In today’s post I’ll be reviewing 10 zero waste makeup brands! I’m really excited to share this post. Because even though I’m not the biggest makeup fanatic– I have had a lot of fun exploring the world of zero waste makeup since I began my journey into plastic free living.
But that’s true of all the different aspects of zero waste I’ve explored! I’ve had fun experimenting with zero waste laundry detergent, skincare, zero waste hand soap making, zero waste shampoo and shower products, and much more.
All of the brands I’ll be talking about in this post are ones that I’ve heavily researched, or personally tried myself. In general I recommend all of them, though they do have their pros and cons.
Overall though, I think they are all great options for zero waste makeup. They are all cruelty free, contain no animal ingredients, are ethically sourced/made, and come in eco friendly makeup packaging.
Also, I want to make it known that I was not paid in any way to write this post. These words and opinions are all my own, and not sponsored by any of the companies I list below. So trust that my opinion is an unbiased one!
Why A Zero Waste Lifestyle Matters
Let’s talk for a minute about why zero waste makeup even matters. For those who read my blog regularly, you know that topics concerning zero waste, sustainability, and eco living, are pretty important to me.
At its core, zero waste is a philosophy that encourages recycling, minimizing waste, reducing consumption and trying to find sustainable, reusable, and environmentally-friendly solutions to how one lives. The four golden R’s of a zero waste lifestyle are:
We all use a myriad of products in our day to day lives. From sunscreen, to household cleaners, lotion, perfume, detergents, soaps, toothpaste, etc.
Trying to live a zero waste lifestyle simply means that you attempt to be more conscious about the purchasing choices that you make. It’s an attempt to live a more plastic free life, and limit our burden on the planet.
Climate change and the health of our planet is a complicated issue, caused by many different things happening at once right now. It’s a combination of our dependence on fossil fuels for energy, animal agriculture, overflowing landfills, plastic pollution, and so much more. I always like to encourage my readers to check out free documentaries like A Plastic Ocean, Cowspiracy, The Story Of Stuff, The True Cost, Chasing Coral, Gasland, and Chasing Ice (just to name a few) for further education on the problem.
So if you feel like you need inspiration or motivation to start exploring zero waste living, consider giving some movies on that list a try! Most are available for free on YouTube or they’re on Netflix.
Back To Zero Waste Makeup
In case you’re wondering if you’re alone in wanting to explore zero waste makeup– the answer is you’re not!
Sustainable and zero waste makeup is making a big impact on the beauty scene right now. People everywhere are starting to wake up to the benefits of plastic free living– which is really inspiring to see!
But don’t just take my word for it. You can check out tons of videos on YouTube and other social media platforms to see real people trying zero waste alternatives and giving their honest reviews.
For my own honest reviews– keep reading!
My Personal Requirements For Zero Waste Makeup
Before starting my review for these zero waste makeup brands, I think it’s also worth mentioning that a lot of these brands promote themselves as being all natural makeup, and organic makeup. So if you’re someone who’s trying to avoid harsh chemical or synthetic ingredients, these brands could be great for you to try in that regard as well!
A few months ago when I realized that I was running low on foundation, blush, etc., I knew right away that I wanted to find zero waste makeup alternatives. But there were other considerations that were also really important to me.
My must-have list for new makeup was:
- Must be cruelty free (not tested on animals)
- Must be vegan (no animal ingredients)
- Product packaging (including all containers, and inner/outer packaging) must be plastic free as much as possible, and instead use materials that can be recycled or composted
- No ingredients that I’m allergic/sensitive to (perfumes/fragrances, fatty alcohols, aloe vera, to name a few)
My nice-to-have list for new makeup was:
- Natural ingredients utilized more over synthetic ingredients
- Good reviews and many reviews (I get nervous trying products with little or no user reviews)
- Cream-based formulas utilized more over powder-based ones (my skin tends to be on the drier side these days)
- Built-in sunscreen (a nice plus)
- If it has sunscreen, that it’s mineral based (reef safe) vs. chemical based (not reef safe)
- Good coverage, and long lasting ability
So, with all of these things in mind I began my research. And now we can finally get into the heart of this post.
