From eco-boosting beauty brands to planet-friendly wellness wins: introducing the green game-changers every industry insider has on their radar right now
It’s widely acknowledged that while the beauty, health and wellness industries are designed to benefit people, they often lack the same consideration for the planet.
That’s why the brands celebrated here in the Beauty, Health and Wellness category are commended for their work to halt the industry’s negative impact on our environment, without affecting the quality or efficacy of their products.
Meet the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards 2022 Beauty, Health and Wellness winners…
Biossance’s commitment to ocean perseverance is tangible in every aspect of the brand, and judge and Unilever’s global VP for sustainable business, Karen Hamilton, was particularly impressed with the company’s industry-disruptive development of an alternative to shark liver oil squalene. For years, the industry has relied on the harvesting of sharks for this, but now Biossance has created a sugarcane alternative that’s bioidentical to shark squalene without touching the oceanic ecosystem.
Videos you may like:Video you may like:
Indeed, all Biossance formulations are Green Lab-certified, which is the gold standard for sustainability practices for responsible use of energy, waste, and water. And it doesn’t stop at what’s inside the bottle, either: the label is also committed to eliminating packaging that is harmful to the world’s oceans, opting for FSC-certified conscious packaging and recyclable and compostable bottles and tubes. Oh, and that sugar cane that’s used for the squalene alternative? It utilises the waste from outer cartons. Genius.
“Organic and nature are in Dr. Hauschka’s DNA,” says Marie Claire beauty & style director Lisa Oxenham. “I love everything about this brand – from its wondrous products to its sustainable ethos and ethical commitment. It works hard to respect the earth’s ecosystem.”
Indeed, all Dr. Hauschka products are 100% natural, free from silicones, PEGs, synthetic preservatives, dyes and fragrances, and every product in the range is certified by NATRUE, which is an international association that aims to protect and promote natural cosmetics worldwide. We also love that Dr. Hauschka formulations consist solely of ingredients that are either fully biodegradable or water-neutral.
Judge and CEO of the British Beauty Council, Millie Kendall OBE, commended SBTRCT’s elevated quality and design, proving you don’t have to skip any element of the finished product when you eliminate waste from your production line. Indeed, instead of using vast amounts of water to create its beauty products (like most brands), SBTRCT’s formulations are completely water-free.
It’s not just your shower arsenal that SBTRCT has covered, either: the innovative brand is always pushing boundaries with first-to-market products, including the world’s first solid retinol and vitamin C serum bars last year.
Being such a global name in the haircare space, Herbal Essences embraces its duty to use the brand’s scale and platform to create effective products that don’t harm those we share the planet with.
After becoming PETA cruelty-free certified in 2019, it has continued to work out ways to not only ensure that no part of the product journey encounters any tests on animals anywhere in the world, but it is also committed to producing responsibly and making decisions to protect the planet as a whole.
“This vibrant haircare brand is a consumer favourite for all the right reasons,” says Marie Claire Sustainability Awards judge, Ingrid Newkirk. “We at PETA are delighted to include Herbal Essences in our Beauty Without Bunnies programme.”
Double-winner Tropic is all about ensuring everything it does positively affects people and the planet. The brand is fully vegan and cruelty-free, and 2020 saw the launch of its broad-spectrum, water-resistant sun-protection range, which was formulated using certified reef-safe ingredients. To add to its impressive roster of eco credentials, Tropic is the first beauty brand in the UK and Europe to be awarded the Protect Land + Sea seal of approval for its sun-protection line, too.
“Tropic is a trailblazing brand that delivers on efficacious and luxe-feeling formulas, without compromising on ethics. It also treats the earth with the respect it deserves,” adds Oxenham.
Floral Street really believes in the eco-responsibility of brands running through the entire life cycle of a product, from inception to purchase; it is also vegan and cruelty-free, certified by PETA and The Vegan Society for using environmentally friendly ingredients, and demands a completely ethical supply chain. The brand uses low energy and water extraction of raw materials, too, while glass is recycled back into the production process to ensure nothing goes to waste. Also good: Floral Street opts for vegetable and soy-based inks and laser-etched printing plates with no chemicals for the finishing touches, and customers benefit from a refill station at its Covent Garden store, cutting down waste from future purchases.
