Business is booming in the beauty industry, and it’s no secret why. Consumers are contributing more than ever to the industry that is now worth a cool $532 billion—encompassing everything from traditional cosmetics like mascara and lip stick, to a veritable onslaught of skincare products to hygiene essentials like shampoo and deodorant. Influencers have crafted entire careers as “beauty gurus” while they demonstrate proper contouring technique and promote their own branded products.
But there is a dark side to this booming industry. Makeup and other beauty products are notoriously wasteful, often coming with an inordinate amount of plastic packaging. Beyond that, it can be difficult to source clean ingredients that retail at a fair price point. The result is beautiful eye shadow palettes that are filled with harsh chemicals and unsustainable ingredients.
Despite this, there is reason for optimism as the sustainable and natural beauty industry also benefits from our obsession with looking our best. Companies are dabbling in transparency models to give consumers a better understanding of where their products come from, and all-natural cosmetics find themselves in vogue. To help you wade through this sea of do-good beauty brands, we’ve rounded up our favorite companies for whom sustainability is not a marketing ploy, but a way of life.
Combining the wisdom of Asian-inspired ingredients with original botanical blends, Banyan Tree delivers wellness from the source. The eco-conscious brand seeks to utilize the “generational wisdom and practice of Asia” in conjunction with tried and tested formulas to maximize results for customers. With ever-expanding organic offerings, Banyan Tree features ingredients like honey, lotus, and jasmine rice that are frequently ECOCERT-certified.
Not only is Banyan Tree gentle on your skin, it is gentle on the environment as well. The brand has virtually eliminated all harmful synthetics from its products—replacing them instead with clean, natural alternatives. Finally, Banyan Tree cares about the impact its packaging has on the earth. All its plastic bottles are made recycled plastic, and all gift packaging has been replaced with fabric wraps made from recycled bottles and mulberry papers. In choosing Banyan Tree, you are choosing wellness for yourself, and for the earth.
A certified B-Corp, Abhati Suisse is making a positive impact on the environment and helping girls in rural India go to school. The company operates on fair-trade and partners with local farmers to ensure a dignified standard of living. Through its work with the farmers, Abhati Suisse is able to source sustainable, effective ingredients for their various hair, skin, and body products. Abhati Suisse also works closely with NGOs and environmental programs, and has actively helped to reforest various ecosystems.
Using only clean, natural ingredients, Abhati Suisse has created a product lineup to rival any sustainable brand. Its ingredients primarily come from India and Switzerland, deftly capturing the powerful benefits of nature in two disparate regions. Its products include plants like Indian gooseberry (Amla), Moringa oil, Himalayan wild cherry oil, alpine water, and Edelweiss. To top it all off, Abhati Suisse is constantly looking for new ways to create sustainable packaging and minimize their waste.
3. Alpyn Beauty
Based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Alpyn Beauty is utilizing the natural beauty of the region to rejuvenate its customers and foster a love for the environment. Alpyn Beauty creates its products with a sensitive combination of hand-cultivated and wildcrafted ingredients. As its website states, “When wildcrafting is done sustainably and with respect, generally only the fruit, flowers or branches are carefully removed, and the living plant is left healthy and intact.” This practice, in combination with its proprietary PlantGenius mix of ingredients, packs clean, plant-based nutrients into all of Alpyn Beauty’s formulas.
Founded by Kendra Kolb Butler, Alpyn Beauty caters to adventurous women who need effective skin protection from the mountain winds. Utilizing natural alternatives like bakuchiol instead of retinol, Alpyn Beauty also packages all of its products in recycled glass—cutting down its waste and thoughtfully tending to the needs of the environment.
4. ILIA Beauty
ILIA Beauty is driven by a simple mission: it wants all of its customers to feel “empowered by a sense of choice.” Focusing on the heart of clean beauty, ILIA carefully balances safety, performance, and the environment in its formulas. ILIA understands that not all natural products are actually good for the skin, and not all synthetics are bad. The company works diligently to choose only those ingredients that will contribute to a high-performing, sustainable product.
ILIA even ensures that its packaging is environmentally responsible by incorporating “…recycled aluminum, newly introduced glass components, and post-consumer recycled paper printed with vegetable-based dyes.” With this in mind, the only tough decision you’ll have to make is which shade of ILIA’s bold lipstick you want to wear.
Founded by makeup artist Munemi Imai, MUN does not sacrifice style for sustainability. The company focuses on natural skincare using ingredients produced in pristine conditions that protect the fertility of the soil and the ecosystem in which they are grown. While MUN is dedicated to creating healthy products and preserving the environment, it also gives back to local communities.
To do this, MUN has partnered with several women’s co-ops in Morocco to support sustainable economic development. The co-ops produce prickly pear seed and olive oil, planting new trees in line with production needs to ensure the operation is sustainable. The profits from the co-op are then used to help Berber women learn how to read and write and send children to school and college. This commitment to positive impact comes through in MUN’s products, as they rejuvenate and heal your skin with their potent formulas.
With the beauty industry growing bigger than ever, it’s crucial that consumers support companies that share their values of sustainability and ethical production. By purchasing from thoughtful brands, you can directly shape the future of the industry. If we use our collective power as conscious consumers, we can make the world a more beautiful place.