With beauty consumers continuing to favour mindful skincare brands, here are our top picks of labels that choose to be environmentally conscious

Cruelty-free, vegan or plant-derived products are the new standard for skincare brands. Be it celebrity-backed brands like Kate Moss’ Cosmoss or smaller boutique labels, the focus is squarely on being eco-friendly. This is no doubt fuelled by the growing crop of ethical consumers who are continuing to prefer brands that keep the environment in mind.
 
A report by Bain & Co earlier this year revealed that 90 per cent of 16,000 shoppers surveyed are willing to spend more on sustainable products, but they find it difficult to bridge the “saying vs doing” gap because of many reasons, from too many choices to lack of trust in the brands’ claims. If you too want to begin your mindful beauty journey but don’t know where to start, here are five clean beauty brands to watch out for in the coming year.

 

1. L:a Bruket

Swedish skincare, haircare and homecare brand L:a Bruket, which opened its first boutique in Hong Kong last month, incorporates Nordic elements into its products—from sea salt and Scandinavian algae to the region’s cotton. Founders Mats Johansson and Monica Kylén wanted to create products inspired by the Swedish spa culture and wildlife found on the country's west coast. In keeping with their philosophy, their formulas are vegan and COSMOS-certified, meaning that 95 per cent of the plants they contain are organic.

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2. Esse Skincare

Prebiotics and probiotics form the backbone of Esse Skincare, which explores ways in which the skin’s natural microbiome can be activated. Founder and biochemist Trevor Steyn was inspired by the biodiversity of his home country, South Africa, and incorporated many local ingredients such as rooibos leaf,  sausage tree fruit and baobab fruit extracts into the products. Overall, Steyn has spent two decades developing facial products that are effective, ethical, organic, carbon neutral, cruelty free and plastic free.

3. Odriem

Hong Kong-based skin clinic Weirdo Beauty launched Odriem skincare in 2021 to offer vegan and cruelty-free ampoules that are gentle on the skin while targeting skin concerns such as acne and dullness. Founder Yuki Wong was determined to combine Asian ingredients used in Ayurvedic medicine, such as ginger and Indian pennywort (also known as centella asiatica), with tried-and-tested acne fighters such as azelaic and salicylic acids to treat blemishes.

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4. Studio Botanic

Minimalistic skincare and body care brand Studio Botanic stays true to its ethos of “less is more” not only in their products but also in their production—from ethical formulas to simple yet chic packaging. Advocating a cruelty-free approach, founder Alexander Hartan focuses on creating products that are purely plant-based, backed by thorough research, have organic certification, and—most importantly for consumers—deliver results.

5. Kia-Charlotta

Kia Lindroos and Alex Hesel are the duo behind Kia-Charlotta, a Munich-based vegan nail polish brand. Eschewing the 15 environmentally unfriendly ingredients commonly found in nail polishes, such as phthalates, microplastics and animal-derived ingredients, the label’s nail varnishes are instead made of up to 87 per cent natural ingredients such as avocado oil, and are even safe to use on children—perfect for the upcoming festive season! The founders are also delving into vegan make-up and have recently added eyeshadow palettes to their winter collection.

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