Everybody has their own definition of exactly what beauty is, but every beauty lover has their own slew of go to products to help them achieve their look. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, unless you’re talking about what happens after you finally empty out that lipstick tube.
As many advancements as the beauty industry has made, it’s pretty unfortunate that a lot of brands are still using the same old plastic packaging that doesn’t break down and causes so many environmental problems.
But the good news is, there are several brands out there taking baby steps toward a more sustainable future, so you can have your look without the guilt. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite zero waste makeup brands plus all their credentials so you can make the best choice for you.
What Is Zero Waste?
Zero waste is basically an approach to production that eliminates the use of toxic waste and materials, especially plastic.
Zero waste can be sort of a buzzword, however, and the truth is that no company is perfect when it comes to waste. Even some famous “zero waste” companies you may have heard of using plastic in some of their products, and it’s even harder to avoid plastic in packaging in general.
Because of this, we’ve listed very low-waste brands and let you know if any products contain packaging that won’t break down or can’t be reused. This way, you’ll know exactly what to purchase and what to avoid if you’re looking for truly zero-waste options.
Zero Waste Makeup Brands
Not only is RMS a great zero-waste brand, but it also offers products that are easy to use, multi-tasking, and high-quality at the same time.
RMS prides itself on using “living” ingredients, aka clean, organic ingredients. Plus, many of their products come in reusable glass jars, and their boxes consist of 80% recycled fiber.
If there’s one thing we love even more than innovation, it’s transparency. When doing research for sustainable brands, things can get frustrating when they admit to using some plastic, but don’t tell you where it is. Elate Beauty was kind enough to be transparent, so we listed which products do and don’t contain plastic below.
Plastic Free Products:
- Eyes: Brow Balm, Create Pressed EyeColour
- Face: Uplift Foundation, Pressed Foundation
- Skin: Revive Eye Makeup Remover
- Lips: Better Balm
If you’re looking for zero-waste makeup that doesn’t compromise on color, Axiology will be your new go-to.
We especially love their Lip-to-Lid Balmies, which are fantastic for your eyes, lips, and cheeks—the perfect multitasking makeup!
Plus, they are 100% zero waste because they are tube and cap free. Instead of plastic, they come wrapped in paper in a recyclable case.
If you’re going to use plastic, make sure that you’re actually helping the planet while you do it. With All Earth Mineral Cosmetics, that’s the case for all of their pots, which are made out of recycled fishing nets.
This brand also offers refills that are recyclable and biodegradable, so no worries there.
Of course this might not be your brand if you like liquid formats, but they have anything you might need in a powder. We’re most excited about their blushes though—the peach shade is beautiful!
Beginning as a small company in Sweden, Vyana Beauty is now sold in over 50 countries and we’re super happy about it.
They offer pretty much everything you could want in makeup: face serums, foundations, blush, eyeshadow, setting powder, lip tints, concealer, eye cream, and more.
The best part is that the vast majority of their makeup comes either in glass or metal tins that are refillable. Not only that, but all orders are shipped in compostable and recyclable kraft paper.
Plus, they come with a sustainability brochure printed on sustainably-sourced paper with compostable ink. You might sometimes find packing bubbles or envelopes in your order, but those are sustainable as well.
The only concern is any products that contain an eyedropper since the caps and tubes might be made of plastic. With that said, the range of products from Vyana Beauty is absolutely huge; you’ll find everything you need here!
Leave it to Etsy to give you a range of sustainable makeup options! Dab Herb offers a range of botanically based cosmetics that you can refill, packaged in metal and glass.
You don’t have to compromise on color, either, especially on the eyeshadows. The indigo and olive shades are absolutely stunning, and the lip paint colors are super pigmented.
Some of their products do come with plastic sifters and some of their sample products are available in BPA-free plastic, but you can opt-out of this for a truly zero-waste product.
Zao was one of the first beauty brands to introduce refills for their products to cut down on the waste from single-use cosmetic packaging. They certainly continue this today with as many products as they can, leading to a wide range of refillable eyeshadows, blushes, lipsticks, and much more.
The material they use most often is bamboo, a grass that is fast-growing, renewable, and doesn’t need as much water as traditional woods.
Unfortunately, some of their products do still contain plastic, but they are very transparent about which ones these are. We’ve broken down some of the basics here, but you can read more about the packaging they are phasing out and in on their plastic policy page.
Ultimately, they’re not the best brand for plastic-free lip products, but great if you like to focus on your skin and eyes.
Plastic Free Products:
Contains Some Plastic:
- Lipsticks and lipstick refills
- Concealers and concealer refills
- Liquid foundation
- Mineral silk powders
- All pencil products
- All skincare
- All nail polish
- Compact foundation refills
In spite of the name, this brand isn’t dirty, it’s actually pretty clean. The majority of their products are packaged in metal, glass, and paper, with some offering refill options.
They offer some makeup options you might expect to find like foundation, blush, and eyeshadow, but this is also one of the only brands we’ve found that offers a truly zero-waste mascara option without a plastic wand.
Not all of their products are truly zero waste, but the ones that are will say so in big capital letters to make sure you’re not misled.
Born out of a need for confidence after a drunk driver left her with some facial scarring, owner Larissa created Bee You Organics as a natural alternative to typical makeup.
Today, her company offers a wide range of blush, mascara, eyeshadow, foundations, and much more made from natural and organic ingredients and packaged in zero waste containers. The only exception for cosmetic items is the eyeliner pencils, which have a plastic cap.
You do have the option of getting a plastic container or plastic sifter, but you can opt out of this. The company is also willing to do vegan formulas for those who ask. They have one of the best ranges of eyeshadows we’ve seen so far. They’re definitely worth checking out!
If you’re a beauty junkie and worried about waste, you don’t have to give up your habit. There are plenty of zero-waste makeup brands out there that can give you what you want without creating so much waste or compromising on beautiful colors.
Between all of these, you’re going to find some great products that you love and we hope they make their way into your everyday beauty routine!
By the way, if you want a zero-waste way to remove your makeup as well, check out these reusable makeup remover pads and cloths! Paired with an oil-based makeup remover or face wash, your makeup will slide right off.