Sustainable Beauty Brands

Following on from my BYBI post, we’ve established that sustainability is more than just having recyclable packaging. This week on my Instagram we’ve had sustainability week, where I shared eco-friendly brands in my collection. Of course there are far more brands than just what is in my collection, so here are some of beauty’s sustainable brands and some that have made a good start but have room for improvement.

BYBI Beauty

You’ve read my article about BYBI, you know they’re fab. If you missed it (you can find it here), they focus on responsible sourcing, clean manufacturing and packaging in recyclable materials. They definitely do more than most brands and have a very strong focus on sustainability (they even do monthly summits on the topic called Susty Summits and have their own in-house sustainability manager!). For Black Friday, or should I say Green Friday, BYBI are offering discounts on a variety of their products, but for every bundle bought, they will be planting 10 trees.

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Sjรถ Skin

If you haven’t heard of Sjรถ Skin, they’re a small Swedish brand that focus on honey based products. Each product is made with less than 6 ingredients and their honey is sourced from a local farm in Sweden where the bees pollinate wild flowers in the forest.. Their products are handmade in small batches, which makes the manufacturing portion of their supply chain super eco-friendly. Their packaging is largely glass (with a very small amount of plastic – dropper squeezer, lid)

REN

REN sustainably sources their ingredients (though there’s no extra info than that…) and makes sure that their packaging is eco-friendly. Their bottles are made from ocean plastic, while their tubes are made from post-consumer recycled plastic that is made to be recycled over and over again. They also work with organisations that clean up plastic from beaches, waterways and oceans. On top of this, REN have pledged to be zero waste by 2021, so all their packaging will be recyclable, recycled and reusable.

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Herbivore

All of Herbivore’s products are apparently handmade using sustainably sourced ingredients (though not much more info is given about this). All of their jars and bottles are made of glass. They are always looking at their supply chain to decrease their carbon footprint. Their team vets ingredient suppliers to ensure that they are all ethically sourced and sustainably harvested. The majority of their ingredients are sourced within the US, meaning their carbon footprint would be lower the closer to home they can source the ingredients.

Youth To The People

YTTP have glass packaging on all their bottles and jars and focus on creating clean formulas. They use a lot of natural, superfood ingredients but also make sure to comply with the EU’s list of banned ingredients in cosmetics, despite being a US based company. The FDA has only banned 11 ingredients, compared to the 1,300+ in the EU. They also work with a number of non-profits and activists to build a more just world and to save the planet!

Tata Harper

Tata Harper are famous for growing all of their ingredients on their special farm in Vermont and making and packaging their products in glass bottles and jars. When they do use tubes, the plastic resin is made from corn, rather than from petroleum, which is a renewable source. On the cardboard boxes, there is a label from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative that confirms that the material comes from a responsible source instead of unethical sources (e.g. illegal logging processes). By manufacturing all their products in house and by hand, they are able to have greater control over the sustainability surrounding the process. It is probable that they use much less energy and water by hand making the products and are able to have much more control over their energy sources (aka ensuring it’s renewable).

Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice actively seek to source their ingredients in a sustainable way wherever possible. Palm oil, which is often sourced in ways that harm the rainforest and it’s animals, are instead sourced from a Malaysian company certified for sustainable production. While they use plastic packaging, all parts including the caps are suitable for recycling. No additional, unnecessary plastic packaging is used – products are not wrapped in an additional plastic wrap and PC prints all their info directly onto the bottle.

WOWYOU Beauty

WowYou’s packaging is all recyclable and they also have a refill program. On top of this, their HQ usesย only energy from renewable sources and offset their carbon emissions by planting trees. This *Green* Friday, the brand will plant a tree for every ยฃ5 spent to further offset emissions and help to restore habitats. Theyโ€™re supporting the Eden Reforestation Project who work with locals in Madagascar to reforest areas that were destroyed, impacting the ability to farm the land and displacing native species.

The Body Shop

This has to be one of the original pioneering beauty brands when it comes to sustainability. They ensure that all their sourcing has no negative social or environmental impacts and launched โ€˜community tradeโ€™ all the way back in 1987 to ensure fair trading with suppliers. They were the pioneers for fair trade within beauty and currently have 31 community trade suppliers in 23 countries. They have empowered these communities, particularly women, and helped them achieve an independent income as well as building schools and enabling access to safe drinking water. They do still use plastic, but they believe that it used responsibly then it can be sustainable. They work with a community trade project in India to source recycled plastic – helping to tackle the plastic problem while also working with plastic pickers who have access to all the amazing benefits I mentioned above. Working with a Plastics for Change and local NGOs allows their waste pickers to receive a stable income, better working conditions and more opportunities.

