Slowly but surely, each industry is coming to a reckoning with their role in perpetuating climate change. Now, it’s Big Beauty’s turn to make a change. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition the beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of plastic packaging each year, most of which are not recyclable. With the United States generating more than 30 million tons of plastic waste per year, the plastics industry’s exacerbation of climate change is predicted to surpass that of coal-fired power by 2030. And packaging isn’t the only issue at stake when it comes to beauty products. Ethical production pipelines, sustainable ingredient sourcing, and the use of clean energy all contribute to the creation of a truly sustainable product.
Luckily, the health of our planet need not be sacrificed for the health of our skin, or vice versa. According to a new survey of over 10,000 beauty consumers from across the U.S., 76 percent of consumers are now seeking out sustainable, ethical products, precipitating an industry-wide shift. In 2023, there are more sustainable, high-quality beauty options than ever before. Though the problem still remains: how are consumers to know which products are indeed an ethical, sustainable choice and which products are only marketed as such?
These nine items and brands are some of Worth’s favorite picks that take the guesswork out of finding quality, eco-friendly skincare.
This daily cleansing and exfoliating treatment helps to refine dull, congested skin. Made of all-natural ingredients including pomegranate enzymes, crystalline, coconut, and kimchi ferment, this best seller “provides gentle physical and chemical exfoliation with apricot microspheres and BHA from white willow bark to give you a healthy looking, radiant glow.”
All of Tata Harper’s manufacturing is done on the company’s farm in Vermont, one of the states with the largest share of in-state electricity generation from renewable resources. Because they don’t rely on subcontractors for manufacturing or shipping, Tata Harper is able to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum and limit any excess of expired inventory. Additionally, the company is certified by ECOcert and committed to working exclusively with natural ingredient suppliers that are certified for natural processes and respect human and animal welfare.
This specialty eye cream contains a blend of vitamin C, ferulic acid, licorice, and chamomile to help reduce the presence of dark circles, swelling, and eye bags. Formulated, specifically to help boost, smooth, and firm the delicate skin around your eyes, this eye cream works to inhibit melanin production, therefore minimizing hyperpigmentation and making your eyes brighter and more luminous.
B Corporation Certified, Facetheory stands by their foundational mission that “Beauty shouldn’t cost the earth.” The B Corp Certification requires an extremely thorough assessment of a company’s overall approach and impact. Through their commitment to vegan ingredients, plastic-free and sustainable packages, carbon-neutral shipping and more, Facetheory works to ensure that neither the health of your skin nor the health of the planet is compromised.
Formulated for visibly brighter skin, this smooth serum works to both energize and smooth your skin while simultaneously working to protect it from free radical damage caused by UV rays and pollution. Including vitamins C and B5, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, and panthenol, this serum can ameliorate hyperpigmentation, redness, and dryness.
Activist Skincare is a women-led brand committed to sustainability across the board, from ethically sourcing sustainable ingredients to partnering with sustainably-minded suppliers. Their signature eco-friendly packaging system comprises one chic, refillable, glass container that you can refill with their low-waste pouches, allowing you to effectively meet your skin’s needs without damaging the environment.
This rejuvenating facial mist is designed to bring instant hydration to dull or tired skin. Containing natural ingredients and antioxidants such as yarrow, pansy and calendula, the Herbal Recovery Signature Mist works to soften and nourish your skin while simultaneously helping to protect it from environmental pollutants.
Growing their own ingredients on a biodynamic farm in Adelaide, Australia, Jurlique understands their mission to be one of “slow beauty,” cultivating the connection between consumers, wellness and nature. Moreover, the company stopped sending waste to landfills in 2016, pivoted to only using solar powered warehouse facilities in 2019 and created a new formulation charter in 2022 to further their positive environmental impact.
The Immortelle Divine Youth Oil is designed to boost your skin’s radiance, texture while visibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving skin firmness. Rich in both omega 6 and 9, the Immortelle essential oil is a naturally derived retinol alternative from Corsica and is recommended by over 93% of L’Occitane customers.
