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15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

Beauty

Last Updated on March 29, 2022

If you’ve been a reader of Going Zero Waste for a while, you know much I love a good DIY! I used to make my own makeup all the time, like this lip to cheek, this eyeliner/mascara combo, and this powder foundation.

But, life gets busy and the reality is that you might not have time to DIY everything! As my workload has grown, my DIY time has unfortunately decreased significantly.

So, I went on a hunt for the best zero waste makeup (or very low waste) brands that are made with safe, earth-friendly, high-quality ingredients.

15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

Most of these brands are more expensive than what you’d get at the drugstore (although there are a couple really budget-friendly ones!), but the fact is: you don’t want to be wearing that stuff anyway! Cheap, conventional makeup is known to be packed with potentially toxic synthetic substances that can mess with your hormones and have significant long-term negative health effects

Personally, I don’t want to mess with that—I’d rather spend a little more to invest in higher-quality products with natural ingredients and just buy less of it! 

I should give you a disclaimer that not all of these brands are perfectly zero waste. But I do know that the brands below are prioritizing minimalistic, recyclable, and compostable packaging wherever possible.

I also can’t guarantee what sort of packaging is involved with online orders.

I have always bought my makeup in-store at Credo Beauty so I don’t have to deal with extra packaging, but I know not everyone has access to a clean beauty store near them.

If you’re worried, you could always reach out and ask before ordering—some of the brands below have noted that they will reduce their packaging even more upon request. 

A few other hot tips before we get to the list:

First, if you live in a humid environment and/or don’t go through makeup very quickly, I would recommend skipping the bamboo packaged products since they can get moldy!

You do NOT want to be putting products with invisible mold spores onto your skin.

Second, if you’re finished with your old mascara wands, you can put them to good use by sending them to Wands for Wildlife!

Third, let’s talk quickly about zero waste makeup remover. Usually, a regular old cotton washcloth and some coconut oil or face cleanser will do just fine!

If you’re looking for a little something extra, these hemp and organic cotton makeup removal pads with this makeup remover is also a good option. And if you’re someone who’s constantly smearing things that need to be fixed with Q-tips, try a NakedSwab!

Lastly, just a heads up: many of the links in this post are affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

[ RELATED: DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner and My Favorite Zero Waste Skincare Products. ]

Sustainable Makeup Brands

Izzy Zero Waste Beauty: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

1. izzy zero waste beauty

  • Mascara + lip butter 
  • Shipped in reusable mailers made from upcycled materials 
  • Container made from medical-grade stainless steel 
  • Empties returnable + will be cleaned + refilled
  • Refills available to members 
  • Vegan + cruelty-free 

/SHOP IZZY ZERO WASTE BEAUTY


Antonym Cosmetics: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

2. antonym cosmetics 

  • Foundation, blush, eyeshadow 
  • ECOCERT certified makeup
  • Bamboo compacts + outer packaging made from recycled or FSC-certified paper 
  • Cruelty-free (only non-vegan ingredients they use is beeswax in the lipstick) 
  • No parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances 

/ SHOP ANTONYM COSMETICS


Athr Beauty: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

3. athr beauty 

  • Eye, face + lip makeup 
  • Organic, fair-trade, vegan + non-GMO ingredients 
  • Eyeshadow palette is completely paper 
  • Packaging is almost entirely recyclable 
  • Eyeshadows are infused with crystals 

/ SHOP ATHR BEAUTY


RMS: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

4. rms 

  • Face, eye, + lip makeup 
  • Organic + toxic-free ingredients 
  • Cream pots are recycled glass 
  • Boxes are made from 80% post-consumer recycled fiber + manufactured using 100% wind power 
  • Gluten-free (except for volumizing mascara)
  • Cruelty-free

/ SHOP RMS


Kjaer Weis: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

5. kjaer weis 

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Certified Natural or Organic ingredients by Italy’s certifying body
  • Compacts + containers are refillable 
  • Red packaging is refillable, recyclable + compostable 
  • Sourced from FSC-certified materials + printed with water-based ink 

/ SHOP KJAER WEIS


Axiology: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

6. axiology 

  • Lipsticks, balmies + highlighters 
  • Organic, vegan + cruelty-free ingredients 
  • Lipstick tubes from 50% recycled plastic 
  • Red boxes handmade from recycled trash 
  • Balmies + highlighters in recyclable paper 
  • Lipstick tube mail-back system

