Makeup image via Shutterstock
By Amalissa Uytingco
Going green does not only refer to recycling and energy or water conservation. All over the world, emerging companies are applying the “green” philosophy to cosmetics, aiming to create environmentally friendly product lines that promote the use of natural ingredients. However, with the extensive range of companies in existence, it is important to distinguish between brands that abuse the “natural” label, actually incorporating potentially toxic ingredients, and those that truly embrace it. One way to pick out genuinely natural products is to look at the ingredients listed in the label. To help facilitate your search, below is a roundup of ten eco-friendly products—ranging from skincare solutions to makeup tools—created by brands that promote the use of natural ingredients:
Benton is Korean cosmetics company that strives to create all-natural, hypoallergenic skincare products compatible with even those with the most sensitive skin types. Popular in Korea and gaining recognition in the blogosphere, the Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream contains, interestingly, a combination of snail slime and bee venom. Although odd-sounding, snail mucin actually contains beneficial antioxidants, proteins, elastin, and glycolic acids. Furthermore, studies have shown the ingredient to be effective in balancing skin tone, reducing acne scars, and fighting acne. On the other hand, bee venom prompts the body to increase collagen production, which promotes healing—in this case, skin-healing.
2. Sunscreen: Badger All Natural SPF30 Unscented Sunscreen ($16, Badger Balm)
Badger Balm began as a homemade line of healing, organic personal care products. It is now a family-owned company promoting the use of safe and healthy ingredients in its products. The All Natural Unscented Sunscreen uses the mineral zinc oxide, which forms a protective barrier between the skin and harmful UVA and UVB rays. It is a certified organic sunscreen that has a base of sunflower oil, beeswax, seabuckthorn, and vitamin E for a smooth, moisturizing application.
3. Facial Makeup: Juice Beauty Refining Finishing Powder ($22, Juice Beauty)
Juice Beauty truly embodies the sustainable practices, as it not only purchases locally from certified organic farmers, but also manufactures in the US using solar power and, for packaging, recycled containers printed with soy ink. The Refining Finishing Powder is comprised of tapioca and mineral powders for a natural coverage that is both matte and lightweight. Infused into the powder are organic aloe powder for moisture, organic berries such as acai and goji for anti-aging antioxidants, and organic pomegranate seed oil for skin-soothing purposes.
4. Eyes: Alima Pure Satin Matte Eyeliner ($12.50, Alima Pure)
Kate O’Brien founded Alima Pure with her at-the-time teenage daughter in mind. Kate wanted her daughter to wear non-toxic cosmetics made with ingredients that would not be detrimental to their health. Made only with mica (but may contain titanium dioxide, iron oxides, and ultramarines), this matte eyeliner fits the bill. It comes in a powder form that can be used as is, but also can be mixed with a tiny amount of water to create a wet liner.
Having started as a lip-focused, organic cosmetics company, ILIA is known for its extensive line of lip products. According to the site, each product contains up to 85 percent bioactive organic ingredients that are gluten and dairy free. Furthermore, the vibrantly pigmented lipsticks come in recycled aluminum cases that are not only sleekly minimalistic, but also environmentally sustainable.
Amy Ng, founder of Missamé, created the brand in order to provide makeup enthusiasts with cruelty-free brushes that feel just as luxurious as those made with animal hairs. The brush hairs are fashioned from vegan synthetic Taklon fibers, whereas the ferrules are made from aluminum and the handles from sustainable bamboo. The whole ten-piece set includes a flat top brush, kabuki brush, contouring brush, foundation brush, oval blush brush, dome blending brush, angled eye brush, concealer brush, tapered smudge brush, and an angled liner brush.
7. Hair Care: Shea Terra Organics Mongongo & Banana 100% Natural Shampoo ($14, Shea Terra Organics)
Shea Terra Organics’ goal is to share Africa’s indigenous ancient skin care secrets with the rest of the world. Shea Terra’s shampoo is made from organic oils like extra virgin olive, virgin coconut, and virgin mongogo, contributing rich nutrients to the hair—calcium, protein, and vitamin E. The mongongo oil strengthens hair to prevent breakage and improve growth.
Scotch Naturals is a vegan, hypoallergenic brand that produces water-based nail products free of toxins ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals. Additionally, these polishes are fragrance-free and paraben-free—not to mention the biodegradable packaging!
9. Body Care: Pangea Organics Bar Soaps ($8, Pangea Organics)
At Pangea Organics, products are created in small batches using healthful, organic ingredients. These bar soaps are certified organic, as well as vegan and gluten-free. They are made with ingredients meant to moisturize and nourish the skin. Take palm oil for instance: it not only moisturizes the skin to make it soft, but it also contains vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that damage the skin and cause fine lines or wrinkles.
Miessence is an Australian company specializing in the creation of certified (in Australia, Europe, and the US) organic health, beauty, and nutrition products. Free of aluminum compounds or chemical antiperspirants, Miessence’s deodorant is made with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and soothing aloe vera. It is a natural, long-lasting solution to sweat-induced body odor.