Makeup for the Ethical Consumer


My regular readers know that most of this blog has been about the garment industry and its human and environmental impact. But another side of fashion that I haven’t yet touched is the cosmetic industry. What goes in to the making of your makeup and other cosmetic products can be just as unethical as the wages of garment workers in Bangladesh. From animal testing to harmful chemicals, the cosmetic industry has a seedy underside filled with unsustainable and dangerous practices.

Thankfully, there are many cosmetic brands fighting for the use of more ethical practices and safer ingredients. These brands have taken it upon themselves to work towards a better industry with more transparent practices and organic ingredients. The following brands are just a few doing so and can all be found at Credo—a cosmetics retailer that only sells ethically made products.


If nothing else, ILIA knows two things: (1) Our skin is our largest organ (2) It can absorb almost anything put on it. For this reason, all of its products are made with up to 85% certified organic ingredients that nourish the skin. The brand works with some of the world’s best chemists and organic suppliers to ensure each product works well, is ethical, and is beneficial for consumers’ health and well-being.

“Somebody once said to me, that because it’s organic it’s good for you, and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work as well as the mainstream stuff—I intend to change their mind.”—Sasha Plavsic, founder of ILIA

January Labs

Sulfates and parabens are two of the most common and harmful additives in cosmetics. That’s why January Labs makes luxury skincare products completely free of sulfates, parabens, fragrances, and any other harmful additives. Without these ingredients, January Labs’ products are better for the consumer and the environment than mainstream items. Additionally, the brand contributes to the environment with their eco-friendly, recyclable packaging.

“Skincare doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s as simple as that.”—January Olds, founder of January Labs

MCMC Fragrances

Have you ever thought about what your perfume is made of? Most likely, if you check the ingredients on the back of your perfume bottle you will find a long list of chemicals you can’t pronounce. MCMC Fragrances, founded by sisters Anne and Katie McClain in 2009, is working to change that. MCMC uses only the highest quality natural ingredients, so that you know what’s in your perfume. Our skin can easily absorb fragrances, so why not give it something good for you?

“Guaranteed made with love.”—Katie and Ann McClain, founders of MCMC Fragrances

-Kate Hornberger

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