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Best sustainable beauty brands UK: Our pick of eco-friendly makeup and skincare brands and their must-have products

25th April 2021 | Author: Amira Arasteh

When it comes to the beauty industry, it seems there are myriad brands doing their bit for the planet but sustainable beauty is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s also a trend that won’t be going anywhere soon as consumers have embraced it with open arms.

Whether it’s reducing or eliminating plastic, sourcing sustainable ingredients, offering recycling schemes or being vegan, we wanted to share our favourite sustainable beauty and personal hygiene brands and their must-have products.

There is also a myth that sustainable beauty costs a fortune. While it’s true that you may end up paying slightly more to ensure the packaging doesn’t contain plastic or that the ingredients come from sustainable sources, there are some highly affordable ranges that benefit you, your skin and the planet.

FURTHER READING: What is palm oil used for and why is it so bad?

Best sustainable beauty brands UK

♥︎ Tropic Skincare: Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier and Bamboo Face Cloth 

£18 | Buy now from Tropic

Tropic Skincare, the beauty brand set up by The Apprentice star Susie Ma, believes plants are the most nutritious and beneficial ingredient for the skin and all of its ingredients are sustainably sourced from the Amazon rainforest, Polynesia, Australia and many more exotic regions.

In addition, Tropic is huge on animal welfare and the environment; the brand never tests on animals and doesn’t use any derivatives that cause animals distress. It stands with Cruelty-Free International, The Vegan Society and PETA as a 100% cruelty-free brand.

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In 2019, Tropic sent zero waste to landfill, and is helping its customers live a lower impact lifestyle with a packaging returns initiative on some of its products. By the end of 2020, the brand strives towards offering refillable packaging across the whole skincare range.

This smoothing cleanser and bamboo facecloth are perfecting for removing makeup. It leaves skin feeling clean without making it feel dry and doesn’t cause any irritation. The bamboo cloth is an added bonus, removing all traces of makeup without scratching or pulling on the skin.

FURTHER READING: Spotlight on…Tropic Skincare’s fantastic natural, fresh and sustainable beauty lines

Buy now from Tropic

♥︎ Cocofloss Dental Floss

£8.40 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Cocofloss offers an eco-friendly solution for people who want to give their teeth that extra clean, ridding their mouths of cavity-causing bacteria. The floss itself is made from completely non-toxic ingredients, including recycled water bottles, antimicrobial coconut oil, naturally aromatic fruit oils and vegan wax.

Not compromising on your flossing either, the floss has more than 500 filaments to ensure your teeth are plaque-free after a cleansing session. Available in a variety of flavours: Delicious Mint; Fresh Coconuts; Pure Strawberry or Cara Cara Orange, you can definitely floss like a boss with this eco-friendly product.

Cocofloss is committed to being as sustainable as possible and has an ongoing partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Network.

FURTHER READING: The truth about teeth whiteningThe truth about teeth veneers and how they work

Buy now from Cult Beauty

♥︎ ede Roll on Therapists

£15 | Buy now from ede

ede roll on therapistede

Championing all things organic, vegan and cruelty-free, ede has given aromatherapy a modern makeover. Featuring four skincare products, it’s all about quality not quantity with this brand. Everything is made of natural, organic ingredients that are gentle on both your skin and the environment.

Our favourite is the hero product, Roll on Therapists, which are aromatherapy rollerballs, designed to stimulate your senses, invigorating energy or easing anxiety – whatever is needed. All essential oils are vegan and never tested on animals.

In addition to its sustainable and ethical ethos, ede has joined forces with TreeApp, planting a tree for every purchase order received. If that’s not an incentive to shop with this sustainable brand, we don’t know what is.

Buy now from ede

♥︎ SUN.DAY of London Candles

£16 | Buy now from House of Fraser

Focusing more on wellness than beauty specifically, SUN.DAY of London is a brand specialising in handcrafted candles. Using old recyclable glass and wax formed using solely plant-based ingredients, the candles are 100% natural.

Cruelty-free and vegan as well, the brand ensures the candles are made from GMO-free coconut and palm oil-free plant waxes. You still get aromatherapy-grade, essential oil fragrance blend, however, with scents in the botanica collection including fresh eucalyptus and calming lavender. Locally sourced in the UK, SUN.DAY of London maintains a low carbon footprint this way.

