March 5, 2019

Green beauty

Wanting to switch to a more ‘green’ beauty routine is now more popular than ever before. We care more than we did about our planet, and every little change can help the environment. Choosing the right product is always essential, particularly when it comes to ‘clean’ products. Read on to discover the different categories that apply to green beauty, as well as some of the top brands to choose from. 


Let’s begin by saying there isn’t a legal requirement or definition of a product being ‘organic’, ‘natural’ or ‘clean’, which definitely complicates things, so always double-check the ingredients. If you need an extra hand in that, Paula’s Choice, the brand founded by Paula Begoun, has a very useful ingredient dictionary. There’s also the ‘Think Dirty’ application that will scan your products and do a breakdown of ingredients and overview depending on how harmful they are to your skin.


Formulated without certain harmful ingredients, clean products usually combine the different plants and vitamins. Ingredients such as silicones, parabens and sulphates can cause irritation to the skin and aren’t included in this category.


Natural products include ingredients derived from nature. A brand only needs to have 1% of natural ingredients to describe itself as ‘natural’. Of course 100% natural products will expire quicker than alternatives with some man-made ingredients. Again, always check ingredients; for the ingredient list the concentrations go from higher to smaller, so pay attention to the order as well.


Just as natural, the same applies for organic; you only need a very small percentage. To make sure you choose the proper organic products, look out for the Soil Association certifications. For a product to be classed as organic, it shouldn’t have been developed using any Genetically Modified Organisms (GM), herbicides, and synthetic fertilisers or tested on animals. The anti-oxidants are usually of a higher percentage in these products, and often packaging is recyclable or biodegradable.


Again the definition for cruelty-free products is not binding by the FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration in the USA) but in general, none of the products used along the process of the product creation should be connected to animal testing. Part of this category is also the fact that required animal testing can be applied by the law of a country. For example, in China animal testing is required by law, so if a company sells its products in China, they will be required to test on animals even if they don’t test on animals in their country of origin. Look out for the Leaping Bunny logo.


When it comes to beauty products, the term vegan isn’t regulated. However, the general definition is that none of the ingredients used in the production should be animal derived. Some of the non-vegan ingredients often used in beauty include honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, silk, snail gel, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin and others. The Leaping Bunny logo also applies to vegan products, and the Vegan Society logo is another one you should look out for.


Votary Intense Eye Oil, £115, Antitode Intense Night Oil, £135

Votary was created to harvest the natural ingredients and oils and use them to tackle every skin issue. Using seeds, vegetables, fruits and flowers, the key is always the active ingredients. The brand is natural, cruelty-free, vegan, with recycled packaging and all made in the UK, blended by the founder herself. The Intense Night range is all about restoring and re-charging your skin at night, which is when the skin does that naturally, and putting on the right ingredients to nourish is the best idea. The eye oil brightens with tuberose extract and the night oil balances and firms the skin with ingredients like retinol, tomato seed oil and rosehip oil. Votary was founded by Arabella Preston, make-up artist and former beauty editor in 2015, starting with a hydrating cleansing oil, and a facial oil.

de Mamiel Skin Recovery Blend, £95

The Skin Recovery Blend by de Mamiel, is a pressed serum suitable for all skin types, as it addresses every different concern. For dry skin it helps with hydration and for blemish-prone skin it regulates sebum. As with all de Mamiel products, this also helps with environmental damage including pollution and sun. In the core of the ingredient list is the ‘azule collection’, five blue oils that combined with white clay results in the pressed serum to oil texture. Other potent ingredients in the formula include mango butter, cupuaco butter and more. Annee de Mamiel founded her award-winning namesake brand in 2013, to focus on potent formulas addressing the root of the concern. With a background in Chinese Medicine, she wanted to create small batch ranges that would relieve the skin of the daily stress and environmental damage. All the products are made in small batches in her lab in England, and the products are and gluten free and most are vegan too.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum, £77

One of the first beauty brands to make green beauty ‘cool’ so to speak was the American Tata Harper. The Resurfacing Serum is created similar to her popular Resurfacing Mask, containing a powerful combination of AHA’s and BHA’s, which give you the ultimate glow, while protecting the skin from free radicals. Some of the key ingredients include tomato carotenoids; that help with redness, kakadu plum; that’s a natural antioxidant, and squalene; a very moisturising ingredient derived from olives. The natural and non-toxic brand is green through and through (also evident in the gorgeous light green glass packaging), founded by Tata Harper in 2010 in Vermont. They are very transparent about their green process and you can even trace the journey of your specific product ‘from the farm to your face’ on their website.

