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Finding natural, eco-conscious and animal-friendly makeup can be a challenge! We all want to do the right thing, but we also want products that actually work. So when I came to the end of some makeup recently, I took the plunge and decided to give PHB Ethical Beauty a try.

In my time I’ve experimented with high-end makeup, high-street makeup, and a lot in between. So how did PHB compare? After a few weeks of daily use, I’m ready to give you my honest review so that you can decide whether you want to try it out for yourself.

Note: This isn’t a sponsored post and I bought the makeup products like any regular customer shopping online.

PHB Ethical Beauty makeup collection

Review Summary

After a few weeks of wear, I can safely say that I am genuinely impressed by PHB’s performance. Not only is the collection beautifully packaged and looks lovely on my skin – I feel good inside knowing that I’m supporting a brand that is ethical, vegan and cruelty-free.

PHB Overall Rating

Pros

  • Organic & natural ingredients
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
  • Gorgeous eco-friendly packaging
  • 20% of all profits go to charity
  • Genuinely impressive performance

Cons

  • The shopping experience could be slicker
  • Not a huge amount of shade selection for darker skin tones
A natural look with PHB makeup

What Sets PHB Apart From Other Makeup Brands?

PHB are a family-run company based in Brighton that sell a revolutionary range of ethical beauty products. Unlike many brands that are pumped full of harmful synthetics with plastic packaging destined straight for landfill, PHB offer natural, vegan and cruelty-free makeup – all of which is lovingly handcrafted in the UK and Canada.

Their makeup has won many industry awards in the space of 5 years. They are also rated an incredible 99/100 via The Good Shopping Guide, which independently assesses brands in areas such as human rights, environmental impact and animal welfare.

Natural & Organic Ingredients

PHB describe themselves as ‘purity pioneers’ – they only use 100% naturally derived ingredients and blended organic superfoods in their formulations. All of their makeup is free from palm oil, harsh alcohols, GMOs, animal ingredients, plus cheap fillers and toxic chemicals (such as parabens, SLS, parfum, etc).

If, like me, you’ve traditionally suffered with sensitive skin, eczema or allergies, then this is the perfect choice. PHB products are really gentle because they don’t contain many of the common irritants found in conventional makeup products.

Vegan & Cruelty-Free

Often, people don’t realise that some of the biggest names in the beauty industry are still using animal-derived ingredients in their makeup ranges, including animal fats and oils. Ingredients like glycerin, stearic acid and carmine are ones to watch out for.

PHB never use animal extracts, instead opting for plant-derived alternatives. They have certification from The Vegan Society and are cruelty-free approved by Leaping Bunny – something which is important to me as I lead a vegan lifestyle.

PHB makeup eco packaging
PHB eco-friendly packaging tubes
Inside PHB makeup

Planet-Friendly Packaging

All of PHB’s products have been thoughtfully designed to be low-impact and minimise waste. In 2021, they launched a huge selection of reduced plastic and zero-waste makeup. The vast majority of their product packaging is now fully recyclable, including glass jars, PET bottles and aluminium lids.

I also appreciated the minimal packaging my order arrived in – just a recyclable paper bag with no excess leaflets or plastic.

Charitable Work

When you support PHB by purchasing their products, you are making a positive choice for your own health. But the further good news is that you are also helping to improve the lives of others.

A huge 20% of net profits are donated to grassroots charities that support people and animals in the UK and further afield. Two of their main causes are Wild at Heart and Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary (you can read more about their charitable work here).

My Shopping Experience With PHB Ethical Beauty

I’ll be honest, the shopping experience was actually my least favourite part. The website doesn’t have the best user interface – particularly the checkout. But in the end, I made my payment and received my order confirmation as expected (no dramas!).

I also didn’t realise that they only pack orders on Tuesdays and Fridays. Typically, I ordered on Tuesday night so quickly realised that (disappointingly) I’d be waiting at least a week to receive my order. I ordered a few other bits around the same time and these all arrived within a couple of days, which only highlighted the delay.

