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We thoroughly research all the products we feature, and we honestly think they’re great. But just so you know, things you buy from links on this page may earn us a commission. All prices were accurate at publish time.

It’s hard to deem something “perfect”—there are just so many variables—but we’re coming damn near close with this green beauty find. This palette collection contains some of the prettiest colours we’ve ever seen, it’s totally sustainable and it’s all done up in 100 per cent recyclable packaging. She is ethical to the max and we are refreshed!

Aether Beauty’s palette collection consists of four capital-G Gorgeous palettes containing 12 shades each so you can have shimmery colour for days (or months, or years). Plus the whole palette (packaging and all) is vegan, cruelty-free, ethically-sourced, free trade, organic and fully recyclable with one per cent of proceeds benefiting The Water Project.

 

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If this looks like nothing you’ve ever seen in the beauty space, that’s because it is. Aether Beauty’s founder—beauty expert and Sephora veteran—Tiila Abbitt is fighting the good fight to make the beauty industry more sustainable by making totally clean and ethical products that look and feel just as good as their maybe-not-so-ethical counterparts.

Tiila first started taking note of the dark side of the beauty industry when working in research and development at Sephora. Historically, many beauty brands are manufactured in poor working conditions using unsafe or unethically-sourced ingredients to produce products that will eventually end up in landfills (or worse, the ocean). There has been a trend towards green beauty in recent years, but Tiila just wasn’t impressed with what she was seeing.

“I like to say those are all the hidden costs of buying cheap makeup,” she told us. At the same time, Tiila knows the importance of quality when it comes to makeup. “I wanted the brand to be a cool brand in itself. And then, P.S., it’s clean. P.S. it’s good for you. P.S. it’s all sustainable.”

What’s in ‘em?

You can count on ethically-sourced ingredients in any Aether Beauty product, but Tiila qualifies that her products aren’t “all-natural” because realistically, makeup doesn’t have to be. Some ingredients just can’t be sourced ethically and that’s where science comes in.

“Asbestos is natural and you don’t want that lingering in your product,” she said. “I have synthetics in my products. I believe in safe synthetics; I believe in science. Everything is actually a chemical at the end of the day and I believe in products that actually are created in the lab that are nontoxic. It’s kind of funny how people are so scared of chemicals, but like literally everything is chemicals!”

Where she can’t use synthetic versions of hard-to-source ingredients (because at the end of the day, the product has to be good), Tiila has done the work to ensure she’s finding a sustainable source. For example, mica (found in most shimmery makeup products) is often mined by children in treacherous conditions. While synthetic works for some of Aether Beauty’s products, Tiila sustainably sources the natural mica she needs from the United States. She also explains her reasoning on the Aether Beauty blog.

Tiila also uses her site to explain exactly how to dispose of her products. Everything is made 100 per cent recyclable and printed with eco-friendly soy ink but you still need to do a bit of break-down to make sure it’s processed properly. She admits the elastic strand can’t be recycled, but encourages consumers to re-purpose it (hey, “reuse” is one of the three R’s after all).

What’s not  in ‘em?

Aether Beauty—like a lot of clean beauty brands—has their own list of nasty ingredients they formulate without. In Aether’s case, that’s anything animal-derived, banned by the EU or on this extras list (including palm oil, synthetic perfumes, microbeads and aluminum).

It’s not just the makeup itself that’s got a list of nasties though—Tiila also has components she’ll never employ in her packaging, including mirrors; magnets; plastic resins 4, 5, 6, and 7; and bamboo.

“I visited the recycling facility and that’s when I learned mirrors and magnets aren’t recyclable at all,” Tiila explained. “And the funny thing with the mirrors is all the pro makeup artists that we used to work with [at Sephora] would complain every time there was a pallet with a huge mirror—every time they traveled, it would break and it would just be a huge mess.”

 

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Where a palette would normally contain a mirror, Tiila includes a message explaining why you don’t see one. She’s also skeptical about the current bamboo trend.

“There’s a whole question mark when it comes to bamboo too,” she said. “People think bamboo is the solution and there’s a whole question about it because of how much water it takes to grow, all the resources. And then does it actually biodegrade? Especially if you’re putting components in there that you can’t take out. So I don’t want to use bamboo.”

 

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What’s next?

It looks like our eyes are covered, but what are we supposed to put on the rest of our face? We’ve got a little while to wait, but Tiila says there are big things coming in 2020 and 2021 including diamond highlighters, liquid lipsticks, primer, mascara, a 25-shade foundation range and, of course, more eyeshadows.

Tiila’s final word

“I always try to make people feel better about [sustainable beauty] and get the conversation going. That’s all that really matters. It seems daunting but if you can think about your own choices as a consumer—you don’t have to purchase that cheap product, you can do a little bit more research and find [cool indie brands] who are doing some cool things for sustainability.”

You can find the Rose Quartz Crystal Gem Stone Palette, Crystal Grid Palette, Summer Solstice Palette and Amethyst Crystal Gemstone Palette online and at Sephora for $77 CAD.