10 Celebrity Makeup Brands, Ranked From Most to Least Sustainable
Cosmetics

10 Celebrity Makeup Brands, Ranked From Most to Least Sustainable

10 Celebrity Makeup Brands, Ranked From Most to Least Sustainable

When it comes to products, an attached celebrity name—or simply their stamp of approval—can be a major draw. After all, if they use this, then investing in a bottle of your own moves you one inch closer to status, beauty, or super-dewy skin. But before you invest in another trendy celeb-owned beauty line, it’s wise to pause and get to know the values behind the brand.

As more consumers expect brands to adhere to clean beauty guidelines, we’re seeing an increase in demand for sustainable makeup and skincare. (And yes, that includes celebrity makeup brands, too.)

Likewise, natural beauty is having a moment. With new products like low-waste beauty bars and other waterless options, along with eco-upgrades like refillable containers, it’s becoming a lot easier for consumers to make planet-friendly purchases. And according to a study by Teads and Global Web Index (GWI), about 43% of beauty and skincare users say they would pay more money for sustainable and eco-friendly products.

However, when brands advertise sustainability, there is always the danger of greenwashing. Makeup brands may use eco-friendly buzzwords or package products with green, earthy tones, but that doesn’t mean the brand or the product is eco-friendly.

If you’re wondering which celebrity-owned makeup brands are the most sustainable, we’ve got you covered. Read on for Brightly’s ranking of 10 popular celeb-owned brands, listed from most to least eco-friendly. 

Our Methodology

The Brightly team compared 10 celebrity makeup brands to determine how they fared from a sustainability perspective.

The Brands We Ranked:

Each celebrity makeup brand received a rating out of 20 points based on four ranking factors: ingredients, packaging, waste, and dedication to sustainability. Each category is scored from one to five, with one being the least eco-friendly and five being the most eco-friendly.

Celebrity Makeup Brands, Ranked

1. Honest Beauty by Jessica Alba

celebrity makeup brands sustainability ranking

Total Score: 18/20

  • Ingredients: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5
  • Waste: 5/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 5/5

The Honest Company, Jessica Alba’s multi-faceted company, has been around since 2012 and can be found in big box stores like Target and BuyBuy Baby. Honest Beauty, a division of the company, followed in 2015, and has since raised the bar on transparency around clean beauty. 

While Honest Beauty isn’t the founder of the clean beauty movement, it can still be considered a leader in the space. Compared to the other brands on this list, the Honest Company and Honest Beauty offer more insights in terms of transparency and sustainability. The Honest Company adheres to something called the Honest Standard, a guide of principles the brand must follow in order to put out products that are better for the people and the planet. 

With a NO List of over 3,500 harmful chemicals and materials banned by the brand, it’s fair to say that Honest Beauty sticks to some stringent rules about ingredients. Some NO List ingredients include parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances; Honest Beauty prioritizes natural, organic, and non-toxic ingredients. However, no information is available regarding whether Honest Beauty is completely vegan or cruelty-free.

Additionally, as part of the brand’s goals to have a positive social and environmental impact, the Honest Standard includes a section that explores how the brand will improve the use of renewable resources. This can include plant-derived ingredients, innovations in green chemistry, and the amount of recycled or recyclable material in packaging.

In terms of packaging, the brand is committed to using materials that are better for the planet, including tree-free paper, aluminum, tin, glass, post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, and mono-material components. (Honest’s 2021 sustainable packaging initiative found the brand updating more than 100 items to meet these requirements.) Each of these materials can be recycled or upcycled, making them easier to dispose of or reuse.

Honest Beauty offers carbon-neutral shipping and details how exactly consumers can reduce waste and recycle Honest Beauty products. The company provides Beauty Recycling 101 guidelines, encouraging consumers to search for sustainable packaging materials, disassemble packaging as needed, use every last drop of product, upcycle empty containers, and follow local recycling rules. The brand is also a member of How2Recycle, a labeling system that communicates exactly how to recycle specific products and packaging, so consumers know what to do. 

TLDR: Honest Beauty’s moniker feels incredibly well-chosen.

2. Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez

Total Score: 17/20

  • Ingredients: 5/5
  • Packaging: 4/5
  • Waste: 4/5 
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 4/5

Selena Gomez introduced Rare Beauty in September 2020. The brand—which is available at Sephora—generated as much as $60 million in revenue in its first year.

The company puts an emphasis on vegan and cruelty-free ingredients. It also possesses an external Beauty Without Bunnies certification from PETA.

