LIVE

The people who make these balms, serums, and shampoos do amazing things for the planet and all its residents.

By Heather Muir Maffei and Sarah Yang
March 25, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement

You want beauty products that work, of course. Other factors that sweeten the pot: formulas without harmful ingredients (because, duh); a sustainable manufacturing process, to lighten the beauty footprint; and brands that support inspiring initiatives. We found 15 companies that help you look great and feel warm and fuzzy.

charitable-beauty-brands
Credit: Getty Images

1
Honest Beauty

The skincare and cosmetics collection is part of actress and entrepreneur Jessica’s Alba’s The Honest Company, and features no-fuss, mostly natural products. Plus, proceeds from each purchase will help fund educational programs for young women, like Girls Who Code, a program that works to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities and bridge the gender gap in computing fields.

2
Burt’s Bees

When it comes to conservation, the makers of that little yellow tube are busy bees: They’ve reached an average of over 99 percent natural origin for all their products; they responsibly source shea butter from West Africa— improving the livelihood of more than 14,000 women there; and they planted more than 15 billion (with a b!) wildflower seeds to help restore the bee population. When COVID-19 hit, the company donated $1.5 million in grants and products to frontline workers. We’re here for soothed lips and full hearts.

3
Kinship

We appreciate that this skincare line uses plant-based ingredients and probiotics to enhance our complexion. But we truly love the brand’s packaging…or lack thereof. There’s no cardboard box, no little window of plastic film. The simple bottles for the Supermello Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturizer ($24), Insta Swipe Lemon Honey AHA Pads ($24 for 45), and Mint Mud Deep Pore Detox Mask ($23) are made from plastic fished out of the Java Sea and rivers in Indonesia. Use your phone’s camera to scan the QR code on the bottle and see where exactly the plastic came from.

4
Right to Shower

The colorful bar soaps and sulfate-free shower gels (in 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, natch) with names like Hope, Joy, and Strength (from $6; walmart.com) give you all the feels—even beyond nourished skin. This Unilever brand let devotes 30 percent of proceeds to nonprofit organizations that operate mobile shower units for unhoused people in the United States. To date, almost 30,000 residents of Los Angeles, Dallas, the Bay Area, North Carolina, and New York have been granted access to one of the most basic human needs—a shower.

5
First Aid Beauty

Founder Lilli Gordon created this sensitive-skin-friendly collection after suffering from dryness and eczema. The derm-tested basics, like Pharma BHA Acne Spot Treatment Gel ($26), help solve such skin problems as maskne. Even more stressful than chin zits? Student debt. Last year, the Fab Aid initiative ran a contest and paid off almost $1.3 million in student loans for 24 lucky women. Better yet: They’re doing it again this year.

6
Tatcha

Green tea, rice, and seaweed are the foundation of every product in this less-is-more skin line. Each product serves as a self-care ritual: The Dewy Skin Cream ($68) plumps pruney skin; the Violet-C Radiance Mask ($68) imparts a glow. But founder Victoria Tsai’s passion—the Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Futures program—is the real hero. Through Room to Read, a portion of each sale helps fund girls’ education in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Vietnam. In six years, the brand has paid for more than 5 million days of schooling.

7
Rahua

Shampoo is only on your hair for a minute, but Rahua’s impact lasts way after your rinse. Refillable bottles cut down on plastic waste, while every bottle sold helps preserve one acre of the Amazon rain forest yearly, totaling 100,000 acres so far. Not to mention, the Classic Shampoo ($34) leaves hair gleaming.

8
Clarins

This French brand has earned legions of devotees, thanks in part to the splurge-worthy Double Serum (from $90; clarinsusa.com). And the company’s efforts go beyond skin care: Partnering with the nonprofit Jardins du Monde, Clarins provides clean drinking water and creates medicinal-plant pharmacies in Madagascar and Burkina Faso.

9
Everist

Turning off the faucet when you brush helps save water, but if you want to do more, consider waterless beauty products, like the new Shampoo Concentrate ($24) from the zero-waste line Everist. The ingredients are plantbased, and the package is a recyclable, travel-friendly 100-milliliter aluminum tube that’s a third the size of a typical shampoo bottle (yet lasts as long). What does all that add up to? A product that requires less packaging and carbon to ship. Just wet hair and hands and rub to lather. The they-thought-of everything detail: Everist includes a cotton bag that holds 10 caps and emails you a shipping label so you can easily send the caps back to be recycled.   

10
Jones Road

Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown sold her namesake company in 2016 and is back with Jones Road, a line of multitasking products packed with good-for-you ingredients. The Cool Gloss ($22) looks nice on lips and cheeks; the Sparkle Wash Shadow ($24) doubles as a highlighter. If you’ve pared down your makeup during the pandemic, this line will give you a no-frills, five-minute fresh face. What also makes us swoon: Brown’s work to help creatives in the beauty industry during the COVID-19 crisis. Through the nonprofit Support Creatives, she mentors makeup artists, hosts training sessions around the world, and has provided scholarships so beauty pros can update their credentials.

11
Thrive Cosmetics

After hearing from women who'd lost their natural eyelashes due to cancer treatment, founder Karissa Bodnar developed a line of faux lashes and chemical-free, waterproof adhesives with these women (who she fondly refers to as "thrivers") in mind. Similar to TOMS, when you purchase a Thrive product, another one gets donated to a woman going through treatment.

12
Yes To

These colorful and affordable veggie and fruit-inspired products—everything from cucumber face wash to carrot makeup remover to coconut lip balm—are at least 95 percent natural and help feed underserved communities. A portion of the proceeds of every product sold goes to the Yes To Carrots Seed Fund, a non-profit organization that helps plan community gardens by providing grants. So far, this has helped serve more than 50,000 meals to kids around the globe.

13
Make

This New York City-based makeup and skincare brand is all about self-expression, empowerment, and creativity, and that same spirit extends to the company’s charitable giving. Ten percent of sales go to the We See Beauty Foundation, which supports community-based, women entrepreneurs.

14
Givescent

These citrus, Italian summer-inspired scents serve as a pick-me-up in the winter and a refreshing splash in the summer, plus they’re free of alcohol and chemicals, including formaldehyde and parabens. And get a whiff of this: Proceeds from the company’s sales go to Every Mother Counts (a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world) and Women for Women International (which supports female survivors of war with tools and resources to move from crisis to stability and self-sufficiency).

15
Philosophy

The popular, feel-good brand not only has quality face and body products with an uplifting message (and super cute packaging), but it also donates 1 percent of its product sales to mental health programs through its hope&grace initiative. The number may seem small, but it provides over 100 community-based mental health organizations each year with about $50,000 in support.