Barry M nail varnishes show that ethical beauty doesn't need to be boring (Bronwyn Molony)

Barry M nail varnishes show that ethical beauty doesn’t need to be boring (Bronwyn Molony)

In a world where more and more of us are thinking more about the impact, our choices have on the environment, how many of us think more deeply about the beauty products we use everyday? Thankfully, more and more makeup and beauty brands are cruelty-free as well as having programs that give back to the communities they buy from. Makeup artist Laura Devides says ethical makeup is one her favourite subjects to talk about. It can be daunting trying to navigate the world of ethical beauty online and know which brands have trusted, worth-it products that actually do what they say. Happily, with the help of some experts, we have compiled a list of the top ethical beauty brands.

1. Urban Decay.
This brand is so beloved for its ethical and cruelty-free makeup that when new owner L’Oreal tried to bring it to China, where animal testing is mandatory, there was such an uproar that the company dropped the plans completely. Urban Decay is most known for its best-selling Naked eyeshadow palettes and its amazing range of setting sprays.

2. The Body Shop
A brand that from its first years was one with a conscience. It partnered in 1996 with Green Peace for the Save the Whales campaign and has continued its social activism from there. As well as being against animal testing it has always fought to give fair prices to its suppliers under its “Community Trade” program. Among its best products are it’s Camomile Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover and its Vitamins C Skin Boost Instant Smoother – the latter all the more as it’s incredibly hard to put Vitamin C into a product and make it last.

3. Lush
Where would we be without Lush? Founded in 1976 by Mark Constantine, Mo Constantine and Elizabeth Weir, this company has always been about natural products and natural ingredients. All of their products are vegetarian and many of them are vegan too. They don’t buy from companies that carry out animal testing either. Most of their products are made in giant “kitchens” with fresh fruits and vegetables being the main ingredients. Lush are now committing to package-less products, to help reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. Laura says she loves their lipsticks “with all her heart”. She says they can be used as blush and cream eyeshadow, as well as having lovely vivid colours.

4. Jason
Laura says she finds the shampoos from Jason “as good as famous brands like Kerastase and Redken but without the chemicals” and their deodorants and body washes are fabulous too. Jason says their name comes from the Greek word for “healer” and this drives them to create “body loving products” according to their “code of honour” which includes using safe, gentle and effective ingredients and constant innovation and improvement.

5. Barry M.
All of the beautiful, colourful products coming from this company have been cruelty-free from day one, and now they have partnered with the Humane Society International’s global Be-Cruelty-free campaign, the largest campaign of its kind to bring an end to animal testing. As well as having a fabulous collection of nail polishes, their Colour Change Lip Paint and Liquid Chrome Highlighter drops are high up on nearly everybody’s wish list.

6. N.Y.X
Known for selling high-quality makeup at affordable prices, N.Y.X have always been committed to being cruelty-free. Initially, only an online business selling to professional makeup artists, they have been bought by L’Oreal who have expanded the range as well as committed to opening physical stores, while also promising to keep the brand cruelty-free. All of their lipsticks are wonderful but the Lip Lingerie range is particularly excellent.

7. Kat Von D
This brand launched in Debenhams only a year ago but it has been a big hit since it launched in 2008. On their website, they say they are committed to “hyper-performance beauty products that are completely free of animal derived ingredients, and never tested on animals”. As they say “now beauty junkies and animal lovers can make compassionate choices without sacrificing bold, beautiful pigment and everlasting wear”. As of 2016, the line has been completely vegan. One of the standout products from the line is the Tattoo Liner.

8. Weleda
Weleda is a brand that Laura says she swears by. She says “every single product is amazing” but her favourite is the skin food which gives a “beautiful glow”. Laura likes to use this as a night mask, giving skin a glowy and healthy look the next day. Weleda say they have “seven principles” that they use to guide their business, such as sustainability, fair treatment and integrity for workers and suppliers and ethical and value-creating business practices.

9. 3ina
Laura says she found this brand on her last trip to Selfridges. She says they have “the most gorgeous cream eye shadows ever”, and their powders are great too. 3ina say they are cruelty-free, eco-conscious and ethically sourced. They also use recycled plastic and have a great range of colours to suit all skin tones.

10. Burt’s Bees
Now, admittedly for some this brand won’t come under the ethical banner straight away because they use honey and beeswax in their products, which means they are off-limits for vegans. However, the company say they live by a phrase from one of their first catalogues: “What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.” They say that wisdom continues to inspire them. They use 99% natural products, and ensure that they are responsibly sourcing and cultivating the products they buy and grow. They have also achieved Carbon Neutral certification from Natural Capital Partners and established The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation in 2007, a non-profit dedicated to helping charitable, grassroots initiatives that support honeybee and human well being. They may not count as ethical for some but they sure are trying to make sure they are leaving the world a better place. Check out their lip balms that come in several different flavours.

Bonus Brand: Real Techniques
While it’s wonderful to have all these cruelty-free beauty brands, we wouldn’t get very far without the tools to apply them. Enter Real Techniques! This company makes a wide range of cruelty-free, synthetic brushes and their sponges are the next best thing since the original Beauty Blender.

Let us know how you get on with these products!