Unlike many beauty brands, Rare Beauty has a sustainability page dedicated to the company’s environmental impact. “We’ve made a conscious effort to limit waste wherever possible, but we know we have a long way to go,” the site claims. “We’re working harder to do better and plan to gradually introduce post-consumer recycled materials into our packaging beginning in late 2021.” Many of the brands discussed in this ranking do not have a dedicated space to discuss sustainability, so Rare Beauty’s inclusion of this content puts the brand above others.

The brand adheres to the European Union’s cosmetic standards, which bans over 1,500 chemicals from included products. As such, Rare Beauty’s products eschew animal-derived ingredients, parabens, gluten, formaldehyde, and more. 

Additionally, the brand features 100% recyclable boxes made from responsibly-sourced, FSC-certified materials, and are printed with water-based ink. A Rare Beauty package also includes a 100% recyclable welcome card made from recycled fiber, recyclable tissue made from recycled fiber, recyclable tape, and environmentally friendly, corn-based foam that dissolves in water or can be composted. That said, the packaging of its actual products is largely plastic. One product—the brand’s Blot & Glow Touch-Up Kit—is refillable.

Rare Beauty actively promotes reusing some of its packaging, offering a reusable drawstring pouch made of cotton canvas, which helps avoid the use of synthetic fabrics.

It’s clear that Rare Beauty is striving to reduce consumer waste. However, there is little information about the company’s supply chain or carbon footprint, or the recyclability of its individual product packaging, making it difficult to determine how responsible the inner workings of this brand really are.

In addition to prioritizing eco-friendly ingredients, the brand promises to comply with social and environmental responsibility standards to ensure fair labor practices for all aspects of its supply chain. While more transparency around future sustainability plans would be welcome, Rare Beauty is setting a fairly high standard.

3. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

celebrity makeup brands sustainability ranking

Total Score: 16/20

  • Ingredients: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5
  • Waste: 4/5 
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 4/5

Perhaps one of the most well-known celebrity-owned makeup brands, Fenty Beauty is helmed by international popstar, Rihanna. Launched in 2017, Fenty Beauty was heralded for its refreshing approach to inclusivity, which resulted in Time magazine naming the makeup brand one of its 25 best inventions of the year.

Keeping in stride with its penchant for groundbreaking products, Fenty Beauty took the ethics of its brand one step further by quickly introducing a more sustainable approach to both its ingredients and packaging.

Let’s start with ingredients. Fenty uses ethically-sourced natural ingredients, as detailed in the brand’s clean ingredients section. The company is committed to clean beauty and avoids harsh ingredients like parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, phthalates, formaldehyde, plastic microbeads, polyacrylamide, paraffin, lead, and more.

In addition to being cruelty and gluten-free, the brand follows the high standards of the European Union, which bans more than 1,500+ harmful ingredients from cosmetics. However, Fenty Beauty isn’t considered vegan, as some products contain beeswax or carmine. Fenty Skin, though, is a completely vegan skincare line also offered by the brand. 

In terms of recyclability and reusability, Fenty Beauty has come a long way: The company is now offering many lipsticks in a refillable format. Lipstick is currently the only Fenty cosmetic available in a refillable form, though the brand offers several other makeup products like foundations, concealers, powders, eye shadows, and more, which come in traditional packaging. Each product includes recycling instructions on the packaging, and shipping boxes are also fully recyclable. 

“I wanted the packaging to be beautiful, but also functional with an earth-conscious approach,” says Rihanna on the Fenty site. “We eliminated boxes where we could, we have refill systems, and we use recycled materials where possible. Nobody is perfect, but I really believe we can try our best to do right and we’ll keep evolving as we go.”

The brand prioritizes the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. So far, it’s eliminating excess packaging wherever possible, implementing refillable systems, and incorporating more PCR materials into bottles, tubes, and jars. Given the brand’s devoted following and prowess within the industry, even more of-the-moment eco developments are likely on the way.

4. R.E.M. Beauty by Ariana Grande

Total Score: 13/20

  • Ingredients: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5
  • Waste: 3/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 3/5

Named after a song off her album Sweetener, Ariana Grande launched R.E.M. Beauty in 2021, then introduced Chapter 2 of R.E.M. a year later. The makeup brand is known for being cruelty-free, paraben-free, and vegan, which makes sense coming from Grande, who has been vegan since 2013. However, products are not specifically formulated to be gluten-free. 

The website also states that R.E.M. uses ethically-sourced ingredients from suppliers that are expected to adhere to the highest standards of working conditions. You can find detailed ingredient lists on individual product pages on the website.

Additionally, the company has a commitment page dedicated to how its consciously-made product process. The page states that the brand is working to “minimize plastic parts, using post-consumer recycled materials wherever possible and recyclable materials for primary packages like PET(G), PP and Glass.”

