I’ve been trying to live more sustainably for a few years now, and that commitment extends to the shelves in my skincare cabinet. One of my favorite parts of my daily routine is the skincare piece. Oil cleansing, toning, treating, moisturizing — I always welcome the chance to slow down and take care of myself in the midst of a busy day. And whenever possible, I prioritize choosing organic and clean beauty products.
Unfortunately, the cheap skincare products in the drugstore include reef-killing chemical sunscreens , microbead-laden facial scrubs, and artificially-fragranced moisturizers. They are affordable, but often have negative effects on the environment. And because the industry is so poorly-regulated , companies are able to include harmful chemicals in the products they market as clean.
So what should we look for when it comes to products that are good for the environment, our wallets, and our skin? Here are some of our favorite brands making a full range of nontoxic, and environmentally-friendly products at an affordable price:
At MyChelle, all products are vegetarian, cruelty-free, and free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances and colors and GMOs. MyChelle is committed to the health of the environment and its customers, and with an entire range of affordable skincare products, MyChelle earned the first spot on our list.
Products packaged in glass, BPA-free #2 and #7 plastics, and cardboard.
Price range: $12.50 – $60.00
At 100% Pure’s 8-acre headquarter property, the team operates using 100% solar power and was recognized by the city of San Jose as having the lowest amount of landfill garbage. 100% Pure creates non-toxic, organic, vegan skincare products and cosmetics using biodegradable formulas.
Products packaged in glass, post-consumer recycled packaging, and BPA- and phthalate-free plastics.
Price range: $6.00-$60.00
Beautycounter works to minimize the environmental impacts of their products, packaging, and footprint through sustainable ingredient sourcing and recyclable packaging. Beautycounter has planted the equivalent of 4,270 acres of trees to offset carbon usage and as a founder of the Counteract Coalition and a founding member of the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, the company is committed to advocating for more health-protective laws and for green chemistry legislation to protect both consumers and the environment. There are concerns with the company’s multilevel marketing model , but products are available for purchase directly from the Beautycounter website.
Products packaged in post-consumer recycled plastic and FSC-certified paper.
Price range: $18.00-$75.00
Deemed low-hazard by the Environmental Working Group, Acure creates paraben-, sulfate-, and formaldehyde-free skincare products that are free of mineral oils and animal testing. Acure products are manufactured in the U.S. in facilities that are audited by the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit. And they’re available in drugstores and department stores like Target.
Products packaged in plastic and cardboard.
Price range: $5.00-$84.00
For fifteen years, the Environmental Working Group- verified brand AROMATICA has used raw ingredients and traditional herbal extraction methods that preserve the natural benefits of the herbal ingredients, and packages with zero-waste practices in mind.
Products packaged in recyclable glass containers and minimal plastics.
Price range: $3.00-$60.00
Juice Beauty’s cruelty-free, vegan, and certified-organic products are made with antioxidant-rich ingredients, sustainable energy, and packaged in boxes made from recycled or FSC-certified paper, printed with soy/non-toxic ink, and sourced in the U.S. As an extension of their commitment to sustainably-sourced ingredients, in 2018, Juice Beauty purchased a sustainable farm located in the heart of the Sonoma Wine Country in Healdsburg, California. Their organic grapes and apples are the sources of much of their resveratrol and malic acid-rich ingredients.
Products packaged in recycled or FSC-certified paper and plastic.
Price range: $10.00-$145.00
Meow Meow Tweet is a small-batch skin care company that creates vegan products with natural, organic ingredients. All products are made with unrefined plant oils and butters — extracted by steam-distilling and cold-pressing ingredients — and a number of proceeds go to support organizations like Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, Sierra Club, and the Breast Treatment Task Force.
Products packaged in post-consumer recycled paper, aluminum, glass, and minimal plastic.
Price range: $12.00-$28.00
With Herbivore Botanicals, all ingredients are chosen for their therapeutic benefits, focused around high-quality, food-grade vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that are combined to nurture and restore the skin, as well as provide a moment of indulgence for the user.
Products packaged in reusable glass or recyclable cardboard with minimal plastic.
Price range: $12.00-$82.00
As the most affordable option of the group, Yes to paraben- and phthalate-free products are found in more than 27,000 stores and are made with at least 95 percent natural ingredients. Yes to is also a certified member of the Leaping Bunny Program. Many of the brand’s products, however, like their shampoos and shower gels, do contain sulfates, with some listed as high up on the ingredients as the number two spot. Sulfates can cause irritation and strip natural, healthy oils from your hair and skin. However, the brand uses a version called sodium coco-sulfate , which is coconut-derived and has proven to be gentler on skin.
Products packaged in plastic.
Price range: $3.00-$20.00
Raw materials and sustainable sourcing are hallmarks of Weleda’s standards, and the company is committed to using environmentally-friendly production processes to create synthetic- and toxin-free skincare products. Weleda uses flower, fruit and root extracts, minerals, and essential oils for as the foundation of each product, and ingredients are grown on the company’s own farms using fair-trade and biodynamic practices. Weleda is NATRUE -certified, and they offer a range of products that are vegan and cruelty-free.
Products packaged in glass, aluminum, and recyclable, food-grade plastics.
Price range: $7.00-$78.00
SW Basics products are made with the minimalist in mind — fewer ingredients and gentler skincare are at the heart of their formulation, which is done in Brooklyn, NY. SW Basics uses only certified-organic, fair trade, or family-farm sourced natural ingredients. All products are certified cruelty-free by PETA, and much of the product line is certified organic by the USDA. And all products, excluding the beeswax lip balm and the diaper cream, are vegan.
Products packaged in glass, aluminum, and cardboard.
Price range: $5.00-$30.00