14 Beauty Brands Furthering Their Sustainability Efforts

Layla Ilchi
·8 min read

Sustainability has been a buzzword in the fashion and beauty industries for years, but now the pandemic has spurred newfound interest among consumers in eco-conscious practices, and brands are taking notice.

According to the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, 61 percent of brands and retailers said customer demand during the pandemic has risen for environmentally sustainable business practices, as well as for goods and services. This interest in sustainable products extends to packaging. According to a consumer survey by Pitney Bowes Inc., 38 percent of respondents said they’re more likely to purchase products if they contained sustainable features or packaging.

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Despite the newfound surge of interest, many beauty brands have been implementing sustainable practices as early as their launch and are now furthering their commitment to sustainability with several new initiatives this Earth Month.

Ren Clean Skincare, for one, is embarking on an expansive new initiative where it is teaming with fellow skin care brands Biossance, Youth to the People, Caudalie and Herbivore on a joint pledge to offer recyclable and refillable packaging by 2025. Beautycounter, which has long advocated for cleaner ingredients, is using its recent majority investment to continue advocating for safer beauty products.

Here, WWD looks at 14 beauty brands that are furthering their sustainability initiatives this Earth Month. Read on for more.

1. Ace of Air

Beauty and wellness brand Ace of Air launched earlier this year with sustainability at the core of its mission. The brand’s skin care and supplements are housed in zero waste packaging, which it encourages its customers reuse for other purposes once the products are finished.

Ace of Air also has a giveback program through its purchases. For every purchase, customers receive Stellar Rewards, which they can donate to several eco-friendly organizations.

2. Alleyoop

Beauty brand Alleyoop is continuing its commitment to sustainability by donating 100 percent of proceeds on Earth Day to One Tree Planted, an organization that plants trees around the world.

Alleyoop’s mission of sustainability is also seen through its packaging. The brand’s products are mostly hybrids — combining several beauty products in one — such as its Stack the Odds blush, highlighter and contour combo, and its 4-in-1 Makeup Pen, which includes eyeliner in black and brown, a highlighter and lip liner. These hybrid products reduce the brand’s use of packaging by 20 percent than traditional products.

3. Augustinus Bader

Prestige skin care brand Augustinus Bader has furthered its sustainability initiatives this year. The brand is now selling its bestselling creams in environmentally friendly packaging made from recyclable paper. Augustinus Bader is also committed to becoming an entirely vegan skin care brand by the end of the year.

The brand has partnered with One Tree Planted and is working with the World Land Trust and the Woodland Trust to measure and reduce its carbon footprint from its paper usage.

4. Beautycounter

Beautycounter has been at the forefront of the clean beauty movement since it launched in 2013 and has grown to be a major player in the industry. Earlier this month, the brand received a majority investment from the Carlyle Group, which valued the company at $1 billion.

Through the investment, Beautycounter plans to continue to advocate for cleaner beauty products and safer ingredients. The brand is one of the first to release a “Never List” of ingredients that it wouldn’t include in its products. The list has grown to 1,800 ingredients.

Beautycounter founder and chief executive officer Gregg Renfrew has also taken her advocacy to Congress, testifying in December 2019 as an expert witness in a hearing on cosmetics reform held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in Washington, D.C.

5. Fresh

The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned skin care brand has become a member of the Union for Ethical Biotrade, which is a nonprofit arm of the United Nations that advocates for sustainable ingredient sourcing, respect for biodiversity and equitable socioeconomic practices.

“The idea of sourcing with respect is very much in our DNA,” said Tennille Kopiasz, chief marketing officer at Fresh. “It’s one we felt there was this opportunity to truly make an impact to both people and the environment.”

The brand has plans to finish sourcing assessments for its hero ingredients — rose, soy and lotus — by 2023 and have improved plans in place by 2025.

6. Lafco

The home fragrance brand is continuing its #LafcoRepurposed initiative for Earth Month. The initiative encourages customers to reuse the hand-blown glass vessels that house its candles and fragrances once the products are finished.