Drunk Elephant The Littles Kit, £71

The award-winning skincare brand Drunk Elephant, created by Tiffany Masterson has finally arrived in the UK. Check out their mini discovery set with their hero products, like the Virgin Marula Oil and C-Firma Day Serum. All products are formulated without essentials oils, silicones, SLS, fragrance or alcohol, ingredients that Masterson identified as the ‘Suspicious 6’ resulting in a new skincare category that she named as ‘clean-clinical’. They strongly promote the idea of mixing your skincare together, to create a ‘skincare smoothie’. Drunk Elephant is natural and cruelty-free however not all products of the line are vegan, but most of them are, so check the labels!

Oskia CityLife Booster, £110, Oskia Super 16 Serum, £82

Oskia’s CityLife range is a very popular one, and adding the CityLife Booster in your routine (mixed in with one of your normal creams), will help protect your skin against pollution. The blend of vitamins A, B3, C and E with minerals like malachite and zinc develop a barrier against free radicals. Another great product from Oskia is the Super 16 serum that will boost your collagen (aka what makes your skin look plump) and with its potent 16 nutrient blend will help with anti-aging and hydration. Some of the powerful ingredients include, vitamins A, C and E, hyaluronic acid and sulphur (MSM) to help with various concerns in one strong serum. The British natural cosmetic brand Oskia was founded by Georgie Cleeve in 2009, to combine the nutritional skincare with vitamins, proteins and more blended in a high standard in their British labs. The key ingredient is MSM, a natural organic sulphur that helps with collagen production. Oskia is cruelty-free, natural, sustainable and most of the products are vegan too. 

Herbivore Botanicals Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Crème, £42

Herbivore Botanical made its way in Europe recently all the way from Seattle. With minimalistic packaging their main aim is working with active ingredients from nature that work and give you results. Herbivore Botanicals is a natural brand, created using plant-based cold-pressed oils, organic ingredients and the whole range is vegan, PETA and Leaping Bunny certified. The Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Crème is an all-round great hydrating cream that will leave your skin glowing and dewy. The calming ingredients include rose water, aloe water, and white tea extract that also helps to combat any redness. It was founded by wife and husband Julia Wills and Alex Kummerow in their home kitchen in Seattle in 2011.

Sanoflore Rose Floral Water, £16

The only certified organic brand (by ECOCERT) in the L’Oreal portfolio, French Sanoflore should be on your radar. The French are known for their amazing pharmacy-sold skincare and Sanoflore is one of them. The brand is cruelty-free, not sold in China, and most of the products are vegan, apart from those containing honey. The Rose Floral Water is a perfect facial mist to spray before and after makeup, for instant hydration, plus it smells of rose! It contains antioxidants to refresh and give glow to your skin. Sanoflore was set up in 1972, using the powerful ingredients of plants in skincare. Check out the brand overview I did a while back, here.

Kypris Cerulean Soothing Hydration Recovery Mask, £200

The vegan Cerulean Soothing Hydration Recovery mask is the perfect accompaniment for the winter. The luxurious holistic mask mixes botanic and biotechnological active ingredients; like algae, peptides and encapsulated superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that fights and protects against free radicals. Kypris was set up in Scottsdale, Arizona (where the products are still produced) in 2012 by Chase Polan to balance and repair the skin, with a strong focus on sustainability. The award-winning line is natural, cruelty-free as well as vegan. 

Originally written for MINE Magazine

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