About 80% of R.E.M Beauty’s products use post-consumer recycled materials or are recyclable themselves. (Post-consumer boxes are also 100% FSC-certified, made using wind energy. Hello, renewable sources of energy!) Cartons and shipping boxes are also recyclable.

The effort to use recyclable materials is promising and makes it easier for consumers to dispose of waste. That being said, these products are not zero-waste.

5. Haus Labs by Lady Gaga

Total Score: 11/20

  • Ingredients: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5
  • Waste: 2/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 3/5

The first major beauty line to launch on Amazon, Haus Labs is the brainchild of Stefani Germanotta—aka Lady Gaga.

As the brand transitions from an Amazon storefront to Sephora—a move made this past June—it is putting clean beauty and sustainability at the forefront of its mission. However, little information has been released about the details of this change; we anticipate more information once the launch is official.

Haus Labs makes some effort to market itself as a sustainable brand, using buzzwords like clean, innovative, natural, sustainable, and futuristic in posts. That said, the brand language does not elaborate further to substantiate these claims. Similarly, the “Lab” part of the brand refers to a science-based backbone, but any science being used is not consumer-facing.

When it comes to ingredients, Haus Labs fares well: Products are made with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients only, and the company never tests on animals.

The brand stated in a recent Instagram post: “#CleanHaus goes beyond the 2,700+ questionable ingredients we ban from our lab. It’s about the consciously selected, safe, and sustainably-sourced natural and synthetic ingredients that do make it into our formulas. And the way we formulate (and reformulate) our products until they exceed our ridiculously high standards of innovation, safety, and efficacy.” 

This is a perfect example of language that needs evidence to inspire consumer confidence. What does “sustainably-sourced” entail? What exactly are the brand’s high standards? What are the ingredients banned, and why? Additionally, the company does not have any visible external certifications. Promises are great, but transparency is better.

6. About-Face by Halsey

Total Score: 10/20

  • Ingredients: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5
  • Waste: 2/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 1/5

About-Face is an inclusive beauty brand from singer Halsey, aka Ashley Frangipane, which debuted in 2021. According to the website, it’s “inspired by and for [a] diverse and artistic community.” The brand says it creates “makeup made with integrity and intention, for all stages of life.” But how does the brand rank in terms of sustainability?

Beginning with ingredients, About-Face is a completely vegan line. Pigment-saturated and long-lasting, About-Face is also totally clean—formulated without gluten, phthalates, parabens, or synthetic fragrances—and cruelty-free. Each product features a list of ingredients on the product page. Some products do contain synthetic ingredients, such as synthetic wax.

The website does not present a commitment to sustainability, nor does it offer insights via a sustainability report. According to a past interview with Byrdie, the packaging of every About-Face product is biodegradable and recyclable. However, the brand’s website doesn’t advertise this information, and there is little information about what the packaging is actually made of.

It’s also difficult to determine how wasteful the company really is, as there is no consumer-facing information about About-Face’s supply chain, packaging, or environmental footprint. As with Haus, a bit more clarity around the brand’s footprint would be a strong addition.

7. Florence by Mills by Millie Bobby Brown

celebrity makeup brands sustainability ranking

Total Score: 9/20

  • Ingredients: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5
  • Waste: 2/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 1/5

Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things owns a majority stake in her clean beauty brand, Florence by Mills. A collaboration with brand incubator Beach House Group, Florence by Mills first hit Ulta shelves in 2019.

From the get-go, clean beauty was a priority for this Gen-Z makeup brand. Both Vegan Action-certified and PETA cruelty-free, Florence by Mills seems to be centering the idea of clean beauty for a younger audience. The brand shirks ingredients like parabens, sulfates, dyes, and animal byproducts, and does not participate in animal testing. While the brand’s ingredients are clean and vegan, it is also unclear whether the formulas themselves are biodegradable.

However, despite being a clean beauty brand, sustainability does not seem to be a core part of Florence by Mills as a brand. There is no sustainability page on the website, and the packaging appears to be predominantly plastic.

Additionally, the brand admits that it uses single-use plastic packaging for some products while claiming it is “dedicated to employing planet-friendly practices and [is] always looking for ways to improve.” No word on how much of said plastic is virgin plastic, but according to the FAQs, Florence by Mills’ unit cartons are recyclable. This is yet another case in which more transparency could up the brand’s ranking.

8. Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore

Total Score: 8/20

  • Ingredients: 3/5
  • Packaging: 2/5
  • Waste: 2/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 1/5

Drew Barrymore’s line of cruelty-free cosmetics is called Flower Beauty. Though it has been around since 2013, Flower Beauty was first introduced into Ulta Stores in 2018, launching in CVS in 2020.

