We've done the heavy lifting, sifting through expert advice and personal trials to bring you a curated list of clean beauty brands that are as good for you as they are for the planet.
So, you cut out processed foods to take care of your body, and stopped using plastic straws to save the turtles, but what about your skincare routine? An EWG study found that on average, women expose themselves to 168 chemical ingredients daily through their personal care products. These products are not only dangerous to our health, but they also contaminate the environment when we wash them all off. This varies from the makeup you’re (hopefully) washing off at night and the soap you’re using to the sunblock that goes into the sea when you go for a swim.
I wasn’t paying any attention to what was in my makeup and skincare products until I watched the Toxic Beauty documentary, which is how I understood that what goes onto my body is just as important as what goes in it. You can educate yourself about the dangers of harmful chemicals by watching the doc and doing some research, but as a crash course, some of the chemicals you should look out for are: parabens, formaldehyde, oxybenzone, phenoxyethanol, artificial fragrance, dimethicone, and many more...
You can also download the Think Dirty app, and scan the barcodes of products you’re looking at the next time you’re shopping for beauty products. The app will give you a comprehensive rating of how “dirty” the product is, along with detailed (but easy-to-understand) information on ingredients, certifications, and health impacts.
The ocean is in peril. Experts estimate that 90% of all reefs will be dead by 2050, and beauty products could play a huge part in that. We are all responsible and must be mindful of the products we use and their impact on the planet, and lucky for you, we did the work for you. After some trial and error, and listening to TikTok makeup gurus, here’s a list of beauty brands that your skin, and the planet, will love you for.
The story of Ilia began when founder Sasha Plavsic’s mother encouraged her to read the ingredient list on her favorite lip balm, and she was shocked to discover many of the ingredients were not safe. This set a challenge for her to recreate her favorite lip balm so that it would be safe, effective, and natural. Ilia sees skincare and makeup as one, with active ingredients in its makeup products without toxic ingredients that are harmful to your skin and the environment. Their products are ideal for women on the go as many of them are multi-use, with just a few pieces of their makeup you can put together a quick and natural makeup look.
Another brand perfect for beauty beginners, RMS Beauty is the brainchild of makeup artist Rose Marie Swift. Non-processed, non-toxic cosmetics nourish and heal skin whilst delivering flawless coverage. RMS Beauty offers natural makeup and skincare formulated with raw ingredients in their natural state that add a wealth of vital nutrients to your skin while promoting anti-aging benefits.
Janine Summers created Olivanna after a lengthy struggle to find natural, consciously-sourced, results-driven skincare for herself and her daughters. Summers achieved the perfect balance between science and nature, using the power of plants to create high-performing products that are as safe for your skin as they are effective. Olivanna uses British-grown natural ingredients that have each been hand-selected for their unique benefits and work together to achieve visible results while being gentle on the skin. The brand is so meticulous about its ingredients that even the seaweed in the incredible Detox Oceanic Marine Mask is traceable and hand-cut so as not to disrupt re-growth.
This Beirut-born brand is making clean beauty more accessible by creating affordable high-end cosmetics made from all-natural ingredients. Potion Kitchen is Lebanon's first 100 percent clean beauty brand and harnesses the power of Mediterranean plants to create effective beauty products. Scientist and entrepreneur Rafa Hojeij founded the brand out of a desire to democratize sustainable self-care products and break the stigma of mainstream beauty standards using her expertise in industrial technology and organic skincare formulation. The entire range is free from synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, mineral oils, and harmful chemicals like parabens, petrolatum, sulfates, and silicons.
Many clean skincare brands are on the pricier side, but this is one of the exceptions. With “Conscious Beauty for All” as their motto, it is not surprising that women- and minority-owned Cocokind is eco-beauty’s latest hero brand. This affordable skincare line was founded by Priscilla Tsa after realizing that prescription medications couldn't soothe her cystic acne.
The UAE’s first luxury clean conscious suncare brand, SunKiss, offers reef-friendly sunscreen made of natural ingredients, striving to protect marine life and coral. All products are free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, the two most commonly occurring chemicals in the most popular sunscreen brands, which are hazardous to coral reefs. Their sunblocks are only formulated using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two naturally occurring minerals that protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
“Clean Makeup Designed for Sensitive Skin.” Tower 28 products are made with non-toxic, non-irritating, good-for-you ingredients that you can pronounce. The brand believes that skin imbalances tend to be the result of your skin overreacting — whether from harsh ingredients, allergies, environmental aggressors like sun or pollution, or even makeup you already use. The products are compliant with EU Regulation, which bans over 1,300 ingredients, compared to only 38 in the United States.
Codex Labs has created a new standard within the natural space: plant-based biotech beauty. The brand's sustainability consciousness integrates the full production chain for all of your skincare needs, from hormonal acne to dry skin. The brand works with local ethnobotanists and indigenous peoples and considers everything from the bio-availability of a plant species, the ecological impact of organic/biodynamic farming to the local biome, and the indigenous community in their production.
Thanks to her knowledge as a dermatologist, Dr. Lamees Hamdan created a body oil out of necessity while she was pregnant, and founded an award-winning natural skincare brand as a result. Iranian rose, Southeast Asian tamanu, Indian amber, Egyptian jasmine, Lebanese orange blossom, and African shea butter are just some of the many unique ingredients that combine to create Shiffa’s rare and healing products.
In Morocco, beauty rituals are more than your skincare routine; they are social affairs where women come together with their own natural recipes prepared with the finest ingredients. This was the inspiration for Izil, founded by Mouna Abassy, who struggled when she moved to Dubai to find beauty products that were pure, natural, and empowering. Their products are made from ingredients provided by the nature around them, including special blends of Moroccan organic plant extracts, herbs, and essential oils.