Marie Claire editor and judge Sunil Makan says: “ We love the ‘care for the planet’ ethos of this forward-thinking brand. Every step of the way is full of conscious and eco-friendly decisions – and the products smell pretty incredible, too.”
There’s no doubt that sometimes candles can feel like a frivolous buy when you think about the number of jars that might make their way into landfill every year. But with Pott, one pot is all you need. “A great brand– I love the focus on refills, plus use of locally produced pots and vegan waxes,” says our Sustainability Awards judge and founder of Immaculate Vegan, Annick Ireland.
The hand-thrown candle vessels are natural, made in the UK, and house any of the Pott refills – so you can switch out a summer scent for a warming tonka as the nights draw in as soon as you’ve finished it. The wax is 100% natural and scented only with natural essential oils, too.
“This is my winner,” says judge and Soil Association’s business development manager, Sophie Robinson. “Tropic have such an incredible, multi-faceted and holistic approach to everything they do. They are changing the way goods are produced, supporting traditional knowledge and local producers, whilst working to improve education, gender equality and ensuring culture is celebrated.” Indeed, when you look at the company’s credentials, it’s not hard to see why Tropic has been crowned best ethical brand. Being ethical comprises kindness to nature, animals and fellow humans, and doing everything possible to make the planet a better place – which sums Tropic up nicely.
From working with United World School Partnership to developing two products in response to the coronavirus pandemic and gifting more than 50,000 products to NHS workers, the brand is on the pulse of what society needs. With the beauty business often impacting carbon emissions, Tropic is also on a mission to lower its own, which it did this year despite selling more products – surely proof that there is a way to make money and impact the planet positively.
L’OCCITANE’s sustainable supply chain is central to its business strategy and a core commitment to people and the planet. The household favourite has developed an efficient and sustainable manufacturing process that transforms natural and organic ingredients into consumer products, with as little impact as possible to the environment. The supply chain has four pillars that it relies on: traceability, sustainability, fairness, and quality.
“L’OCCITANE is doing some great work in terms of sourcing organic and Fairtrade ingredients – a deserved winner because of its wider impact [compared to] its rivals,” says Marie Claire judge and founder of Ecovia Intelligence, Amarjit Sahota.
BYBI has a very clear mission when it comes to its carbon footprint: already completely carbon-neutral, the company aims to be carbon-negative within the next three years – meaning the company absorbs more greenhouse gases than it emits.
“When judging this category, I wanted to see a holistic approach to cutting carbon footprints,” says judge and founder of Nula, Charlotte Horler. “I wanted brands to talk about their operational footprint, how they are engaging their supply chain to reduce emissions and, ultimately, the innovations that they are embedding into their product and packaging processes that make them a real leader in the category. BYBI ticked all those boxes for me. They are clearly pushing to disrupt the beauty industry with their products, but without forgetting to push for high standards across their manufacturing units.”
And, with the recent launch of Glowcurrant Booster – the world’s first-ever carbon-negative skincare product – the brand seems to be making incredible headway.
Foils, hair, chemical ingredients and tonnes of water. The salon industry is a huge contributor to waste and, for a long time, very little of it would be recycled – instead, up to 92% would head straight to landfill. Now, Green Salon Collective is helping with more eco-friendly practices to create a circular economy. How does it work? The brand recycles 100% of the foil, tubes and hair from salons while offering the salon a 100% zero-to-landfill service on plastic, paper and general waste. Genius.
“Recycling all these elements of salon waste is truly disruptive and taps into an area I’m sure many of us won’t have even considered in the past, says Marie Claire Sustainability Awards judge and podcaster, Gemma Styles. “Having worked in a salon previously myself, I know how much waste can be produced and how difficult it is to recycle through standard means – this could make a real difference.”