/ SHOP AXIOLOGY


Elate Cosmetics: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

7. elate cosmetics 

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Operations ~75% waste free 
  • Bamboo, glass, aluminum + seed paper packaging with some recyclable plastic 
  • 2% of sales is donated to social + environmental causes 
  • Vegan, cruelty-free + gluten-free 

/ SHOP ELATE COSMETICS


Ilia: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

8. ilia

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Clean, cruelty-free ingredients 
  • Take-back program through TerraCycle 
  • U.S. customers to mail in up to 10 empty beauty products per month (theirs or other brands) to get recycled 
  • Member of 1% For The Planet  

/ SHOP ILIA

15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands
Besame: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

9. bésame

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • 1900s theme + aesthetic based off vintage makeup
  • Most products come in reusable + recyclable tins 
  • Made locally in California 
  • Cruelty-free + mostly vegan products (a few products contain beeswax) 

/ SHOP BESAME


Sappho New Paradigm: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

10. sappho new paradigm 

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Organic cosmetics formulated with ECOCERT certified ingredients 
  • Produced in a zero carbon footprint facility in Canada 
  • Refillable compacts built to hold magnetic pans that can be easily swapped out 

/ SHOP SAPPHO NEW PARADIGM


Tata Harper: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

11. tata harper 

  • Lip + cheek color 
  • Certified ECOCERT ingredients
  • Vegan + cruelty-free 
  • Majority of packaging is glass 
  • Plastic resin is made from renewable sugar cane
  • Outer packaging made from FSC certified paper
  • Formulated + packed by hand on Vermont farm 

/ SHOP TATA HARPER


Clean Faced Cosmetics: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

12. clean faced cosmetics

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Etsy shop – Handmade in Michigan 
  • Willing to make custom shades or omit ingredients
  • Can order refills or send back empties to be reused 
  • Vegan + cruelty-free 

/SHOP CLEAN FACED COSMETICS


Alima Pure: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

13. alima pure

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Refillable compacts built to hold magnetic pans that can be swapped out 
  • Offsets 100% of their carbon emissions
  • Manufactures their products using energy-efficient processes 
  • Free of parabens, petroleum + talc  

/ SHOP ALIMA PURE


Fat and The Moon: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

14. fat and the moon

  • Lip, eye + cheek color 
  • Herbalist formulated products using age-old ingredients + recipes passed down from various traditions
  • Products come in reusable, recyclable containers 
  • Ingredients are non-toxic + cruelty free (but they do use beeswax) 

/ SHOP FAT AND THE MOON


Zao: 15 Zero Waste Makeup Brands

15. zao

  • Face, lip + eye makeup 
  • Ingredients ECOCERT certified 
  • Packaging from controlled harvested bamboo 
  • Refill system 
  • Vegan, cruelty-free + gluten-free 
  • Factory in France employs individuals with disabilities 

/ SHOP ZAO /

Those are my top 15 zero waste makeup brands! To learn more about the products I use every day check out my Low Waste Makeup Capsule Collection. 

Which ones would you add to the list?

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  1. Hi! I have really enjoyed your posts, and how they are making me more conscious of my use of plastics – but there are now so many ads on your pages that it makes the content difficult to read.

    1. The ad network I go through recently changed the layout, and I need to adapt. They do look a little off in this post. I’m thinking of opening a Patreon account where you can read all of the blog posts ad-free. Please let me know if that’s something that interests you!

  2. As a Canadian, I was eager to try out Elate and I visited their studio shop when I was in Victoria last summer! I highly recommend their products and was thrilled with their transparency and genuine desire to make a difference. I’m very low maintenance when it comes to makeup but I like what I’ve tried so far.. and not too expensive either!
    Great post!
    d.

    http://www.thestorygirl.ca

    1. I bought some Elate powder; it was a terrible color for me (too dark, much too golden) but the powder box is truly beautiful and I’ll be able to reuse it for years.