However, we live in an age of Amazon Prime where we expect instant gratification, so whilst I felt impatient, I consoled myself that this was a good lesson in slow fashion (quite literally!).

Most importantly, the order arrived exactly as expected with updates at every step of the way, so I can’t really complain too much!

PHB Ethical Beauty Review: A Deep-Dive Into Each Product

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of PHB as a brand, let’s take a look at each product in a bit more detail.

1. Organic BB Cream in Fair

Recommend / Rebuy: Yes

This Organic BB Cream sits perfectly in the space between skincare and makeup – more substantial than a tinted moisturiser yet lighter weight than a mask of foundation – providing subtle coverage that evens out your complexion and boosts radiance.

Made with organic rosehip oil and aloe vera to nourish the skin, the BB Cream also has in-built SPF 15 protection. I personally love the slightly dewy finish (my skin is on the drier side so can easily appear dry and dull).

When I first squeezed some onto the back of my hand, my initial thought was that it felt quite heavy for a BB cream. However, once you start rubbing it onto your skin it feels as light as air and takes on a more moisturiser-like consistency. It also sets slightly darker.

Just be careful to rub in really thoroughly for an even application, as I found it can cling a little around the neck. It’s slightly buildable but you may need something more robust to cover any serious breakouts or as a base for the eyes.

Pros

  • Long-lasting ‘your skin but better’ look
  • Great for sensitive skin – no breakouts
  • ‘Barely there’ texture
  • New eco tubes are made from PCR plastic (100% recyclable)

Cons

  • The tube was smaller than I expected
  • You need to use a fair bit for even coverage
  • Only 7 shades (less choice for darker skin)

2. All-in-One Mascara in Black

Recommend / Rebuy: Yes

If you seem to spend your life in search of the perfect mascara, then stop what you’re doing and buy this award-winning product!

Maybe it exceeded expectations so highly because I wasn’t overly hopeful, but seriously… I love it. It is lengthening, a true black, and has very buildable volume with just a couple of coats (without creating spidery or clumpy lashes). As a point of reference, my favourite mascara back in the day was L’Oreal’s Voluminous, and this gives really similar results (just minus the toxic ingredients).

If you like, you could add in the Lash & Brow Growth Serum for an even more defined and lengthening look.

Pros

  • Lengthens, thickens and volumises
  • Water-resistant, smudge-resistant and doesn’t flake
  • Great for sensitive eyes
  • Nourishes and strengthens lashes
  • 66% reduction in plastic packaging

Cons

  • None in terms of product performance
  • The cap and wand are not currently recyclable

3. Organic Eyeliner in Nearly Black

Recommend / Rebuy: Yes

Sorry for the close-up, but hopefully you can see the depth of this mascara/eyeliner combo!

The Organic Eye Pencil glides on nicely with no irritation to the eyes. I went for the shade Nearly Black, and my only thought is that I would probably go for brown next time as it’s quite a dramatic look on top of the deep black mascara.

Pros

  • Choice of 3 shades – True Black, Nearly Black or Deep Brown
  • Richly pigmented and easy to apply
  • Water-resistant and gentle on sensitive eyes

Cons

  • No issues, but may choose a different shade next time

4. Contour Powder in Light

Recommend / Rebuy: No, although I might try the Mineral Bronzer next

I like to add a little light and shade to my skin, but because I’m so fair, I find that it’s easy to overdo it with contouring.

The good thing about this compact is that the ‘Light’ shade (which I opted for) is a really lovely subtle colour. I just wish it was more pigmented as it’s hard to get enough on your brush! It also doubles up as a natural-looking eyeshadow, defining the eyes without ever feeling overdone.

