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Restless Reviews: Best Ethical Beauty Buys
How ethical is your beauty bag? Here’s our roundup of the products that don’t harm the planet
What does your beauty bag say about you? I’ll go first: I’m a cheapskate who loves a good bargain/freebie. But, something else is glaringly obvious. I’ve never looked at whether the products I’m buying are sustainable, or even (whisper it) cruelty free. And I’m vegetarian. This makes me sound hypocritical: surely if I’m so concerned about the food I put inside my body, I should also be conscious of what I put on it. Writing this article has been my wake-up call, and I hope it can be yours too.
With more and more people becoming aware of their impact on the planet, we have seen a rise in popularity of ethical products – specifically beauty brands that do not test on animals, use recycled or recyclable packaging, and natural ingredients. There are many different ideas of what constitutes ‘ethical’ – everyone’s moral principles differ, and some brands may not be 100% there yet. Some are better than others. But what matters is that they’re trying. These are a few of the products I’ve come across on my mission to be a more ethical beauty consumer…
The Body Shop – Instaglow CC Cream SPF 20
An ethical pioneer in the beauty industry long before it became fashionable to be kind to the planet. They are committed to local suppliers and fair working conditions, as well as investing in recycled plastic. You also have the option of returning empty containers to shops to be recycled or repurposed. This CC cream minimises the appearance of pores, reduces shine, and moisturises; the beauty holy grail.
Dr Hauschka – Sage Purifying Bath essence
A prestigious 50-year-old brand known for 100% natural and organic plant-based products. Using biodynamic farming methods, which actually puts more into the soil than is taken out, as well as green electricity, and absolutely no chemicals. Dr. Rudolf Hauschka’s philosophy is “to support the healing of humanity and the earth”, so you can have an indulgent soak in your bathtub knowing that you’re helping the planet. Try this refreshing sage bath essence, which helps soothe and revive tired limbs and feet.
Axiology – Lipstick
Marketed as an 100% evil-free lipstick, it is clean, vegan, palm oil-free, and cruelty-free. The founder, Ericka Rodriguez, says: “Makeup shouldn’t just be safe for the people who wear it. It should also be safe for animals, the planet and the people who make it.” Hear, hear. If that wasn’t enough, the recycled cardboard packaging is made in a female-owned factory in Bali.
Rowse – Shampoo Bar
A brand that uses responsibly sourced raw plant-based ingredients that are 100% natural and organic, vegan and chemical- and cruelty-free. They have a less is more approach and aim to be completely plastic free by 2020. This shampoo bar is made from coconut, sesame, and curcuma (a flowering plant of the ginger family).
Liz Earle – Hot Cloth Cleanser
The go-to cleanser beloved by beauty pros and your average girl on the street (me included). This is perfect for all skin types and smells heavenly – probably because of all the natural ingredients like chamomile extract, eucalyptus essential oil, and cocoa butter. It does also contain beeswax so isn’t suitable for vegans. No animal testing.
Weleda – Skin Food Moisturisor
Weleda has a strong commitment to ethical skincare – so much so that its recognised by the Union for Ethical BioTrade, and is one of only two beauty brands to carry the UEBT mark. They grow their plants either through biodynamic or organic farming, or controlled wild collection. Their products contain no plastic whatsoever. This moisturisor is a desert island essential; apparently one tube is sold every 23 seconds – it’s that good.
UpCircle – Organic Face Serum with Coffee Oil
This sustainable brand is run by a brother and sister who decided enough was enough when it came to wasting coffee grounds. They have developed a rage of cruelty-free vegan skincare products that use repurposed coffee grounds. This face serum is one such product, and also contains jojoba, sea buckthorn, and rosehip oils, which are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to brighten complexions.
Charlotte Tilbury – Magic Foundation
This demi-matte, long-lasting coverage formula is made from mushroom extract, believe it or not! The product is part of the vegan range, as well as being cruelty-free.