April 22, 2021

World Earth Day: 12 Beauty Brands That Are Secretly Doing Good Things To Help The Planet

Alemais spring/summer ‘21. Photography: Duncan Killick / Creative Director: Lesleigh Jermanus / Stylist: Caroline Tran / Makeup: Rae Morris / Hair: Alan White / Jewellery: Dinosaur Designs / Talent: Beck Hume and Bee Madsen @ IMG Models

Happy World Earth Day!

Each year, April 22 marks World Earth Day, a landmark global event which encourages all of us to pause and reflect on our impact on the planet. Earth Day started back in 1970 and celebrated 50 years in 2020, and this year’s theme of Invest In Our Planet is an exciting one. While Earth Day is also a day to take stock—a report in 2018 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set out the very scary and irreversible damage to the planet caused by rising temperatures, which themselves are caused by growing CO2 emissions—it’s also a day to take positive action. This year’s theme asks us all to “act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably).” It’s about a partnership for the planet, not just for individuals but businesses and governments too. Afterall, a “green future is a prosperous future.”

In honour of this, we ask you to think twice before your next purchase and to use your dollar to invest in companies and organisations that are making a difference. Each person, business and organisation has the power to create change so don’t forget that. Here are 12 brands who are helping our planet in many different ways.

Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees isn’t just your go-to for a well-priced and super hydrating lip balm: shopping from its range can help to protect the world’s bee population. ICYMI: bees pollinate our plants which helps to fertilise them so they reproduce, meaning bees are critical to the world’s food system. Did you know, a third of our global food production depends on this process? In its recent 2020 Impact Report, detailing initiatives from 2012 to 2020, Burt’s Bees was able to research 5000+ global bee species to understand how they function, protect 145,000+ acres of land for pollinator forage and plant 15 billion wildflower seeds to support this forage.


Thankyou is an Australian social enterprise brand—which means that every time you buy one of its delicious moisturisers, it donates funds to safe water, hygiene and sanitation programs, and food security programs across the globe. While your fav moisturiser is already having a pretty incredible impact, Thankyou has decided to take it a step further, moving toward a plastic-free collection with its new range of seven cruelty-free, naturally derived hair and body bars. Speaking to Gritty Pretty, Daniel Flynn, the co-founder and managing director of Thankyou, shared what led them to create this plastic-free range: “We’ve seen the challenges society faces on many fronts—waste is one of them, and we saw an opportunity to innovate in this space and provide consumers with a plastic-free choice.” How does he think consumers can become more aware and conscious of their ecological footprint? “Step one is to slow down and think about the decisions you are making. I feel like society moves so fast, from fast fashion to viral trends that pop up overnight. The challenge is taking a moment to consider your next purchase or action, and then if there’s a better option, take it (even if it costs you more time or money). No matter how small the step, if you can take it, take it.”


You might love Clarins for its iconic Double Serum but the brand also has a plethora of long-term commitments to protect the planet for future generations. By 2025, Clarins goals are to have:

  • 100 per cent sustainable sourcing
  • 80 per cent of ingredients to be organically cultivated (currently, 40 per cent of the natural extracts they select come from organic farming)
  • 100 per cent of packaging to be recyclable
  • 30 per cent reduction of global carbon footprint

In addition to this, the brand is also a big supporter of the local cause Greening Australia, which works to protect, restore and conserve our native vegetation.


French haircare brand Klorane is so good it was rumoured to be the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld’s dry shampoo of choice, but did you know it’s also on a mission to protect the planet? This year the brand has partnered with Rainforest Rescue to help grow 50,000 trees in the Daintree Rainforest. This is no small feat, with up to 75,000 seedlings to be grown by the end of 2022, the investment has resulted in the creation of the largest tree nursery. 

Laurent-Emmanuel Saffreì, Head of Oceania Region and CEO of Pierre Fabre Australia explains, “2022 marks an important year as we are going one step further in our environmental actions by supporting Rainforest Rescue in growing 50,000 trees in the Daintree. It is our mission to support crucial plant rescue and protection programs, as well as inspiring a love of plant science in generations to come.”

Emma Lewisham

Emma Lewisham is arguably leading the way when it comes to being a planet positive brand. The brand, founded by New Zealander Emma Lewisham, has gone from strength to strength this year. In February it was officially B Corp certified, with Lewisham explaining, “since inception, I was determined to not only set a new benchmark in scientifically proven natural skincare but also in sustainable skincare. I see business as a tool to tackle problems, find solutions and leave behind something better.” 

The Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle also helps save 1,000KG a month through the use of refills over brand new vessels. “Our customers’s demand for Emma Lewisham Refills has grown from 10 per cent to 47 per cent in New Zealand over the last six months and from four per cent to 35 per cent in Australia. We’re expecting this trend to continue on its promising upwards trajectory.” When we chatted to Lewisham on Gritty Pretty Radio, she shared why this matters so much to her: “I’m loving that we are making some disruption in the beauty industry. By paving a different way, by showing that it’s possible to be commercially viable and also sustainable—and by that I mean circular. Circularity is the pinnacle of what it means, in my view, to be a sustainable brand, it’s the number one thing we can do to reduce carbon emissions, which is so important right now, and to divert billions and billions of units of packaging that go to our landfill, oceans or that are burnt every year.” On top of this Emma Lewisham is conscious of what is on the inside too, using 100 per cent naturally derived ingredients, a minimum of 60 per cent certified organic ingredients, and responsible manufacturing processes like responsible water usage.

