In Byrdie’s sixth annual Eco Beauty Awards, we're spotlighting the best of the best in sustainable, conscious beauty. Brands that are mindful of their carbon footprint, offer transparency and nuance, and formulas that work. You’ll find smaller, up-and-coming brands leading the way when it comes to ethical ingredient sourcing and upcycling, as well as some of your favorite mass and luxury brands making big moves in sustainable packaging (you can read more about the greenfication of big beauty here). Below, find the process we used to select winners, what our Eco Tags mean, and an introduction to our knowledgeable guest judges.
Our Winner Selection Process
Our team of 11 editors and four guest judges tested hundreds of products throughout the year and nominated over 300 as contenders for our Eco Beauty Awards. From there, we selected winners based on the three categories below:
- Efficacy: Does the product do what it promises?
- Sustainability: Does this product's creation, from packaging to ingredients, take into account its environmental impact? Does the brand employ ethical standards throughout its production process?
- Ingredients: Does the product align with Byrdie’s definition of "clean"? Is there transparency in its ingredient-sourcing process? Does the brand's ethos align with our push for vetted, science-backed claims?
We place a heavy emphasis on sustainability, choosing to highlight brands that are really going above and beyond to formulate with sustainably-sourced ingredients while minimizing their carbon footprint.
What Our Tags Mean
With our Eco Tags feature, you'll instantly see which of our winners are Byrdie Clean, made with sustainable packaging, vegan, cruelty-free, Black-owned, AAPI-owned, Latinx-owned, and/or have a charitable element—we’ll even note if the product has won a Byrdie Eco Award in the past. Here’s what each of these tags means below:
- Byrdie Clean: This means the product does not contain any of the ingredients listed in our Clean Beauty Pledge. [Editor's note: This is not ingredient-shaming but rather a way for us to standardize what we mean when we call a product "clean."]
- Sustainable packaging: A product made with sustainable packaging means it’s made from either fully-recycled or partially-recycled materials—or, that the brand made an effort to reduce excess plastic or packaging waste somewhere along its product creation process.
- Vegan: A vegan beauty product contains absolutely no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts. That includes popular natural moisturizing agents such as beeswax, honey, and lanolin, plus the color pigment carmine.
- Cruelty-free: If a brand does not test on animals at any point during a product’s creation, then we consider that brand cruelty-free.
- Black-owned: As part of our Diversity Pledge, we feature at least 15% Black-owned brands in all of our product roundups, in accordance with the 15% Pledge started by Aurora James. Our Eco Beauty Awards are no different—at least 15% percent of our winners are Black-owned brands.
- AAPI-owned: If the brand is AAPI-owned or founded, we'll mark it with this tag.
- Latinx-owned: This means the brand is Latinx-owned or founded.
- Gives back: This means the brand has a charitable element, such as donating a percentage of proceeds to a social justice organization or sustainable initiative.
- 2021 Winner: We love our previous Eco Beauty Award winners so much, sometimes we are them twice. Yes, they’re really that good.
Meet Our Guest Judges
To help us make our selections this year, we employed four guest judges who are all leading experts in the world of clean, ethical beauty. Get to know them below.
Priscilla Tsai, founder of Cocokind
Priscilla Tsai founded Cocokind in 2015, and has since become a stand-out leader in the clean beauty space finding her niche in radical transparency. Tsai lets consumers in on all of her decisions—from packaging, to testing, to ingredients. In 2021, she rebranded her mission from "clean" to "conscious" skincare after realizing the toll confusing marketing jargon can take on all of us. Her work shines a light on the need for better stability testing, sourcing, holistic sustainability, claims vetting, and standardized rules in the industry.
Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli, host of Naked Beauty Podcast
Brooke Devard Ozaydinli works in creator marketing at Instagram (no wonder she has her finger on the pulse) and hosts the uber-popular Naked Beauty podcast. There, she delves into beauty trends, self-care journeys, skincare, wellness, and more. Joined by inspiring guests including Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye and Olamide Olowe, Ozaydinli provides an alternative to the usual industry gatekeeping with an inside look at the beauty space with some of its biggest players.
Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist
Krupa merges her background in biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology with her lifelong practice of Ayurveda to create new concepts and innovations in the clean beauty space. Starting her 10+ year career at Estée Lauder and Neutrogena, Krupa has spent her career championing conscious consumerism. As the founder of KKT Consultants, Krupa continues to create innovative, sustainable products for top beauty brands.
Robyn Watkins, founder of Holistic Beauty Group
Watkins has been championing the beauty industry’s adoption of clean and sustainable ingredients for over two decades. She is behind the ingredient policies of some of beauty’s biggest brands like Estée Lauder, Smashbox, and Arbonne. With her work at the Holistic Beauty Group, Watkins spends her days helping brands develop innovative and effective beauty and wellness products. She oversees formula development, packaging development, and ingredient sourcing along with lab iterations.