The sustainable Kiwi beauty brands you need to add to your routine

21 April 2022
By Nicole Saunders

Future-proof your complexion and the planet with these must-know eco-conscious beauty brands.

Proenza Schouler autumn 2022. Image: Imaxtree

Aleph Beauty

When make-up artist Emma Peters had her lightbulb moment, she did all of us a favour. Rather than launching Aleph Beauty with an overwhelming number of products, Peters took a less-is-more approach. There’s no mind-boggling array of products to attempt to decipher; instead, Peters focuses on easy-to-use multitasking make-up essentials that enhance your best assets.

Why you need to hit ‘add to cart’…

Peters puts the environment at the forefront with a recycling programme, glass packaging and Aleph’s water-free, cruelty-free, vegan formulations. Plus, Peters understands that beauty doesn’t have to be complicated. The Aleph range features a neutral colour palette which means it suits a wide range of skin tones, and many of the products can be used in a handful of ways. “Everything is intended to work synergistically to give the wearer many more options while minimising waste,” Peters explains.

FQ’s must-try product…

We can guarantee Aleph’s clever multitasking must-haves will make the contents of your handbag a whole lot easier to navigate. Build up Aleph Cheek/Lip Tint for a powerful pout, or gently blend it over your cheeks for a subtle healthy glow.

Aleph Cheek/Lip Tint in Sangha, $58.

Emma Lewisham

Emma Lewisham wasn’t the first beauty aficionado to reconsider questionable ingredients in her skincare routine whilst pregnant. While the inception story of Lewisham’s eponymous brand might feel familiar, it’s where any similarities to other luxury planet-friendly skincare brands end. As many beauty brands scramble to take meaningful steps to reduce the impact the industry has on the environment, from the very outset, Lewisham has placed sustainability and circularity at the heart of everything the brand does.

Why you need to hit ‘add to cart’…

Emma Lewisham has well and truly made sacrificing noticeable results in favour of environmentally friendly and safe skincare products a thing of the past. Thanks to her cutting-edge skincare range, which harnesses an array of potent and proven ingredients, sustainability and efficacy are no longer mutually exclusive. Skin goals aside, Emma Lewisham was B Corp certified earlier this year, has a game-changing recycling/refilling initiative called Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle and was the first beauty brand to achieve carbon-positive status.

FQ’s must-try product…

Emma Lewisham Supernatural Vitamin A has us hitting ‘add to cart’ on the refill for this super serum over and over again. Powered by a blend of powerful botanicals, the serum works hard to rejuvenate skin without any of the negative side effects that can crop up while using retinol. Plus, unlike retinol-based formulas, this little gem is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Emma Lewisham Supernatural Vitamin A Face Oil, $140.

Ethique

Many of us have spent time questioning the overwhelming plastic waste that seems synonymous with the beauty world. While pondering this very conundrum, Brianne West decided it was time for the beauty industry to change. Alarmed by plastic and water waste created by haircare, the biologist, who was studying at the time, took matters into her own hands by launching Ethique–a range of solid beauty products that reduce waste with their biodegradable and compostable packaging. Nearly a decade on, it’s no surprise that Ethique has become a household name for eco-conscious consumers around the globe.

Why you need to hit ‘add to cart’…

What’s not to love about a beauty brand that has already stopped 20 million plastic bottles from entering landfills and has an ambitious goal to make it half a billion by 2030? As well as being plastic-free and taking a circular approach every step of the way, West has just launched the Ethique Foundation. Giving back is nothing new for the brand–each year Ethique has donated at least 2 per cent of annual sales to non-profit organisations protecting animal welfare, biodiversity, promoting conservation and human rights. But thanks to the new foundation, Ethique will give away 10 million dollars via their fellowship programme and key partnerships over the next four years. 

FQ’s must-try product…

Don’t be fooled by the minimalist, enviro-friendly packaging: Ethique Bliss Bar is a dream as far as ethical, sustainable beauty products are concerned. It whisks away any remnants of the day that have decided to call your complexion home and removes heavy-duty make-up in moments. Skin is left looking and feeling plump and healthy thanks to the ethically sourced coconut butter.

Ethique Bliss Bar Face Cleansing Bar, $25.

Kester Black

Award-winning Kester Black has come a long way for a brand launched from founder Anna Ross’ bedroom for just $50. As well as boasting a product line that includes lipstick, nail colour, eyeliner, and nail care, Kester Black was the first cosmetics company to become B Corp certified. “I’m uncompromising about being certified carbon neutral, donating two per cent of all revenue to social causes, making vegan and sustainable products that are classy with a conscience. That’s what fires and fuels me,” says Ross.

Why you need to hit ‘add to cart’…

We love that Kester Black reminds us that green, eco-minded beauty is anything but boring. In fact, if you can imagine a colour there’s probably a Kester Black nail polish in that exact shade.  Did we mention Kester Black’s products are sustainably produced, vegan, cruelty-free, and carbon neutral too?

FQ’s must-try product…

Kester Black’s cult nail polish is the perfect introduction to the brand. You’ll find no nasties in the formula as it’s free from 12 questionable ingredients, including formaldehyde, toluene, and parabens. This pearlescent hue of orange, aptly named Tangerine Dream, is the perfect accompaniment to an autumnal-toned wardrobe.

Ethique Bliss Bar Face Cleansing Bar, $25.

Dust & Glow

With over a decade spent working with international beauty brands, Gaelle Thieme, founder of Dust & Glow, knows a thing or two about the industry’s impact on the environment. “As time went on I became more aware of how wasteful the cosmetics industry is,” Thieme tells Fashion Quarterly. “Driven by innovation, I wanted to simplify and rethink the way we use products.” With that in mind, Thieme created Dust & Glow, a range of waterless haircare and skincare products designed to get the job done and produce minimal waste.

Why you need to hit ‘add to cart’…

Dust & Glow employed a circular approach right from the get-go which has meant minimising its impact on global water scarcity, using plastic-free packaging and animal friendly formulas; plus, it’s made here in New Zealand. The full range of products is refillable, and if you need to recycle Dust & Glow’s aluminium packaging, they can help you do just that through their recycling programme.

FQ’s must-try product…

Since most of us are accustomed to lathering on aqueous body washes, cleansers and shampoos, waterless beauty can take a while to get your head around. Dust & Glow’s user-friendly range makes the concept easy to get on board with. Your complexion and the planet will thank you for switching out your water-based cleanser for the Powder Based Daily polisher.

Dust & Glow Powder Based Daily Polisher, $39.99.

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