Earth Day 2021: 15 Eco-Friendly Beauty Brands to Know
- Tata HarperTata Harper
- Hourglass CosmeticsHourglass Cosmetics
- Summer FridaysSummer Fridays
- Bybi BeautyBybi Beauty
- Herbivore BotanicalsHerbivore Botanicals
- RMS BeautyRMS Beauty
- Ren SkincareRen Skincare
- Milk MakeupMilk Makeup
- Bite BeautyBite Beauty
- Grown AlchemistGrown Alchemist
- Codex Beauty LabsCodex Beauty Labs
From ingredients to avoid to our favourite brands, this is our guide to beauty products that are kind to Earth
THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 16, 2020, AND UPDATED ON APRIL 22, 2021
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHLOE PEK, KISSA CASTANEDA AND ANDREA SAADAN.
What is sustainable beauty?
Clean or sustainable beauty means that the products are safe for people and the planet, using only non-toxic ingredients for active results. If want to do your part for the environment and support sustainable enterprises, here are some things to look out for when making your next beauty purchase.
Vegan-approved beauty products do not contain any animal by-products or ingredients sourced from animals. Common non-vegan ingredients found in beauty products include beeswax, glycerin (some are derived from animals), honey, lanolin, and tallow.
Beauty products that have not been tested on animals and no animal-derived ingredients are extracted. Some brands have a "Leaping Bunny Certified" badge to prove their commitment to protecting the welfare of animals. Do note that a beauty product can be cruelty-free but not vegan, and vice versa.
High-performance packaging that's not harmful to the Earth does not use plastic materials that could end up in landfills. Examples of eco-friendly packaging include glass, paper and anything that's biodegradable and recyclable.
These refer to a host of synthetic ingredients such as paraben, artificial fragrances, silica and mineral oils. Plant-based ingredients are the most ideal, as these are natural.
Here are some of our favourite sustainable beauty brands:
A brand that began in Singapore but continued to grow in London, Vanderohe is an eco-conscious beauty brand that uses the best that nature has to offer—certified organic and wild-harvested ingredients of the highest grade, uniquely sourced from their countries of origin. Only recyclable and biodegradable products are used in its packaging, including the recyclable Miron glass bottles used to hold its serums and botanical oils. 10 per cent of profits from Vanderohe’s No.1 Nourishing Face Serum benefits Marine Savers, a Maldives-based marine conservation team focused on coral reef propagation and turtle rehabilitation.
An abbreviation of “Re-encountering Earth”, Re:erth is a Singapore-based skincare label that is made in Japan. Promising to deliver “mochi-skin”—a complexion that is pure, smooth and bright, the brand adopts a minimal approach to beauty with multi-tasking products created from nature-derived ingredients—from Japanese white Turmeric to Danish colostrum—which are sustainably-farmed. Re:erth is cruelty-free and also has a recycling programme in partnership with Environmental Solutions Asia, which allows customers to return empty Re:erth bottles as-is (without washing or dismantling) and collect redeemable reward points.
Tata Harper advocates 100 per cent, non-toxic skincare products made on its farm in Vermont. Free from GMO, fillers, artificial colours, artificial fragrances and other harmful chemicals, the organic brand has also opted for glass packaging.
A clean beauty brand built by biotechnology, Biossance is best known for its star ingredient squalane, a sugarcane-derived alternative to squalene, which is harvested from shark liver. On top of that, the brand also bans more than 2,000 ingredients that are deemed toxic to health and the environment. Biossance has also achieved carbon-neutral shipping by planting trees and funding reservation projects for each order shipped. It is working towards incorporating post-consumer receycled packaging, and to be zero-waste by 2025.
Devoted to its stance against animal testing, Hourglass Cosmetics donates 1 per cent of all profits from its online sales to the Nonhuman Rights Project. That's not all—the cruelty-free brand vowed to become completely vegan by 2020, excluding any animal-derived ingredients in their products. While not all of its products feature eco-friendly packaging, the brand offers a sleek Confession Ultra Slim High Intensity Lipstick that is refillable.
