Welcome to ELLE’s 2023 Green Beauty Stars

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It’s not easy being green—especially in the crowded, competitive world of beauty. The clean beauty market is estimated to be worth 22 billion dollars by the end of 2024, which is why the ELLE2 editors convene yearly to comb through countless submissions and shine a bright, solar-powered light on Green Beauty Stars that are going the extra mile to be eco-friendly.

2023’s Green Beauty Stars Award winners are comprised of a wide range of pioneering products, all striving to keep humans and the planet a better, cleaner place. These sustainable standouts have committed to thinking about shrinking rainforests, growing piles of plastic, and carbon emission calculations, so we can all spritz, lather, and swipe with a little more peace of mind.

Scroll on to find compostable compacts and completely package-free products, innovative, earth-friendly ingredients, and planet-protecting initiatives, and meet the latest and greatest green beauty products and brands powering the daily routines of planeteers and product aficionados alike.

A version of this article appears in the April 2023 issue of ELLE.

Body products that are good for your skin and the earth

elle green beauty stars


Writer Candle

The Maker Writer Candle

The Maker’s candles are not just some of the best-smelling ones in the industry, but also vegan (made with non-GMO soy), cruelty-free, and formulated without phthalates, parabens, formaldehydes and synthetic dyes. The fluted vessels are made with post-consumer-recycled glass, and perfect for upcycling to become holders for makeup brushes or household clutter. The Writer scent smells like smoke, with the faintest hint of wet ink, making it the perfect accompaniment for Sunday morning paper time.

Deep Moisture Body Wash

Dove Beauty Deep Moisture Body Wash

This newly-reformulated body wash (one of the most popular in the nation) now comes in a 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. The upgraded formula uses nanotechnology to help hydrate parched skin, and the special bottle is just one arm of Dove’s pledge to majorly reduce their plastic waste footprint by 2025.

Classic Spray SPF 50 Sunscreen

Vacation Classic Spray SPF 50 Sunscreen

Vacation’s sprays have gone viral thanks to the nostalgic packaging, but there’s nothing retro about what’s behind the yellow nozzle. The heavenly-scented, reef-friendly formula hits your skin via bag-on-valve technology—a modern mechanism that separates propellant from product. It emits a cloud of the earth-friendly SPF, instead of a combo of aerosol or old-school, ozone-damaging CFC chemicals.

Nutrient-Rich Hand and Body Wash

Costa Brazil Nutrient-Rich Hand and Body Wash

For the past five years, Costa Brazil has helped protect hundreds of thousands of acres in the Amazon, (the rainforest that inspired founder Francisco Costa to launch the sustainable beauty line), through creative collaborations and a partnership with Conservation International. Working together with the non-profit, Costa Brazil has already planted over 60,000 trees in its commitment to restoration and preservation.

Save the F@#%ing Rainforest Nourishing Oil

Palmless Save the F@#%ing Rainforest Nourishing Oil

This lightweight, nourishing, multi-purpose oil will have you gleaming from your split ends to your dry cuticles, and will help the planet in the process. It’s powered by Torula oil, a novel oil that’s made in a lab instead of grown on trees. It’s a replacement for the palm oil that is so prevalent in the beauty industry, and that has been linked to deforestation, GHG emissions, unfair labor practices, and wildlife endangerment.

Eau de Parfum in Rouge

La Bouche Rouge Eau de Parfum in Rouge

La Bouche Rouge’s first product was a range of luxurious, plastic-free lipsticks. Now the brand is making perfume more sustainable. Each fragrance was formulated in Grasse and up to 30 percent of the ingredients are derived from upcycled raw materials. For example, the cedarwood essence is made from the sawdust left behind at a woodcutting factory in Virginia. Refills also come in 100 percent aluminum tubes, a first in the fragrance industry.

Forest Stone Solid Refillable Body Moisturizer

Kate McLeod Forest Stone Solid Refillable Body Moisturizer

These little nuggets of cocoa butter, plant-based oils, and natural exfoliant are like soothing Alka-seltzer tabs for your bathroom. Drop a couple into your bath or shower water for a fizzy, aromatherapy experience that leaves you smoother than when you started. Better yet, they live in a bamboo-topped glass canister. Pebble Refills come in FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified recyclable paper trays too.

Moisturizing Shave Bar

Good Juju Moisturizing Shave Bar

This skin-nourishing bar is made of softening cocoa and shea butters and a stress-relieving dose of organic essential oils that will completely transform your shave routine. The foam-free solid not only leaves limbs moisturized, but also replaces up to five cans of shaving cream, which means you get the same razor-burn preventing slip without any plastic packaging.

