How WELL PEOPLE Is Pioneering Innovative, Plant-Based Cosmetics

Last Update: February 23, 2023

If you think “plant-based beauty” means sacrificing the staying power of traditional cosmetics in exchange for good-for-you ingredients, WeLL PEOPLE is about to change your mind. This green beauty brand is blazing a trail in the industry thanks to three founders—an entrepreneur, a makeup artist, and a dermatologist—who are committed to using nontoxic, renewable, and plant-based ingredients.

Well PEOPLE’s story began when Shirley Pinkson (the makeup artist), Reneé Snyder (the dermatologist), and James Walker (the entrepreneur) met as students at the University of Texas at Austin. The fast friends watched each other’s careers evolve for years before Walker stumbled on an idea while doing marketing research for a client. “It became apparent there was a major gap in the cosmetics space for standards-based, socially responsible makeup that performs as good as—or better than—conventional products, while maintaining a sense of both style and sass,” Walker says.

You can guess what happened next. The Well PEOPLE “dream team” joined forces to create a cosmetics line that blends scientific innovation with chic, conscious packaging. “Our multi-disciplinary approach produces unusually effective products that don’t compromise on performance or health,” Walker says. “Truly, Well PEOPLE represents the future.” From vegan ingredients to social responsibility, this brand’s values are making it an industry (and Thrive Market!) favorite—keep reading to learn more.

Nixing Chemicals For Clean Beauty

Artificial ingredients, be gone! Here’s what you won’t find inside a Well PEOPLE package:

  • Dyes
  • Fillers
  • Fragrance
  • Propylene glycol
  • Petrochemicals
  • Petroleum by-products
  • Sulphates

“Right off the bat, we avoid petroleum and petroleum-based ingredients whether they’re toxic or not, because they aren’t renewable (and in some cases aren’t biodegradable),” Walker says. “We’re all interested in avoiding fossil fuels and slowing climate change, right? This applies to all areas of life, not just the gas pump.” There are about 1,500 ingredients on the brand’s no-go list.

Every Well PEOPLE product is made in small batches in the U.S., and contains an advanced botanical complex of organic aloe, organic chamomile, and organic green tea to help nourish skin. Because of its vigilant use of plant-based ingredients, the brand has been verified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG); if an ingredient is listed in the EWG database with a hazard ranking higher than 3 (the lower the number, the better), Well PEOPLE won’t use it.

These high standards have led to the brand being recognized as the gold standard for third-party health and safety certification. “This certification represents the one, universal, standard-based certification regarding toxicity, or lack thereof. Well PEOPLE is proud to be one of the founding brands in this program,” Walker says. “Meeting these criteria is costly and time-consuming. But we do it to provide true transparency and confidence for the consumer.”

About Face: Makeup Innovation

Well PEOPLE uses natural, organic, and plant-based ingredients not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because they’re better for both performance and the planet. Here’s just one example: Most conventional makeup lines use dimethicone, a chemical that makes products like lipsticks and foundations spreadable. Well PEOPLE wanted a renewable option, and discovered broccoli seed oil did the trick for products like its Allure Best of Beauty Winner Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer With SPF 30.

Here are a few more plant-based ingredients Well PEOPLE swears by:

  • Algae: For brightening properties
  • Beeswax: Naturally antimicrobial and a versatile base
  • Broccoli seed oil: defends against UV damage
  • Ceramides: Keeps skin supple and youthful
  • Green tea leaf extract: For antioxidant benefits
  • Pearl powder: The protein conchiolin promotes bright, supple skin
  • Seaweed: High concentrations of essential fatty acids and amino acids to strengthen and hydrate skin
  • Turmeric: Naturally promotes collagen growth

Well PEOPLE’s ingredient innovation has generated important conversations about the expectations we place on makeup. “Conventional brands spend millions of dollars training us that ‘forever’ stay lipstick is a good thing. But is it really?” Walker says. “Do you really want a product to stick to your face for bizarre periods of time? I say no. Let’s all breathe, step back, and take a moment to embrace healthy, reasonable expectations. It’s OK to check your look and touch up, if necessary.” Well PEOPLE’s philosophy moves in the opposite direction of popular marketing, advising customers to choose products wisely, use them within two years, recycle the packaging, and move on to the next.

“Conventional brands spend millions of dollars training us that ‘forever’ stay lipstick is a good thing. But is it really? Do you really want a product to stick to your face for bizarre periods of time? I say no.”

A Conscious Cosmetics Movement

Transparency is a pillar that underscores everything Well PEOPLE does. It extends to the brand’s packaging, which uses only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper stocks. Walker was proud to share more about the brand’s philanthropic efforts, which include giving 1.5% of sales to support the work of EWG. “We invest in our team with living wages—entry-level, hourly wages start at $15 per hour—and we’ve done that for the last 10 years,” Walker says

Well PEOPLE has started important conversations in the industry and continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the green movement, especially when it comes to starting from scratch and searching for new ingredients. “We’ve powered a paradigm shift in beauty. In the not so distant future, thanks to all our combined efforts, clean beauty will be the norm. And I think that’s pretty cool,” Walker says.

Favorite Well PEOPLE Products

Now it’s time to have some fun and pick out some new products to swipe, blend, and sweep on! Here are some of Well PEOPLE’s most popular picks.

Expressionist Mascara

An Allure Best of Beauty award winner and beloved by makeup artists, this nontoxic formula won’t irritate sensitive eyes. Pure mineral pigments help create defined lashes, and the brush’s unique cascade shape separates and lengthens lashes without clumping.

Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer With SPF 30

The luxurious, creamy texture of this moisturizer is complemented by organic botanicals (like broccoli seed oil) that deliver just the right amount of coverage and protection without weighing you down.

Bio-Correct Multi-Action Concealer

The perfect partner to your tinted moisturizer, this tube has natural ingredients like organic pomegranate, coffee bean, algae, and broccoli seed oil to not only help smooth over imperfections with buildable coverage, but nourish your skin at the same time.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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