It’s 2024, and there are still so many everyday beauty items that are chock full of chemicals, get tested on animals, and are packaged in environmentally-damaging materials.
However, with consumers waking up to the not-so-beautiful and wasteful side of the skincare and cosmetics industry, several beauty giants are re-evaluating their products and finding ways to bolster sustainability.
We are also witnessing a rise in innovative brands making headlines for their eco-conscious values, use of natural ingredients, and sustainable packaging. What’s more, they are transparent about everything that goes into their products to help you make a choice that’s good for your health and the planet.
In this blog, we share 20 eco-friendly beauty products that should be a part of every earth-loving soul’s personal care routine.
20 Amazing Sustainable Beauty Products That Are Saving the World
We’ve rounded up a list of brands and their eco-conscious creations that are proof that radiant skin, a dazzling smile, and luminous hair can be achieved without harming the earth and all the species that live on it. Including humans.
1. Waterless Beauty
The thing about water-based products is that some of them contain up to 70% H2O. And since stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria, these water-based items are generally full of preservatives. To counter this, some earth-friendly brands like LOLI Beauty have introduced waterless products that can be preserved with nature-derived ingredients.
Without water in them, these items are more concentrated and highly effective. Being compact, solid, and spill-proof, they easily fit inside smaller packaging. The lower shipping weight and lighter packaging reduce the ecological footprint of the product. A word of caution - not every waterless beauty product is sustainable. You’ll still need to check the label closely for the ingredients and packaging before ordering.
2. Organic Shampoo Bars
This latest beauty trend is about to change your haircare routine for good! Say hello to ethically made, organic shampoo bars filled with the goodness of natural oils to give your hair the love they deserve.
There are plenty of brands that are releasing waterless, sulfate-free, plastic-free alternatives to haircare, but we’re particularly in awe of by Humankind’s 100% carbon-neutral shampoo and conditioner bars. They craft bars with classic peppermint and lemongrass scents. Each bar is cold-pressed and cured for five weeks for a more concentrated and potent formulation.
3. Organic Cotton Beauty Rounds
Disposable wipes, Q-tips, and cotton balls are single-use items that add to the waste problems. And let’s be honest. We use them generously in our beauty routine because of the convenience factor.
However, there is a more eco-friendly alternative available that doesn't compromise convenience – the use of reusable organic cotton makeup remover.
What if we were to tell you that you can get the same convenience and results with organic cotton beauty rounds but instead of discarding them, you can reuse them? Organic Cotton Mart’s soft, easy-to-wash cotton makeup remover pads are made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton. These are great for your skin and the planet. Win-win!
4. Refillable Skincare
This trend has been around for some time but has only started gaining ground in the last few years. We’re talking about refillable products. Many clean and sustainable beauty brands have started offering a wide range of products in refillable packaging. You can now get anything from moisturizers to haircare to makeup in reusable canvas zipper pouches or bottles. This helps in reducing plastic waste as well as the carbon footprint of transportation and production.
The Australian-based Uni offers circular beauty where each kit comes with a dispenser and a fully recycled aluminum refill which can further be recycled by returning it to the brand or dropping it off at your nearest recycling facility.
5. Plant-Based Hair Brush
Among their extensive planet-friendly hair styling catalog, UK-based Tangle Teezer offers a unique detangling hair brush. It’s made from plant-based and low-impact materials and glides through your hair as smooth as butter, protecting your mane from split ends and tangles.
6. Earth-Friendly Makeup Brushes
Finding eco-friendly makeup brushes is a tricky affair. You either come across ones with cheap, synthetic bristles or higher-end brushes with fur applicators. Neither fit the sustainable or cruelty-free requirement. That’s why we were thrilled to come across, Ecotools, a wonderful brand that makes vegan brushes with high-quality Taklon bristles, recycled aluminum, and easy-to-wield handles made from bamboo or post-consumer recycled material.
7. Carbon-Negative Perfume
More often than not, our favorite perfumes carry a hefty dose of ethanol for dissolving perfume oils to make the application safer and skin-friendly. However, ethanol is derived from fossil fuels, generating a good share of carbon emissions.
The good news is brands like Air Company are revolutionizing the way fragrances are made by capturing CO2 emissions and converting them into impurity-free ethanol. Got to hand it to Air for transforming perfume-making into a carbon-negative process!
8. Reusable Muslin Face Cloth
Our bathroom vanity units and cabinets are typically home to Q-tips, cotton balls, and wipes. These are quick and convenient solutions to help with cleansing, applying products, or buffing away dead skin. Well, no need to stock up on these single-use items.
All you need is a pack of reusable muslin cloths for face. The tight weave, coupled with the delicate texture, works wonders in getting your skin rid of dirt, impurities, excess oil, and dead skin buildup.
Follow this guide to read through the uses and benefits of Muslin Cloth for Face.
9. Toothpaste Tablets
Your oral care routine is about to be turned on its head with toothpaste tablets! Yes, you heard it right! Pioneer by Parla, refreshing peppermint tabs are approved by dentists and arrive in a refillable glass jar for endless use. What’s more, the brand ships refills in compostable starch bags and small recycled cardboard boxes for an end-to-end sustainable solution for a dazzling smile.
10. Zero Waste Serum Bars
The world has come a long way, from natural soap bars to shampoo and conditioner bars. One brand has taken creativity and sustainability up a notch with serum bars!
Meet Dew Mighty, a woman-owned brand that is inspiring people to swap plastic or glass-packaged liquid serums with zero-waste serum bars. This serum is also the stuff of dreams for minimalists, as one mighty bar is formulated to leave your skin nourished, dewy, and blemish free, reducing the need to own multiple products that cater to different skin problems.
