I'm a Beauty Director who's passionate about using sustainable products - here's how I make sure I'm using trustworthy brands

As a conscious consumer navigating the sea of green claims, I find ethical brands with B Corp certification offer clear guidance.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

As a Beauty Director who's seen it all and a shopper who really cares about what goes into my beauty cabinet, I get how tricky it can be to wade through the sea of "green" promises. Is this brand really sourcing ingredients ethically? Are they treating their people right? Do they actually care about our planet, or is it all just for show? That's where spotting a B Corp certification really changes the game for me. It's like a trusty flashlight in a murky, claim-filled tunnel, guiding me to brands that walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

B Lab, who hand out these certifications, check if brands really are making a positive dent on social and environmental fronts, being transparent, and holding themselves accountable - and this B Corp month, I wanted to shout about the great work they're doing. When I see that B Corp brand, I know it's not just another pretty package or a product with a sprinkle of natural ingredients. These brands are the real deal, tackling the big stuff like cutting down emissions, ensuring fair working conditions, and truly setting the bar high for sustainability in beauty. 

By buying B Corp, I ensure I'm supporting businesses that care as much about our planet and its people as I do. And in a world where every choice counts, that's a pretty powerful feeling. So here's a big shoutout to B Corp – you've got my wholehearted thumbs up for making the beauty world a better place, one ethical choice at a time. Keen to know how to spot a B Corp or ethical business from one that's... well, not so ethical? Keep scrolling for my top tips. 

I'm a Beauty Director - here's how I make sure I'm investing in sustainable brands

1. I look for transparent brand practices

In the beauty world, transparency often takes a backseat, making it hard for us to truly know what we're buying into. However, B Corp certification changes that. It offers the assurance that a brand not only sources ingredients ethically and operates sustainably, but also that it treats its workers fairly. 

Elemis is a good example of a brand that showcases this B Corp certification openly, highlighting it on product pages, making it easy for shoppers like me to identify and support brands aligned with our values. Elemis stands out with a transparency score of 93, pledging to use its business as a force for good. The brand embraces 100% renewable energy in its facilities and ensures fair wages. Their efforts in improving sourcing, partnering with global charities, and enhancing biodiversity illustrate how Elemis not only talks the talk but walks the walk in social and environmental stewardship. This level of openness and dedication is exactly why Elemis earns my trust and admiration.

2. I look for innovation and green chemistry 

The innovation I've seen from B Corp beauty brands is astounding. They're often at the forefront of green chemistry, creating products that are not only effective but also gentle on the earth. Their commitment to sustainability doesn't limit their creativity; it fuels it, leading to some of the most effective and luxurious beauty products I've ever used. 

Medik8 stands out for its innovative use of sustainable biotechnology, proving that cutting-edge science and environmental ethics can coexist, resulting in highly effective and eco-friendly skincare solutions. By targeting Net Zero by 2040 and adhering to the Climate Pledge, eliminating airfreight, utilising 100% renewable energy through solar power, and removing unnecessary packaging components, Medik8 exemplifies environmental responsibility. Additionally, as a certified Living Wage Employer that publishes yearly Impact reports and audits its supply chain for ecological risks, Medik8 sets a high standard for ethical and sustainable practices in the beauty industry.

 3. I look for environmental stewardship

B Corp's Environmental Stewardship practices set a high bar for corporate responsibility, emphasising sustainable operations and conservation of biodiversity.

Leading this charge is Weleda, a brand synonymous with organic and efficacious skincare since its inception in 1921. Recognising the bond between nature and the human body, its commitment to sustainability is evident in innovative practices like open-seed pollination to preserve seed diversity. Weleda's efforts have been recognised with a UEBT certification from the Union of Ethical BioTrade, highlighting its dedication to ethical sourcing and biodiversity. On top of all that, the brand is proactive in resource management, transparent about the costs of its materials, and staunchly supports soil health initiatives.

4. I look for social responsibility

The social responsibility of a B Corp brand goes beyond product quality and environmental care—it extends into the realm of ethical practices, community support, and fair labour standards. These brands set a benchmark for corporate accountability, ensuring that their operations uplift everyone involved, from the ground up. 

Dr. Bronner’s stands as a prime example of this principle in action. Known for its commitment to social equity, the brand ensures fair wages and uses fair trade ingredients, fostering a positive impact well beyond its immediate business. By investing in the communities from which they source, Dr. Bronner’s enhances local living conditions and education, truly embodying the ethos of contributing back to society.

5. I look for community development

Finally, B Corp certified brands are recognised for their efforts to positively impact both local and global communities, fostering growth, and sustainability beyond their direct business operations. L'Occitane exemplifies this commitment beautifully, investing deeply in community development and environmental conservation, setting a standard for how companies can contribute to a healthier, more equitable world while still achieving commercial success.

L'Occitane stands out for its deep commitment to community development and environmental conservation. Their work includes empowering local artisans and farmers through sustainable sourcing practices and participating in initiatives that safeguard natural environments and encourage biodiversity. Since the 1980s, L’OCCITANE has directly sourced shea butter from the women of Burkina Faso. Beyond its well-known health benefits, shea butter, or ‘women’s gold,’ has been a vital income source for Burkinabé women and their partnership with local producers ensures they receive a steady income while customers enjoy premium products crafted through traditional techniques. Initially collaborating with a small group, L’OCCITANE and its Foundation now support over 42,000 Burkinabé women, buying directly from five cooperatives. This sustained effort not only keeps local enterprises flourishing but also preserves age-old craftsmanship for future generations.

Lisa Oxenham

An award-winning health and beauty writer, stylist and creative director, Lisa Oxenham is one of the UK’s top beauty editors and the Beauty and Style Director at Marie Claire UK. With 20 years of editorial experience Lisa is a brand partnership expert, and a popular speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of topics from sustainability to the future of beauty in the digital world. She recently spoke at Cognition X and Beauty Tech Live and is on the Advisory Board for the British Beauty Council’s Sustainable Beauty Coalition.

A well-respected creative director she works on celebrity, model and influencer shoots with the highest calibre of photographers, filmmakers, make-up artists and hairstylists to create timeless images, attention-grabbing videos, digital events and masterclasses. Most recently Lisa has directed covers such as Lily Cole and Jameela Jamil, films such as Save The Arts featuring Francesca Hayward and sustainable fashion shoots such as Be The Change. Supporting the beauty industry over the pandemic has been a top focus, directing the British Beauty Council’s six inspirational short biographical films for their Bring Back Beauty campaign.

Lisa is a wellbeing and beauty influencer with a focus on mental health and a large and engaged audience on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.