10 Zero Waste Makeup Brands Reviewed
Out of all the companies I explored, here is my list of top zero waste makeup brands that I recommend the most! All brands are cruelty free.
I first got introduced to Vapour cosmetics through an Instagram account that I followed. The ‘grammer in question had great skin, rocked that “no makeup” makeup look I like, and also embraced the zero waste mindset, similar to myself.
So I decided to give them a try!
Right off the bat I was impressed with the variety of products that they had. Their line includes foundation, concealer, primer, cream formulas, powder, blush, eye shadow, mascara, brow tools, lipstick, highlighter, bronzer, and a lot more.
What really impressed me though, was their obvious commitment to eco friendly packaging. All of their products are made with recyclable materials. Product containers are made from either glass, aluminum, or a combination of both.
Furthermore, if you are unable to recycle their products once used up on your own (if you don’t live near a recycling center for example), they have a recycle/return program that lets you ship the empties back to them so that they will recycle them for you. Pretty neat!
Finally, 50% of all the energy required to power their headquarters, manufacturing plants, and warehouse facilities is currently run on wind and solar power. They have a commitment by 2022 to be 100% on renewable energy– how cool! Check out their Values page to learn about some of their other cool initiatives.
So overall, I think they’re doing a really great job. Let’s talk about performance now.
Zero Waste Makeup By Vapour Reviewed
For zero waste foundation and concealers, if you are unsure about what shade to go with, they have a really good free sample program. You can send a photo of your face to their customer support team, and they’ll tell you what shade of theirs matches you best. I did this and then ordered samples based off what they said. It turns out, the shade number they recommended was my perfect match!
When I placed my order they also included a bunch of free samples for blushes, lip tints, etc. So as far as customer service goes, my experience with them was great.
As for the actual product, there were things I both liked and didn’t like. The foundation coverage was pretty sheer, but could be built-up if you layered more. Same with the concealer (though the shade match was so perfect, I felt it worked well even though it wasn’t “full coverage”).
They use “pure essential oils” to give their products a natural scent. I took this to mean it would be just slightly scented (I have a very sensitive nose and skin that is sensitive to strongly perfumed products). I thought the scent was very strong in the end though, almost like frankincense. It wasn’t an unpleasant smell, it was just way stronger than I could tolerate. It was mostly because of this that I decided the foundation and concealer weren’t for me.
As for the cream blushes and lip tint samples– I loved those! My skin had no bad reaction to them, and I really liked the different colors I tried. The scent was toned down on these as well.
So even though not all of their products worked out for me, I still recommend them overall, and would check out more of their cosmetics in the future.
They are a bit on the pricey side, but you’re paying for high quality ingredients, great customer support, eco friendly makeup packaging, and high quality zero waste makeup. So to me, the price is fitting.
Elate Cosmetics also has a pretty extensive line for zero waste makeup. They have concealers, foundation, powders, lip tints, glosses, balms, creme blushes, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, etc.
Elate relies on glass containers and bamboo lids for most of their products. So everything is 100% recyclable and compostable. They also rely on aluminum and seed paper for certain products, which again, are fully recyclable.
They’ve even put a lot of thought into their outer packaging. Here’s a snippet from their website:
“We pack your order in size-appropriate boxes made from recyclable post-consumer material. Boxes are padded using a paper fill material called Geami to ensure your products are protected on their trip home to you.”
Other notable traits: Up to 75% of all ingredients used for their makeup is organic. They say that they always strive for as many organic ingredients as possible, but “will choose fair trade over organic if they are unable to have both.” So they place high importance on ethically sourced ingredients as well, which matters a lot to me as a consumer.
I can’t speak to the wear-ability of their products, or how they made me feel as I haven’t tried them yet. But they certainly make my list for top zero waste makeup brands because of everything I’ve read about them. When it’s time for me to restock my makeup again, I would definitely consider trying some of their stuff!
#3: Kjaer Weis
Kjaer Weis definitely makes the list for sustainable makeup brands. They package all of their makeup in a high quality metal compact– something that you buy only once. After that, every time you need to re-purchase you simply buy one of their refills which comes packaged in paper.
I have to say, it’s a really neat idea! I can see how this would dramatically reduce the amount of packaging they produce, and their buyers consume. And even if you decided one day to switch zero waste makeup brands, you can fully recycle all of your metal compacts from them– significantly reducing your waste.
