Long gone are the days when most people’s experiences of ethical cosmetics extended to a Body Shop gift set or a trip to a health shop for organic shampoo. Ethical cosmetics companies were once few and far between, and they would shout about their credentials from the rooftops.
These days, companies are increasingly embracing moral principles. As the wellness trend continues, we're increasingly aware of what we're putting on our faces, as well as into our bodies, and there is greater demand for chemical-free, ethically-made cosmetics than ever before.
The testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals was outlawed in Britain in 1998 and in March 2013, an EU law was put into place which made it illegal to sell animal-tested cosmetics in Europe, even if the testing was conducted outside the continent. This means cosmetic brands must come up with new ways to set themselves apart in the marketplace of ethical beauty.
There are many ways to be “ethical” as a beauty brand: from using organic- and non-animal-derived (vegan) ingredients, to not distributing products in China (where it's a legal requirement for imported cosmetics to be tested on animals), and even creating solid products to avoid wasting water.
Look out for the leaping bunny logo when shopping for cosmetics, as this guarantees a company’s no-animal-testing policy is watertight. Brands may say they’re against animal testing, but if their products don’t contain this logo there’s no guarantee their ingredient supplies adhere to these principles outside Europe. Similarly, when looking for organic products make sure they're certified organic by a body such as the Soil Association or EcoCert, to ensure they contain a high proportion of organic ingredients.
From big multi-million pound cosmetic companies to smaller, more niche brands, the beauty industry is embracing ethical policies like never before. Very few brands are 100% perfect but the following companies have shown a commitment to ethical standards and using ethically-sourced ingredients. The range of brands that now subscribe to these principles might surprise you.