Today’s ethical bride post is an interesting one and part of a journey I have been on for a while now. I’ve been trying out various ethical beauty products and trying to shake up my makeup bag to make it more sustainable! It’s still early days in my ethical makeup journey, and I am no expert, but here’s what I have learnt so far and some of the brands I have been using. For your wedding day, whether you are doing your own makeup or getting the professionals in, think about how you can make your makeup work for you and your ethics…
Please note – we don’t expect people to follow every single one of these guidelines, and understand we can’t make every single thing in our lives ethical (unless we live in a hole in the woods, probably naked and eating leaves?) but maybe, just maybe by supporting one of these ideas, we could help the world a little bit at a time. By the way, being a British blog all UK based brands are marked as blue in this post for ease and for those wishing to reduce their makeup’s carbon footprint for extra eco points 🙂
one. animal testing – this has always been my number one priority and probably the easiest of all the factors in today’s post to hunt down in your local beauty shop or supermarket. Own brand products sold at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Superdrug in the UK are all part of the Leaping Bunny cruelty free campaign which means the products or ingredients in them are not tested on animals nor do they use third parties to test the products. Check products for the Leaping Bunny logo or use their free app to check. Oh and watch out for any fake bunny logos too! A Google search should help you to weed out the false brands. Plus some companies are cruelty free, but are owned by parent companies that test on animals (Nars, Urban Decay, bareMinerals, Becca, The Body Shop to name but a few…) Some of our favourite cruelty free makeup brands include Neal’s Yard, Lush and Charlotte Tilbury plus all of the other brands highlighted in this post – winner!
two. chemicals in makeup can be harsh on skin – how many of us have irritations or allergic reactions caused by makeup? Switching to more natural makeup without the use of harmful chemicals can help those with sensitive skin. Try W3ll People, Lily Lolo and Ilia. Plus Albus and Flora for amazing tinted lip balms made with botanicals and with SPF 30 – I just adore these!
three. packaging – just how much packaging goes into your makeup? Think about every plastic lipstick, compact, mascara wand, lipgloss tube, foundation bottle… plus the cellophane wrapping, box and bag they might come in. Many brands now are opting for a more sustainable approach to makeup packaging. From using renewable resources such as fast growing bamboo, to recycled aluminium and glass. We have even found refillable makeup! Brands such as Kjaer Weis (amazing refillable, designer packaging and organic), Zao (super cute bamboo packaging and refillable) and Elate Cosmetics (their eye shadows arrive in envelopes made of seed paper which you can plant to enjoy herbs and wildflowers!) are a good place to start.
four. organic – we bang on about organic ingredients at Bride and Tonic, but we believe they are so worth it! Shopping organic isn’t just a fad, it’s a way of life to help preserve our earth. Did you know that a lot of the ingredients used in our makeup has damaging effects on the environment? Many are sourced from the rainforest and require substantial mining – think lead, aluminium and petroleum to name a few. Plus when you think about putting these products on our faces, it does make you stop and think – if you don’t eat it, don’t wear it. Just remember organic cosmetics are not regulated in the same way as organic food and drink and many brands claim to be organic but contain only the smallest of organic ingredients. Many brands contain natural ingredients, but if you are trying to specifically shop organic look out for the brands that have been certified by a recognised organic body such as the Soil Association and ECOCERT. This means a much higher percentage (95%) of the ingredients will be certified organic. Organic makeup favourites of ours include Green People, Zuii Organic and Inika Organic (note some companies are certified by their own countries organic bodies such as NASAA and Organic Food Chain in Australia).
five. small businesses – many of the eco cosmetic brands available are small businesses, founded due to the lack of options available to people wanting to wear more ethical, chemical free and sustainable makeup. By choosing to buy from these smaller businesses you are not only supporting the little man but also showing bigger companies that it is time they started investing more into sustainability and ethical cosmetic practices.
six. tools – how many of of use the same plastic old brushes day in day out? How often do they get cleaned? Bleurgh it’s not nice to think about! By keeping your makeup tools clean and carefully put away they will last longer, meaning less landfill. If you are thinking of upgrading your makeup brushes, opt for a more ethical brand which is cruelty free, uses recycled materials and renewable products such as bamboo. Eco Tools are not only environmentally friendly, but also affordable and I can vouch they are excellent quality! For a vegan company that uses no animal products try Spectrum, as well as Antonym who also use sustainable materials such as bamboo.
seven. vegan – did you know that many makeup products, whilst not being tested on animals, can contain animal products? Honey, beeswax, carmine (the red pigment used in many lipsticks is made from insects), and guanine (fish scales – often used to create sparkles in blush, eye shadow etc) are often found in cosmetics. For vegan alternatives try Red Apple Lipstick, Sappho and Everyday Minerals.
eight. Fairtrade – many of the ingredients we find in our beauty products come from exotic locations such as Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Dominican Republic. Think coconuts, argan oil, apricots and brazil nut oils. By choosing Fairtrade, workers get a fair price and investment is made into community projects, such as providing clean drinking water and improving local healthcare. Try Odylique – the first UK makeup brand to be certified Fairtrade (and it’s organic too!)
nine. gluten free – to be honest this hadn’t really crossed my mind until I started my ethical journey and wandered down the eco cosmetics road. Gluten free makeup is often used by people who are allergic or intolerant to gluten such a those with coeliac disease. Coeliac UK reports “it is unlikely that you would swallow enough lip balm or lipstick to cause a problem. If you are concerned then you should contact the manufacturers directly about specific products.” However for many people avoiding gluten in makeup products is a priority, so we have featured it in our list. Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, however if you are concerned that ingesting even a small amount of gluten (such as from licking off lipstick) then try gluten free brands such as Afterglow Cosmetics, Gabriel Cosmetics and Emani. If you are unsure about your makeup products send the company an email, look it up on Google or check out some great websites such as Gluten Free Makeup Gal.
Have we convinced you to trial some ‘ethical’ makeup?! You might be drawn in particular to one factor from the above list, but many eco cosmetic companies these days do it all, so you don’t have to choose! If you are on an eco makeup journey yourself do get in touch – we would love to find out how you are getting on and feature any real brides!
Click here for more of our Ethical Bride blog posts
Plus this free app from Think Dirty is a great way to scan product barcodes and check their ingredients for nasties!
P.S. Please note this information was checked and correct at the time of publishing – however please check company websites if you require further information as we cannot be held responsible for any incorrect information after publishing.
P.P.S. We have highlighted specific companies above that might be vegan or organic or natural etc etc however many of their products also fit into most other categories so do check them all out! 🙂
Image by Allef Vinicius