I have not personally tried any Kjaer Weis products, because I personally find their price point a little prohibitive for me. That being said, I think they are still a great option that belongs on the list.
One more caveat with them, some of their products are not vegan. Quite a few of them use beeswax. If this is an issue for you, Kjaer Weis may not be for you. They do have a few eye shadow and lip products that don’t use beeswax, and are completely vegan though. So it might be worth it for you to explore their product line still.
#4: Tata Harper
Tata Harper is more than just a zero waste makeup brand. They also have a huge product list of skincare products such as moisturizers, serums, masks, toners, body scrubs, balms, etc.
All of their containers are made from glass, though some of their lids/pumps use plastic parts. They use 100% post consumer materials in their packaging, recycled paperboard, and soy based ink so that their paper can be recycled easier. All in all, I think Tata Harper is doing a great job with their efforts towards sustainability. They are not 100% zero waste yet, but I still see a real commitment from them to continue moving in that direction.
So it’s for that reason, and everything else they’re already doing right, that I think they belong on the list! They are also one of the few companies on this list that have skincare products, in addition to cosmetic/makeup products. So that is a nice plus as well.
#5: RMS Beauty
RMS Beauty is a zero waste makeup brand, an organic makeup brand, and an all natural makeup brand. Their products range from concealer, to foundation, blush, powders, eye shadow, mascara, bronzer, highlighter, primers, makeup removers, etc. They’re pretty all encompassing for one’s cosmetic needs.
RMS products are minimally packaged using glass containers and aluminum lids, so 100% of their packaging is recyclable!
Zero Waste Makeup By RMS Beauty Reviewed
RMS Beauty was the second zero waste makeup brand I decided to personally try, after Vapour.
Right away I was impressed! I quickly realized that RMS also has exceptional customer service. Similar to Vapour, their support team helped me pick out a shade match and send me free samples that ended up being PERFECT for my skin tone!
On top of the concealer free samples, they also let me pick out multiple free samples for their blush, highlighter, and bronzer products too. So I had a lot to experiment with.
In general I would say that their concealer is a bit more “sheer” and “light” in its coverage, but I find that it can be easily built-up using a few layers. Using a tinted powder on top of it though, like a setting powder, really magnifies its coverage.
So if I feel like using makeup, and I’m having a good skin day, the concealer is all I need to spot-treat where I might have a bit of redness. If I’m having a bad skin day, I’ll use the concealer with a finishing powder for full coverage.
I really love using RMS’s products on their own though, without a powder, because I find them sooo moisturizing for my skin!
When I first started getting into makeup I bought powder-based formulas over liquid ones, because I thought they’d be easier to work with. This is true, to an extent I guess. But it was kind of an arbitrary decision at the time. Fast forward a bunch of years later– I find that as I get older my skin has started to be more on the dry side. I think this is normal for a lot of women though. And so I started to research more hydrating options for makeup and skincare– which led me to reading more about liquid and creme based formulas.
Anyways, long story short, I find RMS’s creme based formulas SUPER hydrating and moisturizing. I can wear their makeup all day long and not feel dried out by the end of the day. To me, this is a huge plus! I actually enjoy wearing makeup more often now, because this stuff makes my skin feel so good.
As for their other products, I also love their lip-to-cheek tints. You get a small amount on your finger, and you can use it for blush on your cheeks, for adding color to your lips, or for eye-shadow. It was designed to be multi-purpose like this, and I love that about it. And also– no scent! All of their products are unscented, which is a huge plus for me!
If you haven’t guessed by now, RMS Beauty was my “winnner winner tofu-dinner” brand out of all the ones I tried on this list. I loved their products and so did my skin. So they are the brand I decided to use for now as my go-to for zero waste makeup.
In no way, is my endorsement for them meant to take away from the other companies in this post though. I still highly recommend any brand on this list as a good company to explore.
I can’t deny though, that I’m now a huge fan of RMS Beauty!
Zao packages almost all of their products in bamboo containers, similar to Elate. Bamboo is fully recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable. So as far as their packaging goes, they are doing great!
