The Best Vegan, Organic and Eco-Friendly Beauty Buys
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of beauty that’s organic, natural or eco-friendly—I attribute this to my hippie parents where anything “natural” is immediately associated with the scent of patchouli oil. But now that it’s no longer the ‘60s, and women are looking to find beauty products that are better for them than their paraben-filled counterparts, there’s a decent selection of products that are good for you, good for the earth and don’t smell like hemp. Ahead are some of the best products for you and the environment that totally live up to going-green hype.
Cleansing our face is one of those often overlooked moments—while we might spend upwards of $300 for a fountain-of youth, anti-aging serum, we have no problem just borrowing our man's Neutrogena to scrub the grime of the day off. And while we’re fans of any face wash that can give us that squeaky clean feeling, some can be a little harsh for the delicate skin on our face. We love The Organic Pharmacy’s Carrot Butter Cleanser: it’s 100 percent organic with an ingredients list you can actually pronounce. This balm cleanser is one of the best skincare products we’ve ever tried—organic or not. The product goes directly onto dry skin, melting on contact and is wiped off with a damp cloth. Organic, moisturizing, deep cleansing—plus think of all the water you’re saving! Carrot Butter Cleanser is available online at The Organic Pharmacy and priced at $74.
While we’re usually hesitant about a cosmetic brand delving into skincare and visa versa, we were willing to try anything for the sake of natural beauty. Skincare routines are usually filled with several steps, most with products that promise glowing/younger/flawless skin, so trying to trade out one of those high-tech lotions for a beauty oil might seem like a terrible idea—but it’s brilliant. Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil is vegan, all natural and is “sustainably harvested each year by Amazonian women affiliated with our Tarte cooperative in the Rainforest.” Despite being an oil, it soaks into the skin quickly so even those with an oiler complexion will benefit from its moisturizing properties. Pat it onto skin at night as a replacement for moisturizer and you will wake with some seriously bright and glowing skin in the morning. Pure Maracuja Oil is available online at Tarte and priced at $48.
Haircare has been one of the last categories to pick up on the organic beauty trend, but now with the worry about parabens, silicones and sulfates (which can pull that gorgeous salon color right out of that mane), a few brands have been jumping on the bandwagon. Green & Glam offers vegan, 100% organic, cruelty-free, sourced from fair trade and gluten-free (whew!) hair products that can transform your hair with the best natural ingredients and essential oils. Far from smelling “natural”—or anything like patchouli—their shampoo and conditioner set has the delicate fragrance of lemongrass and chamomile. Chances are you’ll want to book an appointment at your spa right after your shower because that’s exactly what this duo smells like—a spa day. You hair will feel moisturized, clean and full of body, and you’ll forget about all your other hair products. Green & Glam Shampoo and Conditioner are available online at Organic Beauty Now and priced $25-$48 each.
When it comes to makeup it’s a little harder to find natural products that actually work. While cruelty-free is great (hey those little bunny rabbits are part of the environment too) finding products without any actual animal ingredients is a different story altogether. Lanolin, beeswax and carmine are big culprits in the beauty industry and can go unnoticed unless you know your stuff. Beauty Without Cruelty, or BWC, is a beauty brand that was formed almost 50 years ago with the sole intention of offering products not tested on animals and without containing animal ingredients. 100 percent natural and vegetarian, they offer a full range of makeup, skin, hair and body care. We especially love their makeup, and their Infusion Lipstick is one of our faves. With the option of 30 different shades, it offers great color payoff and the most adorable swan-decorated packaging. Natural Infusion Lipsticks are available online at Beauty Without Cruelty and priced at $24.
Aside from the terrible smells of some of the healthier options in cosmetics, one big problem is the lack of selection. Oh you love that green shadow? Parabens. Dying for that red lipstick? Carmine. Most natural cosmetics come in two colors: brown and pale brown. This is totally not the case with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. The brand is 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free and certified by PETA (and those guys are pretty stingy with their certifications). While Lip Tars are their most popular product (and come in recyclable containers which is more than we can say for our gold YSL tubes) we adore their color concentrates and pigments. Coming in loose or cream consistency, from glitter to matte there are over 75 colors to choose from. From the brightest, most vibrant fuchsias to deep navy (and yes even brown if you want it), we are seriously hooked. You can blend them with glosses, add color to shadows, even get rid of some of the red tones in your skin all without fillers, binders, extenders, parabens, sulfates and phthalates. The color payoff is nothing short of amazing and lasts all day. Color Concentrates are available online at Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and are priced from $15-$23.
There is no such thing as good nail polish. None are really organic, or completely devoid of potentially harmful ingredients—it’s paint. But unless we all plan on going cold turkey with our manis, we’ll take what we can get. Luckily RGB has created a polish that’s Five Free and contains no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), formaldehyde resin or camphor, which makes it better than most of the polishes we own. All of their products are cruelty-free and vegan, and come in a multitude of gorgeous colors that are perfect for spring and seriously long lasting. Plus RGB has won several magazine awards for best nail polish, so we’re not the only ones that dig them. RGB polishes are available online at RGB and priced at $18.
Yes, polish is bad, but the chemicals used to remove it are so much worse. Nevermind that most polish remover smells awful, you’re essentially soaking your fingertips in the same chemical as paint thinner—not cool. Josie Maran has one of the cutest, and best smelling solutions ever. Bear Naked Nail Wipes are designed to remove polish, hydrate your cuticles and promote healthy nails. Infused with organic argan oil and with the scent of grapefruits, these pads are cruelty-free, natural, organic and paraben-free. Plus a portion of every sale goes to the Polar Bear SOS initiative, a project of the National Resources Defense Council. Bear Naked Nail Wipes are available online at Josie Maran and priced at $9.