The best eco-friendly beauty and home products, according to experts

“Sustainable” is the beauty industry’s new favorite buzzword – but it can be hard to understand what companies really means when they use the term. Or to put it another way: there’s a lot of BS out there. Brands boast of being environmentally conscious, green and eco-friendly without any data to back up these claims. Even as a beauty editor, I didn’t have real index of the depth of the “good for the planet” rabbit hole in terms of jargon and misinformation.

To help me figure it out, I spoke with a licensed esthetician, brand founder and truth-teller about skincare Charlotte Palerminwho has done her share of research in the department of sustainable beauty (she is the co-founder of Gods, the skincare brand that exploded on TikTok for its Forever reusable eye mask). Two hours later, we are thorough, what can I say? – and I had a better understanding of what exactly makes a product “eco” and “sustainable”.

Although I’ll spare you the 120 minutes of knowledge I now have, I will be hitting you with the honest takeaway: “The truth is, no one has fully understood it,” Palermino says, “but it are brands that do their due diligence and help reduce their overall carbon footprint and waste, and pivot when research shows there’s a better option because the science changes.

So, after lots of checking, here are some of my favorite products and companies that I think are doing amazing things in beauty and home products – that is, producing products forefront while simultaneously helping to minimize our impact on the planet.

At Romper, we only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

An eye mask with the Earth in mind

Since I spoke to Palermino in depth about his brand efforts, I’ll start with his company, Gods: Their Virality Eye Masks Forever, $25, are reusable, which means they’re made of a non-porous silicone, so you’re not throwing sheet mask after sheet mask in the trash. To use them, simply apply your favorite eye cream or serum, let the formula get a little sticky and apply in the usual way – they work to squeeze the formula close to your skin for maximum penetration. After doing a life cycle analysis of the packaging options available, Palermino and its two co-founders will transfer the packaging of the brand’s other products to 100% recycled aluminum by 2023. “For me, this it’s like, how can I get you a great gods eye mask with a funny sticker on it that you want to wear in a selfie, but at the same time make sure on our company side that we’re doing our part to protect the planet and be transparent in the process around cost and sourcing?” adds Palermino. “That really should be every brand’s thinking and responsibility.”

An SPF respectful of our oceans

One of my favorite FPS — Kinship Self-Reflect Zinc Oxide Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 32 — also does its part when it comes to the planet. Both the tube and the cap are made from post-consumer recycled plastic. Did you know that only 9% of plastic is actually recycled? So support companies like Kinship that don’t use virgin plastic – i.e. new plastic that hasn’t had a second life – and instead turn to plastic that has been melted into resin and reused to make packaging for another product. Additionally, all of Kinship’s outer packaging and minimum shipping materials are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (which guarantees that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits), and the mark has eliminated more than seven tons of plastic waste. of our oceans. For whom I say thank you.

A facial scrub that helps rebuild Earth’s largest carbon sinks

Alpyn Beauty Wild Huckleberry 8-Acid Polishing Peel Mask – the ultimate face scrub, IMO – uses brightening vitamin C, a blend of AHA and BHA that deeply exfoliates, and bamboo powder to gently remove dead skin cells. But this product helps to do more than just make your skin incredibly smooth. The brand manufactures its formula in the wild, meaning it sources its actives and ingredients from their natural environment in Jackson Hole. “The ecosystem and plant health are so important to us,” Alpyn Beauty founder Kendra Kolb Butler told me. She explains how when Europeans first arrived in Jackson Hole in the early 1900s, they settled in what is now the national park and began pulling sage, brush and flowers to to plant smooth broom grass (an invasive species) to feed their livestock. As many as 5,000 acres of the park were destroyed. “So a park that was once considered a carbon sink – anything that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases – has been diminished and all of its native animals have had to leave for lack of food and water. shelter,” she said. And so Kolb Butler’s mission was born: to restore the forest, bring back animals that left when their food source disappeared, and replant brush and trees that contribute to a better ecosystem. So far, the brand has partnered with the Grand Teton National Park organization, donating 1% of profits to reforestation of the park. “As of today, we’ve restored 1,000 acres, so they can start to replant and put back the native species,” Kolb Butler told me proudly, “and once we’ve completed the 5,000 acres of this park, we will be moving to the next closest park to help repair the damage there.

