How green is your beauty routine? 15 sustainable beauty brands recommended by an expert

— by Jo Glanville Blackburn

Image: Karolina Grabowska at Pexels


Have you got to that point in your beauty routine when every twist of a lipstick or a droplet of oil makes you wonder how ethical your favourite beauty brand is? Have you? I did.

As a beauty journalist with over 25 years experience (okay, I’m in denial – actually 34 years and 12 books under my elasticated belt) I have contributed to many leading women’s lifestyle magazines and newspapers, but while I would mention leading cosmetic brands in my work, my personal passion has always been for genuinely greener, aromatherapeutic brands. Having always fought with a general grubbiness of beauty industry ethics (red lipstick is a shocker – try lip balm instead), I now make it my policy to only mention greener brands on social or in print. Yep, they’re the ones that don’t advertise much. They’re also the ones that are still as committed to their customers as they have been to the environment: cruelty-free, sometimes vegan, sustainably sourced, and the ones to trust. I mean, come on: it’s nearly 2022. The beauty business accounts for over £365 billion worldwide*, £27+ billion just in the UK, making us globally the seventh biggest cosmetics market on a pretty tiny island. Time to clean up our act.


Beauty journalist Jo GB


Truth is, it’s more of a grey area than green. ‘Greenwashing’ is the hottest phrase out there. It mainly refers to the notion that a company is more ethical and environmental than it is. Likewise, does your favourite brand sell in China? Rules are still shifting towards more cruelty-free cosmetics, however my gold standard continues to be that if the company has knowingly allowed its end product to be tested on animals for several years, it should be boycotted from the shopping basket.

As consumers we may desire to be greener, but in truth we buy and waste, too much. Our behaviour has to change. ‘Buy less, buy better’ must be our mantra. It’s not just the formula, it’s the packaging it comes in and the energy used in the journey. Recent research by Swiss beauty tech company Reduit has shown that the average household still uses up 24 plastic bottles of shower gel alone a year, yet 11% of us aren’t prepared to make the switch to more sustainable buying. However, that means potentially 89% are! Let’s use LESS product and cartons; be MORE happy with what Mother Nature bestowed; and ask informed questions before we checkout to minimise unnecessary product purchasing. Sure we’re not perfect, but we can be better.



Here are six super green heroes I trust and don’t need to live without:


CV Cha Vohtz Age Defy+ Cell Enrich Facial Oil, £36
From the ‘youth-boosting’ signature skincare created by Charlotte Vohtz, founder of Green People, this quality face oil with rosehip, pomegranate and blackseed extracts is 97% certified organic and vegan. Mixed with a dose of your favourite face cream, you’ve got one wonderful skin plumper morning or night.

Templespa Drift Away Aromatherapy Bath and Massage Oil, £26.
Heavenly scented aromatherapy bath or massage oil, I wear this calming blend of lavender, geranium, frankincense and chamomile essential oil as a fragrance and keep it on my desk to help me unwind.

Weleda Sage Deodorant, £10.50
Love this brand and ADORE this spray! At a time when I had an allergy to all underarm sprays that gave me a ‘hive-like’ itchy rash, it was the ONLY deodorant I could spray directly on my skin. Free from aluminium and synthetics, it’s a beautiful aroma of sage, rosemary and thyme and from a company that has long promoted cruelty-free and recycling.

Ayumi Turmeric & Shea Butter Body Lotion, £6.99.
Beautiful naturals inspired by the Indian art of Ayurveda, this lemongrass scented body butter is a family favourite thanks to its leaping bunny and Peta credentials.

Lily & Rabbit All Natural Artisan Soap in Nettle with Spearmint, £6.
This gentle yet beautifully scented face and body bar means there’s no need for plastics in the bathroom. I like the idea of using a hair shampoo bar too but they’re best suited to fine hair.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, £24
Simply one of the best lifting, curling and defining mascaras in just one coat, this is actually the best-selling luxury mascara in America and is vegan-friendly. My daughters swear by it, too.


And eight more ethical brands I love: Faith in Nature, Evolve Skincare, Inika Organic, RMS, Ilia, Kjaer Weis, The Organic Pharmacy, and Dr Hauschka.


JO GB is an author and beauty & wellbeing writer and founder of Jo GB Living.


*Stat from


Eco-friendly favourites:




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  Have you got to that point in your beauty routine when every twist of a lipstick or a droplet of oil makes you wonder how ethical your favourite beauty brand is? Have you?