They self-identify as a clean beauty brand that only uses natural, organic ingredients. So all of their products are promoted as being very healthy for your skin.
And similar to Kjaer Weis, they also have a refill program that allows you to buy their bamboo compact once, and then buy makeup refills in cotton or paper pouches. So the waste you produce from buying their products is very minimal.
As for their products, they have a variety of cosmetics for face, lips, and eyes– as well as a few moisturizers.
#7: Eco Minerals
Similar to Zao, Eco Minerals is another Australian based company on the list. I say this in case the distance between you– and the source of the products you buy– is something that’s important to you.
Eco Minerals has a wide range of cosmetics for face, cheeks, brows, lips, eyes, and more.
They rely on glass, paper and aluminum materials to make 100% of their packaging and shipping materials recyclable or biodegradable. And similar to a few companies on this list, they have a refill program that allows you to buy a metal compact once, and then get makeup refills in a paper sachet.
They also have a sample program that allows you to test some of their shades before committing to a full jar. I have a hard time picking out shades that match my skin tone, so anytime a company has a sample program I take full advantage!
Ilia has a full range of cosmetics for every part of the face you can think of: concealer, foundation, primer, eye liner, lipstick, highlighter, etc.
They are not an entirely zero waste makeup brand. They still use some plastic packaging for a few of their products.
That being said, they do have many that are sold in paper, glass or aluminum containers too. So I think they are heading in the right direction.
They also have a mail-in recycle program that let’s you mail up to 5 empty makeup containers (from their product line, or another company’s) and they will responsibly recycle the containers for you so that they don’t end up in a landfill. I thought this was really cool! Especially considering that they will help you recycle another company’s product for you– all in the name of keeping our planet healthy.
Clean Faced Cosmetics is one of a few Etsy-based brands that made my list. They have a wide range of beauty products, and all of them are ethically packaged.
They rely on biodegradable cello bags, paper, aluminum, tin, and bamboo to make 100% of their packaging zero waste. They’re also based in Grand Rapids, Michigan (shout out to my home state!).
Though I haven’t personally tried their products yet, I’d really like to. I love supporting small businesses, and have no problems with ordering makeup off Etsy. And the nice thing about Etsy zero waste makeup, is that it’s often very affordable compared to some of the other brands on this list.
So if affordable zero waste makeup and supporting small businesses is your goal– check out Clean Faced Cosmetics!
Honorable mention for another Etsy-based zero waste makeup brand goes to Dirty Hippie Cosmetics.
Antonym cosmetics uses a combination of paper, glass, and bamboo for most of their products. They are not a 100% zero waste makeup brand, but I think that’s the direction they’re aiming for.
They are a certified natural makeup brand, and all organic. So like a few others on this list, they advertise and embody a “clean beauty” aesthetic.
I haven’t tried them personally yet, but I am intrigued by their message and the products they have to offer. They are also one of the more pricey companies on this list though, so that could be prohibitive for some.
Regardless, I still think they are a great company to check out for zero waste makeup needs!
#11: DIY Zero Waste Makeup
Ok, ok– I realize that I titled this post “10 Zero Waste Makeup Brands Reviewed.” That being said, I had to give a special #11 shoutout to a solution that by now, you should all know I embrace:
Yes, there is a whole world of DIY zero waste makeup that is creative, effective, fun, and budget friendly. I don’t personally have any recipes for makeup to share at this point, but there are some great videos out there for inspiration.
They’re definitely worth a watch!
Zero Waste Makeup Conclusions
I hope you enjoyed my list of top 10 zero waste makeup brands! I had a lot of fun researching different companies, and coming up with a list that I was excited to talk about.
I think each of these companies has their merit, and are worth exploring more. The Etsy businesses will be a lot more affordable for most, though their product lines can sometimes be limited. On the other hand, traditional makeup companies that focus on zero waste solutions can be a great option for those with a slightly bigger budget, or for those looking for more tested solutions.
Remember too, that it’s not about being perfect. No company will ever be 100% zero waste. All we can do is research brands as best we can, and make the best choice for our needs with the most ethical companies we find.
Overall, I think this list is a great place to start though. If you’re running low and looking for some zero waste makeup alternatives, I hope this post has inspired and helped you out! Thank you for reading. 🙂