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Sustainable skin care brands in California flood the market, but many don’t have much of a following. The Sunshine State of the West Coast has an abundance of natural ingredients, from organic produce and seafood to herbs and flowers. It makes sense that so many skin care companies have taken advantage of California’s bounty.
How do you find the best match for your skin among a barrage of brands claiming their products are vegan and work best for sensitive skin? Natural skin care appeared in history long before synthetic ingredients dominated the industry. Ancient Greeks used olives, milk, honey and other products as exfoliants, moisturizers and anti-aging creams. Today, both makeup and skin care often contain harmful products like alcohol, GMOs and hormone disruptors, and unless you do your homework, you’re likely coating your face with them. Some of these ingredients may have long term effects on your health.
If you need help decoding the contents of your daily face routine, check out Environmental Working Group (EWG), a community of scientists, policy experts, lawyers and communications and data experts advocating for education and transparency regarding what we put on and in our bodies. They have compiled an impressive amount of research so that you can make safe choices with ease.
You can also check out this list of sustainable skin care brands in California that live up to their promises to customers. What do we think qualifies as sustainable? Plastic-free, low waste and cruelty-free companies with clean, all-natural ingredients. Vegan products get bonus points. QTBIPOC and women-owned companies get gold stars. Plus, supporting communities most affected by environmental degradation is sustainable.
DEW MIGHTY is a woman-owned company based in Hermosa Beach, California, and their signature products are serums. Most serums come as liquid packaged in glass or plastic bottles, but DEW MIGHTY eliminated bottle packaging with their creation of a serum in bar form. This serum serves various purposes. Its use promotes healthy, nourished skin and combats irritation. Your face will come away with a dewy glow and smoothed lines. The bar is entirely plastic-free, zero waste and vegan.
Blue Heron Botanicals
Blue Heron Botanicals is a woman-owned company with a zero waste, plastic-free policy. They operate off the grid from their farm in Humboldt County, California. Their ingredients include a variety of local, organic and sustainably harvested botanicals. They create products with hand-picked herbs and organic oils in small batches for potency and effectiveness. Their line of lip therapies has two versions – one with beeswax and one that’s vegan. The packaging is zero waste and all products arrive in backyard compostable packaging made from 100% post-consumer paper. A portion of profit is donated to SEE Turtles and the Billion Baby Turtle Initiative. Support Blue Heron Botanicals to protect baby sea turtles while investing in self-care.
Activist is a completely vegan skin care brand based in California. They source all of their ingredients from suppliers who also value sustainability. Instead of the common single-use plastic in which most bottled products arrive, Activist packages their skin care in glass bottles. To top that off, they engage customers in a pouch-based refill program for almost all of their products.
These refill pouches preserve their clean ingredients for maximum efficacy and potency. All of their pouches are recyclable through their partnership with TerraCycle, an enterprise based in 21 countries. They even donate 5% of their profit to select environmental organizations. If you aren’t sure that Activist is for you, order the trial kit, a refillable travel set complete with three cleansers, one toning mist, two serums, one face oil and a coupon.
Named after a powerful North African warrior, Dehiya Beauty is based in California. They source their cold-pressed argan oil from Morocco’s Argan Forest, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Local Amazigh women hand extract the argan outside of Marrakech, Morocco. They share profits with other local Amazigh tribes to promote access to health care and education, and to create jobs. Dehiya donates 2% of their annual profits to causes such as LGBTQ, disability and human rights, reproductive freedom and racial justice.
Biossance is a vegan skin care brand based in Emeryville, California. The cornerstone ingredient to every Biossance product is sustainably produced squalane, made from plant-derived, renewable sugar cane. Just as Activist saves baby sea turtles, Biossance saves sharks. In fact, their squalane saves two million sharks each year.
Unfamiliar with squalane? Your body produces something similar called squalene, but the production and retention rate decreases as you age. It has incredible moisturizing properties. Ever since the 16th century, humans have hunted sharks for the squalene contained within their livers. Squalane has the same properties, but it doesn’t require the slaughter of millions of sharks. So what does squalane do? It locks in the moisture on your skin, it improves elasticity and thereby reduces wrinkles and it regulates oil production without clogging your pores. Still not sold? Reese Witherspoon swears by these products.
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