And it doesn’t end there: Green Salon Collective uses all of its profits to support local charities, such as FoodCycle and Haircuts 4 Homeless, as well as financially support rewilding projects.
Who doesn’t love it when a household name makes a stamp with sustainability, proving that you can be green and global? The Recycle at Boots scheme is the first of its kind on the high street, aiming to transform the habits of the nation when it comes to recycling their beauty buys. The scheme enables customers to recycle products and get rewarded for doing so – a win-win in our book. No matter where you bought the product, simply bring along at least five empty products and Boots will give customers 250 Boots Advantage Card points when they spend £10 or more.
Since its launch in 2020, more than a million products have been recycled through this scheme and 19 tonnes of plastic have been returned to store. Incredible.
“ The Recycle at Boots scheme is everything a new sustainable initiative should be encouraging – long-term shifts in consumer behaviour on a national level. The scheme succeeded in making it simple for consumers to easily recycle hard-to-recycle products, which would have ended up in landfill otherwise, whilst also rewarding customers for their efforts,” says Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief and awards judge, Andrea Thompson.
Since its inception in 2008, Naturisimo has worked hard to keep the selling and shipping of beauty products as sustainable as possible in a world where people expect everything delivered instantly. It curates products carefully and has partnered with sustainability communications software experts at Provenance to promote transparent, honest claims around sustainability from brands to prevent labels that greenwash entering the site. When it comes to distribution, its eco-friendly packaging is designed to be fully recyclable and biodegradable – in fact, everything down to the ink is environmentally conscious and plant-based.
“I’m really impressed with how far this company is going to be as sustainable as it can be,” says Marie Claire senior beauty editor and judge, Katie Thomas.
A lot of the time, sustainability is down to the way you utilise what’s already available out there, which is something at the core of Seeds of Colour. The brand sources waste organic fruits and vegetables from the British countryside and transforms the plants into the botanical pigments used in its products.
The lineup is curated from a selection of richly pigmented balms suitable for all skin types; plus, the multi-use aspect makes for a much more slimline make-up bag.
Thomas says: “ I’m obsessed with the fact that these are plant-based make-up products, coloured by nature. I love the multi-use products in aluminium packaging, too, and the fact that with every purchase, a tree is planted to help restore ecosystems. ”
“I really like that they’re coming up with a sustainable alternative to an everyday product,” says Thomas. When we think of bladder care the same old-school brands and marketing campaigns come to mind, but Jude’s MO is to put a stop to that with its fresh, fuss-free approach to incontinence. After all, it’s something that affects 1 in 3 women, but has long been a taboo topic and a huge issue for waste. Thankfully, Jude pads are fully degradable within 100 days and the sustainability of the brand doesn’t stop there: the supply chain uses 80% solar energy and the packaging is either biodegradable or recyclable with a low-carbon footprint.
Judge Hannah Cox picked this winner because of the “innovative way they’re bringing sustainability to a new market.” And while Love not War asserts that pleasure is important, it’s also clear it shouldn’t come before the earth. Clever. Indeed, the brand is on a quest to make the pleasure market more sustainable, with more consideration going into the production, packing and materials used for its sex-toy range. Case in point: Love not War opts for recycled or recyclable materials, but specifically aluminium because of how easy it is to recycle. Where plastic is unavoidable in small instances, the brand chooses certified BioPlastic. And as for the packaging, everything down to the soy ink for text is looked at through a sustainability lens.
A major issue for the sex-toy industry is the trickiness of repairing the product post-use, but Love not War offers a repair and recycle service for all its toys, which come in two parts for easy access.
Sustainable skincare brands are now more popular than ever, but they aren’t all built with equal consideration to the planet. Enter: indē wild, a brand created in 2021 by influencer Diipa Büller-Khosla, whose focus is on creating a conscious ecosystem. All ingredients are ethically sourced, vegan and cruelty-free, and the packaging is FSC-certified. Plus, all the glass-bottle vessels are completely recyclable – and look and feel beautiful.