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Lush

This one should come as no surprise to anyone. Lush use as little packaging as possible where possible and nearly half their products can be taken home without any packaging. Where packaging is unavoidable, they try to use recycled materials. Around 90% of their packaging can be recycled currently and they’re working on that last 10%. Sustainable sourcing is also high on their list – they do not use palm oilย at all in favour of more eco-friendly oils. Their website hints that they only collaborate with suppliers that respect the environment, animals and people living there. When it comes to manufacturing, they’re aiming to reduce energy and water consumption and specifically do not purchase energy from fracking companies. Lush accepts that sustainability is something that can always be improved on and in turn they want to use their buying power to drive change. I find it really interesting that it’s the most eco-friendly brands that make reference to the fact they aren’t perfect but are always trying their best, when other brands are trying much less and don’t talk about it.

Beauty Pie

They are always working to make their packaging as eco-conscious as possible. They use plant-based inks (Earthinksยฎ) which are one of the most eco-friendly inks on the planet. They also use recyclable and recycled board in all their cartons. It’s a good start but it would be great to know a little more about their sourcing and manufacturing. As Beauty Pie tend to work directly with labs in various different countries, it would be really interesting to know how much they know or can influence sustainable policy when it comes to manufacturing. Because they do work with these international labs, there will be a fair amount of carbon emissions involved in shipping to the UK and US, so it would be great to know a bit more about what they’re doing to combat this.

Good Molecules

Beautylish’s offering in the realm of affordable skincare is a line of a largely single ingredient products. All their bottled products come in glass packaging which are obviously much easier to recycle than plastic. They are starting to have a greater focus on their sourcing. The affordable skincare from Beautylish recently launched their Rosehip oil which was sustainably grown and hand-picked from the Patagonian Austral of Chile. By working directly with the growers, the brand can ensure that all parties are treated fairly and with respect, while also eliminating any markup from middlemen.

How to tell if a brand is sustainable

As consumers, we’re really reliant on brands sharing their sustainable policies. If they don’t share it, we can’t assume they’re doing it. Some companies share much more than others (BYBI, Body Shop) so we have a lot more insight into the brand and their practices. Personally I think brands should share what they’re doing and should want too as well! If brands have a particular focus on the environment, there is often a dedicated page for it on their site. If you Google the brand followed by sustainability, you might find the info you’re looking for. There might be info about it in their ethos, mission or on their about us page. To find out about ingredient sourcing, you can try each individual product page. If this information is missing completely… well you can guess what that means. Now that you’ve read all about brands that are doing the most, it will become very clear when you see brands doing the very least.

This list is by no means definitive. I’m sure there are many more brands that have sustainable sourcing practices, but they may not be as well known or well publicised.

In the coming years, I think sustainable sourcing, manufacturing and packaging will become a staple for all new brands coming to the market, but it will take quite a long time for the bigger brands to make this change. In my mind, this is fairly comparable to cruelty free products – every new brand that emerges now is cruelty free but the conglomerates are much slower to react. Just because a brand has recyclable packaging doesn’t make them eco-friendly. As the founders of BYBI said, it is the very least that any brand should be doing. People are starting to question eco-policies deeper and it’s only through this questioning that things will really change.

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ILIA Brand Review – True Skin Serum Foundation, Multi-Stick and Color Haze

When ILIA reached out and offered to send some products over, I nearly fell off my chair. I’ve been testing out their True Skin Radiant Priming Serum, True Skin Serum Foundation, True Skin Serum Concealer, Clear Line Liquid Liner, Limitless Lash Mascara, Colour Haze Multi-Matte Pigment, Illuminator and Color Block High Impact Lipstick, so keep reading for my review!

ILIA Beauty are a clean beauty brand that infuses their makeup with skincare and (unlike some other clean beauty brands) recognises that not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, likewise not all synthetic ones are bad. Their founder, Sasha, wasn’t content with the clean makeup she found on the market as it didn’t perform well. She set out to create her own line that had roots in natural ingredients, be safe to use, look good and perform exceptionally. I personally think she has nailed each one of these with ILIA – I have never found a clean makeup line like it!

