12 Zero Waste Makeup Brands For a Flawless, Plastic-Free Look

12 Zero Waste Makeup Brands For a Flawless, Plastic-Free Look

I used to be a green beauty blogger before I started talking about zero waste. I was subscribed to monthly beauty boxes and end up with tons of products I didn’t even finish. Something felt off. When I learned about the zero waste movement, it all clicked: I’m creating unnecessary waste. And I wasn’t alone. The personal care and beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year globally—most of which are not truly recyclable. Makeup packaging in particular is typically too small to be recycled – it’ll slip through the cracks of recycling facilities, getting lost. In 2018, in the U.S. alone, almost 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were created just for beauty and personal care products. So how can we end this landslide of makeup waste? Switching to zero waste makeup like the brands in this article. Here’s what you need to know.

FYI, this is a guest post written by Sydney Montagna, a zero waste advocate and aspiring writer. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

12 Zero Waste Makeup Brands For a Flawless, Plastic-Free Look

12 Zero Waste Makeup Brands For a Flawless, Plastic-Free Look

What is zero waste makeup?

Zero waste makeup simply means makeup that produces little to no waste. It’s makeup free from questionable ingredients and typically comes in plastic free, compostable, or refillable packaging.

Plastic packaging is also a huge issue in the beauty industry. Especially considering 70% of their waste comes from packaging alone. Beauty packaging amounts to about 120 billion units per year, which includes glass, paper, plastic and metals- all of which end up in landfills when people aren’t reusing or recycling properly.  

So if we’re specifically addressing packaging when dealing with zero waste makeup, why bring up ingredients? Well, those matter too, for both planet + our health.

Parabens, sulfates, palm oil and synthetic fragrances are just a few examples of the harmful ingredients found in a lot of conventional makeup products. These ingredients may cause adverse health effects, or even pollute waterways when washed down the drain. The mere production of these ingredients can also have a carbon-heavy, polluting footprint.

That’s why when we talk about “zero waste makeup” we mustn’t forget the ingredients, or the packaging. Both matter, which is why the makeup brands on this list made the cut: They prioritize both.

12 Zero Waste Makeup Brands For a Flawless, Plastic-Free Look
Ariana (Greenify-Me founder) wearing a full face of Axiology makeup – #2 on this list)

Is there eco-friendly makeup?

Yes, there is eco-friendly makeup! Harsh chemicals and ingredients aren’t necessary to give your face that natural glow. There are so many eco-friendly makeup products using natural ingredients and zero waste packaging: a win-win for your face and the planet. 

Conventional makeup, including some luxury brands, don’t allow your skin to breathe. Most of these large brands use water and oil in their products, which requires preservatives. 

And if your makeup uses palm oil, it could even be fueling deforestation. Other cosmetic oil sources including soy, rapeseed, and coconut can also have the same detriments when not grown and harvested sustainably.

On top of this, the synthetic ingredients (like artificial dyes) in conventional makeup can pollute waterways during production and when we wash it off. It eventually goes down the drain and into our water supply – so if your makeup contains harmful substances, it could be causing aquatic degradation.

The plastic containers used in storing cosmetic products also add to the municipal waste management problem. Plastic bottles, makeup applicators, synthetic sponges, and other types of packaging are non-biodegradable, taking hundreds of years to break down.

Makeup packaging is often too small to be recycled. So when searching for an eco-friendly makeup product, it’s best to look for minimal packaging (if any).

How do you remove makeup without waste?

To remove makeup without producing waste, you can use eco-friendly face wash. They can come in several different formats such as oil, bar, powder or gel. Eco-friendly face washes will come in some sort of sustainable packaging, so there will be little to no waste. You can use either a cloth facial round or your bare hands. These products also double as skin cleansers, not just makeup remover.

What is zero waste mascara?

A zero waste mascara would typically involve natural ingredients, an ethical production, plastic-free/recyclable packaging and a company who finds a way to give back to the environment. Several eco-friendly brands also offer to refill or recycle your empty products. Many brands on this list sell zero waste mascara!

12 Zero Waste Makeup Brands For a Flawless, Plastic-Free Look

The best zero waste makeup brands

All of these zero waste makeup brands listed below are free of excessive packaging, or harsh chemicals.

They utilize both natural and organic ingredients that aren’t polluting our waterways when we wash them down the drains. Many of these brands are fully transparent about the ingredients they use and list them on their websites.

