Clean beauty brand Ethique, best known for its plant-based skin and body bars, is entering the cosmetics category with a seven-shade range of vegan, compostable lipsticks. Items will sell for $20 on Amazon and the brand’s e-commerce site.

Designed to be buried after use, the lipsticks were a result of three years of research and development and are meant to be a sustainability standard for the industry. Per Ethique, an estimated 800 million to 900 million lipsticks are sold annually and are eventually disposed of as landfill. Many beauty brands also currently use palm oil in their lipstick formulations, which leads to deforestation and habitat destruction. In addition, some types of pigments and mica use to color formulas are sourced via child labor.

Ethique’s new range of lipsticks features child-labor-free pigments that offer vibrant hues and a satin finish. They’re also palm oil-free, cruelty-free, and boast emollients to hydrate lips. Each Ethique lipstick offers the same amount of product as two traditional lipsticks, yielding fewer plastic lipstick tubes into the environment. Packaging is completely compostable; consumers can dispose of empty lipstick packaging in their favorite planter or garden.  

Here, Beauty News caught up with Ethique Founder and CEO, Brianne West, to talk about how her compostable initiative came to be.

Beauty News: Tell us how these compostable lipsticks became a reality.

Brianne West: From creating plant-wax-lined home-compostable cardboard tubes to offering an array of classic shades that flatter every skin tone, to balancing an ethical approach to formulation with ingredients that would perform beautifully, we thought of it all. Building on the success of our home-compostable lip balms, which launched last summer, our new pigmented, long-wearing plastic-free lipsticks were thoughtfully formulated in classic shades ranging from rich reds to warm peaches and deep berry tones.

We hope the new home-compostable lipstick range, combining bold color with a big environmental and social benefit, can tackle the waste and harm associated with cosmetics by offering a high-performance alternative. The packaging can also be recycled with paper and cardboard if there isn’t an option to compost or bury. This is just the start of our journey in the cosmetics space—we can’t wait to further prove that it’s possible for products to be ethical, affordable, and just as good as your mainstream brands!

BN: What are your three-year goals for the brand?

BW: Since we launched in 2012, Ethique has committed to being a people and planet-first company. To date, our customers have helped us to save over 20 million single-use plastic containers from circulation and we have donated over $2 million to more than 700 organizations focused on addressing environmental and social issues. Our next goal for bottles saved is half a billion by 2030, and we are looking to donate $10 million by 2026 through the newly minted Ethique Foundation. We have lots of exciting new products to come, and further environmental initiatives to continue regenerating our planet.

To continue this momentum well into the future, we will also be implementing our own initiatives through the Foundation including a year-long fellowship program that will support, fund, and mentor women around the world with innovative, scalable solutions tackling conservation of our planet.