The best in green beauty: Natural, organic, vegan and more

Eco-conscious beauty products are appearing on store shelves everywhere. From mainstream to niche brands, here are 66 green beauty products to choose from

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People friendly beauty products

People friendly beauty products

Whether the companies donate some proceeds to charity, use renewable energy or offer jumbo bottles to refill small ones, these products do their bit to make the world a better place.

1. L'Occitane products have been labelled in Braille since their inception in the '70s. L'Occitane En Provence Lavande De Haute-Provence Eau de Cologne, $50, 300 mL; loccitane.ca.
2. Dr. Bronner's uses certified fair trade ingredients, such as coconut, palm and olive oils. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Unscented Baby-Mild Hemp Pure-Castile Soap, $6, 140 g; select natural and heath food stores.
3. Origins uses windmill energy in its manufacturing. Origins Plantscription Anti-aging Serum, $69, 30 mL; the Bay, thebay.com; Sephora, sephora.com; origins.com.
4. Yes To's "Seed Fund" grants help build school gardens. Yes to Carrots Nourishing Repairing Night Cream, $17, 48 g, Shoppers Drug Mart, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
5. Ojon helps support livelihoods in Honduras, where ojon oil is sourced. Ojon Super Sleek Smoothing Conditioner with Pure Ojon Oil, $25, 250 mL; ojon.com.
6. This Mark by Avon soap has fair trade certified ingredients including cocoa butter. Mark Clean Up Time Con­ditioning Bath Soap, $15 for 3 bars, 96.4 g each; Avon, avon.ca.
7. Clarins' Hydraquench creams have fair trade katafray bark extract. Clarins HydraQuench Rich Cream Very Dry Skin or Cold Climates, $49, 50 mL; drug and department stores.
8. SoftSoap sells giant refill bottles. Soft Soap Hand Soap, $3, 250 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.

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Certified organic beauty products

Certified organic beauty products

Two of the main bodies that offer organic certification are Ecocert Green Life, a for-profit company based in France, and the USDA, whose food-grade certification is also applied to cosmetics and personal care products. The items at left all carry one of these two logos.

1. Green Beaver Apres Ski Boreal Forest Bath Oil, $14, 120 mL; greenbeaver.com.
2. Kibio 24-Hour Effective Deodorant Care, $12, 50 mL; Shoppers Drug Mart, shoppersdrugmart.ca.
3. The Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Eye Cream, $20, 15 mL; thebodyshop.ca.
4. G.M. Collin Bio Organique Gentle Exfoliant, $42, 50 mL; gmcollin.com.
5. John Masters Organics 100% Argan Oil, $50, 59 mL; johnmasters.ca.
6. Yves Rocher Shower Cream with Organic Mallow, $4, 200 mL; yvesrocher.ca.
7. Druide Certified Organic Avocado Oil and Roman Chamomile Cleansing Lotion, $14, 250 mL; druide.ca.

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Organic (but not certified)

Organic (but not certified)

While a product may use a high percentage of organic ingredients, not all companies are willing to take the time and spend the money to get an official certification seal. Some brands labelled organic have few, if any, additives or chemicals.

1. Juice Beauty skin care incorporates some ingredients that are certified organic by an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer, $70, 50 mL; Murale, murale.ca.
2. Many Éminence ingredients are organically farmed in Hungary. Eminence Organic Skin Care Citron Age-Defying Massage Soufflé, For spas, call 888-747-6342.
3. Canadian brand Delon Organic Now! has a high percentage of organic ingredients (72 percent in this body butter). Delon Laboratories Organic Now! Organic Moisturizing Butter, $13, 100 mL; select natural and health food stores; select grocery stores; call 800-361-2563 for retailers.
4. Pangea Organics is committed to using organic ingredients and no synthetic preservatives. Pangea Organics Japanese Matcha Tea with Açai & Goji Berry Facial Mask, $42, 120 mL; pangeaorganicscanada.com.

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Eco-friendly cosmetics

Eco-friendly cosmetics

For many women, applying natural or organic cosmetics makes the daily ritual of putting on makeup feel that much nicer. Time was when eco-friendly makeup mainly lived in health food stores. But now, while you still won't see as much organic and natural makeup as you do hair and skin products, you will notice more selection in drugstores and beauty chains.