Following the mantra of de-stressing your skin like it's Friday during the summer, the brand is popular for its face masks. Adorned in pastel-coloured, sleek and eco-friendly metal tubes, Summer Fridays' vegan jet-lag mask is paraben-free and is made without animal testing.
Short for “By Beauty Insiders”, Bybi Beauty is founded by natural beauty bloggers and trained skincare formulators Elsie & Dominika. Checking all the right boxes for sustainability, the clean beauty brand uses 100 per cent natural, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, formulated to optimise your skin's health. Bybi Beauty is also committed to the environment through its product packaging, which uses recyclable and compostable plastic tubes made out of sugarcane-derived bioplastic, or glass.
From its rose quartz facial roller to the jasmine green tea face mists, Herbivore Botanicals' well-loved products have helped to cement the brand's eco-friendly and sustainable status within the beauty industry over the past few years. They use only natural ingredients, plant-based food-grade cold-pressed oils, steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils and GMO-free soy wax in its formulas that come packaged in recyclable materials.
RMS Beauty redefines the quality of make-up with their use of only raw, food-grade ingredients. The beauty brand's make-up range includes lipsticks, face powders, eyeshadows, and more, making it possible for you to create any make-up look without compromising on a flawless finish.
The Ren Philosophy is "Clean to Skin. Clean to Planet"—true enough, the brand avoids synthetic ingredients and uses solely non-toxic ingredients to create their products. Partnering organisations such as Surfrider, Ren is also combatting waste by pioneering local clean-ups and has pledged to become a zero-waste company by 2021.
The New York-based make-up brand is 100 per cent vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free with their hero product being the immensely popular vegan milk moisturiser that's nourishing and easy to apply.
A favourite of celebrities such as supermodel Kendall Jenner, the Canadian-based lipstick brand is cruelty-free, gluten-free, and vegan. The lipsticks are infused with nutrient-packed superfoods that make your lips kissable every time.
The Australian-based beauty label is renowned for using organic and plant-based ingredients packed with antioxidants, a big reason why Gwyneth Paltrow is such a huge fan. Founded by brothers, Keston and Jeremy Muijs, with over 20 years of formulation research and development, Grown Alchemist's products work in synchronicity with the skin by restoring skin function, detoxing the dermis then activating skin function using natural cell-communicating ingredients.
Grown Alchemist uses organic ingredients specifically selected for their high count of antioxidants and vitamins. Some of its most popular products include the Enzyme Exfoliant, Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser, Age-Repair Hand Cream and more.
Codex Beauty Labs
One of the few brands concentrating on the skin’s microbiome, Codex Beauty Labs is serious about science. The aim of their founder and CEO Dr. Barbara Paldus is to create a new standard in plant-based biotech beauty, and this shows in their commitment to weaving indigenous plants with modern biotech and genetic science.
One of their stellar collections is Bia, a natural skincare range made from Irish botanicas and created alongside Tracey Ryan, a trained herbalist. This month Codex is launching the Antü collection, which is inspired by the culture of the Mapuche native people of Chile. The new collection harnesses the bio-actives from Patagonian plants revered by the Mapuche for their healing properties. The brand worked with local wild harvesters and a high-tech cGMP/EcoCert manufacturing facility to conceive a plant-powered line focused on protecting, restoring and strengthening the skin barrier.
The Antü Brightening Moisturizer and Brightening Night Cream launches on April 21 and is available at codexbeauty.com
Already an established luxury beauty brand in Japan, Decorte arrived in Singapore back in 2018 to much fanfare. The brand offers both skincare and makeup products including best-sellers such as Vita De Reve (an herbal lotion infused with hyaluronic acid and extracts of four Lamiaceae plants), Moisture Liposome Serum, Prime Latte and more.
For Earth Day 2021, Decorte Singapore is launching its beauty take-back and recycling program where it will accept all brands of plastic and glass beauty packaging.
From April 22, 2021, Decorte Singapore will partner EZI (Sembcorp Industries), a local leading waste management service provider, to support its sustainability initiative. Customers can bring in empty beauty product packaging (regardless of brand), to be recycled at any Decorte counters or store. In return, they will receive three skincare samples and a seed paper that they can use to grow a plant.