Brianne West began making sustainable, vegan cosmetics in her New Zealand kitchen five years ago. With a background in biochemistry, her goal was to grow the brand (aptly named Ethique), to “become the world’s most sustainable cosmetics company,” she says. In just a year and a half, sales quickly picked up, the products grew more popular, and she took the company to the next level, moving from her house into a leased workspace, and raising $200,000 through equity crowdfunding.
Her passion is deeply rooted. “I have always been interested in cosmetic chemistry, and I always wanted to save the world,” she explains. “Every piece of plastic ever made is still existing in some form or another and it annoys me that companies aren't made to be accountable for that. I wanted a company that not only produced a great product and fulfilled a need that people have (everybody uses soap, hopefully), but that also accounted for the entire lifecycle of all of the product so that the packaging itself also disappeared.”
All of Ethique's products are 100 percent compostable and ethically sourced. Cocoa butter, coconut oil, essential oils and shea butter are Ethique's core ingredients and many of the foaming agents used are derived from coconut (“it is super natural and foams wonderfully,” she says).
One thing we loved learning from Brianne is how much longer bar products last compared to their bottled companion. “A shampoo bar is equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo,” Brianne says. “A 350mL bottle is usually about 75 percent water. And there’s water in your shower, so that seems very strange to me,” she says. Thus, all of Ethique’s products contain no water, and come in solid format. We love any brand who makes eco-conscious choices, and especially one that has such delicious products like the Pinkalicious Shampoo Bar (Brianne’s favorite), and Lime + Ginger Body Polish.
Shop a few of our favorite products below.