With the recent happy news here at Fly Away Bride (we have a baby on the way in March!) I’ve been thinking more about what I put on my skin. A little bit of research turns up a whole lot of information about what actually goes into a lot of beauty products. Remember, these are products we use every day. Skin is the largest organ of the body and much of what we put on our skin is transdermal. That means, what we put on our body can go INTO our body. 

Our basic definition of an ethical product is one that is safe for people to produce and use, does not harm animals, and respects the earth in all aspects of the product’s lifecycle. Most of us want to be as beautiful as we can, but we don’t want to buy our beauty at a cost to the world we live in. There are a whole range of factors to look at in examining whether a beauty brand is “ethical”. Without getting into minute detail, consider for a second the journey your beauty products go on. An ethical company considers not only the pureness of their ingredients but also where and how these ingredients are sourced, how the workers who harvest and process the product are treated, their own factory practices along with their packaging and shipping policies. A look into the “About us” or “Philosophy” tabs on many company sites will tell you how much these brands are doing in this regard.

Ethical Beauty Products

Ethical contenders: Weleda | Aveda | Intelligent Nutrients | RMS Beauty | Neal’s Yard | Burt’s Bees | Dr Hauschka


– What is the general philosophy of the brand?  Technology and the times have changed dramatically in the past ten years. Are the brands you are loyal to changing with the times? 

– Are the ingredients in the brand’s products free of harmful chemicals and synthetic preservatives? How do you know? And if not, is the company working to reduce these “bad actors” and are they setting timelines for achieving their goals?

– Do they use genetically altered ingredients? While genetically altered products may be safe in the short term, ethical branding is all about looking to the future. What cost will genetically altering these plants have on our world and human health long term?

– Are ingredients from developing countries Fair Trade certified or have equivalent, independently verified programs in place that ensure workers and farmers are paid fairly?

– Are their products tested on animals? The EU is ahead of the USA in this regard having banned animal-tested cosmetics and ingredients since 2009. Interestingly India has recently become the leading country on this issue in South Asia. For more information check out Cruelty Free International.

– Is product packaging minimal, biodegradable, recyclable or reusable?

Ethical Beauty Products

Up and coming brands: Osea | Zoya | Surya Brasil | Abache Organics | Voya


Cosmetic companies are getting better at providing us with better products. In some cases they are improving their ingredients, in other cases they are paying close attention to how they source their ingredients and some are working to reduce carbon emissions in the production and distribution of their products. No one company has all of the answers. For more info on potentially hazardous materials in cosmetics and their regulation check out this article in Washington Toxics Coalition, and Skin Deep’s list of ingredients and products to avoid. For tips on simple and effective beauty routines, check out founder of RMS Beauty Rose-Marie Swift’s site Beauty Truth (her background story is interesting). You can keep up to date with beauty news by keeping an eye on who’s winning recent Sustainable Beauty Awards. A special thank you to Mary T’Kach for her invaluable help with this article. We’d love to hear of more cosmetics that you consider ethical, so feel free to comment with any brands or products you use!

6 Responses

  1. Sukey at Dress for the Wedding

    Firstly, congratulations on your happy, happy news! I love this post – I have reactions to so many products out there, and it made me realize how many toxic things there in today’s products. The entire line of Dr. Hauschka products has become one of the few things I trust and use! I’m definitely bookmarking the lists you’ve recommended!


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