Sexy and Sustainable Lingerie Brands That Are Good for Sensitive Skin
- by EcoCult Staff
- Jan 12, 2022
Image credit: Cosabella
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When you think about lingerie, you might think about sensuality, self-love and even empowerment. But you most likely also picture lace, ribbons, and bows. These all, unfortunately, are usually made with synthetic materials that can betoxic to your body.
Thankfully, many brands now recognize the importance of creating comfortable, beautiful underwear that is good for wearers, makers, and the environment alike. It’s still somewhat difficult to find lingerie brands that prioritze both sustainability and wellness, though. Despite the delay in the wider lingerie industry to make these needed changes, there are quite a few solid options out there.
One of the most important qualities of lingerie is the material it’s made from. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are usually made of virgin, petroleum-based plastics and rayon viscose is a heavily-processed plant fiber that requires toxic chemicals in the factory.
The problem with synthetic fabrics, especially when it comes to undergarments, is the dyes that are used to create those luxurious, vivid colors that lingerie often uses. Disperse dyes used for dyeing synthetic textiles like polyester are known skin sensitizers, so it’s best to stay away from these types of materials, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Natural fibers, such as cotton, silk, and bamboo can be sourced in a socially and environmentally beneficial way, plus they don’t require these disperse dyes. Labels that help identify non-toxic and sustainable lingerie include Okeo-Tex, Bluesign, and Organic Content Standard.
To ensure that the lingerie brands you shop at also treat their employees and suppliers fairly, look for certifications that help keep brands accountable, such as Fair Trade and SA8000, which identify brands that have gone above and beyond to ensure the wellbeing of their workers. You can also look for brands that manufacture in countries with higher labor and wage standards, such as European countries and the United States.[Just in case you’re in need of sustainable PJs or loungewear too, click here].
To help you find lingerie you can feel good about wearing, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sustainable and ethical lingerie brands.
What we love: JulieMay boasts lingerie made from GOTS-certified Pima cotton, which is also certified by AllergyUK to be allergy-friendly and free of synthetics, chemicals, and other harsh components that can cause a reaction in sensitive skin. The brand also collaborated with University of Portsmouth to focus on breast health by helping to perform bra tests and research. Its styles feature a wide selection of wireless, silk, and organic cotton bras and briefs that are both comfortable and cute.
Our review: An older relative with severe eczema was so delighted with the look and feel of her set of bras and panties from JulieMay, that she started sending the link out to her friends to try too… after stocking up on more sets for herself. Her husband was also full of compliments!
Price range: $23 to $86
2. Savara Intimates
What we love: This brand is giving full transparency with its impact report available for you to review before you take the plunge. Each piece is made in a small, family-owned factory in Amsterdam, Latvia or Romania from materials like Oeko-Tex-certified Tencel, recycled Italian yarn lace, recycled polyester, and even Okeo-Tex certified elastics from Spain. Its unique sizing system includes adjustable straps throughout a bra, rather than only on the shoulder straps. Orders arrive in 100% recycled paper packaging that is plastic-free and recyclable. The number of styles and colors available are endless, so there’s a good chance you’ll find something here if you’re picky!
Price range: $20 to $85
What we love: Urbankissed is a carefully curated online destination to shop for conscious fashion favorites and innovative upcoming brands. It stocks more than 100 conscious brands that ship directly to your home, mostly from Europe. This shipping method creates the least waste and CO2 emissions, and avoids a warehouse full of unsold goods. You will find popular lingerie brands such as Nette Rose, or thriving labels such as Olly Lingerie, which produce underwear from the softest recycled lace, lustrous silky fabric Tencel or Oeko-Tex-certified natural materials. Urbankissed also ensures that its range has been extensively fit tested to offer comfort and support in every size. As an added bonus, all shipping and returns are 100% carbon neutral at no extra cost to the customer.
Price range: $16 to $83
What we love: Underprotection is a Danish brand founded in Copenhagen in 2010. It only uses eco-conscious materials, such as recycled polyester, recycled wool, lyocell, and organic cotton, and only works with fair trade-certified factories. All of its packaging, paper, and polybags are either recycled or biodegradable.
Watch out for: Many styles are limited by size or color availability, which might make it difficult to find what you’re looking for. Fortunately, it’s possible to search for styles by sizes that work for you.
Price range: $15 to $75
5. Uye Surana
What we love: Uye Surana creates handmade lingerie in small batches. It has partnered with a small, family-owned and operated factory in Colombia that follows ethical manufacturing guidelines, which includes safe working conditions and fair wages. Uye Surana also uses natural materials, such as flower-petal dye or unique hand-dyed techniques that preserve resources. All materials are sourced from both trusted overseas suppliers and a growing list of more local suppliers. Its printed styles use a technology that allows the brand to transfer prints without the use of water and excess dyes, and any hardware is nickel-free. You’ll receive your lingerie in 100% recycled mailers, boxes, and tissue paper.
Watch out for: Some of the products Uye Surana carries are made from synthetics like nylon and spandex, which can be major environmental pollutants during the manufacturing process.
Price range: $8 to $82
What we love: Cosabella is a cult-favorite lingerie brand that has been around since 1983 and is best known for its comfortable, high-quality, and eye-catching pieces. Cosabella has been a family business for two generations and continues producing everything in Italy to this day. It takes measures to ensure its employees are treated well and that the factories it works with adhere to Italy’s labor standards. The brand’s website offers a look into the manufacturing process, from thread to finished piece.
Watch out for: Many of the options available are made from polyamide and other synthetic components, like elastane for the stretchy bits, but you can also find options made from silk and cotton. It isn’t clear what types of dyes are used in the lingerie, though they are under Europe’s REACH standards for safe chemistry.
Price range: $30 to $250
What we love: TransformedByTracy is a conscious lingerie brand handmade in NYC. Each of the brand’s lingerie items is hand-dyed with botanical dyes, such as coffee, hibiscus or charcoal, and hand-beaded with Swarovski crystals. Shipping through Etsy allows the brand to ship carbon-neutral via carbon offsetting. While the options tend to vary in this shop, you can usually find items like bras and silk slips to garters and bustiers.
Watch out for: This brand isn’t particularly affordable, which makes it a bust if you’re shopping on a budget. However, it occasionally stocks lower-ticket items in the $100 to $200 price range.
Price range: $150 to $800
8. Eco Intimates
What we love: Eco Intimates creates ethical, natural and organic cotton lingerie and sleepwear. It uses natural fibers, such as sustainable GOTS-certified organic cotton, silk and bamboo. Its collection comes in solid color and pretty floral prints that are designed in Australia and manufactured in Bali. Domestic orders ship in zero-waste packaging, including undyed tissue paper and compostable bags.
Watch out for: International orders are still shipping through DHL, which uses plastic packaging as a standard. However, the brand has requested that DHL provide sustainable, recycled and recyclable options that can help reduce plastic waste.
Price range: $13 to $81