Buy now from House of Fraser

♥︎ Nair: Rose Sugar Wax

£13.99 | Buy now from Superdrug

Nair’s Oriental Sugar Wax is biodegradable and the strips can be rinsed and reused.

The Rose Sugar Wax uses five ingredients: sugars (glucose and sucrose), glycerin citric acid, water and natural rose extract and is 100% derived from natural origins.

This means you can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin. This wax is vegan-friendly and contains no artificial perfumes or colours. It’s even suitable for sensitive skin.

FURTHER READING: Best hair removal cream: Fight the fuzz with our fave hair removal creams from Veet, Nair and more

Buy now from Superdrug

♥︎ INIKA: Organic Bold Lash Vegan Mascara

£27 | Buy now from Lookfantastic

INIKA Organic is an Australian brand, focused on honest, clean and natural beauty.

Free from toxic chemicals and committed to certified organic, cruelty-free, halal and vegan values, the brand prides itself on using only ingredients good for the skin and the environment in its products.

No compromise on this mascara – as mascara aficionados we can strongly confirm this – so you can bat those dramatically-coated black lashes with confidence and zero guilt.

FURTHER READING: Best mascara: From Too Faced’s Better Than Sex to Lancôme’s Hypnose – here are our fave lash lifts

Buy now from Lookfantastic

♥︎ Spectrum Collections: Makeup Brushes

Prices vary | Buy now from Spectrum Collections

Spectrum Collections prides itself on being vegan and cruelty-free, as well as striking to be kind to the planet.

The brand rose to fame with its beautiful, and often themed, makeup brush sets but now specialises in actual makeup too. In 2018, the brand cut its plastic packaging by 50% and donates 1% of its gross revenue to plastic clean-up initiatives.

The brush bristles are made from high-quality talon hair, meaning they’re durable and long-lasting – so keep cleaning them regularly and you shouldn’t need to throw them out. You can read more in our How to clean makeup brushes and choose a makeup brush cleaner guide.

The brush handles are also made from sustainably-sourced wood and handcrafted.

FURTHER READING: Best makeup brushes: The best natural and synthetic makeup brushes

Buy now from Spectrum Collections

♥︎ R&R: Luxury Lip Butter

£4.80 | Buy now from R&R Luxury

Now might be the most important time of the year to take care of your lips.

R&R Luxury has ridden on the success of products such as its baobab oil and liquid black soap but recently released new products including its Lip Butter.

Not only has the brand had sustainability at the core of its values since the beginning, but now its new products are all sold in sustainable packagings such as tin and cardboard.

Celebrating the brand’s 10-year anniversary, R&R is always interested in improving its sustainability, wherever possible.

The Lip Butter is made from 100% natural ingredients – which is not only great for the environment but good news for your lips too – and uses raw shea butter as its base ingredient, further enriched with virgin coconut oil, lavender oil and peppermint oil to keep your lips soothed and hydrated.

FURTHER READING: How to make your lips bigger naturally and apply lipstick like a pro – no fillers required

Buy now from R&R Luxury

♥︎ Lola’s Apothecary: Massage Body Soufflé 

£36 | Buy now from Lola’s Apothecary

Another brand committed to being as sustainable as possible, Lola’s Apothecary is a spa and wellness brand whose products you’ll find in some serious top-tier hotels – making getting your hands on them in your own home even more of a luxurious dream.

The brand takes pride in ethical and sustainable sourcing for its products and this is evident right the way through to the paper and cardboard packaging, which somehow does not compromise on its pretty aesthetic.

Vegan-friendly and 100% natural, Lola’s Apothecary’s body soufflés all contain whipped shea butter, coconut oil and rosehip that melts effortlessly into your skin.

Not only does it feel great but it also smells heavenly, with a range of signature scents. Perfect for any time of year.