Clean skincare featuring innovative ingredients and packaging

elle green beauty stars 2023


Makeup Re-Wined

Krave Beauty Makeup Re-Wined

This jiggly oil cleanser made of upcycled grapeseed oil was “a nightmare” to make, according to the brand. But instead of tossing all the sample iterations that didn’t quite measure up, they decided to sell “pilot” versions of the product at a discounted price to cut down on waste. These earlier versions contain the same ingredient and deliver the same makeup-melting powers, just in a format with a little less jiggle and a little more slip.


Bakel JALU-3D

Thirsty faces are always in search of more hyaluronic acid, and this revolutionary, 3D-printed patch delivers the ingredient to your skin in record time, and with minimal waste. Each patch is made of micro stripes of pure hyaluronic acid, which is 10 times higher in concentration than the typical emulsions you’d find in the store. In a rarity for eye patches, many of which are made of silicone or biocellulose, the film coating is 100 percent compostable and the packaging itself is also recyclable.

Abeille Royale Anti-Aging Double R Advanced Serum

Guerlain Abeille Royale Anti-Aging Double R Advanced Serum

Guerlain’s dedication to the bees—both preserving the population and harnessing the powerful anti-aging benefits found in their honey—continues with their latest launch. Inside this recyclable glass bottle are two serums, each made of 96 percent naturally derived ingredients and housed in their own separate chambers to remain completely potent until they are smoothed onto your skin.

Supernatural Sleeping Mask

Emma Lewisham Supernatural Sleeping Mask

Kiwi Emma Lewisham wanted to take clean beauty to the La Mer-level of luxe—and it just happens to be the world’s first carbon positive beauty brand, too. This overnight mask has 22 different actives including gardenia jasminoides extract, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and rose flower water to work overnight to help your skin rebuild collagen and hydrate. The carbon footprint of the product of every product is always shared (this one is 23.81 kgCO₂e/litre) and when you purchase a refill pod (over a new product), you’re reducing your glowy skin’s carbon footprint by 67 percent.

Ceramide Barrier Boost Serum

Common Heir Ceramide Barrier Boost Serum

These convenient single-dose capsules filled with ceramides, the glue that keep our skin barrier intact, are completely waste-free and guess-work free. Instead of wasting product in droppers, pumps, or at the bottom of bottles, these capsules ensure the right amount of serum goes straight to your face and leaves no trace of its presence behind—other than smoother, significantly less-stressed out skin.

Royal Tulip Cleansing Jelly

Bloomeffects Royal Tulip Cleansing Jelly

This luxurious cleansing jelly melts any kind of day away without stripping skin, thanks to a hydrating blend of earth-sourced botanicals, including tulips from those Insta-famous fields in Amsterdam. The pretty pink formula now comes in a convenient recyclable tube made of PICEA, a sustainable material upcycled from excess sawdust waste of German carpenters.

Apricot Penta-Acid Face Polish

Irene Forte Skincare Apricot Penta-Acid Face Polish

This blend of physical and chemical exfoliants is upcycled both inside and out. Italian wheat bran promote skin elasticity, while red grape skin delivers a strong shot of antioxidants. It’s all housed in a refillable 31 percent postindustrial recycled glass jar and a 100 percent recycled box liner featuring a painting of the brand’s organic farm in Sicily, where many of the product’s ingredients are grown.

Refillable Restorative Eye Crème

Tata Harper Refillable Restorative Eye Crème

This creamy and hydrating formula packed with botanicals is destined to become one of your consistent product empties. Thankfully, there’s a good contingency plan for when you inevitably run out. The refillable container holds convenient refill pods, each of which contains 96 pumps-worth of the formula, so you can save up to six photogenic green bottles a year from the landfill.

Makeup that delivers on performance and green promises

elle green beauty stars 2023


ten18 Lash Amplifying Mascara

Exa Beauty ten18 Lash Amplifying Mascara

This buildable mascara gives more oomph thanks to a natural jet black formula made of bamboo charcoal. The hourglass-shaped brush that grips and coats the sparsest, teeniest, and straightest of lashes is also derived from castor beans, instead of plastic.

No Limits Cream Bronzer and Contour Stick

LYS Beauty No Limits Cream Bronzer and Contour Stick

Impressively intense color payoff isn’t just reserved for hard-to-pronounce ingredients. This creamy contour stick is made of a clean, vegan formula infused with rosehip oil and soothing green tea extract, which makes each swipe all the more satisfying. Each shade is housed in a convenient 30 percent post-consumer recycled tube and in Forest Steward Council (FSC)-certified cartons assuring responsible and sustainable sourcing.

Eyeshadow Singles

Half Magic Eyeshadow Singles

Empty palettes pile up, but these individual compacts created by makeup artist Donni Davy of Euphoria fame are space-saving and straightforward. The plastic-free, PaperFoam construction makes it extra easy to give your compacts another life. Once you’ve reached the bottom of your shade, simply place it in the bin with your recyclable paper goods, or toss it right into your compost.