L’Occitane, a luxury skincare brand from the south of France has been dedicated to sustainable and Fair for Life practices for years. In 2016, the brand entered in a partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, focusing on reinforcing biodiversity and protecting sustainable harvesting practices. Additionally, the brand has been steadily working towards reducing its carbon footprint with a 14% in emissions from 2010-2016.
This everyday, lightweight moisturizer provides essential hydration while also working to protect your skin from environmental aggressors. Formulated with antioxidants such as seaweed, shea butter and omega oils, the Atmosphere Protection Cream leaves a smooth, radiant finish with a subtle scent of lavender, chamomile and clary sage.
OSEA’s mission for the past 27 years has been to create clean, seaweed-infused skincare. Committed to sustainability from day one, the brand is one of the few that is Climate Neutral Certified, Ocean Positive Certified, and has only ever packaged their products in glass and paper. Moreover, they are working to replace any plastic pieces, such as pumps, with alternative materials and have also partnered with TerraCycle to ensure that their bottles are properly recycled.
This clay-based exfoliant uses tourmaline, a multicolored gemstone, in addition to bamboo extract in order to help slough off any dead skin or buildup, leaving your face rejuvenated and refined. Designed to be used only twice weekly, the botanical kinetics radiant skin refiner provides a deep, sophisticated cleanse.
100% Vegan and B Corp Certified, AVEDA has been a sustainability trailblazer in the skin and hair care industries for over forty years and was one of the first companies to use 100% post-consumer recycled materials in their packaging. Additionally, their manufacturing facilities are powered by both solar and wind energy and more than 85% of their manufacturing waste is either reused or recycled.
This specialty Argan Reserve harvested only once per year—made from Argan leaves, Argan press cake and Argan oil—is eleven times more powerful than 100 percent pure Argan Oil alone. Its combined elements allow it to penetrate deep into your skin to help visibly improve moisture, texture, tone, and radiance without heaviness.
All of Josie Maran’s boxes are made of 100 percent post-recycled materials, both saving natural resources while also reducing the brand’s carbon footprint. In order to combat the effects of using plastic packaging, the brand is partnered with TerraCycle in order to provide a free and easy way for customers to upcycle their Josie Maran containers into office supplies and other sustainable goods.
This powerful, smoothing sleep mask is formulated with Bakuchiol, an all-natural alternative to retinol as well as a combination of antioxidant-rich superfruits. Working while you sleep to reduce the appearance of any fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation or dryness, the MOON FRUIT Mask will have you waking up to healthier, hydrated skin.
Herbivore, founded in Seattle in 2011, strives to make their products and packaging “as gentle on the planet as they are on our bodies.” With an emphasis on real, natural, high-quality ingredients, the company works to make their products as biocompatible as possible. Additionally, Herbivore only packages their products in glass and paper, only using recycled and recyclable plastic when strictly necessary.
10. 3 Minute Facial from Humanrace Skincare — $110
Pharrell’s sustainable skincare line—Humanrace—is an excellent option for those looking for a simple, responsible routine. Backed by the Environmental Workings Group (EWG), this 3-minute routine is vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, and is made without any of the 1,300 products deemed unsafe by the EU. Additionally, all the brand’s packaging is made from at least 51% post-consumer recycled landfill plastic, dyed with plant-based, non-toxic dyes, and employs a foil seal system during production that eliminates the use of over 1,200 single-use plastic caps per hour. Oh, and they’re refillable.
When it comes to formula, these products are simple, versatile, and effective. The 3 steps include the Rice Powder Cleanser, Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator, and Humidifying Cream. The cleanser is a powder-to-foam formula, eliminating the need for it to be shipped with water. It is made with rice particles, fruit AHAs, and snow mushroom, leaving the skin brightened and cleansed without feeling stripped. The Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator is a triple-acting exfoliator combining 8% glycolic acid, 2% fruit AHAs, and rice particles that all work together to remove dead skin, unclog pores, and even out texture. Finally, the Humidifying Cream works to restore the skin barrier as it is packed with hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom, effectively locking in moisture.