Is Glossier Cruelty Free, Vegan, and Sustainable?

Glossier clean beauty

Treehugger / Photo Illustration by Catherine Song / Glossier

Glossier is cruelty free certified and committed to reducing its packaging waste. The company was launched in 2014 under the motto “skin first, makeup second,” and has managed to spark somewhat of a cult following over the years. The brand started with four skin care options but now has more than 30 products, including makeup, skin care, and perfume. 

Glossier became more vocal about its sustainability goals in 2019, after it received criticism for launching non-biodegradable glitter makeup and for its use of plastic shipping materials. Both issues have since been addressed.

However, Glossier is not a zero-waste beauty brand and it doesn’t use certified organic ingredients. And although some of its products are labeled as vegan, they are not vegan certified and the company still uses animal-derived ingredients.

Cruelty Free Certified 

Glossier is Leaping Bunny certified, and therefore 100% cruelty free. None of Glossier’s ingredients, formulations, or finished products are tested on animals anywhere in the world.

According to Leaping Bunny requirements, the brand must only work with vendors who uphold the same standards and must be regularly audited to ensure compliance.

Glossier Is Not Vegan 

Some of Glossier’s cosmetics contain one or more of the following non-vegan ingredients: beeswax, lanolin, honey, carmine, and ambrettolide. However, there are 22 vegan Glossier products including some of the brands' best-sellers, Brow Flick, Milky Jelly Cleanser, Solution, and Wowder. All new products developed by the brand will be vegan moving forward. 

Glossier’s vegan options are identified by a plant logo, but they are not certified by a third-party organization such as The Vegan Society or PETA. 

The Limited Packaging Option 

Glossier pink pouch
Glossier's iconic pink pouch.

Courtesy of Glossier

Glossier says it is committed to limiting excess and wasteful packaging by offering a "limited packaging” option for orders placed on its website. If you choose to opt-out at check out, your order will be wrapped in thick paper sheets instead of the usual pink bubble wrap pouch. In addition, pink pouches can be brought to a Glossier store to be recycled by the brand. 

In 2019, Glossier announced it updated its shipping boxes to be made from 100% recycled cardboard, discontinued sticker sheets, and began the process of removing all unnecessary liners from its boxes. This has resulted in the elimination of over 40,000 pounds of excess packaging over the past three years, according to the brand. 

Glossier also recently launched an eyeshadow trio named Monochromes, its first-ever refillable product. Each Monochrome tin compact is refillable, reusable, and recyclable.

In addition, its Cleanser Concentrate and Body Hero Dry-Touch Oil Mist are contained in recyclable glass packaging. Ultralip is packaged in a tube made out of 50% post-consumer recycled material (PCR).

Other products are individually packaged in non-biodegradable, single-use plastic. Some of Glossier’s packaging, such as pumps and tubes, are not currently recyclable. 

Global Supply Chain 

Glossier trades with suppliers worldwide but doesn’t disclose the name of the factories it works with. The brand isn’t certified by an organization such as Fair Trade. However, it has a Code of Conduct publicly available on its website containing the following statement: 

“We expect our suppliers to be in full compliance with the applicable laws of the countries and regions where they operate, including all labor laws, and to respect the rights of their employees in accordance with internationally recognized standards. Glossier’s Supplier Code of Conduct (...) sets out our zero-tolerance policy on any use of forced labor, human trafficking, child labor, harassment, and abuse. We make it a point to provide the Code of Conduct and clearly communicate its requirements to our suppliers.”

Glossier didn’t disclose information regarding ingredient sourcing research or how it enforced its code of conduct when we asked for further information.  

Is Glossier Sustainable? 

Glossier cannot be considered sustainable yet because it doesn’t use certified organic ingredients and relies on nonbiodegradable and hard to recycle plastic packaging for the majority of its products. 

In 2020, the brand discontinued Glitter Gelée gel because several customers took issue with the glitter being nonbiodegradable and the product wrapped in foil. The brand is also looking into replacing natural mica, which is currently linked to cases of forced labor in Madagascar. The brand will only be formulating new products with synthetic mica moving forward. 

Other products like Balm Dotcom contain petrolatum, a controversial ingredient from an environmental point of view. This particular ingredient is a by-product of refining crude oil (aka petroleum), which is neither biodegradable nor a renewable resource. 

Clean Alternatives 

Although Glossier seems to be headed in the right direction, the company still has a way to go before it can be considered green by Treehugger standards. In the meantime, the following brands offer a similar product line and also use eco-friendly packaging, ensure ethical labor practices, are parabens and phthalates-free, and source certified organic ingredients.

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty green apple moisturizer on green apples

Juice Beauty has great organic skin care and makeup options made with phyto-pigments. We recommend checking out the GREEN APPLE Age Defy Moisturizer. 

MarieNatie

MarieNatie gluten free lipstick with avocado

Gluten-free lipsticks from MarieNatie are amongst our favorite products at Treehugger. The brand is cruelty free, vegan, and produces in the United States. 

Tata Harper

Tata Harper skincare lineup

Courtesy of Tata Harper

Tata Harper is a toxic-free cosmetic and skin care brand particularly popular with celebrities and professional makeup artists. 

Loli Beauty

LOLI matcha coconut paste

Courtesy of LOLI Beauty

Loli Beauty is a recipient of Treehugger’s Best of Green Awards 2021 and a zero waste, cruelty free, vegan, and sustainable beauty brand