My Top 4 High-End Ethical Makeup Brands
MORNING FRIENDS! I am so blooming excited to share my top luxury and ethical makeup brands. I love having found brands that aren't compromising on my values, and still allow me to peruse the chic shelves of Mecca. Yes, you can get luxury makeup without it being produced unethically!! (Why can't I insert a thousand hands up emojis here!?) I've got my top 4 brands and my fave products, and how they're different from a very well-loved brand that is UNethical. Let's jump straight in eh?
Hourglass. Oh myyyy sweet goodness. Basically every product I have tried from this brand I have bought. Right from the beginning the founder, Carisa Janes, has created a luxury brand that DELIVERS. Pigment? Check. Beautiful and blendable powders? Check. Day to night products? Check. No products contain the nasties like parabens or sulphates, they don't test on animals and all of their brushes are vegan. WIN WIN WIN. So I've narrowed down my long list of loves to my top 5 products in no particular order.
Probably what Hourglass is most well-known for (and for good reason) is their range of powders. I have to share my most-used which is by far the Ambient Lighting Palette. You just can't go wrong with a setting powder, bronzer and highlight in sleek and compact packaging. It makes an excellent travel companion and is flattering year-round on the skin. In summer I barely stray from the Ambient Lighting Bronzer in 'Luminous Bronze Light', because it works so well with a tan and gives my cheekbones a very cool bronzed look that they would never have otherwise. The only drawback for this one is that I can't recommend it on skin fairer than mine - best to stick to the aforementioned trio or try out some of their lighter shades.
I'm on to my third Arch Brow Sculpting Crayon - not only does it give a more natural finish because of the waxy and blendable crayon, but you can brush it out with the spoolie (such a fun word) on the other end. I'm ~all~ about the multi-function of travel-friendly and brow sculpting goodness. Another more recent but nonetheless already well-used brow product is the Arch Brow Gel. You get an excellent amount of product on the brush and I love the Soft Brunette shade for my 'no-makeup makeup' days. It gives that little bit of colour and shows my unruly curly hairs who is boss. For the face I can't go past the Vanish Foundation Stick because once again, it's multi-purpose; I can use it as a light concealer on days I don't want to wear a lot, or build it up to a more full coverage foundation (after some experimenting I personally think it blends best with a brush). Have you used any of these? Let me know so we can bask in our Hourglass obsession together.
Chantecaille. There is SO much to love about this brand. Their ethos of botanical innovation means products are beautifully formulated with quality and sustainable ingredients. They are free of harmful ingredients like phthalates, sulphates, detergents, mineral oil and petrolatum, as well as being a completely cruelty-free company. To top it off, Chantecaille do a lot of work to draw awareness and raise funds for endangered animals and the environments at risk because of climate change. My favourite product is the Mascara Faux Cils. More often than not when I've worn this I've been asked if I'm wearing false lashes or if I've got extensions, it's that good. It goes on like a dream which comes back to it's rosewater based formula - it's never cakey, clumpy or that weird 'hard lash' look, instead giving ultimate curl and length. First couple of uses gives a lot of product though so wipe the brush back into the bottle a couple of times before applying.
RMS Beauty. If it's good enough for Emma Watson, it's good enough for you. Reading the 'Beauty Truth' section on the website gives you an indication of the level of passion for toxic-free products that founder Rose-Marie has poured into the brand. The packaging is all biodegradable, recyclable or reusable. Minimal use of heat is involved in manufacturing products, so the nutrients are kept alive. For example the Un Cover-Up which I use is coconut oil based, so it's moisturising for the skin and hasn't been tempered with too much. It is also a perfect light concealer for pimples because it doesn't make them worse (ain't nobody got time for that). Sure, it's not as heavy coverage as a foundation, but it's ideal for days where you want to cover some redness/under-eye darkness because you were binge-watching The Office last night...
Ilia. A luxe brand that incorporates as much bioactive organic ingredients as possible and is encased in recycled aluminium packaging (I mean, just look at it...). I am especially in love with the lip products because of their pigment and quality, with a pure and understandable ingredient list. The Tinted Lip Conditioner has been a long-standing staple of mine because it's nourishing (which I need particularly in the cooler months) and isn't too heavy - it gives a really nice tint to the lips that you could build up if you wanted, and never looks harsh even in the darker shades. The Satin Lip Cream Crayon is a recent purchase but even after a few uses I'm hooked because it's such an easy application and makes me feel Parisian (because if you don't aspire to be Parisian chic do you even have aspirations). Shade featured is called '99 Red Balloons' so that's also fabulous.
While these brands are doing wonderful things and championing the way forward in the beauty industry, there are still many brands that are not following suit.
Let's take NARS for example. A worldwide, cult beauty brand with a lot of media coverage and influencers backing them. They are well known for their sheer glow foundation, but perhaps lesser known for their poor working conditions in Chinese factories that manufacture many of their products. The overarching parent company of brands including NARS and Laura Mercier is Shiseido. All of these brands, at some stage in the development of their products, test on animals and uphold UNethical practises.
Now you don't have to be a mad animal lover to understand the importance and severity of this. Not only are animals treated poorly in this process - like blinding and poisoning - but this form of testing does not prove that it benefits humans. Given how far medical research has come and the amount of alternatives to animal testing that exist and WORK... why companies with such high regard still use this as a method astounds me!
SO this is not to say you need to immediately throw out all of your NARS products - I still have a blush by them from many years ago before I knew and that is okay. It is wasteful just to chuck it. BUT I hope that this has highlighted to you some of the great brands and how luxury and ethics can work hand-in-hand. You can still shop at places like Mecca while making conscious, ethical choices.