It’s never been easier to be a green beauty buff during the ongoing climate crisis. But thanks to greenwashing, even the most environmentally mindful shoppers must sort through a sea of so-called “sustainable” products that don’t live up to the eco seal. A few examples: Formulas marketed as all-natural despite the massive carbon footprint required to manufacture them, or deceptively beautiful packaging that distracts from unrecyclable containers.
While the most sustainable act is to not buy anything at all, shopping with Mother Earth in mind can still be a guilt-free experience. Some of the best sustainable beauty brands are taking a step in the right direction and simplifying retail therapy for conscious consumers with high-performance cosmetics in innovative packaging or carbon-neutral skincare.
To divert waste from greenhouse gas-emitting landfills, retailers including Nordstrom and Ulta are working with private recycling company TerraCycle to make it easier for shoppers to recycle empties; companies such as Acure, Josie Maran Cosmetics, Paula’s Choice, Procter & Gamble (owner of Herbal Essences, Garnier Fructis, and Olay, among others) also offer free recycling programs through TerraCycle.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up a handful of Hollywood-approved brands that offer refillable cosmetics cases or zero-waste containers, cruelty-free ingredients, and carbon offsets, to name a few. Check out our favorite eco-friendly beauty and skincare picks below to shop on Earth Day and beyond.
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1. Hourglass Confession Refillable Lipstick
Brow groomer to the stars Kristie Streicher and celebrities Jennifer Aniston and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are among those who keep Hourglass in their luxe makeup bags. The vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics label’s refillable lipstick is available in over 30 shades and formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. This ultra-slim lip color boasts a creamy, long-wearing formula with a satin finish that won’t feather or smudge.
2. Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation
Danish makeup artist Kristin Kjær Weis prioritized sustainability for her namesake luxury organic cosmetics line, which launched in 2010 with the Iconic collection of luxurious and refillable silver makeup cases by French designer Marc Atlan. The brand’s Red Edition line of recyclable, compostable, and refillable compacts (which offer the look and feel of lacquered leather) debuted in 2020, and its plastic-free cosmetics refills include hypoallergenic foundations, mascaras, lipsticks, blush, eye shadows, and lip tints. The company is favored by Reese Witherspoon, Emma Watson, and others.
3. Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Once a hippie household staple, all-natural soap company Dr. Bronner’s is known for its loquacious labels and its “All-One!” activist roots, earning starry fans such as Natalie Portman, Lady Gaga, Drew Barrymore, Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle, and Sandra Bullock, to name just a few. The bohemian brand is beloved for its multi-tasking Pure-Castile liquid soap (packaged in 100% post-consumer plastic bottles), which can be used as shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, laundry detergent, and more. The cult-favorite cleaner features a concentrated formula, so a 32-ounce bottle (one of the company’s best-selling sizes) goes a long way and eliminates the need to buy more.
4. Chanel Coco Eau de Parfum Refillable Spray
Chanel’s fashionable fragrance bottles are already vanity mainstays, and the luxury French house’s refillable scents ensure a front-row spot on eco-conscious perfume aficionados’ beauty shelves. The brand’s mandarin- and patchouli-infused Coco eau de parfum comes in a sleek black and gold vessel.
5. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
Vegan skincare line Mad Hippie has earned a place in the cosmetics cabinets of Lena Dunham and Padma Lakshmi, thanks to its cult-favorite vitamin C serum. The antioxidant-rich concoction smooths, tightens, and brightens the skin by way of hero ingredients such as konjac root and ferulic and hyaluronic acids. The brand also has a free TerraCycle recycling program.
6. Hey Humans Natural Deodorant
Jade Pinkett-Smith recently launched Hey Humans, an eco-conscious and clean body-care brand made of naturally derived, cruelty-free ingredients that are safe for all skin types. The sustainable, vegan, and gender-neutral line’s deodorants come in pleasing scents made with essential oils (like this cedarwood sage fragrance), while the paraben- and aluminum-free formulas keep odors at bay for the whole day. They come in 99% plastic-free cardboard packaging that’s easily recyclable.
7. Beekman 1802 x Rose Apothecary Whipped Body Cream
New York-based company Beekman 1802 teamed with Schitt’s Creek on a limited-edition Rose Apothecary collection, and show superfans can still stock up on some of the fictional artisanal boutique’s branded body products. This whipped body cream contains Beekman 1802’s signature sensitive skin-friendly goat milk formula in its Heirloom Rose scent, which is a floral fragrance with notes of sandalwood and geranium. While David Rose lovers may want to reuse the chic empty bottle, they can also ship it for free to Terracycle for upcycling.
8. Saie Dew Blush
Gwyneth Paltrow and Unilever are investors of Saie, the clean beauty brand founded by blogger Laney Crowell. The Climate Neutral-certified company offsets all carbon emissions of its non-toxic and sustainable skincare and cosmetics through a partnership with Carbon Credit Capital, and its packaging is made from sugarcane-based materials and recycled resin (the brand is also transparent about which items use virgin plastic). All of that means you can feel better about swiping on best-selling products such as the Slip Tint SPF 35 tinted moisturizer and the newly-launched Dew Blush, a water-based gel color that delivers a natural-looking flush.
9. Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer
Tracee Ellis Ross, Emma Watson, January Jones, and Antoni Porowski turn to Tata Harper for her clean and effective skincare that leaves the visage looking plump and smooth. Her best-selling Water-Lock Moisturizer is packed with hyaluronic acid, orange peptides, and pomegranate spheres that create a breathable barrier while boosting hydration. The jar can be refilled with a recyclable product pod to reduce waste.
10. Bite Toothpaste Bits
Zero-waste tooth care brand Bite will give you photo-ready pearly whites. These whitening toothpaste tablets help scrub away stains, balance pH levels in your mouth, and prevent cavity-causing bacteria — just pop one in your mouth, bite, and brush. These vegan bits are safe for those sensitive to fluoride and are free of sulfates, parabens, artificial flavors, microplastics, palm oil, and harmful chemicals. Refills come in a recyclable pouch.