Eco-Excellence: Top Picks for Earth-Friendly Beauty

If you’ve ever seen a beauty advertisement (which is similar to asking if you’ve ever worn shoes or inhaled oxygen), you know that the fundamentals of getting gorgeous boil down to a few basic steps: removing toxins and replenishing essential nutrients. Good news: the industry is finally taking its own beautifying advice. In the push to go green, cosmetic lines around the world are shunning harsh chemicals in favor of kinder, gentler ingredients that are easy on the eyes, skin, lips, and hair as well as the planet—and that’s only the beginning. From recycled packaging to tree-planting campaigns in Africa, beauty brands are changing the tide and proving that eco-friendly flatters everyone. Check out these 10 fabulous products from brands that are doing their part to keep our complexions glowing and our consciences clean.
Juice Beauty Chemical-Free Green Apple Peel
Coastal Classic Creations Powder Foundation
Melvita Apicosma Cleansing Cream
Priti Nail Polish
Aveda Refillable Lip Color Case
Intelligent Nutrients Pureluxe Shampoo
Tarte Natural Cheek Stain
100% Pure Pink Grapefruit Body Wash
Origins Have a Nice Day Super-Charged Moisture Cream
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Juice Beauty Chemical-Free Green Apple Peel

Juice Beauty goes the extra green mile when it comes to eco-friendly ingredients and business practices. Not only do they use more certified-organic ingredients than any other brand, helping to protect water supplies and farm workers (and our skin) from nasty chemicals, 80 percent of their products are produced with solar power. Plus their carton packaging is 100 percent recycled. This chemical-free Green Apple Peel features organic fruit enzymes that remove dirt and blemishes and leave your face radiant. 

Green Apple Peel Sensitive
Brand: Juice Beauty
Price: $39
Store: Ulta
Get it now

Coastal Classic Creations Powder Foundation

Chemical-free foundations are still few and far between. Most brands, even those offering mineral products, still use parabens and phthalates as preservatives and adhesives, and offer little to no information on environmentally conscious business practices. Coastal Creations is a welcome exception. Their loose foundation is paraben- and phthalate-free, made of white cosmetic clay and organic non-GMO corn starch, and the container is free of PVC, aluminum, and bisephenol-A. As if that weren't enough, none of their ingredients come from deforested land. ($28, Coastal Classic Creations)

Melvita Apicosma Cleansing Cream

Considering its eco-lovin’ slogan, “Nature at Heart,” it should come as no surprise that Melvita's founder is a greenie to his core. Biologist turned beekeeper Bernard Chevilliat incorporated the bounty of the beehive into his product line for its soothing and rejuvenating properties. This soft, creamy cleansing cream features royal jelly and shea butter. To give back to the honeybee, the company’s philanthropic arm, the Melvita Foundation, helps to fund ethnobotanical education and bee-preservation programs around the world.

Priti Nail Polish

Eco-friendly nail polish might seem like an oxymoron, considering most formulas rely on a lengthy list of chemicals including phthalates, formaldehyde, and toluene to achieve that perfectly glossy finish. But Priti NYC refuses to exchange green values for gloss; their formulas are phthalate-, formaldehyde-, and toluene-free, and feature organic ingredients and fabulous colors! They also offer a non-acetone biodegradable nail polish remover and an online service for recycling unused nail polish. ($12.50, Priti)

Aveda Refillable Lip Color Case

Aveda’s green credentials are impressive: they manufacture with 100 percent wind power, they’ve raised $12 million for clean water campaigns around the world, and they are geniuses when it comes to reducing packaging waste. This reusable lipstick case, made of recycled aluminum and natural flax fibers, can be refilled with your favorite Aveda lip pigment, all of which are all free of synthetic or petroleum-based ingredients—of course. ($4, Aveda)

Intelligent Nutrients Pureluxe Shampoo

As you might expect with a name like Intelligent Nutrients, the ingredients in this brand's products are food-grade and pesticide-free (read: good for the soil) and don’t have any sulfates, petrochemicals, or silicones (read: great for your hair). The unique packaging system is airtight, which cuts down on the need for preservatives, and the cartons are made of 80 to 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.

Tarte Natural Cheek Stain

Wear this cheek stain and save the rainforest, or at least that’s the message Tarte is trying to get across. Every sale of this stain, or any other product containing their signature t5 super fruit complex (which inludes acai, acerola, goji, maracuja, and pomegranate and is rich in antioxidants), benefits the Sustainable Amazon Partnership—which helps to promote responsible stewardship of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, where several of their key ingredients are harvested. The products are free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, petrolatum, and synthetic dye.

100% Pure Pink Grapefruit Body Wash

100% Pure’s products are so clean and green, you could probably eat them—though I can’t vouch for the taste. The founder, Susie Wang, started the line after working in the lab for a big-name cosmetics line and watching the ingredients burn through the countertop. Believing there had to be a safer way, Wang developed her products free of chemical preservatives, detergents, synthetics, or artificial fragrances, drawing instead on the power of antioxidants to help us put our cleanest, greenest, most-glowing face forward.

Origins Have a Nice Day Super-Charged Moisture Cream

Origins’ logo is a tree, and their name is, well, Origins, so it comes as no surprise that they’re leading the charge in bringing high-end organic-certified products to the mainstream. But the scale of their commitment to the environment is impressive. Since 2009, they've partnered with the American Forests' Global ReLeaf program to plant thousands of trees around the world, creating new forests and refurbishing forests in need. To date, they've planted more than 265,000 trees globally. And their revolutionary recycling program, Return to Origins, invites cosmetics users to bring their empty bottles, tubes, caps, and compacts—regardless of brand—back to Origins stores and counters, where team members will collect them and ensure they are recycled properly.

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