A biodegradable soap that won’t clutter your shower shelf or Earth’s waterways

Another genius product: MORE Body Wash, which cleanses your body with biodegradable ingredients that are gentle on both your skin and Mother Earth. The brand’s incredibly innovative plastic-free packaging features soap sheets – perfect for travel – that lather up in the shower, then wash down the drain along with all the skin sins you’ve committed (with its outer wrapper!). Plus, the brand recently launched an at-home dispenser (gives me old-school bubblegum wrapper vibes, but big on size), which lets you pull out as much sheet soap as you have. need, delivered to you in 50% recycled PCR plastic.

According to BlueBird Climate, if one in three households switched to PLUS instead of a typical bottle of plastic body wash, there would be an annual saving of 104,035 tonnes of plastic waste, equivalent to 1.6 million garbage bags filled with plastic.

Snap nails that put the planet first

Los Angeles-based nail brand Olive & June is also doing its part: the nails in their Instant Mani snap set are made from 94% post-consumer recycled material. And the choice is yours – they’re also available in 44 shades and patterns, four shapes and four lengths. Plus, each pack includes 21 sizes (for the best possible nail fit), with 42 total nails included – all of which can be reused after being removed with warm water.

A decadent shea butter company that takes care of its workers

Sustainability isn’t just about the packaging; fair wages and responsible sourcing are also considered. Palermino raves about Hanahana beauty, a company founded by Abena Boamah-Acheampong, who runs her business with sustainable agricultural practices in Africa. Abena also ensures that workers in Ghana are properly paid, organizes bi-annual health check-up days for the Katariga community in Ghana, and conducts bi-monthly community health education classes, in addition to providing other benefits. which are transparently listed on the brand’s website.

Makeup remover pads that hope to erase single-use wipes

I also love these Face Halo Original makeup remover pads, which come in multiple colors. One pad replaces up to 500 single-use makeup remover wipes and one can be washed up to 200 times. To date, the brand has already stopped more than a billion wipes from entering landfills and waterways.

A plastic-free (and refillable) luxury French beauty company

The Red Mouth launched in 2017 and becomes the first French eco-responsible make-up brand to offer clean formulas. They meet stringent European Union standards, which ban 1,300 ingredients, and come in plastic-free refillable packaging. The sleek, chic brand opts for vegan leather derived from mycelium and metal to create the packaging for its signature lipstick, and is formulated without beeswax, animal fat or microplastic (83% of the earth’s water is polluted with microplastics, by the way!) . La Bouche Rouge has also set out to change the way people buy makeup by introducing refillable packaging. The mascara is the first of its kind in the world, with an all-glass tube, a bio-plant material cap and a castor plant fiber brush.

Additionally, whenever physically possible, branded ingredients are sourced locally to minimize their carbon footprint. The icing on the cake: for each lipstick sold, the company donates the equivalent of 100 liters of drinking water to the Eau Vive Internationale association, supporting a program dedicated to children in the Kermerida region of Togo.

An Australian brand of plant-based biodegradable soap

I was recently introduced Eco Koala, a line of biodegradable, plant-based cleaners, hand soaps, dish soap and floor cleaners that use no new plastics when creating their bottles. It’s all made from 100% post-consumer recycled bottles and they have the classiest labels and use locally sourced essential oils that will leave your kitchen amazingly fresh – all while donating 1% of the profits to environmental groups.

A fun home cleaning business that takes plastic out of the equation

Blueland, another brand Palermino suggested to me, “is almost like a science experiment,” she explains. Instead of buying a new Windex bottle, for example, every time you run out, you only have to buy the brand’s BPA-free refillable Tritan and glass bottle once. When you’re out of product, simply refill with tap water and drop in Blueland’s glass cleaner tablet for a brand new product. The brand also offers a powder soap shaker for washing dishes, and refills for detergent and toilet cleaner in the form of tablets. According to their site, Blueland has helped eliminate over a billion single-use plastic bottles from landfills and oceans since 2019.

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