Have you ever heard the expression “beauty is pain?” Well, it doesn’t have to be. From animal testing, to deforestation for ingredients, to toxic chemicals that make their way into our waterways, the beauty industry has a long and questionable history when it comes to being kind to our planet. However, these cruelty-free beauty brands pride themselves on giving back to Mother Earth and working with her, rather than against her.
We couldn’t make a list of kind beauty products without mentioning Lush. The cruelty-free brand started life in the little town of Poole, UK, in 1995, and has since expanded into sweet-smelling stores around the world. Every year, the Leaping Bunny-accredited brand seems to get even more in tune with the planet that provides them with the natural ingredients featured in every pot of moisturizer and bar of soap. Lush operates a zero-waste culture, avoids single-use materials and uses regenerative materials. They also steer clear of landfill, incineration and recycling exports, and recover legacy materials from the environment. Customers can even return empty pots for money and free face masks to take home, and buy Charity Pots that raise funds for nonprofits, and community organizations.
LatinUS Beauty offers more than just the best haircare for all hair types on the market. Cruelty-free is Lu's DNA. But beyond ensuring there are zero animal by-products in every Lu shampoo, conditioner, and styling cream, Lu's beauty products are also free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and colorants. Lu even developed a proprietary vegan keratin formulation called Impossible Keratin™️, which delivers three times the strength and flexibility of regular keratin. Products come in the most recycled plastic on the planet, PET, and arrive at your door in 100% recyclable cardboard. With plans for a package return program in the future, Lu is committed to becoming one of the most cruelty-free brands and kindest hair care companies in the world.
Founded by three friends from Hamburg who have a shared passion for the planet, Hydro Phil is a one-stop shop for innovative sustainable hygiene products. The company started life as a blog dedicated to water conservation, and has grown into the market leader in sustainable dental hygiene with bamboo toothbrushes - there’s even a bamboo toothbrush head that will fit your electric toothbrush! But, they don’t just provide dental hygiene solutions. Everything they sell is water-neutral, vegan, and fair to the planet as well as the people who inhabit it. Their product line includes soaps, toothpaste, shower sets, and more.
Founded by Selena Gomez (herself a rare beauty), Rare Beauty is on a mission we can all get behind. The PETA-approved brand hopes to break down unrealistic standards of perfection and create makeup that you can feel good in, without hiding what makes you unique. From lipstick and mascara to brushes and other tools, they produce high-quality and fashion-forward cruelty-free cosmetics with clean ingredients. Unique to the companies on this list, Rare Beauty is also hoping to make mental health accessible to all. One percent of all sales go to the Rare Beauty Impact Fund, which works with several partners to give people suffering from mental health issues access to much-needed resources.
Izzy Zero Waste Beauty
The world’s first zero waste makeup brand is here…and it’s fabulous! And if you're wondering how you can possibly make skincare products like mascara, brow gel, and lip gloss zero waste, the answer comes down to packaging and staying local. Izzy Zero Waste Beauty defines zero waste as “no waste is generated by the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of a particular product or service.” Izzy Zero Waste Beauty has the smallest carbon footprint of any beauty brand in the world, sources its products from within a 400-mile radius of home, and doesn’t believe in plastic, cardboard, unnecessary print materials, or secondary packaging. It's truly a first in the beauty industry.
The first beauty company to use post-consumer recycled materials, Aveda is a vegan beauty trailblazer that prides themselves on giving back to the world. Aveda’s cosmetic products come in responsible packaging and manufacturing, are delivered by carbon-neutral shipping, and even offer returnable items, too. And through Aveda’s many salons, spas, and stores around the world, this cruelty-free makeup brand has managed to raise more than $26 million for environmental causes since 1999, with $20 million for clean water projects at home and around the world.
A drugstore beauty brand that's affordable and kind? Elf yeah! e.l.f. Cosmetics offers a wide variety of vegan products that celebrates the beauty of every eye, lip, and face. They are certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA, and are proof positive that clean beauty doesn't have to be expensive or hard to find. And if all that wasn't enough, e.l.f. talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to inclusivity, with ongoing campaigns in support of the LGBTQ+ community, Black Lives Matter, and more.
Since 1921, Weleda has been making great skincare products. The majority of the certified B Corporation’s range utilizes plant-based ingredients from biodynamic or organic farming. Weleda is also committed to biodiversity and treating workers around the world ethically. Recognized by the Union for Ethical BioTrade, the brand carries the UEBT mark and the Look For The Zero badge, which shows there’s no plastic in any products. Weleda also gives back to the planet wherever possible, partnering with Whole Kids Foundation and The Bee Cause Project to fund bee education grants for schools and nonprofits, pledging to #SaveEarthsSkin, and partnering with TerraCycle to recycle usually hard-to-recycle materials.
Lipstick is another beauty essential that once seemed like it would never adapt to modern-day environmental needs, but Axiology is proof that anything is possible if you innovate. Offering multi-use, plastic-free crayons, refillable lipstick and more, this company’s mission is to end plastic waste in beauty. It's also one of the best cruelty-free makeup brands around. All Axiology products are vegan and completely plastic-free to try to stem the tide of beauty-related waste that ends up in landfills and oceans around the world. And, you can shop for refillable items so you don’t have to worry about recycling at all.
A Good Company
A Good Company by name, a good company by nature! Another certified B Corp that’s making waves for its environmentally conscious and cruelty-free products, this awesome company has a simple mission: “to help people make more conscious decisions.” On their website, you’ll find toilet paper, toothbrushes, hand spray, and dental floss designed to waste less, and give you more. Shipping is climate neutral, and A Good Company plants a tree with every order, so you’re actually giving back to the planet every time you replace your toothbrush or buy a new scrunchie. More than just a beauty company, they also offer eco-friendly phone cases, stationery, art supplies, and more.
From cosmetics companies to haircare brands, our industry is embracing the need for cruelty-free beauty products more than ever. And while there are still beauty products that are tested on animals, the outcry for change is growing daily. After all, what’s more beautiful than kindness?