Hunting for the best zero waste makeup brands? I’ve got you covered. I’m happy to say the future of cosmetics looks promising with these brands around. Free from questionable ingredients, sustainable by nature, and plastic free, all these brands exemplify what the makeup industry should look like. Sadly, the United States isn’t the best at regulating makeup, or any skin care products for that matter. Literally, you could put *almost* anything into beauty products and sell them to people just to make a profit. Well, I’m sick of that. And I’m sick of all the damn plastic. It’s no secret that makeup can be incredibly wasteful: Have you seen the amount of empties just one beauty junkie alone can make? It’s unfortunate, but recycling makeup isn’t easy because it’s such a small product, so most of those makeup items just end up in the landfill, or worse, the environment. Well, not anymore. Say goodbye to the wasteful conventional makeup, hello to zero waste makeup. These are the zero waste makeup brands you’re going to want to get behind.
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Zero Waste Makeup Brands
Kjaer Weis is hands down my favorite zero waste makeup brand on this list.
I’ve been saving and putting aside money for a while now to try out their products and let me tell you, I’m not disappointed. Their high-end, high-quality products leave nothing to be desired.
I’ve never encountered a makeup brand that’s this ethical and this effective. It’s a luxury makeup brand, but made with sustainability in mind. Their products are made in Italy and are free from parabens, silicones, petrochemical emulsifiers and synthetic fragrances.
Packaging: Their packaging is absolutely beautiful. The makeup comes in these stunning white bronze compacts that are completely refillable. You heard that right: It’s refillable.
Everything down to the lipstick, lip gloss, blush, foundation, mascara and eye shadow is refillable with Kjaer Weis. When you run out of the makeup inside your compact, you simply remove the empty container, recycle it, and then purchase a refill.
Your refill doesn’t even have to be the same color either: Perhaps you want to try a different lipstick of theirs? You can: Just order a refill of their lipstick in whatever color you want.
Refills cost less than buying the actual compact, but once you have the compact, you won’t need to re-purchase it. It’s built to last so you won’t ever have to replace it. Also, the refills come in 100 percent recyclable cardstock.
Ingredients: Another thing I love about Kjaer Weis products is their actual, you know, products.
All their makeup utilizes certified organic ingredients, which means you can rest assured you’re putting only the good stuff on your skin.
Kjaer Weis is cruelty free. They’re not vegan, but that’s only because they choose to use beeswax in their products. The beeswax has a nourishing effect on the skin, which is why they choose to use it. Personally, I don’t mind that, but I felt it was important to mention, as some might.
They have a wide range of products and various different colors to choose from. There’s a whole spectrum of face, cheek, lip and eye makeup to choose from, along with some luxury skin care products too.
2. Vapour Beauty
After Kjaer Weis, this is definitely my second favorite makeup brand.
Vapour Beauty’s ethics are on point. I love how long lasting their products are. They’re a luxury makeup brand with the environment in mind. In fact, Vapour uses passive solar daylighting and renewable energy in their lab, offices and warehouse.
Their products truly do glide on and blend seamlessly into the skin. I have their concealer and I love applying it before using my Kjaer Weis foundation – it helps create even more coverage.
Packaging: Vapour Beauty’s packaging is very low waste because their stick applicators are made from aluminum, the most recyclable material available.
Their product boxes are made from post-consumer recycled paper printed with soy ink and made in a wind-powered facility. How cool is that?
Sometimes they’ll also use glass containers to package their product.
Ingredients: They craft their makeup using 70 percent organic ingredients, 30 percent essential oils, vitamins and pigments. This means their products are always 100 percent natural.
Every single Vapour Beauty ingredient is vetted for ethical labor practices, sustainability and purity. All their botanical ingredients are organic, and all their mineral ingredients are non-irradiated.
They even have some products that have earned the USDA organic seal, like their Clarity, Lux, and Replenish products. Vapour Beauty has even earned the “Champion” safety status from Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Vapour Beauty is also cruelty-free, meaning they never test on animals. However, some of their products do contain non-vegan ingredients, like beeswax, so make sure you double check before buying them.
There are tons of makeup options for face, lip, and eye products to choose, all in a wide array of beautiful shades and colors.
3. Elate Cosmetics
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Elate Cosmetics. While I’ve never personally tried their products, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to doing so.
They’re a sustainable makeup company that creates toxin-free, refillable makeup in Canada. Not all of their products can be refilled like Kjaer Weis, just their pressed powder products. Still, it’s definitely impressive to see they offer refills!
Packaging: Their cases and containers are made from beautiful, sustainable bamboo. At the end of the products life, Elate encourages their customers to crush the bamboo with heavy pliers and compost it (assuming you can’t refill it).
There are plastic and aluminum parts in the makeup containers, so be mindful of those. Elate says you can recycle them with your household recycling, but be aware it may not actually get recycled (because of how small it is).
When you order a refill, it will come in a seed paper envelope that can planted, when the season is right, to grow beautiful wildflowers. How cool is that??
They also try to use glass jars for some of their products too, which is great. You can easily recycle that or reuse it after it’s empty.
Ingredients: Elate Cosmetics uses about 75 percent organic ingredients. They will always choose fair trade over organic if they cannot have both, because it’s important to them that every person making their cosmetics is treated ethically and fairly.
