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A lot of the climate debate tends to leave me wondering how exactly can I, a tiny idiot human who is a single speck in the grand scheme of things, actually even make a difference to the world around me. And I think a lot of that is about shifting small habits, making changes – some easy, some challenging – to my everyday life to leave the least amount of mess in my wake. One of the things I know I can change immediately is moving to sustainable beauty products and put it to myself to reuse or recycle the pots and jars to reduce the level of crap I’m feeding into the world.

Knowing who’s got the best approach to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint can be a tricky one–it goes a little bit deeper than just looking at the product at the shops. Thankfully there are a few websites out there with master lists of ethical beauty/skincare/haircare companies that love to keep the bastards honest, and we’ve also done a bit of digging around for you as well.

So without further ado, here is a big ol’, non-exhaustive list of sustainable beauty brands that are doing their bit to keep the planet looking as tip-top as us.

Antipodes

Not only does Antipodes want you to look and feel radiant and delightful in your own skin, but they are also determined in its packaging. From recyclable glass bottles, biodegradable cardboard boxes, printing with vegetable inks, and recycled metals for its balms, cleansers and creams, they also encourage you to re-use the brown glass bottles for other things like propagating plants.

Fat & The Moon

Glass and metals are clearly the way to go when looking for sustainable beauty. Think little pots and jars full of magic potions and balms,  and Fat & The Moon is surely going to sit well with your witchy vibes.

With everything from makeup, to skincare, to face masks, toiletries, and first aid (and things called Kooch Quench and Yoni Duster, omfg), this brand is going to make you feel utterly on-brand. Plus they see skincare and beauty as healing; both to ourselves and to the planet.

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People often ask about where the name Fat and the Moon comes from. 'Fat' is not exactly an embraced word in our culture, especially within the context of body and beauty care products. Yet, when founder Rachel Budde considered her influences at the beginning stages of concocting body care potions, fat was an obvious muse. Fat is the choice medium for absorbing the medicinal constituents of plants for external use. Fat suspends the properties of plants, and has healing properties all on its own. When we use herb infused fats on our skin, we feed ourselves a nutrient dense meal. Fat is energy. The energy contained within fat is gorgeously complex and dense, truly the equivalent of neatly stacked gold bars within the bodies of plants and animals. Many of our most important hormones are made from fat, and our nerves are coated with it, allowing for fluidity of thought and sensation. The Moon has a profound effect on life on this planet; especially as life is animated by water. Water makes up most of our bodies, and the bodies of plants. The health and vitality of each cell of our being is completely dependent on water. No water, no life. The movement of water, as we see in the tides, is in a perpetual dance with the Moon. Fat and water need a spiral movement to mix; in the movement, there is creamy cohesion, interplay, and the joining of forces. That, dear friends, is why Fat and the Moon.

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Cloud Nine

I know what you’re thinking “how can a hair straightener be considered sustainable?” and honestly, it’s simply because Cloud Nine actively have a recycling service. When your old tongs go on the fritz, Cloud Nine or not, you can go shoot them a message, pop your old clampers in the post, and Cloud Nine will reuse or recycle them for free.

They’re aiming to recycle 1.5 million hair straighteners, saving them from ending up in landfill, as well as reducing their footprint with smaller, recyclable packaging.

LUSH

This one’s a no-brainer, right? I might be a touch biased because I worked at LUSH for a couple of years, but it also means that I know the nitty-gritty when it comes to the company’s sustainability efforts.

They’ve pretty much got their entire range in a ‘naked’ version, with no packaging, if you’re wanting to live a strong no-placcy life. All their plastic bottles are fully recyclable, and the pots are able to be taken back into LUSH stores for proper recycling if that’s more your jam – or you can plant seedlings in them.

Hell, the packaging peanuts are compostable and break down under running water, and the plastic wrappers are plant-based cellophane.

Medik8

Medik8 take its sustainability efforts further than just the bottles and jars you put on your vanity, they take it right back to the production of their products, using a process called ‘green chemistry’.

This means that they create all of their skincare in the most sustainable ways possible; through cold compression, blending ingredients at room temperatures, and making sure they’re reducing their carbon footprint from ingredient sourcing right through to getting the product in its to you.

Medik8 are also pretty transparent when it comes to their sustainability practices – they admit that they still use some plastics where it’s absolutely necessary and that they’re working to increase the amount of recycled glass ever since they introduced it back in 2018.

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The Body Shop

Another brand that we all know is pretty bloody good at sustainable beauty and giving a shit about the world around them is The Body Shop. They’ve just copped a ‘B Corp’ certification, which means they’re a company that balances purpose and profit – so they’re not all talk and no action.

As well as their recyclable packaging (which you can drop back into the stores for recycling), The Body Shop is also working to run their stores on 100% renewable or carbon balanced energy, and are helping to protect and regenerate millions of hectares of habitats in the world.

Floral Street

Does perfume count in here? Sure, why not. Floral Street is all about sustainable packaging in the scent game – which I mean thank GOD because I feel like literally every other brand shrink-wraps their product in plastic which is a) really wasteful and b) makes it fucking impossible to get into.

Sukin

I simply must stan an affordable sustainable beauty brand. Sukin make sure their products are all grey water safe – which means you can chuck the bathwater on the garden if you want – all in recycled and recyclable containers. Plus they’ve been totally carbon neutral since 2008.

Image: Getty Images / Westend61