Winter is a tough time for our body’s largest organ, which is why personal care products can make great holiday gifts.
In this guide, we highlight eco-conscious companies focused on sustainability and social welfare. There’s something here for every step of your sustainable skin care routine.
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1. Badger Balm Cuticle Care
Badger Balm gives new meaning to sustainable skin care. This family-founded company, based in New Hampshire, dubs employees “Badgers” and boasts a solar-powered production facility.
Balms are among the company’s bestsellers — it’s in the name! That said, the Cuticle Care balm is an employee favorite. With a base of shea butter and vitamin-rich sea buckthorn CO2 extract, the balm nourishes and protects dry cuticles. It has a light citrus scent thanks to steam-distilled geranium, mandarin, lemongrass, and ginger essential oils.
Badger products meet a number of sustainable certifications. All Badger balms — for everything from sleep to beard care — are USDA Certified Organic and petroleum-free. Many products are certified fair trade. Cuticle Care is cruelty-free, USDA Organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO — plus, it’s sold in a recyclable tin package.
2. LUSH Solid Moisturizers
LUSH is the skin care company for animal lovers. All products are cruelty-free and vegetarian (80% are vegan). Plus, many products come “naked,” or in other words, “proudly packaging-free.” This includes their solid shampoos and moisturizers.
Their Full of Grace moisturizer’s number one ingredient is hydrating murumuru butter, a newcomer on the cosmetics scene. Murumuru butter comes from the seeds of murumuru palms that grow along the Amazon River in Brazil, a region facing serious threats of deforestation. Locals “wild-harvest” the seeds without harming the trees, which provides a sustainable income and helps preserve the forest.
In addition to murumuru butter’s hydrating oleic acid, Full of Grace solid moisturizer contains antioxidant portobello mushroom extract to protect skin and rose and chamomile oils to soothe sensitivity.
3. Savannah Bee Company Royal Jelly Body Butter
Savannah Bee Company (SBC) is passionate about honeybee conservation. As of 2020, their educational Bee Cause Project has provided beehives in four countries around the world, including 330 schools in all 50 U.S. states, to help kids learn STEAM skills.
All edible and cosmetic SBC products contain pesticide-free honey. That includes the Royal Jelly Body Butter with Tupelo honey. Produced from Tupelo trees in the southeastern U.S., the body butter combines “hive treasures [with] skin-quenching butters and essential oils.” Its deep moisturizing ability and rich Tupelo honey scent will “keep you looking and feeling like a queen” (or king).
The body butter is gluten-, paraben-, phthalate-, and cruelty-free and is sold in a recyclable glass jar.
SBC has stores throughout the United States and is expanding, so visit a store near you.
4. SheaMoisture Raw Shea & Cupuaçu Line
SheaMoisture is well-known for its accessibility and range of care. The brand traces its origins to 1912 Sierra Leone when founder Sofi Tucker, “a pioneering mother of four and entrepreneur,” started selling shea butter, African black soap, and homemade beauty preparations.
Today, purchases are reinvested in the communities of the African women who handcraft the company’s trademark fair trade raw shea butter. The company’s It Comes Naturally initiative supports and empowers Black women entrepreneurs.
The divine-smelling Raw Shea & Cupuaçu hair and skin care line — which includes a shampoo, conditioner, and a soothing daily defense soap for stressed skin — combines sustainable cupuaçu and shea butter with passiflora extract and pistachio seed oil. Like murumuru, cupuaçu trees are native to the Amazon basin, where local communities collect naturally fallen seeds to process into a butter that makes a great vegan alternative to lanolin.
In fact, SheaMoisture has a robust glossary where you can learn about the origins and benefits of their ingredients. There is still room for improvement, though: Most products are currently packaged in plastic.
5. Andalou Brightening Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
Andalou founder Stacy Kelly Egide’s goal for her natural skin care company “was to create an empowerment brand with a mission to influence the industry to do better.”
It’s true — this brand promotes ethical personal care products that are 98% nature-derived, Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten- and cruelty-free, and vegetarian (with a large vegan offering).
The Brightening Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask includes fruit stem cells, vitamin C, and glycolic AHA blended with manuka honey and organic pumpkin. The mask exfoliates dull, dry surface cells for a luminous complexion during regular 10-minute treatments.
Know anyone who wants pumpkin spice season to last all year? The mask includes certified organic and fair-trade cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove! These, as well as the AHAs, cause a slight tingle with application, so consider the gentler Lemon Sugar Facial Scrub if you have sensitive skin.
Like SheaMoisture, Andalou products are mainly packaged in plastic.
DIY Skin Care Gifts
Prefer to do make your own sustainable skin care products and skip the plastic? You can easily make your own cosmetic gifts, including face scrubs, bath salts, and moisturizers, with natural ingredients. Tip: save your reusable metal tins and glass jars for packaging your homemade products.
Originally published on December 3, 2020, this article was updated in December 2022.