They’re also a vegan, cruelty-free company so there’s that!
You can choose from a whole range of products for your eyes, face and lips.
If you’re looking for the perfect all-natural, waste free lipstick, look no further. Axiology has you covered.
This makeup brand specializes in making lipsticks that really break the mold. They have some seriously stunning colors too. If you’re looking for a fun lip color to get you through summer, fall or winter, this is the brand to check first.
Packaging: Their lipstick tubes are made from recycled aluminum, which is awesome. Aluminum is one of the easiest materials to recycle too, so when your product is empty, you can toss it into the recycling bin guilt-free.
The actual lipstick tube comes in a paper box you can recycle or compost at the end of its life. Not to mention the paper box itself was created by a woman-owned recycled paper boutique in Bali. Isn’t that amazing?
Ingredients: Only made from 10 basic ingredients, these lipsticks are 100 percent natural. Axiology only uses earth-derived pigments to create their colors, making them dye-free.
The founding ingredients? Coconut oil, castor oil, avocado butter, candelilla wax, avocado oil, grape seed oil, vitamin E oil, orange oil, elderberry extract and neem oil. The lip crayons they offer have a different formula, but they stick to 10 base ingredients as well.
I really love how they’re vegan and cruelty free, which is another plus in my book.
They have a wide array of lipstick colors from pinks to purples. You can choose from sheer to rich cream coverage too. There’s even lip crayons available for purchase as well.
RMS is a brand I’ve been eyeing for years. I’ve tried a sample of their “UN” Cover Up before and reeeeally loved it, albeit the sample came in plastic (I know).
That said, their actual products are packaged pretty low waste and are designed to be easy to recycle or reuse.
Not to mention their products are very high quality and long lasting. When I tried that little sample out, it did a great job of providing long lasting coverage, minus the nasty ingredients.
Packaging: I really love the fact their beauty cream products are housed in recycled glass pots. Also, their boxes are made from 80 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and manufactured using 100 percent wind power. I’m getting Vapour Beauty vibes, how about you?
Many of their glass products have a stainless steel top, which is fine because both materials have a 100 percent recycle rate. However, the best part about these products is that you can reuse them when they’re empty. I’d personally use them to make DIYs or stash tiny items like earrings and tacks.
Some of their makeup products are unfortunately packaged in plastic, like their Swift Shadows, so be mindful of that. Anything of theirs that’s cream based tends to be plastic-free though.
Ingredients: RMS Beauty uses certified organic ingredients in all their makeup products. They use the highest quality ingredients they can find without harming the environment to do it.
Their products are non-gmo, non-nano, hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, cruelty-fee and free from soy, gluten, parabens, sulfates, phalatates, silicone, talc, petrolatum and polyethylene/PEGs.
Any minerals RMS Beauty uses to create their pigments are guarenteed to be in their raw, uncorrupted form without silicone, paraben perservatives or other chemical coatings. In other words, their products are generously pigmented using only the healthiest ingredients.
On top of this, they’re also cruelty-free. Score!
They have a wide range of various face, lip and eye products to choose from.
- Antonym Cosmetics: Fun fact, I used to ghost write for this makeup brand’s blog. No joke. Moving on, Antonym Cosmetics is really great because they’re a certified organic brand that’s vegan and cruelty free. Also, they utilize bamboo pallets. Their eye shadows, pressed foundation, and blush all come packaged in bamboo. You can just compost the packaging when you run out!
- Tata Harper: This brand is AMAZING. I love their skin care products, but they do have a few makeup products as well, which is why they were worth mentioning. They’re a cruelty free brand made in Vermont. They use naturally derived, high quality, non-toxic ingredients in their products. Their Lip + Cheek Tint comes in 4 pretty colors – it comes in glass with a plastic lid, but it can be reused once empty.
- Besame: This vintage-inspired makeup brand packages their products in the sturdy, non-plastic packaging of the past. I really love their cake mascara which comes in a collectible tin with an applicator brush. So retro! Not to mention the refills for the cake mascara come in a compostable sleeve. Yay! Their lip colors are really beautiful too and true replicas of colors from the past.
- Alima Pure: I really love how their compacts are refillable. I think their refills come in plastic though. Still, all their products are free from nasty ingredients like parabens, sulphates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, talc, petroleum, dimethicone, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles. That’s got to count for something, right?
- Etsy: There are so many amazing Etsy accounts that produce beautiful, sustainable cosmetics. Here are just a few worth checking out: Clean Faced Cosmetics, Dab Herb Cosmetics, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics, EK Bare Beauty and Keeping It Natural. Each of these brands uses natural ingredients and comes in beautiful reusable tins or compostable packaging.
A quick note on recycling makeup: Makeup products can be hard to recycle, especially if they’re made from plastic. That’s because they’re often too tiny and get lost in the recycling facility. When in doubt, you can always look for a TerraCycle drop off center to recycle your makeup, or join TerraCycle’s free makeup recycling program. Another option is checking to see if you have a Credo Beauty store near you – they’ll take any empty makeup products you have and recycle it, samples and all! Also, as far as nail polish goes – it may come in a glass bottle but it cannot typically be recycled because of the chemicals that were held inside of it. Plus, nail polish itself is technically made from plastic!
Would you give these zero waste makeup brands a shot?
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