“Natural” beauty brands are everywhere these days—so much so that it’s hard to tell what “natural” even means. But these earth-friendly products rise above the rest, and come with the proof to back it up.
From CVS to Sephora, the world “natural” is appearing more and more in the beauty aisle. But hold on a sec. The FDA has no formal definition of the word “natural.”
Yeah. Sketchy. Add to that a long list of other buzzy words like “conscious,” “eco-friendly,” “organic,” “vegan,” and “cruelty-free,” and that’s a whole gaggle of potentially misleading marketing nonsense. You can check out a handy list like this that helps unpack those purposefully confusing terms, but here’s something to remember:
Even if something is vegan, it could very well be loaded with harmful chemicals. And even if something is “eco-friendly,” it might not be suitable for a vegan lifestyle.
But for the most part, brands that are banking on these terms are generally doing at least a little more good for the environment than those that don’t. You’ll just have to prioritize when it comes to what you will and won’t allow on your skin.
From responsible supply-chains to *genuinely* cruelty-free products, here are some of our faves that adhere to their ethics and happen to work really well, too.
Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser, $66
The makers of Tata Harper believe that “more matters.” That means that each of their products are stuffed with over 40 of what they call “high performance ingredients” that they spend 75 percent of their net costs to source. And all products are free of GMOs, toxins, fillers, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, and synthetic chemicals. The brand is made in Vermont, with no outsourcing. Even their packaging and shipping is sustainable and transparent.
In this particular product, 100 percent of the total ingredients are from natural origin and 29 percent of the total ingredients are from organic farming. They’re also certified by Ecocert Greenlife, according to Ecocert Standard.
Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in “Nobody’s Baby,” $26
Ilia Beauty is “dedicated to creating the purest products possible.” For founder Sasha Plavsic, beauty is also about nourishing your body’s largest organ. The Tinted Lip Conditioners were her original product line, and are is made with 100 percent Natural Dye, and is 85 percent organic (95 percent is the USDA certification minimum). Even the packaging is made to be both aesthetically compelling and good for the environment. All cream lip products come in a sleek recycled aluminum case.
Dr. Haushka Rose Nurturing Body Oil, $29
Dr. Haushka is tried and true. Seriously, the manufacturer of this skincare line began as a developer of natural medicines back in 1935. Ever since, they’ve been leading the way when it comes to ethical beauty (seriously, their mission is to “support the healing of humanity and the earth”).
Many of the products are sourced from the brand’s own biodynamic medicinal herb garden in Germany. Also, the brand is certified by Natrue, meaning products contain no mineral oils, parabens, chemical or synthetic fragrances, dyes or preservatives, and no animal testing.
Comfort Zone Sacred Nature Night Cream
Another Ecocert fave is Comfort Zone’s “Sacred Nature” line. As a brand, Comfort Zone is obsessed with combining science and performance, with a heavy dose of “science-based conscious formulas.” The brand is also part of the B Corp Community—meaning they’re part of a certified global network of people that “use business as a force for good.”
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, $72
Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson swears by her line of “clean-clinical” beauty products. All Drunk Elephant products are free of “The Suspicious Six” products that Masterson found always made her skin worse: essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and sodium laurel sulfate.
Honestly, the list of things that this particular product is formulated without would take up way too much space. Also this product is connected to the name of the brand. Supposedly, when elephants love to eat the fruit that has fallen from Marula trees, and that is ferments in their stomachs (making the elephants drunk).
Clean Reserve skin [reserve blend], $95
Clean Reserve is trying to change the way you experience fragrance. Check out the Clean Reserve site for a handy infographic on the sustainability of their product and packaging, including Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, alcohol and cellophane derived from corn, and solar-powered everything!
This particular perfume has top notes of fresh musks, middle notes of warm skin accord and tonka bean, and dry notes of fresh praline, is made to inspire the feeling of a warm embrace. It’s infused with sustainably-source copaiba oil, sourced from the brand working directly with communities in the Amazon and providing them with technical and financial support.
Klorane Shampoo With Chamomile, $20
Like Dr. Hauschka, Klorane is an ethical brand full of history and innovation. Also, they basically invented dry shampoo (intended for moms who’d just given birth) and now sell the most-awarded dry shampoo ever. Since the start in 1965, the brand has gathered in accolades. Our favorites include their Ecocert Environment ISO 26000 (an award for quality and sustainable development) and their UNESCO award for a project halting desertification in the Sahara.
The line of shampoo with chamomile for blonde hair launched in 1966, and now promises results with a vegan, biodegradable formula that’s free of parabens, silicone, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and phenoxyethanol.