“ This brand combines the finest Ayurvedic superfoods with quality, active ingredients,” says Oxenham. “Büller-Khosla is empowering women with affordable skincare, while also championing conscious beauty. ”
Water is a huge part of every beauty regime, but at home – and during production – it’s a massive strain on our environment. So, if you could reduce the amount used, why wouldn’t you? Object has arrived to make things that bit easier on the planet with its solid shampoos and conditioners, which use just 0.5% water in production, while still being excellent for cleaning our hair. The packaging is zero-waste, compostable and recyclable, and made from up to 50% recycled cotton repurposed from the clothing industry.
“This is an innovative new brand that puts sustainability at the forefront, and has built a strong community of like-minded devotees who champion their values around social reform and ethical consumption. We loved their zero-plastic, compostable and recyclable packaging and ambitious targets to be carbon-positive by the end of 2022. It’s no surprise they have been recognised by top industry regulators for the work they do,” says Thompson.
It’s a tough stat to swallow, but did you know that every year in the UK 300 million toothpaste tubes end up in landfill? Amaku is aiming to end the unsustainability of oral care with its toothpaste tablets. When a customer orders a month’s supply, they receive 62 tablets in a glass container with an aluminium lid, which is fully recyclable. From then on, customers can subscribe for top-ups, which are posted in sealed compostable paper pouches. Water-wise, these tablets contain none, so the production process is as environmentally-friendly as possible and our twice-daily oral hygiene routine becomes more sustainable.
“ I love that Amaku is shaking up oral healthcare with its ingenious use of alternative, natural ingredients. Plus, I’m a fan of both the refill scheme and glass containers to minimise waste, ” says Marie Claire’s health, sustainability & relationships editor and awards judge, Ally Head.
Aptly launched on World Ocean Day 2021, this brand was created by founder Gabi Jennings after watching her children play in the surf on her favourite beach on the Isle of Wight. Their natural instinct was to pick up any rubbish or debris that had washed up on the shoreline. So, through Love Ocean, she now strives to positively impact ocean life before the younger generation is affected beyond repair.
The packaging is made from recycled ocean plastics, and the label’s signature, one-time purchase whale tail bottle is designed to be kept and refilled – a cute homage to the aquatic life Jennings aims to preserve, and encouragement for customers to sign up for regular pouch refills delivered to their door every three months. “Their eye-catching design creates conversations between kids and parents on ocean conservation,” adds Hamilton.
The name SURI is a contraction of ‘sustainable rituals’ which is apt for this oral-care brand that makes our daily brushing habits more sustainable without compromising on how well we clean our teeth. It’s a concept that seems long overdue when you consider that every year, more than 4 billion toothbrushes are thrown out and up to 99.9% cannot be recycled.
Thankfully, SURI is working to change that with its brush heads and bristles, which are made from plant-based materials like cornstarch and castor bean oil – alternatives to commonly used petroleum-based plastics often favoured by brush brands. The modular design is durable and made to be easily recyclable (the handle is made from aluminium) and can be taken apart and repaired, unlike most electric toothbrushes on the market.
As Hamilton says: “[This is a] first in oral care; pioneering sustainability in electric toothbrushes. It even switches off automatically when you have brushed your teeth for the required 2 minutes!”
Your post-gym protein shake has never been so good for you and the planet. “Form’s compostable/plastic-free packaging and re-use program make it stands out,” says actor and awards judge Charity Wakefield. “It’s vegan, it’s pioneering, it’s visionary and it’s accessible. It feels urgent and competitive, youthful and forward-thinking. The product itself is excellent, has longevity, and I am sure it will fuel future green campaigners in all they do to help the planet revive and renew through this difficult period.”
The company has been striving for sustainability excellence since its inception and has been a registered B Corp since 2018, along with being certified Carbon Neutral and Ocean Positive. No detail goes amiss with Form’s quest to cause less impact on the planet, even down to the innovation in shipping boxes, meaning they close without the need for plastic tape and open easily with a tear strip.