La Mer

La Mer, which translates from French as “the sea”, is a brand which uses incredible efficacious ingredients sourced from the ocean. But La Mer is also giving back to this magical ecosystem, with its La Mer Blue Heart initiative, a promise from the brand to come together in support of the ocean. Through this commitment, La Mer helps to protect marine habitats across the globe. For instance, in 2019, La Mer supported the planting of 30,000 mangroves in the Caribbean, and this year, it’ll be funding organisations that focus on educating future generations so they can become leaders of change in their local communities—the perfect way to encourage innovation.


Australian beauty destination Mecca is joining the sustainability movement, this year announcing a partnership and free national in-store collection program with TerraCycle. For those not familiar with TerraCycle, it’s a global leader recycling hard-to-recycle materials, including empty beauty products which often can’t be easily recycled due to the various parts in pumps and applicators. From April 27, 2021, you can drop into any of the 100 Mecca stores with your empty beauty products (yes, get the very last of that RMS concealer out of there!) and they’ll pass it onto TerraCycle. From there, your much-loved #empties will be recycled or sorted, processed, and transformed into something new.


Australian hair-care brand Kevin.Murphy is one of those brands where unless you dig a little deeper, you’d probably have no idea how hard it is working to protect our planet. The brand, which launched back in 2004, did so honouring three pillars: Fashion, Performance and Environment. “In 2004 the focus was on just what was inside the bottle,” explains Kevin Murphy, the man behind the brand. “Fast forward to 2021, you need to consider the full life cycle of what’s inside the bottle, what’s outside the bottle, what happens when it sits on the shelf and what happens when it goes home with that customer, and beyond.” The brand uses only natural ingredients from sustainable and renewable sources, that are harvested in a way that does zero harm to the environment. Close to two decades on, Murphy admits “it’s not easy” but says: “I do all of this because my name is on the bottle and I want to be true to my own values.” He adds that making change is in collective action: “The dream is to have every beauty brand adopting this as part of their innate practice because it creates real change for generations to come.”


Biossance is not a brand that keeps its sustainability initiatives a secret—and for good reason. Biossance boxes are completely compostable, the brand is officially carbon neutral and has also pledged to be zero waste by 2025, and of course, they use clean ingredients in their products. But did you know the real impact that the brand’s hero ingredient, a vegan squalene, actually has? Regular squalene, a super hydrating ingredient, is harvested from sharks but Biossance has found a way to create it from sugarcane, saving 2 million sharks a year from being slaughtered. The best bit? Its not afraid to share the love. Biossance already gives other brands access to this incredible squalene and in line with World Earth Day, Biossance has announced their involvement in the launch of #WeAreAllies, an alliance with four of its competitors: Ren, Caudalie, Herbivore, and Youth To The People. Together, they’ll all be reducing packaging waste by 2025, proving the brand’s mantra that a rising tide lifts all ships.


You’re probably not new to Aveda’s range of natural, cruelty-free and organic products but a love for the planet is instilled in the brand’s DNA. It has been holding Earth Day fundraising events since 1989 and this year is no different. For the second year Aveda is raising $100,000 to support Australian charity Take 3 for the Sea to help remove 1.5 million pieces of rubbish from oceans and waterways. You can get involved by making a donation, purchasing an Aveda x Take 3 scrunchie made from 100 per cent recycled RPET and by collecting three pieces of rubbish next time you’re at the beach. 


LA based company Seed is focussed on both human and planetary health. It has only recently launched in Australia with its DS-01™ Daily Synbiotic but is already building a booming brand on Aussie shores. Its pledge to help the planet can be witnessed in its environmental research arm, SeedLabs, where it uses probiotics to restore ecosystems and enhance biodiversity that’s been impacted by humans. Currently, it has been working on a probiotic that can boost the immune system of honey bees and a program to restore resilience to the Earth’s coral reefs. Seed’s packaging is recyclable and refillable, the refill pouches are compostable and the paper packaging is even made from algae. 

Sunday Riley

The brand known best for its CEO Glow Face Oil and Good Genes Serum which have a cult-like following always keep the planet in mind with the slogan “powered by science, backed by botanicals.” In celebration of World Earth Day, iconic B-Corp, Sunday Riley has announced that it uses a Zero Waste Oil Process and is Green Lab Certified. This process means that usually seeds are pressed to create oils and just 10 per cent of the seed is actually used, meaning that the remaining 90 per cent goes to waste. Sunday Riley is now grinding up the remaining product to create a seed powder and nutritional supplements, reducing waste significantly.


New Zealand brand Ethique is celebrating Earth Day a little differently, by launching into the cosmetics category with plastic-free, vegan and home-compostable lipstick. Around the world, an estimated 800–900 million lipsticks, generally packaged in plastic, are sold each year and will eventually be disposed of in landfill. Like all of Ethique’s other products the range is certified vegan, palm-oil free and oh so dreamy! 



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