Pros

  • Ethically sourced mineral powders
  • Organic Jojoba softens and hydrates
  • Excellent for pale skin – nice and subtle
  • 100% recyclable, zero-waste packaging printed with eco soy inks

Cons

  • Pressed formula borders on too subtle

5. Blush in Blossom

Recommend / Rebuy: Yes

This lightweight and silky blush is gorgeous. I went for the best-selling shade ‘Blossom’ that is specifically marketed as ‘great for fairer skin tones’ (instantly sold!). But try ‘Sienna’ if you want something a little stronger with warmer undertones.

It’s richly pigmented and has more colour pay-off than the contour powder, yet is still a very pretty, subtle shade. It’s also nice and versatile for use on the eyes and lips if you like a minimal makeup routine.

Pros

  • Ethically sourced mineral powders
  • Pretty colour for pale skin
  • Can be used on cheeks, eyes and lips
  • 100% recyclable, zero-waste packaging printed with eco soy inks

Cons

  • Would be nice to have more shade options for different skin tones

6. Mineral Highlighter in Starlight

Recommend / Rebuy: Yes

If you’re looking for a pearlescent shimmer (think Benefit’s High Beam), then try this illuminating highlighter in the shade Starlight.

I find that this is great for my pink/cool undertones, but it probably won’t suit all skin types. If you have a warmer complexion, then the shade Golden Hour will be the better option.

I particularly like this product because it’s not too OTT, whilst still light-reflecting for a fresh-faced and healthy glow.

Pros

  • Organic Jojoba softens and hydrates
  • Really pretty effect
  • Pigmented, long-lasting and easy to apply
  • 100% recyclable, zero-waste packaging printed with eco soy inks

Cons

  • Not quite as intense as some highlighters if you want super-radiance, but this didn’t bother me too much as I personally prefer a more subtle look

7. Organic Rosehip Lipstick in Peace

Recommend / Rebuy: No – I’ll try the Satin Kiss version instead

Last but not least, let’s talk about PHB’s Organic Rosehip Lipstick. I found the colour swatches slightly difficult to navigate on the website but eventually plumped for the shade Peace, described as ‘a light pinky nude’.

Now, I went for the demi-matte version (not realising there was another option if I’m completely honest), which out of the whole collection was the only product I found slightly disappointing. It’s difficult to apply and not very soft or creamy.

In the end, I found a workaround by applying a little lip balm first. Once on, the lipstick is a lovely ‘your lips but better’ shade, which is exactly what I was after. But I will probably opt for the Satin Kiss version next time!

Pros

  • Infused with Organic Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E
  • Made with fair trade organic shea butter
  • 100% natural, 74% organic ingredients
  • Housed in a 100% recyclable paper tube that uses 70% less plastic than traditional packaging

Cons

  • Demi-matte formulation doesn’t glide on
  • Quite a strong smell/taste

My Final Verdict

I wholeheartedly recommend PHB Ethical Beauty – it’s a revelation to find ethical makeup that actually works. I also love that their entire range is vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic and eco-friendly – good for you and good for the planet.

It’s slightly more expensive than some cheaper high-street brands, but worth it in every way. Plus, there are often bundles and deals that you can take advantage of.

My pick of the bunch would be their mascara, which is genuinely one of the best I’ve ever tried. Their BB Cream also makes for a healthy base and looks great even on its own. I can particularly vouch for this brand if you have fair or sensitive skin.

PHB ethical makeup selfie

Where Can You Buy PHB Ethical Beauty?

My choice would be to buy PHB Ethical Beauty from B-Corp certified natural shop Big Green Smile, where you can access a wide range of their products with a customer-friendly interface and all the convenience of same-day shipping (free over £50). Definitely one to bookmark for your ethical shopping – you can even ‘Shop by Value’ which I particularly like!

You can purchase directly through their website, but I found that this wasn’t the best shopping experience. And although they are sold through Holland & Barrett and some other online stores, I’ve generally found that the selection is nowhere near as wide.

In the meantime, I hope you love their makeup as much as I did, and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

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