About the brand: Before delving into the world of beauty, the parent company behind clean brand Biossance developed the technology that led to an antidote for malaria. It’s this same biotechnology that has been used to create plant-based skincare that is good for both your health and your skin. This Californian brand has centred its skincare products on a single ingredient: squalane. Naturally found in our own skin, squalene is responsible for keeping our skin baby soft. Sadly though, our reserves of this super hydrator go into decline as early as our 20s, leaving skin less smooth and more vulnerable.
Why it's special: With roots in science and sustainability, every product in this line promises completely non-toxic, results-driven formulations. The brand also uses eco- friendly formulas and packaging, making it an enviro friendly option.
Ethical stance: Completely plant based without nasties, Biossance has been verified by the Environmental Working Group, which advocates for environmental health and clean beauty products.
Our pick: Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, $112. Packed with both squalane and vitamin C, this face oil boosts glow and helps defend against free radical damage.
About the brand: Born from a need to create skincare that was both skin balancing and super natural, Votary is the brainchild of co-founder Arabella Preston, a UK-based celebrity make-up artist who was seeking a bit of balance. “I needed to use foundations with silicones and mineral oils in order to do my job well,” says Preston. “I felt if the skincare I used could be as natural as possible that would create a good balance. My skin was happier too.”
Why it's special: Votary is your go-to for natural cleansing and facial oils, with skincare devotees clamouring for the Super Seed range, which is fused with chia, green tea, pumpkin and pomegranate oils to work on super dry and sensitive skin types.
Ethical stance: All Votary products are vegan, cruelty-free and never tested on animals. The brand is also made in the UK in small batches, from the highest quality ingredients.
Our pick: Super Seed Facial Oil, $140. This popular facial oil is a winner for rehydrating and correcting ageing or hormonal skin.
3. RMS BEAUTY
About the brand: Loved by many celebs, such as Emma Watson and Alexa Chung, natural make-up brand RMS Beauty is made entirely from raw, food-grade and organic ingredients. Created by celebrity make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty is a well-edited range of squeaky-clean products, such as the brand’s cult-followed “Un” Cover-up concealer.
Why it's special: RMS Beauty uses organic ingredients in their natural state to retain the skin-bene ting nutrients. Meaning? This make-up line boosts your skin as you wear it.
Ethical stance: It’s all made with raw, non-GMO food-grade ingredients, without chemical preservatives. No RMS Beauty product is tested on animals, and many of its containers are made with recyclable glass.
Our pick: RMS Beauty Sensual Skin Trio, $49. An all-in-one complexion perfector made with tightly pressed powders that magically glide on like a cream.
4. BITE BEAUTY
About the brand: According to Bite Beauty’s founder, Susanne Langmuir, the average woman swallows between two to three kilograms of lipstick in a lifetime. With the idea that what goes onto your lips should be as good as what goes into your mouth, Bite Beauty was born. Created in 2012 by Langmuir in collaboration with Sephora, Bite Beauty offers up a bevvy of natural lip products such as lipsticks, glosses and pencils.
Why it's special: Every Bite Beauty product boasts high doses of resveratrol. Derived from red wine grapes, this ingredient is chock full of antioxidants to help protect lips against environmental nasties.
Ethical stance: Bite Beauty is cruelty-free and does not test on animals. All Bite Beauty products are edible and made with 100 per cent food grade ingredients.
Our pick: Bite Beauty Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub, $30. A three-in-one lip scrub that cleanses, exfoliates and conditions your lips, leaving them feeling super soft.
5. INDIE LEE
About the brand: New York brand Indie Lee was born when the brand’s founder, Indie Lee, woke up from a successful operation to remove a rare, life-threatening brain tumour. From that day she decided to create a high-end skincare and cosmetics line that is both eco-friendly and toxin free. “Our approach with the types of ingredients that may be linked to health issues is ‘when in doubt, formulate out’,” says Lee. “Some of the ingredients we choose to avoid using in our products are parabens, sulphates, aluminum, phthalates, BHA and BHT, among a host of others.” The result is a super-stylish brand that blends natural ingredients with high-tech science.
Why it's special: This clean beauty brand feels and looks as luxe as it is good for you.
Ethical stance: Indie Lee is Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free, and every ingredient in this range has been ethically sourced.
Our pick: Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition, $119. Dosed with buzz ingredients squalane (derived from sugarcane), Rosehip seed, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, this daily moisturiser will get skin looking plump, bright and clear.
About the brand: If you’re after a brand that’s equal parts natural, earth-friendly and fun, BYBI is your go-to. Founded by beauty bloggers and cosmetic formulators Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic, this UK brand believes in full transparency. “Just from listening to our community, we’ve found that people seek out clean and natural beauty products for a diverse range of reasons; from not being able to understand ingredients labels, to experiencing problems with their skin, or reading a great review on social media,” says Rutterford. “We definitely believe the clean beauty trend is becoming the norm and not the exception.”
Why it's special: It’s 100 per cent natural, certified vegan and environmentally-friendly, BYBI is a well-crafted line of pretty-yet-effective skincare.
Ethical stance: BYBI products are cruelty-free, vegan and formulated with naturally derived ingredients. A majority of their products are sold in either glass bottles or sugarcane-derived bioplastic tubes to help combat waste and minimise the environmental impact of production.
Our pick: BYBI Babe Balm, $29. An SOS all-rounder product for every nick and dry patch, this multipurpose balm deeply nourishes thanks to shea butter, fruit wax and carrot.
About the brand: Californian brand Playa offers up effortless cool-girl locks using naturally derived ingredients and a less-is-more approach to hair care. Launched in 2017, Playa founder Shelby Wild was on a mission to simplify her own hair routine with simple, harm-free products. “We wanted to create hair products that help achieve tousled, effortless beach waves,” says Wild. Worried natural hair products won’t stand up to their conventional counterparts? Don’t be. “We have balanced science and nature to maintain the efficacy you expect from salon-based products,” Wild assures us.
Why it's special: Chemicals such as sulphates and silicones, which are often found in haircare products, have been swapped out for natural alternatives. Case in point: the much-loved Pure Dry Shampoo, which enlists rose powder and star anise to soak up excess oils and refresh locks.
Ethical stance: The range is made from all-natural ingredients and falls under the Environmental Working Group’s guidelines.
8. TATA HARPER
About the brand: Non- toxic and cruelty-free, luxe natural brand Tata Harper Skincare creates many of its organic ingredients from its 485-hectare farm in Vermont in Upstate New York. If you are seeking natural products packed full of plant ingredients, oils and scents, this clean line of masks, cleansers and essences is for you.
Why it's special: Founder Tata Harper not only carefully crafts products from high-performance natural ingredients, she utilises next-generation skin technology for glowing, flawless skin.
Ethical stance: Tata Harper is 100 per cent natural, non-toxic and cruelty-free. The majority of the products are packaged to reduce their environmental impact.
Our pick: Tata Harper Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer, $172. Dosed with vitamins and minerals and skin moisturising hyaluronic acid, this lightweight hydrator boosts hydration and reduces redness.
This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of marie claire.