Best of all, many of these brands offer refillable packaging options, or at the least, compostable/reusable packaging.

Ariana’s favorites (aka Greenify-Me’s founder): I’m a BIG fan of Kjaer Weis, RMS, Izzy Beauty and Axiology. I currently use a combination of all four brands on my face and couldn’t be happier. Axiology may be my current favorite right now! It’s all lid-to-lid so you can apply it literally everywhere (on your eyes, cheeks, lips). And we LOVE a versatile product. Izzy Beauty, I love using their mascara. RMS, I’m obsessed with their eyelights (no creasing in my eyelids + shiny colors = yay!). And Kjaer Weis’s foundation absolutely blows me away with the flawless coverage I get!

Kjaer Weis

1. Kjaer Weis

  • Organic luxury makeup for full face coverage
  • Refillable & reusable packaging
  • Plant based ingredients
  • Free from parabens, silicones & synthetic fragrances 
  • Cruelty & gluten-free
  • Packaging made from recycled metal & paper

Image credit: Kjaer Weis


2. Axiology

  • Plastic-free color sticks for eyes, lips + cheeks
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
  • Palm-oil free
  • Donates percentage of profits to animal sanctuaries
  • Fragrance-free products

Image credit: Axiology


3. RMS Beauty

  • Clean makeup for face, eyes and lips
  • Refillable & recyclable packaging
  • Forestry certified
  • Vegetable ink printing
  • Minimal plastic
  • Glass & paper packaging

Image credit: RMS Beauty

Izzy Zero Waste Beauty

4. Izzy Zero Waste Beauty

  • Sustainable eye + lip makeup
  • Refillable products
  • Certified Carbon Neutral 
  • Free of parabens, talc, oil, GMOs & phthalates 
  • Woman-owned

Image credit: Izzy Beauty

Elate Cosmetics

5. Elate Cosmetics

  • Face, eyes + lip makeup
  • Vegan & cruelty-free
  • Reusable, recyclable & plantable
  • Sustainably sourced bamboo
  • Recycling program- can be recycled or refilled for you
  • Donates 2% of profits to charity

Image credit: Elate Cosmetics

Fat and the Moon

6. Fat and the Moon

  • Lip, eye and cheek makeup
  • Plant based, herbal ingredients
  • Recyclable, reusable & compostable packaging
  • Paraben, phthalate & sulfate free
  • Ethically sourced ingredients 
  • Handmade by company team

Image credit: Fat and the Moon


7. Ilia

  • Face, lip + eye makeup
  • Natural, organic ingredients 
  • Vegan, cruelty-free & soy-free
  • 1% for the planet
  • Fragrance-free products

Image credit: Ilia

Besame Cosmetics

8. Besame Cosmetics

  • Luxury lip, eye + face makeup
  • Vintage inspired products
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Vegan & natural ingredients
  • Women-owned
  • Cruelty, paraben, gluten & mineral oil free

Image credit: Besame Cosmetics


9. Zao

  • Lip, eye + face makeup
  • Refillable products
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Free of aluminum, palm-oil & parabens
  • Ethically sourced bamboo
  • Vegan & cruelty-free

Image Credit: Zao

Athr Beauty

10. Athr Beauty

  • Lip + eye makeup
  • Vegan & natural, plant-based ingredients
  • Fragrance-free
  • Free of talc, parabens & nanoparticles 
  • Sustainable packaging

Image credit: Athr Beauty

Dab Herb Cosmetics

11. Dab Herb Cosmetics

  • Face, eye + lip makeup
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free
  • Handmade products
  • Organic, natural ingredients
  • Sustainable packaging

Image credit: Dab Herb Cosmetics

Clean Faced Cosmetics

12. Clean Faced Cosmetics

  • Face, eye + lip makeup
  • Handmade products
  • Refillable- send back empty container to be refilled for you 
  • Donates percentage of profits to Terrapass (carbon offsets)
  • Organic, natural ingredients
  • Sustainable packaging

Image Credit: Clean Faced Cosmetics

What are some of your favorite zero waste makeup brands? Let me know in the comments!

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to share it! If you like my content, sign up for my newsletter to get notified every time I write a new blog post. To support me even further, please consider buying me a cup of tea to help support my blog.

Guest post: Sydney Montagna is an advocate for animals and plastic-free living. She is studying English and is an aspiring writer. In her spare time, you can find her watching classic TV shows and researching all things Michael Jackson related.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *