Updated: May 26
The pandemic caused most of us to stay indoors for an extended period of time, and with restrictions slowly being lifted, there’s no better time than now to revamp your makeup collection. We say out with old, expired makeup, and in with eco-cosmetics!
HOW CAN WE CHOOSE MORE ECO-CONSCIOUS MAKEUP?
All-natural ingredients that are ethically sourced
Support local brands and businesses
Check for the company’s sustainable practices and green initiatives
Choose reusable, refillable or biodegradable packaging
Treat anyone on your list to some goodies from our top picks of Canadian clean beauty brands you can get behind:
With a focus on sourcing ingredients from small, local growers, Toronto-based Graydon Skincare creates products rooted in plant-based superfood formulas. They also work with local manufacturers and distributors, in an effort to support local whenever possible. The acknowledgement of their presence on traditional territory, through the First Nations Land Acknowledgement, shows their respect for the land they live on.
The results-driven products of this Canadian skincare brand are suitable for a wide range of skin tones and are predominantly vegan. All packaging is recyclable, except for the pumps and droppers. Additionally, they are committed to animal welfare, which is why they are Leaping Bunny certified, and their entire line is cruelty-free.
Stand-Out Product: Face Glow Tinted Moisturizer, Primer + Illuminator $46. This convenient, multi-functional beauty product is the Winner of the 2020 Eco Excellence Awards Best Skin Care: For Her. Because it is multi-purpose, it reduces the steps in your beauty regimen, while still giving you a dewy, radiant complexion for that natural, make-up-free look.
Pure + Simple is a spa, self-care and health centre devoted to sustainable, all-natural wellness. Their skincare philosophy is based on the holistic Ayurvedic perspective on mind, body, and spirit connection. A comprehensive selection of skincare, haircare, bodycare, as well as, makeup is available, and are made with simple, safe and natural ingredients - free of harmful additives - geared towards those looking for products that support a healthy, natural lifestyle.
Their commitment to sustainability is through their bottle return program, and by supporting local environmental organizations. They have partnered with Terracycle, an eco-friendly company that recycles ‘non-recyclables’. Each used yet cleaned bottle can be returned to Pure + Simple Zero Waste Recycling Boxes, earning you $1 in-house credit.
They have also connected with local environmental organizations like Planet in Focus, an environmental media arts organization that raises awareness, discussion, and engagement on a wide range of environmental issues - through film, and Environmental Defense, Canada’s leading environmental advocacy organization, that challenges and inspires change by working with the government to ensure a greener and healthier communities.
We love their Flawless Complexion Foundation $40.95, a nut-free liquid foundation that conceals and moisturizes. Pair with the lightweight Pressed Powder $30.95 in their eco-friendly refillable compact $12.95.
Founded on the principles of the creator’s childhood in The Bahamas, Lyla Naturals fully embodies the meaning of its name - an organic way of life, from the islands. With a mission to promote the importance of wellness and the belief that luxury self care should be accessible to everyone, they’ve created simple, yet award-winning and effective, beauty products.
Included in the 2021 Clean Beauty Awards line-up are their Fresh Mint Curl Defining Crème and Hair Mask, as well as, Sugar Crush Body Polish. Each product is made with certified clean ingredients and are registered with Health Canada. Formulated with plant leaf extracts and superfood ingredients, their 100% vegan and cruelty-free products do not contain parabens nor artificial fragrances.
Shereen Sands, creator of Lyla Naturals, pays homage to her roots and offers safe, eco-friendly solutions for your hair and skin. These products are perfect for a luxurious, relaxing spa day at home or a quick and clean routine, and make for great eco-friendly corporate gifts.
Affordable, conscious makeup and self-care products, fueled by kindness - this is what Evio Beauty stands for. Envisioned by Brandi Leifso in 2014 from a women’s shelter, her business was backed by people who were looking for cosmetics companies that did good. Her inspiring story resonated, redefining inclusivity in the makeup sector. They currently have collections of judgement-free, gender-neutral, and good-for-you makeup and skincare products aimed at people of all demographics.
Evio Beauty is a collection of affordable luxe makeup for all skin types, including a Cream Concealer $16 and Cream Blush $14. Made with naturally derived ingredients that are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, toxin-free, and paraben-free, and focused on conscious packaging, production and manufacturing practices. They have clean and green beauty products that break stigmas for a kind and conscious future, with a recycling program currently in the works!
Some of their other efforts include local manufacturing, minimizing water use in their formulas, creating multi-use products in one packaging mould, using sustainable natural ingredients and biodegradable materials. They have also partnered with Green Story - an interactive, integrated and intuitive online platform calculator, that uses algorithms and data to analyze each product’s carbon footprint.
In 2020, the 1 for 1 program was launched - where they donate 1 product for every product purchased, with more than 1,000 already having been donated. Because of the influence that the Women’s Shelter had in the success of the business, $1 from every Evio product sold is donated to Canadian Women’s Foundation. Some other organizations they support include WoodGreen’s Homeward Bound Program and YWCA.
near Cambridge-Narrows, New Brunswick
Skin-positive messages, filler-free products, and a foundation in nature Grounded Sage believe in a clean, effective and personalized journey of caring for the skin. You can choose from a variety of their products including natural, organic, holistic skincare products, soaps and cosmetics, as well as skincare counselling and problem skin solutions. All of their products are ethically handcrafted in small batches, and are Leaping Bunny and PETA-Certified Cruelty-Free.