  3. Wonderful post, thank you for the informative recommendations! I recently came across Elate at a pop-up event and immediately was drawn to their aesthetically-pleasing bamboo packaging! Their sustainable and refillable packaging, toxin-free products, and mission to be a waste-free cosmetic company lines up with my values and everything I’ve been working towards lately. I’m very excited to be slowly transitioning my beauty supplies over! And look forward to checking out the other companies listed above as well!
    Thanks again!
    Melissa
    Victoria, BC

  4. Makeup has been one of my biggest zero waste challenges, so I am really excited to see this post! Have you used cake mascara? I hate to buy it, hate it and waste it. Of the mascaras you mentioned, do you have a favorite?

    1. I haven’t tried all of them, but I’ve tried the lush one and liked it. I also tried the Kjaer Weiss one and I liked it too. I feel fairly evenly about both. The Lush one is more natural, and I think the Kjaer weiss one lasted a little longer, but you need to curl your eyelashes with both!

    2. Im not Kathryn but the LUSH mascara is my absolute favourite! If you’re after a nice natural, daily look without any clumps then i’d highly reccommend. It stays put and washes off easily with water at the end of the day. However, if you want something super dark and thick then its not quite right. I’ve tried heaps of different mascaras but this is the one I keep coming back to and now i wont buy anything else! 🙂

  5. Hi Kathryn, Curious about your honest opinion the KW mascara. I have the "Keeping It Natural" brand and of course the returnable refillable container is just stellar, but the mascara gathers under my eyes in just an hour. Seems from the reviews that KW is the same. I would hate to purchase such an expensive mascara and have it do the same.

  6. I’ve been able to make my own powder foundation and zero-waste eyeliner (both completely organic) so far, but I haven’t tried any zero waste mascara yet. I’ll have to try out some of these brands when I finish using my Poofy Organics tube! Thanks for all the ideas!

  7. I buy from Keeping it Natural on Etsy. I highly recommend their products. I wasn’t a fan of the cake mascara, but the eye shadows and face powders are great!

  8. Have you tried Zao make-up? They are vegan, organic & crualty free as well… packaged in bamboo, and I have to say their products are amazing.

        1. For those in the US, L’Occitane offers free recycling on all beauty products. They partner with Terracycle, so this is a great free solution if you have a store nearby. Check L’Occitane’s website for participating stores.

  9. This is awesome! Makeup has been one of my most difficult transitions into reducing waste as a lifestyle, so I just kinda gave up on wearing it all together. This post gives me hope and inspires me to get back into it. Thank you!

  10. I have been reading a few zero waste blogs and hardly any of them mention Lush! Yours might be the first. Why would zero wasters avoid Lush?

    1. Lush still uses some synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, and SLS which is derived from coconuts not palm oil. They don’t particularly like these ingredients. I’m not a huge fan of synthetic dyes and fragrances, but a lot of their products don’t have them. I think they cater to a diverse group of people and can help others reduce their waste.

  11. It’s great that more and more brands are going zero waste! Unfortunately, it will take long long time for them to become worldwide so to be accessible in countries of the Middle and Eastern Europe or so. I live in this part of the world therefore to order everything from America would be excessively expensive. I was wondering if you have also some tips of home made cosmetics and beauty products? I don’t use much, but to have ZW alternative for a cover cream, shampoo and shower gel would be awesome!

  12. What do you mean when you say something has a 100% recycle rate? I definitely think it’s important to remind people that whether or not something is recyclable is not the same thing as ‘accepted in my recycling program’. For example, where I live, you can’t put plastic bags in your recycling bin because they’re not accepted in my city’s recycling program (even though they can technically be recycled). This is all to say that a true zero waster should do some reasearch about what can and cannot be recycled in their own areas’ programs.

  13. Hi Kathryn. Thank you for a very helpful article. I see you write about zero waste in packaging, but does these brands also have zero plastic in their products as well? I know its very difficult to find out if commercial brands have this in their products, so would love to shop from a brand where I already know that all their products and packaging are plastic free. Thanks for your input! Jo

  14. Thanks for the list! I had no idea there were so many brands that are jumping on the zero waste bandwagon. I really wish there were more. Unfortunately not a single brand listed here lives up to my expectations of ‘clean’ make up. I have found one brand that does but they are not zero waste. If only I could have my cake and eat it too!

  15. HI Katheryn! This blog is really helpful. But they are too costly for me! can you suggest the cheapest but environment friend makeup products. Thank you 🙂 #love_love
    – Nainika
    from @useandreuse
    (from India)

    1. So please switch to other materials for your products too! Will stop selling your products in our store except for the kajales mostly for the reason it is packed in plastic. Allthough happy that the kajales and the lipsticks are in allumium.