1 & 6. Physicians Formula mascara and tinted moisturizer are certified organic. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 in Light to Natural, $17, 44 mL; Lash Boosting Mascara, $16, 7.5 g; drugstores and mass retailers.
2. Nail polish by Butter London carries the Leaping Bunny logo. Butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer in Snog, $17, 11 mL; Green Beauty, greenbeauty.ca; butterlondon.ca.
3 & 5. This bronzer by Couleur Caramel and the eyeshadow by Zuii are certified organic. Couleur Caramel Cooked Powder bronzer in #03, $33, 10 g; Lilou Organics, lilou-organics.com. Zuii Certified Organic Flora Eyeshadow in Moss, $25, 1.5 g; call 800-616-5900 for retailers.
4 & 8. The gloss and highlighter are by Tarte, which helps support sustainability in the Amazon rainforest. Tarte Marajuca Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Flush, $27, 3.6 mL; Blush & Glow in Moonlight, $42, 30 mL; Sephora, sephora.com.
7. This lipstick by Vapour is 100 percent natural. Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in Ravish, $22, 3.11 g; Green Beauty, greenbeauty.ca; vapourbeauty.com.

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Vegan beauty products

Vegan beauty products

A growing number of products are catering to people's personal food choices, or have intriguing elements.

1 & 3. Raw Essentials ingredients are never heated above 115°F "to retain vitamins and nutrients." Raw Essentials by Carol Alt Night Time Firming & Nourishing Face Moisturizer, $25, 48 g; All Day Eye Cream, $30, 15 mL; Shoppers Drug Mart, shoppersdrugmart.com.
2. This Pangea facial scrub is gluten free. Pangea Organics Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange Facial Cleanser, $30, 120 mL; pangeaorganicscanada.com.
4. Canadian company Green Beaver has a gluten-free line that includes this body wash. Green Beaver Gluten Free Body Wash, $10, 240 mL; greenbeaver.com.
5. The Body Shop's Soya Milk Foaming Bath Powder might appeal to the lactose-intolerant. The Body Shop Soya Milk Foaming Bath Powder, $8, 60 g; thebodyshop.ca.
6. Canadian-based Exuberance uses kosher vegetable glycerine in this sulfate-free cleanser. Exuberance Green Tea Fragrance-Free Facial Cleanser, $32, 235 mL; exuberancebeauty.com.
7. Korres makes products, like this body butter, "suitable for vegetarians/vegans." Korres Body Butter in Guava, $33, 235 mL; Sephora, sephora.com; Shoppers Drug Mart, shoppersdrugmart.com.

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Sulfate free beauty products

Sulfate free beauty products

Sulfates are foaming agents in personal care products. High-foaming sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are the ones most commonly used. While SLS and SLES are biodegradable and have low eco-toxicity, some experts say that sulfates are irritants. A by-product of SLES-the compound 1,4 dioxane-is a carcinogen. And petrolatum, a non-renewable resource, is used in the manufacture of sulfate compounds.

1. Kiss My Face Big Body Shampoo, $11, 325 mL; Loblaw stores, loblaw.ca; Whole Foods Markets, wholefoodsmarket.com, select natural and health food stores.
2. Giovanni Organic Body Care Cleanse Moisturizing Body Wash in Raspberry Winter, $13, 310 mL; giovannicosmetics.com.
3. L'Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing System Intense Smoothing Shampoo, $11, 250 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.
4. Finesse Clean + Simple Hypoallergenic Shampoo for Normal Hair, $6, 300 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.
5. Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel, $31, 150 mL; Sephora, sephora.com.
6. Live Clean Exotic Nectar Liquid Hand Soap, $5, 500 mL; live-clean.com.
7. Moroccan Oil Extra Volume Shampoo, $23, 250 mL; moroccanoil.com.
8. Diane Lai Fresh All Natural Daily Body Wash, $14, 250 mL; dianelai.com.

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Eco-friendly packaging

Eco-friendly packaging

More and more companies are using post-consumer plastic or finding plastic alternatives. Stripped-down packaging is simpler for some products than others; we applaud even small steps.