Additionally this month, the brand is donating $1 from each sale to the Canopy Project, an organization that plants trees across the world.

“For us, Earth Day is every day,” said Lafco founder and CEO Jon Bresler. “We really strive to leave the planet a little better — and better scented — than we found it.”

7. Lather

Natural beauty brand Lather is partnering with the Baobab Guardians Programme, an organization based in South Africa that employs women to help plant and tend to the country’s baobab tree population.

When customers purchase a product from the brand’s Baobab & Shea Collection, Lather will donate $1 to the program. Lather will also be donating to the Baobab Pre-School Programme to support under-funded pre-schools in the areas where baobab trees live.

This is the latest sustainable partnership to come from the brand. Lather has previously teamed with Sundara, an organization that recycles old hotel soap into new bars, and Clean the World, an organization that distributes recycled soap to impoverished countries and domestic homeless shelters.

8. Mustela

Children’s skin care brand Mustela is continuing its sustainability mission with several new pledges. The organic brand is vowing to be carbon neutral by 2030, to use 100 percent green electricity in the production process and to ensure that all of its containers are recyclable and the formulas are biodegradable.

Throughout April, the brand is also donating a portion of sales to Earth Force Kids, an organization that offers youth educational programs on the environment.

9. OGX

Hair care brand OGX has set several sustainability goals for the next few years. The brand is working to eliminate black plastic — which usually ends up in landfills — globally from its products by 2022. It is also committed to making all products 100 percent recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Next year, OGX is launching bottles with post-consumer resin and aims to offer 100 percent post-consumer resin bottles by 2030.

10. R+Co

Throughout April, hair care brand R+Co has been spotlighting sustainability through a series of new podcasts released through its R+Co Talk Radio on Spotify.

The brand also offers eco-friendly packaging for some of its collections, including its recently launched R+Co Bleu line. The collection’s packaging is made from 100 percent post-consumer resin and constructed from recyclable bioresin sugarcane plastic. Each order also comes with a sheet of seed-embedded paper, which the customer can plant to grow wildflowers.

R+Co’s other hair care products are contained in 55 percent post-consumer resin packaging. The brand is committed to increasing to 100 percent soon.

11. Ren Clean Skincare

Ren Clean Skincare teamed with skin care brands Biossance, Youth to the People, Caudalie and Herbivore for the #WeAreAllies sustainability campaign for Earth Day 2021. The campaign was a joint pledge across all brands to offer recyclable or refillable product packaging by 2025. The joint campaign was also meant to inspire other brands to make the same pledge.

12. Susanne Kaufmann

Australian beauty brand Susanne Kaufmann furthered its sustainability initiatives this year by launching a refill program for its three top-selling products: Cleansing Gel, Hand Soap and Shower Shampoo. Customers can purchase the three products in a refill pack that’s made up of 75 percent recycled materials. The refills range in price from $43 to $82.

“The beauty industry is transforming to meet the needs of a savvy consumer who is looking for meaningful brands,” Kaufmann said about the initiative. “They want to know how their products are made and where they come from, and they value the importance of their impact on the environment. This means there is an increased importance and focus on authenticity, trust, sustainability, inclusion, transparency, commitment and quality.”

13. Tata Harper

Natural beauty brand Tata Harper is continuing its partnership with Trees for the Future, an organization that works with farmers across the U.S. to regenerate their land. Throughout April, the brand will plant one tree for every product sold through the organization, in addition to 10,000 trees it planted for Earth Day.

14. Tula

Probiotic-based skin care brand Tula has furthered its commitment to sustainability this year with several initiatives. The brand partnered with TerraCycle to give customers an easy way to recycle their finished Tula products and with Cloverly to offer carbon neutral shipping when customers place an order.

The brand has also partnered with the Sustainable Forest Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council to source its cardboard packaging from responsibly managed forests.

This month, the brand has made available refill packs of its Balancing Act Biodegradable Toner Pads so that customers can reuse their original containers. The refills retail for $28 and the original toner retails for $36.

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