  16. Thanks for the lovely information! Just wanted to mention one point, however. I have met Kristin Kjaer Weis in person at an event and she specifically told us the metal in her packaging is NOT recyclable (it is not stainless steel) but the idea is to keep it forever and pop out the old pans and replace with new ones. Thanks!

  17. I’m fortunate to live where a local shop can refill some of the Elate products for a great zero waste option. The only problem I have is the mascara – it’s in a plastic tube which is encased in bamboo. Personally that’s super green washing to me since they’re using more packaging than necessary (why the bamboo?!). But I really like their foundation and concealer and am looking forward to trying the other actual zero waste products.

  18. Hi, I went through the blog and I enjoyed reading it. You have mentioned a lot of Natural skin care products and they are good for the skin and I suggest my friends and family members to use such type of products rather than damaging skin by using chemical products and I follow the regime all the time. I too always prefer Ayurvedic products for skin, hair etc. We feel the timing for such products and its offerings is key to addressing a number of issues people face today on a daily basis. From stress to aging to vitamin deficiencies, these problems are caused by natural circumstances and need a solution that also comes from a natural source, and Soultree.in has those answers. Have you ever heard about Soultree India which gives ayurvedic organic skin and beauty care product. The ingredients which they use to make 100% ayurvedic beauty product is from mother nature. All products use authentic Ayurvedic recipes and honestly-sourced natural, organic ingredients that do no harm, only good.

  19. I got this response from Credo, thought it’d be helpful to you all.

    We unfortunately as of now do not have any mascaras that are totally plastic free. Our Kjaer Weis mascara is refillable, and the original packaging is metal, but the refill is also plastic. So sorry about that! We are always on the lookout for non-plastic packaging so hopefully we’ll have one soon!

  20. Excellent information. I’ve been wondering what on earth to do with mascara wands! I do have the Besame Cake Mascara in brown and I’m a big fan. It took a bit of getting used to, but I now use it on my lashes, brows and as an eye liner. If I am remembering correctly, Besame did not use any plastic packaging in their shipping. The lipsticks I’ve tried from them are almost all metal tubes (aluminum I believe), but there is one small plastic bit inside. I believe it’s the part that helps swivel up the lipstick.
    I will definitely check out Wands for Wildlife – seriously that baby possum getting brushed is too much 🙂

  21. Do you have any information on eco friendly and plastic free make up remover products, everything seems to be packaged in plastic bottles and tubes ? thanks

  22. Hi! So I am fairly new to this and I love the zero waste movement. I found that make up seems to be the hardest place to find substitutes so thank you for this article! I actually read this article a few months ago and went out and bought Kjaer Weis because it looked so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing and I love the refill idea.
    However…it is so expensive and I found that I was spending a lot more money just on make up. After a couple months I decided to check out Etsy, and there are actually so many people who are DIY’ing really amazing cruelty free, organic, zero waste makeup! And it is super affordable. I just wanted to post and say that zero waste does not have to be expensive or DIY. There are people out there who truly live this lifestyle and are creating zero waste makeup. So I just wanted to throw that out there! Thanks 🙂

  23. I love Besame, and their cake mascara is awesome…does not flake stays on, and washes off with soap and water. Their lipsticks& lip glosses are fabulous!

  24. Sappho Cosmetics uses glass, recyclable refillable compacts and we are the only company that treats their plastic tubes with biosphere rendering it biodegradable in a land fill in 2-5 years instead of 200-500 years

  25. These days, many skincare brands are focusing on chemical free or ayurvedic treatments for any skin issues. And people are actually loving them, due to the fact that they are 100% ayurvedic and harmless to your skin. I came across Forest Essentials, a luxury ayurvedic skincare brand and found out their facial creams for anti aging the most promising.

  26. Cosmetics products are the number one largest products selling in the word. Everyone wants to look better and better. For that purpose, everyone tries to wear good, perfume, makeup and another extension for the beauty. But all these types of cosmetics products need proper care and protection. For that purpose, companies are trying to work to improve their packaging quality. Icustomboxes have solution of all these kinds of products related packaging. For the<a href="https://www.icustomboxes.com/eyeliner-boxes/ ">eyeliner-boxes</a> , you can visit our site icustomboxes.

