoughtful packaging (which is at the very least recyclable).
We know it’s tall order and believe us, it takes a fair bit of time to find truly eco friendly makeup brands that meet all or most criteria (note this list prioritizes vegan and cruelty free).
Now, we’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, have we missed any brands that should you think should feature, let us know in the comments.
Cotton pads or cotton balls are a must in a makeup staple. We have all used them. But, these little unassuming aids are not all that benign.
They are one of the major contributors to makeup waste. There are millions upon millions of these cotton pads tossed in the landfill every single month.
But, it’s not just the waste generated it’s also the environmental impact of growing cotton.
Pollution, soil degradation, water contamination are just some of the examples of the impact this crop has on the surrounding areas.
That’s why its super environmentally helpful to buy some reusable cotton and/or hemp rounds. They’re easy to use and clean, they’ll last you an age and you’ll be saving on mountains of plastic packaging and single use waste!
You can pick up some beautiful options on Etsy too (including made from bamboo, cotton, hemp).
If you are considering compostable or biodegradable makeup wipes as another alternative be extra sure that they are indeed compostable and then actually compost them…
Synthetic ingredients, cheap fillers and additives.
It’s a wonder that the whole consumer base hasn’t already jumped ship from the conventional to eco friendly makeup brands.
Beauty is and should be all natural and have as little negative impact as possible.
So if you do need to buy, buy intentionally!
Elate Cosmetics sums it up quite nicely: “Intentional, purposeful, ritual. For many of us, putting on makeup is an automatic act, a routine. […w]e believe everyday routine becomes ritual when the action is more meaningful than the outcome.”
Also remember, if you’re looking to reduce the plastic packaging in your life, then check out our zero waste makeup article for some great brands doing special things.
We hope this article has given you some food for thought on ethical makeup brands.
Who says you can’t spend Saturday night out on the town and still be sustainable?!
As always, please reach out in the comments for questions, suggestions, or comments.