5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

It’s not rocket science that properly applied makeup enhances your looks. But it actually goes beyond mere appearance. Wearing makeup, especially if done right, provides a ton of benefits, such as improved self confidence, improving how you look in photos, covering blemishes, and even protecting your skin from UV rays, dust and other harsh elements. While we don’t necessarily need makeup to be beautiful, makeup can do wonders for your self esteem. But does it also do the same to the environment? Unfortunately, it does not. Most makeup is packaged in plastic and contains questionable ingredients. Only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled, and makeup packaging is often too small to actually be recycled. That’s why I’ve rounded up 5 of the best low waste makeup brands to support in 2021. These brands are making some serious waves in the sustainable beauty industry.

This is a guest post written by Lillian Connors. This post contains some 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.

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

A Global Problem

Many commercial cosmetics and toiletries contain harmful chemicals that, when washed away, find their way to lakes, rivers, and aquifers. These chemicals can harm the local wildlife and flora.

In addition, 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.

Worse, many kinds of plastic labels and containers break down into microplastics that are smaller than 5mm in size. These microplastics are ingested by animals, not just threatening their lives but also threatening ours when we consume these animals as food.

The cosmetics industry generates billions of dollars a year, so you can just imagine the waste we dump into the environment from this industry alone. In all, according to new recycling statistics, humans generate 2 billion tons of waste annually. Experts estimate that if this trend continues, we will have produced 12 billion tons of plastic in our landfills. That’s enough to fill 35,000 buildings the height of the Empire State Building.

Use These Low Waste Makeup Brands

Whether you like it or not, human activity is causing this global garbage problem. If you want to be part of the solution, you need to change your ways. That includes keeping an eye on the things you buy, including makeup brands. Here are some (more or less) plastic-free makeup brands that should be on your dressing table or your makeup kit.

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

Elate Beauty

Elate Beauty is one of the foremost plastic-free makeup brands that sell top-quality biodegradable cosmetics. Their bestsellers include eye shadows, creams, lipsticks, and skin bases. They pride themselves on manufacturing natural, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly makeup and body-care products.

In addition to using safe ingredients, they also put their products inside eco-friendly bamboo bottles and wooden boxes. Even their makeup applicators are made of sustainable materials using vegan fibers for threads and reused bamboo or aluminum for handles. 

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

Dad Herb Makeup

One of the most popular plastic-free makeup brands, Dab Herb Makeup manufactures makeup and personal care products that are food-grade, natural, and organic. Their most popular products include eyebrow cultivators, cheek dye, face brighteners, and face powders.

All their products are animal cruelty-free, fair-trade compliant, and friendly on any type of skin. Customers also find the scent of their products pleasant to the senses.

Dab Herb Makeup strives to produce as little waste as possible. Thus, their products are placed in metal or crystal containers as well as paper wrapping materials.

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

Ilia Beauty

Ilia Beauty carries a diverse array of makeup and personal care products. Considered as one of the most gorgeous makeup brands, the company sells high-quality skin tints, priming powders, bronzing powders, eyeliners, lip tints, and many more.  They also use an up-to-date methodology that allows them to add new product lines regularly and efficiently.

Instead of focusing on using biodegradable containers, Ilia Beauty focuses more on minimalism and recycling. The company accepts used makeup containers from all brands. All customers need to do is to print a prepaid shipping label from their website, attach it to a package of empty containers, then send the package to them via the local post office. Illia Beauty then sends these empty containers to TerraCycle, an organization that specializes in recycling hard-to-recycle materials.

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

River Organics

River Organics is the brainchild of Fabian, a former skincare chemist of Chanel, and his wife. The company’s “hydrating plant beauty” philosophy translates to a range of zero-waste vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and palm-oil-free beauty products. These include bronzers, highlighters, lip balms, body oils, and makeup sets.

All their products are made of organic jars of butter and oils such as cacao butter, mango seed butter, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil. In some of their products, rather than beeswax, they use mineral mica pigmentation and candelilla wax.

Because River Organics is one of the leading plastic-free makeup brands in the country, they use waste-free packaging such as refillable glass and compostable cardboard tubes.

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

Kjaer Weis

Kjaer Weis is 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. They offer a wide range of cruelty-free, all natural lipstick, lip gloss, blush, foundation, mascara and eye shadow.

This brand reduces waste by offering refills: Everything from their lipstick to their foundation is refillable. The makeup comes in these stunning white bronze compacts and the refills come in 100 percent recyclable cardstock.

5 Best Low Waste Makeup Brands in 2021

What are your favorite low waste makeup brands?

For more beauty inspo, check out these 5 zero waste makeup brands worth the money.

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Lillian Connors is a Senior Content Developer at ACT-ENVIRO, with years of experience in developing content. Throughout her career, she always looked for ways to contribute to the environment in recycling efforts, while providing valuable information with her written articles. She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainability not only makes us far less dependent on others regarding how we live and do business but also contributes to our planet being a better place to live on. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book and sip on an occasional appletini.

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.


    1. Thanks so much Jenna! 🙂 I really encourage you to give these brands a go, especially Kjaer Weis – they’re my all time favorite! I have a slew of their products, but they’re very pricy, so I really had to save up for them. So glad I did because you cannot beat the quality!



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