FURTHER READING: The best body firming creams, lotions and oils that *actually* work

Buy now from Lola's Apothecary

♥︎ Face Halo: Makeup Remover Pads

£18 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

A makeup removal device that’s effective, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient may sound too good to be true, but it’s not! Not only are Face Halo pads reusable, you can wash them up to 200 times, which replaces 500 make up wipes, they’re also easily recycled once you’re done with your wonder pad, thanks to the brand’s own upcycling scheme.

What’s more, if you’re conscious of what you’re putting on your face, it’s good to know that Face Halo removes makeup with just water.

The average makeup wearer uses 730 wipes on average per year to remove their makeup and it takes more than 100 years for a single wipe to break down in landfill. These plush little pads are so easy to use and don’t lose fineness over time and washing.

FURTHER READING: Best cleanser: Discover which face cleanser best suits your skin from oily to dry and acne-prone

Buy now from Cult Beauty

♥︎ WUKA Period Pants

From £10 a pair | Buy now from WUKA

Did you know pads and tampons end up in landfill? Sustainable period brand WUKA is on a mission to ensure that sustainable periods are accessible to everyone and to end period poverty.

The brand’s range of period underwear is made from an eco-friendly fabric – organic cotton and Econyl, which has been upcycled from ocean waste, and which, in turn, prevents 200 disposable pads and tampons from harming the environment.

Available in a range of styles to suit flows and underwear preference, the brand has also just launched a new WUKA Basic for £10 a pair (if you buy a pack of five) online, too.

We know what you’re thinking – this is great but do they actually work? We can confirm, they do.

Completely leak-free, WUKA’s period pants can last up to eight hours, which is likely longer than your usual pad or tampon thanks to their high-tech absorbency layer capable of absorbing 200 times its own weight in water.

Of course, this will depend on individuals and their cycles but having trialled the pants, we can confirm they’re so comfortable. Plus, thanks to their antibacterial fabric, there’s no funny smells going on either.

What happens when you’re done? Run them underwater until the redness disappears and then they can go into the machine with your regular clothes wash!

FURTHER READING: UK beauty brand Faace is donating period products to HeyGirls with sales of its face masks

Buy now from WUKA

♥︎ Saalt: Menstrual Cup

£25 | Buy now from Amazon

On the topic of more sustainable and affordable periods, we also highly recommend Saalt Menstrual Cups. These are a good alternative to tampons and pads, especially if you don’t fancy using WUKA period pants.

A single cup is £25, which isn’t cheap, but bear in mind that one silicone cup lasts ten years (as long as you wash it regularly, but then why would you not?!)

We have a particularly heavy period and usually get through at least three-four tampons a day at the height of our period. By comparison, we barely fill this menstrual cup over the course of an entire day.

It’s also fascinating, albeit a little gross, to see how much we actually bleed. And it’s nowhere near as much as our previous tampon and pad use would suggest.

A couple of things to consider: if you have a prolapsed womb or similar, you may struggle with menstrual cups. You obviously need to get your hands a *little* dirty to remove the cup, but it’s very easy to do so, simply push down and it will come out.

And please, please, wash your hands before you put the cup in our take it out – you run the risk of a fungal infection such as thrush if you don’t, which won’t be the cup’s fault but it might end up giving you a bad experience unfairly.

What’s more, for every purchase Saalt helps provide improved period care and educational opportunities to women and girls in need.

FURTHER READING: #Vulvalution: Cult Beauty teams up with Lady Garden to get more people talking about gynaecological cancers

Buy now from Amazon

♥︎ Axiology: Lipstick

£24 | Buy now from ASOS

Axiology is a lipstick brand that is aiming to be ethical on all fronts: the brand is cruelty-free, vegan, organic, non-toxic, palm oil-free, and uses ethical sourcing with thoughtful packaging.

The brand is PETA-certified and provides financial support to the Orangutan Foundation International where funds go towards protecting and rehabilitating endangered animals from the effects of the palm oil industry.

In terms of the product, it’s also a large yes from us. There’s absolutely no compromise on the quality of the lipstick, given the priority and focus on all of the above.

The lipsticks come in a range of striking colours and go on so smoothly, your lips genuinely feel nourished as you perfect your pout. The one downside is that they’re not cheap.

FURTHER READING: Best lipstick: From nude to red and liquid to matte, here are our favourite lipsticks

Buy now from ASOS

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