1. The bottle of St. Ives Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Lotion contains 20 percent post-consumer recycled material. St. Ives Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Lotion, $7, 600 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.
2 & 5. J.R. Liggett Old Fashioned Bar Shampoo and Lush hand-cut soaps give meaning to minimal packaging. J.R Liggett's Old-Fashioned Shampoo Herbal Formula, $8, 99 g; select natural and heath food stores. Lush Dirty Soap, $9 per 100 g; lush.ca.
3 & 4. This Kiehl's liquid hand soap bottle and Aveda shampoo bottle are made of 100 percent post-consumer material. Kiehl's Grapefruit Liquid Hand Soap, $19, 200 mL; kiehls.com. Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo, $27, 200 mL; aveda.com.
6. The bottles of Garnier Fructis Pure Clean biodegradable shampoo and conditioner are made with 50 percent recycled plastic. Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Fortifying Shampoo, $5, 384 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.
7. Pantene Nature Fusion packaging is made with 59 percent sugarcane-derived plastic. Pantene NatureFusion Moisture Balance Conditioner, $6, 375 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.

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Leaping Bunny logo

Leaping Bunny logo

In Canada there are no laws governing the use of words like "not tested on animals" or "cruelty-free" on products. So the certification logo of the international program Leaping Bunny is the best assurance we've been able to determine, at this point, that there has been zero animal testing done in a product's development. The items at left are all Leaping Bunny certified.

1. Jason Fragrance Free Daily Conditioner, $8, 454 g; select natural and health food stores; select grocery stores.
2. Suki Face Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, $32, 120 mL; Lilou Organics, lilou-organics.com; sukiskincare.com.
3. Aubrey Blue Green Algae Moisturizer, $14, 118 mL; select natural and health food stores.
4. EO Peppermint & Tea Tree Hand Soap, $10, 360 mL; select natural and health food stores; select grocery stores.
5. Nature Clean Sensitive Bath Bar, $4, 99 g; naturecleanliving.com.
6. Burt's Bees Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion, $14, 170 g; burtsbees.ca.

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Certified natural beauty products

Certified natural beauty products

Look for seals that indicate a product is natural, in particular the BDIH seal from the Association of German Industries and Trade Firms; Natrue (a European organization); and the Natural Products Association in the U.S. Many natural products are also organic.

1. Weleda Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash, $21, 204 g; Rexall Pharma Plus stores, rexall.ca; Whole Foods Markets, wholefoodsmarket.com, select natural and health food stores.
2. Lavera Naturkosmetik Basic Cleansing Gel, $17, 125 mL; select natural and health food stores.
3. Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk, $40, 145 mL; drhauschka.ca, 800-663-6226.

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100 percent natural...or almost

100 percent natural...or almost

While a product may be natural or use a high percentage of natural ingredients, not all companies are willing to take the time and spend the money to get an official certification seal. There are many natural products that are not certified yet have few, if any, additives or chemicals; the ones here state they are up to 100 percent natural.

1. This Burt's Bees shampoo is 99.6 percent natural. Burt's Bees More Moisture Shampoo with Baobab, $10, 300 mL; burtsbees.ca.
2. Kiss My Face touts this all-natural castile soap formula as a multipurpose cleaner (i.e., it washes everything from your sweater to your body). Kiss My Face 100% Natural Castile Peace Soap in Grassy Mint, $10, 502 mL; Loblaw stores, loblaw.ca; Whole Foods Markets, wholefoodsmarket.com, select natural and health food stores.
3. Jergens Naturals Daily Moisturizer is 95 percent natural. "The remaining ingredients are present to make it safe and enjoyable to use," is the message on this bottle. Jergens Naturals Soothing Soft Daily Moisturizer, $8, 480 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.
4. Rocky Mountain Soap Company is a Canadian all-natural skin and personal care company. Rocky Mountain Soap Company 100% Natural Aloe Vera Hydrating Toner, $25, 100 mL; rockymountainsoap.com.
5. Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil is a blend of natural ingredients only. Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil, $38, 180 mL; Sephora, sephora.com.
6. This natural soap from Canadian brand Consonant has 20 percent marine clay from Quebec. Consonant 20% Clay Exfoliating Cleansing Bar, $18, 90 g; consonantbody.com.
7. Nivea Pure & Natural skin care is made with 95 percent "naturally sourced" ingredients. Nivea Visage Pure & Natural Moisturizing Day Care, $11, 50 mL; drugstores and mass retailers.
8. All-natural Eye Repair Balm by Pretty (also Canadian) calls itself "intensive therapy for delicate or mature skin." Pretty Eye Repair Balm Intensive Therapy for Delicate or Mature Skin, $32, 15 g; select natural and heath food stores; prettynaturalskin.com.

 

Related:
The ultimate guide to green beauty
The truth about animal testing
The truth about cosmetic preservatives