Eco-Friendly Products to Take Your Beauty Routine from Stressful to Sustainable

Growing up in an era of YouTube reigned by the Bethany Mota’s and Zoella’s of the world, it doesn't surprise me that beauty is such a big part of my life. But, despite the endless hours spent dedicating time to celebrity inspired makeup tutorials, stealing all of the expensive and forbidden products of my mother’s beauty cabinet, and vigorously plucking every single shred of eyebrow that could potentially threaten the gorgeous appearance of my middle school face (unfortunately, the “no-brow” look was a right of passage for most of the young girls in/around my generation), I still find myself feeling confused and overwhelmed when faced with the beauty aisle. 

In my opinion, the most scary and stressful part of the beauty industry is not knowing what is in a product, how it is made or how it affects the world around me. With the massive amount of products being marketed and shoved down our throats daily via social media; risks to the environment, the product market and my sanity are very high. 

So, what can we do as fellow beauty-goers? And, how do we avoid these risks?

As broke and time-constrained college students, most of us do not have the time to stand around at Ulta all day and study each logo to make sure that every item we find is affordable, practical and eco-friendly. But, don’t you fear because this broke, time-constrained AND mentally unstable college student is here! After some several hours spent doing a lot of scholarly research and staring at the oh-so lovely diva cup and truly exciting plant-based toothpastes, I was finally able to narrow my search down to a few products to make your beauty routine cheap, sustainable and stress-free. Hope you enjoy!


Almay Biodegradable Clear Complexion Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (Ulta - $3.59

  • 4.5 stars

  • 100% biodegradable fibers

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Contains witch hazel

  • Oily and acne-prone skin

Ethique "In Your Face" Eco-Friendly Face Cleansing Bar for All Skin Types - 4.23oz (Amazon - $12.00

  • 4.5 stars

  • 100% sustainable

  • Ethically sourced products made from natural ingredients

  • Biodegradable and compostable

  • Soap free; pH balanced

  • Contains salt and orange oils

Vitamin C Rejuvenating Oil-Free Moisturizer (Walgreens - $23.99

  • 4.3 stars

  • Vegan + cruelty-free

  • No parabens

  • 70% organic content + non-GMO

  • Synthetic fragrances, phthalates, harsh sulfates or parabens

  • Certified by QAI to NSF/ANSI 305, the American National Standard for personal care products containing organic ingredients


COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Skin Milk; Dewy Finish - 1 oz (Walmart - $7.94

  • 4.1 stars

  • 14 shades 

  • No formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, sulfates or talc

  • Vegan + cruelty-free

  • Light coverage for all skin types

  • Contains aloe and coconut milk

Pacifica Alight Clean Foundation - 0.9 fl oz (Target - $15.99

  • 4.5 stars

  • 30 shades

  • Oil free, anti-shine and satin finish

  • Contains coconut water, seaweed extract, rose leaf extract and hyaluronic acid

  • Vegan + cruelty-free

  • No phthalate, silicone, parabens, talc, BHA, BHT, petroleum and drying alcohols


e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer, Full Coverage and Highly Pigmented; Matte Finish - 0.203 Fl Oz (6mL) (Amazon - $4.99)

  • 4.5 stars

  • 18 shades

  • Vegan + cruelty-free

Facial Powders:

NYX Professional Makeup Powder Matte Bronzer (Target - $8.99

  • 4 stars

  • 3 shades 

  • Formulated for all skin types

  • Available in three russet shades

  • Cruelty-free + vegan formula (no animal-derived ingredient or by-product)

  • No phthalates, sulfates or aluminum

  • PETA certified

COVERGIRL Clean Fresh Pressed Powder (Ulta - $7.19

  • 4.5 stars

  • 9 shades

  • Vegan + cruelty-free

  • Light weight and reduces shine

  • No phthalates, parabens, sulfate, formaldehyde, talc and mineral oil.

  • Vegan formula and foam puff 

  • Contains tapioca and aloe

 Milani Powder Blush (Target - $6.99)

  • 4 stars

  • 6 shades

  • Cruelty-free

  • Recyclable 

  • Paraben-free, phthalate-free and sulfate-free


Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara Supernova - 0.25 fl oz (Target - $13.99)

  • 5 stars

  • Long-lasting, nourishing, natural mineral mascara

  • Lengthen, strengthen and adds volume

  • Contains coconut water and vitamin B

  • Vegan formula and brush + cruelty-free

  • Formulated without carmine, phthalates, petroleum and silicone

  • No parabens, dyes,  propylparaben, phthalates, nonylphenol ethoxylate, formaldehyde-free, formaldehyde donors or butylparaben

  • Recyclable

Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Mascara Abyss - 0.25 fl oz (Target - $13.99)

  • 4.9 stars

  • Water-resistant and natural

  • Lengthens, adds volume and separates

  • Contains coconut water, kelp extract and vitamin B

  • Vegan formula and brush + cruelty-free

  • Formulated without carmine, phthalates, petroleum and silicone.

  • No parabens, dyes, propylparaben, phthalates, nonylphenol ethoxylate, formaldehyde-free, formaldehyde donors or butylparaben

  • Recyclable

Now that you’ve read through that obnoxiously long list of products (you totally read every single word, didn’t you?), I hope that you leave this article knowing that the beauty aisle isn’t one to be afraid of. There are many improvements being made in the beauty community to make consumer experiences more sustainable, affordable and eco-friendly. You just have to do a little bit of research and know where to look.

So, have fun on your beauty journey! Now, let’s all go out there and make this world a more beautiful place, as I work on giving myself a more beautiful (and environmentally friendly) face. Good luck!