You might have already switched to a waterless moisturiser, ethical shampoo bar and mineral cosmetics, but what about your make-up brushes? If they’re made from unrecyclable plastic and contain animal hair, perhaps it’s time to invest in a durable ethically-made version. With growing awareness of eco issues, some brands are working hard to improve their environmental credentials. And it’s high time make-up brushes followed suit.

Avoid brushes that are made with animal hair

After all, many cosmetics brushes are made using animal hair and as Jeremy Adelman, co-founder of the cruelty-free Artis Brush, points out, there is little consistency in the industry in terms of animal welfare. Artis brushes are made with a filament to avoid some of the issues associated with the use of animal hair in brushes, such as skin sensitivity, as well as poor treatment of the animals.

“There is no uniform standard of ethical treatment for the animals used in the food industry, which provides the hairs used in the manufacture of cosmetic brushes,” explains Jeremy. “The worldwide demand for cosmetic brushes has been dramatically increasing and most of the supply comes from Asia and Asia Pacific countries. The farmers who raise and harvest the animals used for cosmetic brushes often don’t care much about the conditions they keep animals in,” he adds.

Do your research before buying

For ethical specialist Hannah Liddle, who works for beauty website Cosmetify, the answer is to dig a little deeper and do your research before buying. “Any brushes made out of plastic - unless it’s recycled plastic like Urban Decay’s - and animal hair should be avoided,” she says.

“Plastic waste is becoming a widespread epidemic and though make-up brushes aren’t made of single-use plastic, they will eventually get thrown away and end up in landfills. If we want our make-up tools to be as waste-free as possible, we even need to look at the packaging. Obviously when shopping online, it’s not easy to tell how the brushes will be packaged, but when shopping in-store, it’s definitely something to bear in mind. For conscious shoppers, animal-hair brushes are also a big no. Sourcing animal hair for make-up brushes is deeply unethical, whether they’re cruelty-free or not,” she adds. As more and more brands tune in to their eco conscience, so too are the options available to us.