8 Ethical Beauty Brands for Every Budget

Makeup culture is no joke. Once people find that perfect product, they stick with it, and who can blame them. BUT I think we all have/had that favorite mascara, setting spray, concealer, etc. that is a little (and by a little, I mean very) sketchy. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the ethics behind products. But as long as these practices are tolerated, dogs are will continue to be test subjects and we'll continue to absorb all of those chemicals like a sponge. I’m not saying go through all of your makeup and throw everything away, but consider these options when it’s time to stock back up.

Below are 8 companies that pack an ethical punch. All eight are cruelty free, which is the number one priority for me. They all offer vegan and organic products, and a few offer refills, yeehaw. For the sake of objectivity, I priced out a foundation for each.

Let’s start with the Holy Trinity products, they have it all: organic, cruelty free, and refillable.

1. Elate Cosmetics

Elate is interesting because their goal is to become the first “waste free” cosmetic company. As of now, their products are 75% organic, and when asked about the other 25% their response was that “[we] will always choose fair trade over organic if we are unable to have both.” Price wise, they’re comparable to BareMinerals. Their refills are packaged in seed paper, which you can literally throw in the woods or plant in your garden. “Imperfectly perfect” is their motto, which I, personally, resonate with. Do your best, right?

Pressed Foundation: $42 initial / $32 refill

2. Kjaer Weis

Kjaer Weis is the Ferrari of sustainable cosmetics, especially due to the fact that they’re an Italian company. I’ve never tried this product- high end makeup is wasted on me because I kind of just wing it. But, I will say, their reviews are pretty impressive, 4.5-5 stars on every product. All of their products are refillable; foundation, powder, toner, concealer, blush, lipstick, and even lip liner. They’re the only company that I’m aware of that offers all of those refillables. If any of you decide to try this please reach out and let me know how you like it!

Cream Foundation: $68 initial/ $45 refill

3. Eco Minerals

“Luxury with a conscience.” Eco minerals are about the same price point as Elate, and again remind me a bit of BareMinerals. They offer samples in everything which is always nice when ordering online to avoid the dreaded oompa loompa look #ragrets.

Flawless Mineral Foundation: $36 initial / $31 refill

4. Thrive Causemetics

As their name suggests, this brand is all about supporting a good cause. Their biggest campaign is women empowering women (hell yes, sister). Their products are vegan and paraben/sulfate free and one hell of a value if you ask me. I’d highly suggest their mascara and their brilliant eye brightener.

Buildable Blur CC Cream (SPF 35): $38

5. Pacifica

Pacifica offers a little bit of everything from makeup and hair care to nail polish and perfume. All of their products are 100% vegan and cruelty free and, bonus, can be purchased right at Target. So you can go in looking to get paper towels and leave with a whole new beauty regimen. I’ve tried a few facial cleansers, BB cream, and hair products and I have nothing but good things to say.

Illuminating Foundation: $13

6. Elf

Who else remembers getting E.L.F eyeshadow and lipgloss at the dollar store 15 years ago? Well they’re the definition of a glow up because now they offer everything you need for your morning routine. Talk about ballin’ on a budget, I don’t think that you can get more affordable. Elf flies under the radar with their cruelty free and 100% vegan products, who would have guessed? I used their bronzer and blush compact for years (it’s a spot on NARS dupe), and still use their Instant Lift Brow Pencil that rings in at a whopping $2.

Flawless Finish Foundation: $6

7. Goop

Goop might be the weirdest brand out there. And I am HERE for it. They sell literally everything. Skincare, makeup, jade eggs, clothes, and, ahem, *interesting* scented candles (iykyk). But I’m here to talk about their sunscreen. I was once anti-sunscreen, I loved me a good tan. My older self is going to be PISSED at my 15 year old self. Anyway, my best friend bugged me about sunscreen until I gave in (thanks, Manda). So now I’m a daily wearer, yes even in frigid-ass Maine. I’m not talking Coppertone, I’m talking SuperGoop, the Cadillac of sunscreens. It’s moderately expensive, but you can’t put a price on the fight against leathery skin, am I right?

Daily Correct CC Cream (SPF 35): $36

8. Glossier:

There’s nothing like getting that pink bubble wrap cosmetic bag in the mail. Glossier is the balm dot com, literally (again, iykyk). Glossier offers a decent amount of vegan products (19 to be exact) but not all fall into that category. Their "Wowder" loose powder is my personal favorite to achieve the counter intuitive "no make up, makeup look."

Wowder: $22

Honorable mention:

For the sake of time, here are a few other brands that won't break the bank or your conscience. Burt's Bees: especially their 100% natural All Aglow bronzer and blush sticks which are an affordable alternative to Nudestix. CoverGirl: one of the first drugstore brands to commit to being cruelty free, they also have a new Clean Fresh collection that is 100% vegan.

I think the take home lesson here is to do your due diligence. Be an educated consumer. Stop turning a blind eye the BS of big beauty companies. Stop giving them a pass. Honor your body, nourish it. There are so many clean, guilt free options out there. Way beyond this list. But this is a great place to start- no research needed!

Don't be a stranger. Reach out with questions or to share your clean favorites!


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