It's difficult not to start a story on sustainability with a few stanzas of Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi. So in lieu of that idea, here is a link to listen to while you read. Sustainable beauty can mean a whole host of things: Maybe the packaging is recyclable, or the profits support the growth of local merchants and harvesters. Whatever it is, it's beautiful and makes buying beauty even more fun than usual. See below for a few of the brands making the world a better place through lipstick, fragrance, and skincare.
The recently launched perfume line is based out of London, but their philanthropic efforts are focused in Morocco—not only sourcing their ingredients from the country, but actively building a more sustainable economic system for the women who work there. After women harvest the flowers used to make the line's fragrance oil, Sana Jardin helps teach the harvesters social enterprise skills, like how to upcycle that floral waste for use in candles and orange blossom water. The harvesters then sell the waste and retain 100% of the revenue for their own cooperative. Their signature neroli Berber Blond smells even better for it.
The 100% plant-derived haircare line is sources ingredients from the virgin rainforest in association with the indigenous people in the area. The company ensures that the natural environment isn't tampered with in the process—meaning safer conditions, and better ingredients in the long run. The company also maintains that it purchases ingredients at an "exceptional price" to ensure that they're helping to build a healthy economy. Profits from the products are also invested back in both the native tribes and other ongoing Amazonian projects.
Founded by herbalists back in 2010, Earth Tu Face is completely food-grade. But most importantly, all their packaging is either recyclable or reusable. Look out for their Skin Stick in particular—the tube is 100% compostable. The brand also launched their "Change-Makers" campaign recently, which directs proceeds from products to various charities. Five percent of their Body Butter proceeds go to Planned Parenthood; 5% of each purchase of their Face Serum) go to the ACLU; and 5% of each purchase of their Skin Stick will benefit the Center for Biological Diversity.
This new maison maquillage based in Paris is as focused on the art of makeup as it is on the art of not using microplastic anywhere in their formula or packaging. The house makes one lipstick case—and only wants you to buy it once. It's a beautiful, magnetic leather and metal objet that can be monogrammed. And more important, constantly refilled with any of the brand's lipstick and balm shades. They all come in recyclable paper tubes minimally labeled with the shade name. You'll start to look like that uber-chic woman who only carries around her signature lipstick (even if you're secretly changing out the shade every day).
The EcoCert-certified skincare and natural makeup line is all formulated, batched, filled, and shipped out of its namesake's Vermont farm. She calls it "farm to face" and focuses on sustainable methods of production that eliminate harsh synthetics from the process. Instead, they do a process called "garbling," where the ingredients are rubbed by hand on a screen to break them down. Sounds kinda fun.
Beyond their certified natural and/or organic ingredients, Kjaer Weis is at the forefront of luxurious but sustainable packaging. Every item is boxed with a sticker reading "Refillable Make-Up System." Their signature weighty, jewel box-like compacts are wrought in metal, so not only are they free from obvious waste products, but you won't want to throw them out anyway.
Photographed by Tom Newton.