All of Flower Beauty’s ingredients, formulations, and finished products are cruelty-free. The brand has never tested on animals. However, not all of Flower Beauty’s ingredients are vegan. The brand does offer vegan options, but as of right now, it still uses some animal byproducts in some of its items products. That being said, the brand is PETA-certified due to its cruelty-free status. For full ingredient lists, check individual product pages. 

It’s important to note that Flower Beauty does not market itself as a sustainable or vegan brand. The brand only markets itself as (and has the certifications for) a cruelty-free brand.

In terms of packaging, just about everything is plastic, and there isn’t a lot of information readily available regarding how much virgin plastic the company uses. When it comes to waste, Flower Beauty doesn’t rank very high. Most packaging seems to be single-use, and the brand doesn’t offer refillable options. There also isn’t a lot of information on the biodegradability of the individual formulas.

It’s difficult to determine the company’s overall sustainability ranking, especially since the company does not offer insights into its environmental footprint (or efforts to do better).

9. Item Beauty by Addison Rae

celebrity makeup brands sustainability ranking

Total Score: 7/20

  • Ingredients: 3/5
  • Packaging: 1/5
  • Waste: 1/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 2/5

Item Beauty comes from TikTok star Addison Rae. It launched in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All of the ingredients used in Item Beauty’s products are cruelty-free and vegan. According to the brand, it relies on “responsibly, ethically, and sustainably-sourced formulas whenever possible.” While it’s tricky to ascertain how often that is, we appreciate Item Beauty’s efforts in prioritizing sustainability and ethical sourcing practices. 

The company’s site also has an entire section dedicated to supply-chain transparency. While the information doesn’t include specific details about each ingredient or product’s supply chain, it does offer up critical information about the brand’s standards and expectations for their supply chain and labor practices.

Unfortunately, Item Beauty still loses valuable sustainability points in the realm of recyclability and reusability. It appears that the bulk of the line is made with plastic packaging, but there is little information regarding packaging in general. It’s unclear whether any packaging is compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable. Cute products are great, but sustainability is always the smarter move.

10. Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner

Total Score: 5/20

  • Ingredients: 2/5
  • Packaging: 1/5
  • Waste: 1/5
  • Dedication to Sustainability: 1/5

We’ve all heard of Kylie Cosmetics. The brand was originally owned by reality star Kylie Jenner, who has since sold a majority 51% stake in her company to beauty brand Coty. (Jenner only continues to stay on in a promotional role.) Kylie Cosmetics has sold more than $630 million worth of makeup since 2016, according to Forbes.

Acquisition by a larger corporation often has negative consequences in terms of sustainability, as elements like ingredient and labor sourcing can change. It gives many consumers the illusion of choice when they go to the store—when you pick up a Kylie gloss and a Covergirl foundation, some reasonably think they’re buying from two separate companies, right? 

Instead, both brands are owned by Coty. More competition pushes companies to become more ethical and sustainable to attract conscious consumers. After the 2021 relaunch, Kylie Cosmetics is officially 100% vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and paraben-free, but Coty as a parent company is not.

Kylie Cosmetics had an unusual start in comparison to some of these other celeb-owned brands. In the beginning, the main draw of Kylie Cosmetics was simply that it came from Kylie—sustainability, vegan ingredients, and clean beauty ingredients weren’t at the forefront of the company’s agenda.

However, Kylie Cosmetics’ current ingredient lists exclude parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, formaldehyde, petrolatum, aluminum salts, lead, lead acetate, methyl cellosolve, and methoxyethanol. Although it’s not the longest list, naming the exact ingredients that they avoid is a win. That being said, there is no transparency around how the brand is prioritizing the planet. 

Additionally, Kylie Cosmetics’ products are not reusable, refillable, or biodegradable. At best, the products, which come in mostly plastic packaging, may be recyclable, but it’s unclear how much virgin plastic is used. The brand does not offer consumers instructions on how to recycle or dispose of products in the most eco-friendly way.

The Top Takeaway for Conscious Consumers

Revenue in the beauty and personal care space amounts to $564 billion this year and is expected to grow by nearly 5% annually. That’s an enormous market, and the ever-growing margins come with a responsibility to customers and our planet.

The beauty industry has come a long way in regard to prioritizing sustainability—that all of our included brands strive to achieve some semblance of environmental awareness is a feat. But with the buzziness of celebrity comes a loophole, the shine of the face associated with the products stealing focus from the processes, ingredients, and packaging that comprise a brand.

As truly clean and sustainably-minded beauty becomes more popular and expected, companies (even those owned by public figures) will step up their game—especially if the customer base demands it.


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The Most Popular Celebrity Makeup Brands, Ranked From Most to Least Sustainable