Eco-Friendly Beauty and Why it Matters

The beauty products you use can have a big impact, not only on your skin and your body’s health, but on the health of our planet and the rest of the creatures that inhabit it.


It’s no wonder that the makeup items that you put on your face can be harmful to your skin. I started wearing makeup around the age of 15, which is, not-so-coincidentally, around the same time I started having acne and other skin issues. As I’ve gotten older and tried a huge range of different makeup and skincare, something that may seem obvious has been made clear to me. The ingredients in the beauty products I was using were unhealthy for my skin, and in turn,  were literally causing small infections in my body. Until recently, I had been using a lot of cheaper makeup that had a ton of ingredients in them that were totally unrecognizable. All those ingredients are chemicals that are not found naturally in the earth. They are human-made to make products more shelf stable and produce a desired texture for very little overhead. Over time, like the decades of their lives that a lot of women wear makeup, these chemicals can be absorbed by your body deeper than just at surface-level. Skin is porous, so anything that is rubbed into it or sits on it for an extended period of time can seep into the bloodstream on a cellular level. Just like you might try to stay away from processed or artificially colored and flavored foods, it’s a good idea to transition your beauty routine to something with less man-made chemicals and more natural products.


More than just having negative effects on your body, the beauty products we buy directly negatively impact the environment. Just as the chemicals in makeup can seep into your own bloodstream, they also get rinsed down the drain and into the world’s bodies of water en masse as the makeup gets removed and the shampoo is rinsed out of hair. There are 6 main chemicals that are especially damaging to our waterways, and you can read about them here. They are mostly plastics and carcinogens- chemicals known to cause cancer. Once in the water, it affects the marine life, land and animals around those bodies of water, and also the rain that  is condensed from them.


Another aspect of environmental harm that beauty products are notorious for is animal testing and the use of animal byproducts in a surprising majority of items. Fortunately, there are a lot more people coming around to the fact that the use of animals in makeup is entirely unnecessary, even if they don’t normally live a life of animal advocacy. This means that more and more companies are shifting to a cruelty-free brand and production. However, a majority of cosmetic companies still conduct animal testing or use the byproducts of animals, such as the scent glands of some mammals in fragrances, crushed insects for dyes in nail polish and blushes, and real animal hair in makeup brushes. Nowadays, there are endless resources for any cosmetics to be produced without the use of animals whatsoever, and a lot of those resources come simply from natural pigments, plant extracts, and oils.


Here are some tried and tested recommendations for more natural and all vegan beauty brands that not only perform well, but also make a little less of a negative impact on your health and the health of our planet:


Trust Fund Beauty: A witty and current brand of nail varnishes and lip products that are all entirely vegan and cruelty-free. The brand was created by a woman for her mother struggling with chemotherapy. The founder created the brand to empower women to be “ethical, beautiful, and sassy all at the same time.” The nail varnishes are some of my favorite on the market; they last for ages, and all have hilarious names, like “Waste His Time 2017”, “Champagne Problems”, “Resting Bitch Face”, and “$12 Latte”.


BareMinerals: BareMinerals have been around forever. Or at least for 35 years. The brand is famous for their skin products, like mineral foundation and other powder products, but they’ve since expanded into a huge range of liquid products, lipsticks, and everything else makeup-wise. They are known for their dedication to formulating products with ingredients from the earth that will nourish skin instead of simply sitting on top and ultimately harming it.


Tarte: Tarte has been all over the radar lately, and has quickly become a top beauty brand, which is great, because it’s also one of the more famous for its being cruelty-free and focused on natural ingredients, such as their cult favorite Amazonian Clay range. Most of my current makeup collection is Tarte, so I can attest to it’s amazing quality and ingredients that have only made my skin look great.


Bite Beauty: Bite Beauty has been super buzzed about for the past 2 years, and for great reason. Bite makes lipsticks that are entirely natural and edible. They are made from 12 natural oils and various fruit and herb extracts such as mint, coconut, tangerine, and pomegranate. Bite’s products are also all handmade and has Lip Labs in 4 cities where you can create your own.


In addition to the makeup that you put on your face, the skincare that you use under makeup often carries very similar risky ingredients, just with more moisturizers mixed in. One of the best things I’ve ever done for my skin is switching all of my skincare to as basic as I can possibly make it. I now use only 100% pure oils to nourish my skin, and on my body, 100% shea butter, which is incredibly moisturizing. There are some amazing oils out there that can do wonders for the skin. Tea Tree oil is a natural disinfectant and antibacterial, so it’s great at keeping skin clean and warding off acne. Almond oil is full of fatty acids, so it’s used for anti-aging a lot. Jojoba oil is well-known for being packed with protein as well as the same fatty acids, so it’s effective for strengthening skin, hair, and nails. My favorite is Rosehip Seed oil. This oil treats and fades acne scarring, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation super effectively because it contains high levels of vitamin C, lycopene, and is also anti-inflammatory.


In a time where there’s always pressure to look your best, climate change is a very real concern, and more and more people are being conscious about what goes into their products, It’s important to be an educated and connected consumer. Consumer-driven advocacy is extremely effective in the ability to insight widespread change. If you wish to see a shifting tide in anything you believe in, it’s a good idea to look at the things you consume and use on an every day basis to make sure the companies you’re purchasing from align with your ideas. This is a way that every single person has a lot of power and opinion that matters, and can really start to sway a conversation and the actions of the bigger national and global communities to start being more conscious about where we are living and how we are treating the health of our natural bodies and environments.