Pollinator Polish

Pleasing Pollinator Polish

You’ll find castor beans hanging out inside Harry Styles’s new spring collection of biodegradable, 12-free nail polishes. Every brush bristle in his Pleasing Pollinators collection is also made of castor beans.

Coming Soon

Good hair day product picks

elle green beauty stars 2023


Foundation Conditioner

Roz Hair Foundation Conditioner

Formulated by celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak (Olivia Wilde, Michelle Yeoh), every aspect of Rōz is designed with the environment in mind. It starts once your order is placed—the products arrive packaged in a Boox (yes, not a box) which is made of sturdy plastic and comes with a return label so it can be used dozens of times. From there, the Conditioner is packaged in a refillable, recyclable aluminum bottle with a reusable pump. The formula itself is clean, too. Spiked with the proprietary Botanicomplex (made of ginger root, frankincense, grape, and walnut), it nurtures your scalp for a healthier head of hair.

Plant Brush

Tangle Teezer Plant Brush

Everyone’s favorite detangler got a plant-based makeover. 85 percent of this new plant-based version is made up of sustainably sourced castor beans instead of plastic. The bean-based brush gets you the same flexible yet durable bristles that glide through even the most stubborn tangles with ease.

Clean Stylers Sheer Dry Shampoo

Fekkai Clean Stylers Sheer Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is a great way to save some water (by skipping a wash or two), and thanks to Fekkai’s styler, you can also save the ozone while spraying your greasy roots. This oil-absorbing formula is powered by Honeywell’s Solstice Propellant, an aerosol technology with an ultra-low global warming potential that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 99 percent, compared to the traditional propellants commonly used in cosmetics. Solstice also has a minimal atmospheric lifetime (under two weeks compared to the 1.6 years with hydrofluorocarbons and and 80-100 years with traditional chlorofluorocarbons), so your strategic bedhead won’t haunt your descendants.

HYDR-8 Hydrate and Repair Shampoo

Vegamour HYDR-8 Hydrate and Repair Shampoo

Dry, damaged strands need long-lasting hydration that won’t wash away. Thankfully, this reparative collection is powered by Karmatin, the holistic hair care brand’s innovative vegan silk keratin and silicone alternative, that strengthens, repairs, and infuses shine—all without the sought-after protein that’s typically derived from animals, and requires an extra trip to the salon.

The beauty brands which keep sustainability top of mind

elle green beauty stars

People, Places, & Purpose

hanahana beauty

Hanahana Beauty

For this shea butter brand, being truly sustainable goes above and beyond the products and how they’re packaged — it’s also about helping people sustain themselves. Earlier this year, Hananana’s fiscally sponsored Circle of Care organization completed its sixth annual healthcare day in Tamale, Ghana, taking care of the producers of the brand’s star ingredient by providing over 200 community members and their families with healthcare checkups and medications.

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Hanahana Beauty

Aveda Corporation

This year, the high-performance hair care brand and trailblazer officially became a Certified B Corporation, meeting the gold standard of sustainable beauty certifications. After undergoing the notoriously rigorous review of its environmental and social practices and policies, Aveda emerged with an impressive overall impact score of 89.6 (50.9 is the average score of companies undergoing the assessment), further cementing the company’s commitment to green leadership and responsibility in the space.

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babor beauty group

Babor Beauty Group

When it comes to protecting the environment, the Germany-based beauty group recognizes that there’s always more that can be done —and they’re going to do it. Babor has been carbon neutral since 2020, and is taking further steps by planting trees in the Babor forest, adding only energy-efficient buildings, and powering its HQ entirely with green electricity.

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Babor Beauty
ilia beauty

Ilia Beauty

The clean, skin-centric beauty brand is the leading contributor to PACT, the nonprofit collective catalyzing collaboration to reduce, recycle, and end packaging waste in the beauty and wellness industries. ILIA alone has provided 30 percent of all PACT collected materials and will gladly recycle your product empties for you, ILIA-branded or otherwise.

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Photography courtesy of Rhys Frampton/Trunk Archive, Kate Mcleod, Hanahana Beauty, and GettyImages

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Erica Smith is a New York City-based writer and editor who has previously worked at The Cut, Huffington Post, Birchbox, Vogue, and Man Repeller. A true multi-hyphenate in the world of digital content, she can adequately style her hair on camera, comfortably juggle 20+ open tabs in multiple browser windows, and easily hang out in a CMS for days—years, even. 

Headshot of Kathleen Hou

ELLE Beauty Director

Kathleen Hou is ELLE”s Beauty Director. Previously, she held the same title at New York Magazine’s The Cut. She’s appeared in publications such as New York, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue India, Forbes, and Allure. She was also a co-founder of Donate Beauty, a grassroots beauty donation project started during the COVID-19 crisis, which donated over 500,000 products to over 30,000 healthcare workers across 500+ hospitals. 


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