I was completely bowled over by the generosity of the brand when they sent over basically a full face of makeup, so here are my thoughts on what was sent over:

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True Skin Radiant Priming Serum

I personally love a primer, so I was really excited to get to try out a new one. This one comes in a tall bottle with a dropper and (as the name suggests) is a lovely, fresh serum. The primer has an amazing shimmer to it (as you can definitely see in the image below) to give a beautiful radiance to the skin, but not a noticeable glimmer once it’s applied. The primer contains hibiscus extract to protect against free radical damage, while beta-glucan helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and Mastic (a resin from a tree from the Greek island of Chios) works to mattify and refine the skin throughout the day.ย  It is silicone, fragrance and gluten free. Some people have said that it helps to balance out skin tone but I can’t say I’ve noticed that as I don’t have a lot of time in the mornings and move straight on to foundation. It definitely preps the skin well for makeup and leaves the skin feeling really hydrated for makeup application. When it dries down, there is a slight tackiness but not in a bothersome sense at all. I haven’t really tried a serum primer before – usually the primers I use feel a bit silicone-y or they are a gel, but this one is unlike any other. This could be a great primer for all skin types!

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True Skin Serum Foundation

The True Skin Serum Foundation is medium coverage that can be built up to for more coverage or sheered out to a lighter coverage. For a serum foundation, it is not as liquidy as you would expect but feels fabulously light on the skin. It contains a blend of botanical actives (including aloe leaf, jojoba, marula and rosehip oils) that help to plump the skin, soothe irritations and reduce redness all while ensuring that the product melts effortlessly into the skin for a more even, luminous base. Pores are minimised and imperfections are blurred to give the ‘your skin but better’ effect. This foundation is cruelty free, gluten free, vegan and non-comedogenic.

This has become my everyday foundation because it holds upย so well. My average day of makeup wearing is 12+ hours, with 2 sweaty commutes and an hour long walk in between. While this will still break down in certain areas (between the nose and mouth particularly), it is never noticeable. By the end of the day, my base still looks really beautiful and skin like. I have only ever found that my Clinique Fit foundation lasts as well as this (and this is made to hold up well with sweat). I don’t think it is advertised as a long lasting foundation, but it really is! I usually wear this as a light-medium foundation, but I do find when I build this up a little more that some of my lines are a bit more visible (smile lines around my mouth). I don’t see this as an issue with the foundation, but rather that I went too heavy handed with it – but just be aware that that can happen!

There are 18 shades in total at the moment, and 2/3 of them sit within the light/medium category.ย  This is a decent start but I think ILIA can do better. I would want to see a shade extension to give a much wider variety of shades for those with darker skin, adding an entirely new category to expand on ‘deep’. I’m hopeful that with the recent shift towards inclusion in beauty that this will happen pretty imminently.

True Skin Serum Concealer

I was very impressed with this concealer. After trying the foundation, which was quite liquidy and light coverage, this had a lot more coverage than I was expecting! It contains stabilised vitamin C, mastic and albizia julibrissin bark extract to protect from environmental aggressors and mattify the area all while firming, soothing and nourishing the skin’s surface. While it says that mastic helps to mattify, it does not have a matte finish, nor does it make any area look dry. Upon application, this immediately fixes any dark circles or darkness under the eyes and makes the area look flawless. It can be used to add additional coverage for other areas of the face and has a really beautiful finish.

When I set this with my Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders, it basically wiped the concealer off and made me look as though I had some sort of skin condition? It was very strange. Once I re-applied it and didn’t set it, it was totally fine but also didn’t crease at all. I usually set my under eyes so that my lower lash mascara doesn’t transfer, so I was extra impressed that there was no transfer or creasing. This is definitely a concealer that does not require powder and sets and lasts beautifully on its own.

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Clear Line Liquid Liner in Midnight Express

Thought I’m not an eyeliner expert, I do wear it pretty much every day. This is easily one of the best liquid liners I’ve tried because the felt tip applicator comes to a really small point and is nice and wet. The colour is a really dark matte black that doesn’t smudge at all and stays in place all day. It makes eyeliner application really quick and easy, which I love!