11. Sustainable Multi-Stick for Lips and Cheeks
Speaking of minimalist beauty, we have Noto Botanics’ multitasking stick to simplify your beauty routine down a couple of steps. One multi-use makeup stick does two jobs in a go - nourishing and brightening up your lips and cheeks with its unique formula packed with vitamins and organic ingredients. The best thing about these sticks is that the buildable pigments can go from sheer to opaque to nail your vibe.
12. Reusable Menstrual Cups
Tampons carry chemicals like dioxin, chlorine, and rayon and, along with their plastic applicators, end up in methane-emitting landfills. While some brands make compostable tampons with organic cotton, traditional menstrual products have a huge environmental impact. Reusable, flexible menstrual cups are one of the eco-friendly period care alternatives that are becoming popular.
Saalt’s cups are easy to wash and reuse and super comfy. Each cup can last up to ten years. We also love how this certified B Corp brand embraces a plastic-negative approach, meaning they remove twice the amount of waste their supply chain generates by funding plastic cleanups.
13. Bamboo Toothbrush
Another awesome product to boost the sustainability of your oral care routine is a bamboo toothbrush made from renewable and natural bamboo. This brush acts as an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic toothbrush. It’s dentist-approved with high-quality BPA-free bristles and a sustainably-sourced bamboo handle. That’s not all. This toothbrush arrives in 100% recyclable packaging.
14. Zero Microbeads Face Scrubs
Most of the face scrubs that we use are loaded with microbeads which are a form of microplastics known to wreak havoc on aquatic life. The tiny fragments of plastic are intentionally added for texture to enhance exfoliating properties of the scrub. That’s why we are obsessed with Elemis’ Gentle Rose Exfoliator, which replaces microbeads with marine life-safe tiny jojoba esters to buff away dead cells and dirt and give you revitalized skin. You’ll never miss the microbeads with this!
15. Microalgae-Based Skincare
This is an interesting find. Upwell Cosmetics has developed a groundbreaking wax made from microalgae that have the potential to replace petroleum-based, a core ingredient in lipsticks, balms, hair care, and lotions. Upwell’s microalgae are grown in sustainable bioreactors.
According to research, phytoplankton, a type of microalgae, produces almost 50% of the oxygen humans consume, so we cannot have enough of this natural wonder. Upwell’s technology was launched just recently, and we’ll soon have a spate of products that use their novel algae wax.
16. Palm-oil Less Multi-Beauty Oil
Next up on our list of thoughtful beauty products is Palmless™ Torula oil. True to its name, nothing Palmless™ makes contains any palm oil. In fact, they work hard to raise awareness of how the reckless use of palm oil by beauty giants has caused the large-scale destruction of rainforests.
Their multitasking oil is made from yeast instead of palm trees. The result? Radiant guilt-free glow! Besides their nourishing formulation, Palmless contributes to reforestation projects in Indonesia, where rainforests have been destroyed for sourcing palm oil.
17. All-in-one Balm for Mums and Babies
Our next recommendation is a sustainable beauty treat for new mommies - An All-in-One handmade organic balm by Sandangels Organics that excels in multitasking like moms. This balm is loaded with skin-friendly and earth-friendly ingredients to cleanse, calm, and moisturize your skin.
It’s fragrance-free and enriched with ultra-hydrating coconut oil, hempseed, shea, cocoa butter, and some beeswax. The best part? It’s so safe and soothing that you can use it as a rash protection cream for your baby.
18. Self-Tan Mousse with Ocean Waste Packaging
Looking for an eco-friendly and skin-safe self-tanner for the summer? We’ve got just the thing for you. With Australian Glow’s Self-Tanning Mousse, you can get a streak-free hydrating tan in under an hour without subjecting your skin to UV rays!
The brand cares about the planet is clear from their sustainable Ocean Waste Plastic packaging. Plus, the Mousse bottles feature a refill-friendly design. Fans of self-tan will love this one!
19. Eco-Friendly Nail Polish
Conventional nail polishes contain various worrying ingredients, including Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, and Formaldehyde resin. So what should one do to add a pop of color to the nails? Non-toxic nail polishes, of course! We’ve got Tenoverten which adds horsetail leaf extract, essential oils, vitamin E, and aloe vera to strengthen and protect the nails. Plus, all their colors are vegan, paraben-free, silicon-free, and sulfate-free.
There’s another brand that caught our attention in the nail care department. Sparitual uses natural, earth-friendly ingredients in its formula. That’s not all. Their recyclable bottles are made from reusable glass with 50% recycled materials. Sustainable packaging at its finest!
20. Reusable Beauty Masks
Is applying a face mask a part of your daily skincare ritual? Then this one’s for you. Almost all face masks come in plastic and aluminum packaging and are single-use. What’s even more alarming is that not one component of these disposable face sheet masks is easily biodegradable or recyclable. Thankfully, there’s a sustainable alternative in the form of moisturizing BPA-free silicone masks that are infinitely reusable.
All you need to do is slather your favorite cream or serum on them, apply it on your face, and wipe or rinse clean. Not asking for much when what you get in return is the same dewy skin minus the guilt.
Earth is not ours alone, and we share this wonderful planet with countless species. The sustainable beauty movement is a reminder of how our health and well-being are closely connected with the health of the planet.
With growing awareness, more and more people are now choosing products that are made with eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and skin-friendly ingredients and packaged in a sustainable or zero-waste way - ultimately nudging beauty brands and manufacturers to follow suit.