The CBD market has really expanded over the past few years, but none matches quality and sustainability like Kloris. Case in point: it uses compostable plant fibre cellulose wrap instead of plastic wrapping on all bathing products, so no single-use plastic ends up in the ocean, as well as unbleached, recycled Kraft card on PEFC/FSC-certified materials, so all packaging is easy to compost. Plus, the products are super-efficacious. “The Kloris CBD products work and can help with everything from anxiety and insomnia to menstrual cramps and backache. Their formulas are biodegradable, contain raw ingredients, and they consider the size of every production run to minimise ingredients and materials being wasted,” adds Oxenham.
There’s no denying that Mooncup was a gamechanger in making period products more sustainable. The Brighton-born company was the world’s first medical-grade silicone menstrual cup and certified ethical-period product brand when it launched in 2002. Now, thanks to its worldwide customer base, 3 billion fewer tampons and pads have ended up on beaches and waterways over the past 20 years. The brand also puts people at the centre of the company goals, with suppliers selected following a rigorous process, including an ethical and environmental criterion. “This brand is not only innovative but shows how far a business can go to truly put people at its heart. Sustainability doesn’t stop with the product,” says sustainability consultant and MC judge Ele Ward.
As Aveda’s first sustainability ambassador, Gina Conway has left no stone unturned when it comes to making eco-friendly decisions for her salons. From low-voltage lighting to water restrictors and working with Green Salon Collective to sort, recycle and compost salon waste. All team members also have to complete the Sustainable Stylist Certification and a Pledge To The Planet contract setting out their commitment to positive change when they join the business, ensuring that the whole company is aligned in its mission to make the planet a better place. As judge Millie Kendall OBE says, Conway is a “brilliant voice of the industry”.
“I love that they tested this on dancers, so it has been put through its paces,” said our Sustainability Awards judge and dental aesthetics director, Dr Uchenna Okoye. And it’s an important test. Natural deodorants have been shunned for years for not performing during high-intensity exercise, forcing consumers to choose between performance or sustainability. Now, AKT uses natural formulations made in the UK with scents inspired by scenes in nature, and the packaging is first-of-its-kind, using aluminium for the tube and caps to ensure products can be easily recycled.
Also good: AKT is free from aluminium chlorohydrate (aluminium salts) – an ingredient found in many other antiperspirants that is thought to block sweat glands and potentially harm aquatic animals and marine life. Instead, AKT uses a natural blend of plant and mineral powders that is invisible on the skin and absorbs natural perspiration.
Far from just paying lip service to sustainable packaging, Ethique has designed boxing and labels that can be buried to nourish your garden. Clever, eh? And, as managing director of Positive Luxury and MC Sustainability Awards judge Amy Nelson-Bennett says, “A fully compostable product? That’s something I’d like to see more of.” Indeed, while compostable packaging is good, at-home compostable packaging is even better, because it makes the process more fuss-free and convenient for consumers. Indeed, when Ethique packaging is placed into your compost bin, or buried in the ground/pushed into a plant pot, it will break down and provide nutrients, contributing to the soil’s ecosystem. Products are also made sans acid, chlorine, laminates or plastic, and are printed using vegetable inks so worms and insects stay safe, too.
“Juni has taken the iconic lipstick and pioneered a fully-recyclable pack,” notes Hamilton. The brand was created by make-up artist and former model Madeleine White, who was keen to bridge the gap between premium and green beauty. The brand is 100% plastic-free and recyclable at home, but customers can also send back their empty packaging. This then gets professionally cleaned and put back into the brand’s manufacturing system for reuse.
The outer packaging is also sustainably-crafted, with labels and mailer boxes free from plastic, and picked to streamline the number of materials used in the packing and delivery process. Cartons are made from FSC- and PEFC-certified uncoated card, too, and secured using biodegradable water-based glue, decorated with vegan-friendly, plant-based inks. What’s not to love?
Marie Claire UK has determined the award winners in accordance with the judging criteria and with the information provided by the entrants. All information provided by the winning brands is published in good faith.