Before we get started, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I'm definitely no expert in sustainable beauty. In fact, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that until recently, it really wasn't something that was particularly on my radar. While there's been a lot of noise in the beauty industry recently about clean beauty (with a definite shift towards the importance of organic ingredients and vegan formulations), the conversation about sustainability has been somewhat lacking.
However, in honour of Fashion Revolution Week (and all of the amazing sustainable fashion advice that the Who What Wear fashion team are offering to help make your wardrobe more eco-friendly), I thought that it was only right that I did some investigating on the beauty side of things. After all, we all know about the importance of recycling our food packaging and switching from a paper coffee cup to a reusable one. But what beauty brands can we rely on to do some of that hard work for us?
Interestingly, with a bit of research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the beauty brands that I already love are actually leading the way when it comes to more sustainable beauty practices. Whether it's using biodegradable packaging or harvesting ingredients in a way that's kinder to the environment, there are plenty of brands that are already shaking things up within the industry.
Of course, it's important to remember that there are different levels of sustainability—and some of these brands might not be doing everything perfectly right now. But as consumers, it's about taking a step in a positive direction with our shopping habits and practices to help create a more sustainable future in the long-term. Sermon over. Keep scrolling for five of the best sustainable beauty brands that I'd wholeheartedly recommend.
The little-sister soap brand to The Soap Co, BECo also supports the social enterprise initiative Clarity in getting disadvantaged people into the workplace. In fact, BECo has created 10,000 days of work for people with disabilities last year.
In terms of its beauty offering, BECo keeps it simple, producing eco-friendly bottles and bars of soap at accessible price points. Its bar-soap boxes are completely biodegradable and the bottles are all made from recycled materials, with every ingredient used in the range is cruelty-free and vegan.
Plus, switching to a BECo soap is good for minimising water consumption with each soap lasting 2.5 times longer than an average bar or bottle and using 88 litres less water than other handwashes.
Disciple is already one of my go-to skincare brands when I'm going through a bout of hormonal acne, so I'm delighted that its sustainable beauty credentials are so strong. Disciple is a clean beauty brand that creates its products in small-batch production, which is beneficial for companies who want to control the materials that they're using and reduce their environmental footprint.
All of Disciple's products come in glass bottles (instead of plastic), which can be reused or recycled and all of the lovely essential oils in the formulations are sustainably sourced so as to limit damage to the environment. It kind of goes without saying, but of course, all of the formulas are cruelty-free and vegan. Plus, the brand is also reformulating its Dreamy Skin face oil (which currently contains sustainable palm oil) for a more sustainable product.
This is one of my favourite cleansing oils. Not only does this blend of alpha hydroxy acids and fruit oils do a great job of removing makeup and dirt, but it's also deeply relaxing to use. The perfect nighttime cleanser. Bonus: It comes with a reusable cloth, too.
A 100% active botanical face oil that's rich in fatty acids, hormone-balancing essential oils and healthy prebiotics. I'm sure all skin types would benefit from a couple of drops of this each day, but it's particularly good at calming and soothing blemish-prone skin.
Living Sea Therapy's parent company, The Cornish Seaweed Company, was actually the first brand to sustainable source seaweed here in the UK—the star ingredient of this British brand. Founders Caro and Tim worked with a number of bodies—including Natural England and the Food Standards Agency—to draw up a code of conduct for sustainable seaweed harvesting. Sourcing the seaweed involves free diving into the waters around the Lizard Peninsula and effectively giving the seaweed there a little haircut, rather than pulling the plant out completely from its roots. Similarly, delicate sea salt flakes are hand-harvested, so there's no environmental impact on the ocean.
Unlike other beauty brands, U.S.-based Mother Dirt is actually aiming to get you to minimise the number of beauty products that are currently in your bathroom and regular skincare routines. Aiming to be as environmentally friendly as possible, all of the products contain 10 ingredients or less and are designed to keep your skin's ecosystem in check.
For me, the star ingredient is the brand's AO+ mist which helps you to put ammonia-oxidising bacteria (or AOB) back onto your skin to make you less reliant on multiple products to treat skin concerns. Studies have proven that AOB can help to regulate personal hygiene, inflammation and redness and treat acne, dryness and itching. Plus all of its packaging is recyclable!
I've been using this as the last step in my skincare routine for the last few weeks and can already notice my skin health improving. While I still get breakouts, this helps the spots to calm down and disappear much more quickly than usual.
London-based beauty brand BYBI Beauty was founded by two female entrepreneurs, Elsie and Dominika, who are trained in natural product formulations. Now recognised as pioneers in natural beauty, BYBI Beauty takes a similarly serious approach to sustainability. All of the brand's tubes are made from either biodegradable sugar cane or glass. And of course, everything can be recycled. The formulas themselves are 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free.
A multipurpose beauty balm containing brightening vitamin C and soothing calendula oil to repair chapped skin and add glow. You can use it as an overnight moisturiser, on dry cuticles or as a foot balm—wherever you fancy.