Limitless Lash Mascara

I’m always quite skeptical about trying new mascaras because I have my holy grail mascara that I haven’t strayed away from for 4 years (Benefit Roller Lash). However, I’ve been SO impressed with this one. The lightweight formula contains a blend of bee and carnauba waxes to condition the lashes while keeping them lifted. Because it contains bees wax, this one isn’t vegan but it is still cruelty free and gluten free.

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This brush is really unique – on one side, the bristles go straight across, like the teeth on a comb and are spaced out evenly to separate the lashes. On the flip side, the bristles look softer and are on a curve to hug the lashes and give them some serious volume. I like to start with the curved softer side to lift the lashes and get a good coating on them before using the straight side to separate them out. The formula was good from the start – often mascaras are too wet when you first open them and it’s quite hard to get the effect that you’re after.

Color Haze Multi-Matte Pigment in Waking Up

This is a multi use product for the cheeks and lips is really beautiful but I personally find it really hard to use. I just don’t think liquid blushes are for me. This contains jojoba oil and coconut oil to condition the lips and skin. It comes in a tube with a metal tipped applicator, much like a lip gloss or a high-end eye cream. I’m not sure how useful this is as a blush applicator really, because you wouldn’t tend to apply blush in this way. The blush itself is REALLY pigmented so the tiniest bit goes a really long way.ย I don’t find this the easiest to blend out because I apply so little (to avoid MASSIVE amounts of pigment on my cheeks) and when there is very little it dries quite quickly and is difficult to spread it out.

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I can’t say I’ve tried it as a lip product yet, though the shade would make a lovely lip colour.

I find liquid blush really fiddly to use so it wouldn’t be my go-to blush. I’ve had to reapply my foundation over this a few times because it was far too pigmented and made me look like a doll with VERY rosy cheeks. I’m much more of a cream/powder blush kind of girl, but I know that this would be right up some people’s street.

Illuminator in Stella by Starlight

This is a really gorgeous shade when you look at it in the packaging… but unfortunately it doesn’t really translate onto the face. The product swatches really well on your hand but I found that it didn’t perform the same way on the face. I find the formula to be quite dry and hard, so you have to use quite a lot of pressure if applying from the stick or swirl your fingers quite a number of times to get a very limited colour pay off. You can use it directly out of the stick, though it disturbs the base and I’m suddenly very aware of how much I’m pulling at my skin to get the pay off. It’s much more effective to use your fingers to apply as it actually shows up and leaves the base intact. This is definitely a product for those looking for a more natural glow than anything particularly noticeable. I am someone that prefers a more noticeable highlight (though not a blinding one) and I would prefer a product that has a bit more pay off. This is probably the product I’ve used least from the brand just because the stick is so weirdly solid? I don’t really like to use products that are finickity and require a lot of time to perfect because it’s not time I have in the mornings. If the formula was a bit smoother and softer, this would be a lot better for me.

Color Block High Impact Lipstick in Amberlight

IMG_2135I received the shade Amberlight and as soon as I took the top off, I gasped. I actually gasped. Me and my sister both agreed that this is the PERFECT nude shade for light skin. On my skin, this is the perfect pinky-nude, but on darker skin this would probably read a lot more pink. The finish is certainly not matte, but isn’t super glossy either. It goes perfectly with every eye look and just looks absolutely stunning. There is a slight brown-nude tone to it that goes really beautifully with autumn makeup looks now the weather is getting colder. I’ve been reaching for this non-stop and will definitely continue to do so!

Overall, I’ve never been so impressed by a brand, EVER. I posted on my Instagram stories that the shades of foundation and concealer the brand sent over to me were too dark and they reached out straight away and offered to send over a different shade. I was so impressed with that response and even more stunned when two new shades of both the foundation and the concealer arrived at my door. I have never experienced such excellent customer service from a brand. Although two of the products weren’t my cup of tea, I can still appreciate the quality and I don’t doubt that they will be for someone.

This is probably my first time dabbling in proper clean makeup and it has been an absolute pleasure. I would definitely put ILIA up there with my favourite makeup brands now and I have my eye on more of their products (namely their eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses… and maybe more of their lipsticks too!).

If you would like to try out any products from ILIA, I do have an affiliate link down below if you’d like to use it.

Xo

****All products were gifted by the brand with no obligation to review. I have fallen in love and all expressions of love are my own****

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