Sustainability has rightly become a hugely important factor in the beauty industry, with consumers increasingly opting for skincare products which won't do any harm to the environment.
Granted, greenwashing is a concern, with some brand signposting to green credentials that don't really hold up under scrutiny, but brands are making huge leaps towards producing excellent products while focussing on nurturing the planet.
For this year's Marie Claire UK Skin Awards, our panel of expert judges tested hundreds of products across our Cleanse, Treat, Moisturise, Sustainability and New to Market categories to create a definitive edit of the best in skincare. To help you make the best sustainable skincare choices, here's our top picks...
Best Environmentally-Friendly Packaging
Winner: REN Clean Skincare Aluminium Sample
REN Skincare is known for its innovation in sustainability, and this packaging modernisation is their latest stride. The brand is now introducing the first smart, re-closable, recycled aluminium sample tube made in partnership with Tubex, a global leader in producing aluminium tubes. The system features an aluminium break-off nozzle, further reducing the use of plastic while making the tubes easier to recycle. And the product inside is great to boot.
Highly commended: Tropic Skincare Skin Feast Nourishing Moisturiser
Best Natural Formula
Winner: Lumene Lahde Nordic Hydra Oat Milk Cleanser
Lumene Lahde Nordic Hydra Oat Milk Cleanser, £13 | John Lewis
The Lumene Lahde Nordic Hydra Oat Milk Cleanser goes to show that natural formulas can still be highly effective. The cleanser gently, yet effectively, melts away long-lasting face & eye makeup, SPF, sweat and grim. Containing organic Nordic oat milk, Nordic oat oil, prebiotic Nordic oat xylitol and organic Nordic birch sap, this vegan formula breaks down anything sitting on the skin’s surface like an oil cleanser, but washes off as a milky emulsion. “I love a lot of the ingredients in this product and enjoyed reading about the innovations they'd made with the packaging,” said judge, Michaella Mazzoni. “It was lovely as a second cleanse because it was really hydrating and my skin felt soft after using it.”
Highly commended: Westlab Sleep Bath Salts
Best Organic Brand
Winner: Pai Skincare
With incredibly potent formulas and innovative ingredient use, Pai skincare is a firm favourite among skincare experts for good reasons. Pai launched in 2007 at a time when the organic category was underdeveloped and clean beauty wasn’t yet a thing. Brand founder, Sarah was one of the early champions of certified organic, responsibly cultivated ingredients, passionately believing in their therapeutic properties when many around her didn’t. “Pai is such a great brand for sensitive skin, and I recommend it to people who need a gentle product without hesitation,” says judge, Madeleine Spencer.
Highly commended: Wild Beauty from Rhug Estate
Best Progress Towards Circularity
Winner: Emma Lewisham
Australian brand Emma Lewisham is doing more than just providing wonderful formulas for our skincare routines. The brand spent 12 months working with the world-leading independent environmental certification agency, Toitū Envirocare, to measure the carbon emissions emitted at each stage of its product’s lifecycle and have the brand independently verified as carbon positive at a product level. And in a bid to be completely circular, the brand regenerates the ecosystems it operates in by using renewable energy.
Best Sustainable Brand
Winner: Evolve Organic Beauty
Sustainability is a buzzword that floats around a lot, but few brands embody it the way that Evolve Organic Beauty does. The brand has committed to halving its emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Adding to this, from research across the leading organic UK beauty brands, Evolve Organic Beauty can now also claim to be the most ethical, sustainable and certified organic UK beauty brand—research showed that other beauty brands matched certain aspects of these credentials but no other beauty brands have a comparable breadth of progress across the board.
Highly commended: Neal’s Yard Remedies
Best Vegan Brand
INSÌUM shows the combination of green, vegan beauty and technological advancements, too. Founder, Francesca asked a team of researchers specialising in studies on cellular treatments to develop a complex of advanced biotechnological actives that guarantees help in keeping the skin youthful. “This is a brand I've not heard of before,” notes judge, Jasmine Hemsley. “The formulation of the product I received is impressive, excludes the worst offenders in synthetic formulations and has a beautiful fragrance and feel.”
Highly commended: The Ordinary
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