I have recently been approached by a few women selling skincare and makeup through different companies, and they asked me to join their teams. I thought about it for a little as they are non toxic, sustainable brands. However, after some more research I have decided that I can’t because the majority of the products come in plastic, which compromises my goals of no plastic. Ugh! Don’t get me wrong, these companies are working on their packaging and plan to be zero waste by 2030. But that’s 10 years away! So for 10 years, I would be a part of the problem and that plastic I’ve helped distribute will never disappear. I can’t do it.
It got me thinking, though, are there any good makeup brands that focus on zero-waste packaging? I have yet to run out of the makeup I have accumulated over the last few years, although I am almost out of foundation. This is the best time to figure out which brands I will be using going forward.
Elate Clean Cosmetics:
Their beauty products are packaged in bamboo which is a sustainable wood because it grows so quickly. Every refill is packaged with seed paper, which is just like it sounds. Paper with seeds inside that you can plant and grow wildflowers!
If you wanted to try out foundation shades, they offer a $4 sample that comes in a recyclable tin. For the pressed products, you can purchase a bamboo palette to store them in. So basically, when you purchase the pressed products, it’s like you’re just getting a refill.
I was concerned with their mascara because it appeared to be bamboo covering a plastic tube. Under further investigation, I found I was correct. The plastic is recyclable. I wonder why even put bamboo around it because it gives a false appearance. I don’t plan to buy this because I know of mascara you can purchase in a glass container, eliminating the plastic.
I did like that they have a section on their website called ‘perfectly imperfect’. These are bamboo containers that have flaws so they are given at a discounted price rather than being discarded. Love that! They are all final sale, however, which is typical of most clearance type items.
Their products are not 100% organic, they say they are 75% organic because they choose fair trade over organic.
When asked if they are palm oil free they said, “We use a vegan-based carnauba wax that is derived for the leaves of the Copernicia prunifera tree. Different from the palm grown and harvested in South East Asia, this powder is extracted from the leaves of the tree and does not require the tree to be brought down. Some ingredients, such as Stearic Acid, are also palm based and are supplied by RSPO certified suppliers who are regularly audited.”
You can buy their products in various stores across the US, 3 places in Australia, and 2 stores in Macau.
The definition of axiology: the study of nature of value and valuation, and of the kinds of things that are valuable. Okay, so this brand has a lot to stand up for and they do amazing at that. They sell only lipsticks and crayons so they can focus on making these products really amazing.
They claim their products to be 100% evil free which includes not testing on animals, not containing palm oil, and containing only natural ingredients. Yay! Their go to ingredients, for the majority of their products, are organic coconut oil, organic castor oil, organic avocado oil, organic grapeseed oil, organic orange oil, organic neem oil, elderberry extract, candelila wax, vitamin e oil, and avocado butter. Lipstick so good you can eat it! Which you pretty much do…
All of their boxes are recyclable and compostable. The lipsticks come in aluminum tubes which are recyclable as well. I wonder if we could save the tubes and send them back for them to reuse? Sadly, the tubes that the lip crayons come in are not recyclable. That’s a bummer, but hopefully they will work that out soon.
Their lipsticks are $30 and they have about 30 different colors. Their lip crayons are $28 and they carry about 6 shades. They also offer 2 free samples at checkout!
Clean Faced Cosmetics
I am totally digging this line of cosmetics! Sold through Etsy, the owner, Laura, makes her products out of her own kitchen. It is not FDA approved as she clearly states on her Etsy account, but her products are zero waste and reasonably priced. Plus, you’re supporting a woman’s small business and not a corporation.
“Mostly Organic. Completely Vegan. Tested on friends, not animals” is her tagline. She has made about 8,000 sales and been on Etsy since 2014 with a 4.5 star rating. She must be doing something right.
She carries blush, eye-shadow, mascara, lip balm, foundation, and even bath/body products.
Is BeautyCounter Worth It?
This was one of the companies I was asked to work with some ladies on. I really like the company and the products look so great, but the packaging makes me cringe.They do have some materials they prohibit using in their packaging, such as vinyl (endocrine disruptor) and BPA (but all plastic contains BPA in some amount). They have removed the boxing for their sunscreen line, Countersun, and have stopped using plastic pieces like small spatulas, cleansing cloths, literature, etc. Also, they launched their new line, Countertime in glass packaging. Win! So I can assume they will continue to launch new products in this more sustainable packaging, and eventually change how their current plastic lines are packaged.
BeautyCounter carries both makeup, skincare, and even a line for men called Counterman.
They pride themselves on clean beauty and are a non-toxic brand. That does not mean that they are 100% natural, though. The U.S. only bans about 30 toxins from skincare and makeup. The U.K. Bans over 1,400! BeautyCounter calls this “The Never List” and they go through an extensive selection process for any ingredient that they use. So any synthetic ingredients they use, they do everything they can to make sure it does not pose any kind of risk to the consumer. Can you tell I like this brand?
They recently partnered with How2Recycle which tells you what pieces of the product can be recycled and how you can recycle each piece. That’s helpful BUT I would absolutely love to see them go full throttle and make their product packaging as strict as the ingredients they allow.
Kjaer Weis Cosmetics
This makeup brand was created by a Danish makeup artist who now lives in NYC. She describes how “Scandinavia has a calmness, a minimalism, New York City is fierce. They seem so different but they can work together – Merging these two worlds of luxury and sustainability without compromise. We are making a new norm.”
The packaging is beautiful metal compacts that are heavy and meant to last, giving you luxury and sustainability. The compacts, mascara, and lipsticks are all refillable.
For the foundation, the initial compact and foundation purchase is $68, but the refill is only $40. For a lipstick, the initial purchase is $56 and the refill is $36. For the mascara, the initial is $38 and the refill is $28. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but the elegance and natural ingredients makes it all worth it.
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
So this company is the creme of the crop in my opinion. They are awesome! My only complaint is that they are an Australian company, so shipping to the U.S. (where I am) is not CO2 efficient.
For the Australian customers, they allow them to send back full sized bottles and tin products. They use minimal packaging and even use old newspapers other companies throw out to package and pad their products! What?! Yes, yes, yes! Their products are handmade, cruelty free, vegan, organic, toxin free, ethically sources, fair trade (where required), and zero waste geared. Hello, sexy! Can you be in love with a company? If so, this is mine.
Compared to the majority of zero-waste companies I have researched, they are the most reasonably priced. Their mascara and liquid eyeliners are about $18, mineral eye-shadows are about $11, and concealers/foundation powders are about $4 (for 2g which is normally a sample size) and $18 for full size (15g).
Zero Waste Makeup – It Exists!
Yes it does! I am so impressed with the makeup brands that I have found. They are striving for sustainability and protecting our beautiful earth. There are so many other brands I have heard about but not had the chance to mention yet. But rest assured those are coming your way soon.
When I decide what product to choose, I like something in the U.S. to reduce the travel which in turn reduces CO2 emissions (global warming). I also prefer containers I can reuse, preferably glass since it can be reused and recycled infinitely. You can recycle tin and glass, but I keep them for my own DIY gifts. I also prefer mostly natural, organic ingredients because my 4 month old daughter tends to lick me or slobber on me and my makeup gets in her mouth. I would never want to be the reason she gets those toxins in her mouth.
Do you use any zero-waste makeup brands? Which are your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below, and share this post on social media platforms to spread awareness of these amazing brands!