Since 2009, Founder Jamie Sabot believed in getting to know and developing a healthy relationship with her skin and sharing what she’s discovered by solving skincare concerns with products that are healthy for you and the planet. They carefully and sustainably select plant-derived ingredients and handcraft small batches of natural, homegrown beauty products that work with your skin.
Rooted to nature, their makeup comes from their line of clean cosmetics. Their Clean Slate Natural Black Mascara $29.95 is a 2-in-1 dream stick that is not only a long-wear, smudge-proof mascara but also a nourishing lash serum with lengthening, thickening and nourishing properties. We also love their 3-Shade Pink Mineral Pressed Matte Blush $32.95 for its blendable, lightweight and long-lasting nature that complements an array of skin tones.
As an example of their efforts to contribute to sustainability, Grounded Sage utilizes reusable, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable packaging materials, which include glass jars, cardboard tubes, and recycled kraft paper.
The Annual Soap Drive is a unique initiative, in which each November the proceeds of the sale of full-size soap bars are donated to a selected charity. Various local animal charities, rescues, and sanctuaries benefit from their charitable donations.
Vancouver, British Columbia
When an Emmy-nominated and Leo Award-winning makeup artist creates a green beauty line, it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about what works for your skin. Having been in the film and television industry for over 20 years, veteran makeup artist JoAnn Fowler, worked with more makeup brands than you can think of - including natural skincare products that promised results.
Although some brands can work for regular use, for the cameras it is often a different story. None of which she tried worked for her clients’ needs and so she began experimenting with her own products. Soon after launching SAPPHO, she was getting calls from stores asking to carry them in stock as they were gaining notoriety on production sets. Now SAPPHO New Paradigm is available to everyone looking for sustainable, vegan, and organic makeup that performs.
Green beauty enthusiasts rave about the brand’s Maximum Intensity Vegan Mascara $36. It is deeply pigmented and lasts all day without giving you ‘raccoon eyes’ while washing off easily with water. The product is made with over 70% certified organic content, has low heavy metal minerals which is ethically sourced and certified child labour free. Their products are also PETA certified vegan and cruelty free.
SAPPHO New Paradigm’s products are formulated and manufactured in Canada, in a zero carbon footprint facility. They are packaged using sustainable materials such as metal, biodegradable plastic, and recyclable glass.
How great would it be to take one eye shadow stick with you and be able to use it for multiple functions? That’s exactly what Nudestix’s Magnetic Eye Luminous Colour $29 does! One stick is your eyeshadow, eyelid primer, eyeliner, and cream highlighter stick all in one. Giving you intense colour and moisturizing ingredients in one convenient product. Talk about the perfect makeup brand for minimalists.
This multi-functional idea spans across multiple products in Nudestix’s cosmetics line; safe for use on lips, cheeks, and eyes. They are known for their natural, fresh-face look free from parabens, preservatives, and gluten, and has never been tested on animals.
Many of their products come in a reusable tin with a built-in mirror, making it easy to carry around and use when out. Their Save-a-Tin program helps customers recycle their used tins and tubes responsibly with a postage-paid bag (you can choose to add this when making your purchase online) and it will be sent to a recycling facility. Their Nudeskin plastic packaging is also 100% biodegradable in landfills.
Victoria, British Columbia
Elate Cosmetics’s mission is to change the face of sustainable makeup through innovative products. They are all about minimizing your beauty regime by helping you create a customized capsule makeup collection.
Follow their interactive capsule makeup guide to determine your makeup essentials. By consuming less, you are creating less waste and spending less mental and physical space each day to create the look you want. Their Brow Balm $28 is the world’s first vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free brow product. It comes in a reusable bamboo compact or seed paper refill packaging, ready to be planted!
Kindness is at the forefront of their values: kindness to yourself, the environment, and those who are in this world with you. Their Conscious Beauty Principles are founded on 5 pillars: impact, ethics, community, future, and mission. Every step in the brand’s decision-making is intentional. Elate has partnered with Plan International, One Tree Planted, and Sheldrick Wildlife Fund for their ongoing charitable donations.
St. Catharines, Ontario
If you’re like us and lip gloss is your go-to lip product, you’ll love the Full SUSTAIN Lipgloss Collection $119 from Cheekbone Beauty, a Canadian-made, vegan, and cruelty-free assortment of their hydrating gloss. Ingredients are always sustainably sourced locally (when possible) and crafted with premium 50% PCR - Post Consumer Recycled/Post Consumer Resin plastic, an upcycled packaging alternative.
An Indigenous-owned cosmetics brand hailed for their premium, cruelty-free liquid lipsticks, contour, and highlight palettes, Cheekbone Beauty combines their products with advocacy and funding for Indigenous youth across the country.
Creator, Jennifer Harper, strives to educate Canadians about the Residential School System and its effects on families in the Indigenous communities. She is a frequent speaker at universities, colleges, and high schools covering topics such as social entrepreneurship, empathy, and her First Nations family. The Cheekbone team founded and donates 10% of their profits to the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.
With a goal of being zero-waste by 2023, they define their success not by how much you “attain for yourself, but instead in what you give back to your community”.
Whistler, British Columbia