  27. I was delighted to discover this resource! Until I doubled checked the first company I thought i’d Like to buy from. RMS does animal testing therefore is NOT cruelty free. I’d rather not have make up at all.

  28. Thank you thank you thank you! This is just the resource I need. When trying to reduce waste in our lives, I realized that I was the number one contributor because of make-up! I didn’t want to give it up, so I started doing my own research into Eco friendly brands. I found them and my wallet screamed. Like I’m sitting in my bath, scrolling through eco-friendly brands, all excited because the exist and my wallet just starts screaming from the other room, as if it would never be full again! It was terrifying and took a little while to calm the little guy down.
    You did a lot of research for me, I don’t mind using different brands if I can mix and match for the best product and price for me. And my wallet is only whimpering currently. The coward does that all the time, didn’t scare me…!

  29. I just got the besame cake mascara and I’m obsessed. Big learning curve but once i got the right consistency down, it’s great. It builds nicely and stays all day without flaking. It’s not water proof but it does stand up to the Houston humidity! Is there a foundation you like from any of these brands? These plastic tubes are killing me. And the turtles.

  30. Unfortunately the Kiser Weis compacts, though made out of metal, are not stainless steel. They aren’t recyclable at all. The refill tins are, which is good.

  31. Recently bought the Besame cake mascara. It’s really nice, doesn’t clump at all, and it’s also possible to use it as an eyeliner with a small brush, which I have tried and like the look of. I love products that do double duty! And they do sell refill cakes wrapped in paper.
    I’m local to the area and bought in person so I can’t speak to their shipping packages but in store they give you the option of no receipt and provide you with a cute recyclable paper bag. I did buy two of their brushes for applying the mascara, and those did come wrapped in a small plastic sleeve. However, I’m planning to re-use the sleeve to carry around my brushes in my purse, and I previously found it almost impossible to buy any type of makeup brush without plastic packaging. I figured that was the lesser evil, because the brushes last a really long time if you clean and care for them, as does the cake mascara – both much longer than an ordinary mascara. Plus, I ended up buying the (almost indefinitely reusable) brushes from a small local woman-owned business that’s actively encouraging people to use a more eco-friendly mascara option. Not perfect, but definitely a good option.

  32. Hi everyone! Thought id quickly share that Almay sells liquid foundation in glass bottles. I have been using the Clear Complexion Foundation with salicylic acid for a few years to maintain breakouts. The top cap and pump are plastic but the main bottle is glass.

    Thanks for the inspiration Kathryn!
    Love your book Kathryn, thanks for the inspiration!!

  33. Your article is wrong as someone already pointed out, and it should be corrected. The Kjaer Weis metal containers are NOT stainless steel, and not even recyclable. Their material is in fact Zamak, which is a zinc-aluminium alloy.

    RMS lids are not stainless steel either, they are aluminium.

    Please get the facts straight. There are so many bloggers that unintentionally greenwashes brands and make them better than they are. First of all these brands get to ride the "clean wave" while using cheaper materials, while brands who might actually use steel are disadvantaged by unfair competition. And customers are unknowingly purchasing in good faith that the products are what they’ve been told.

    The same goes for the brand 100% pure. So many bloggers advertise their products as organic, or vegan. But looking at their makeup sometimes 1 ingredient is actually organically grown, while the 20 others are not. Even though a brand has a few organic products, or ingredients, doesn’t make the brand organic!

  34. I was really happy to see the Stila liquid eye shadows in your main image as this is one of my favorite brands! Then I didn’t see their products on your list. I don’t understand. Is Stila zero waste? Why are they not listed on the post?
    Also can you tell me which company makes that contour palette in the same image please? It looks amazing!

    Thanks!
    Lisa

  35. I feel kind of distraught right now on two fronts right now. 1. I looked into the top companies on this list but none of the mascaras seem to be zero waste at all. I’m starting to get really down on my sustainability quest. 2. I had loved Lush, in general, for years, but now as I look at their shop there’s just so much plastic. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I use mascara and a brow stick, both in plastic, and I’d love to find alternatives, but I’m struggling. I’m feeling like I had the wool pulled over my eyes with Lush, who I always thought was leading the pack on sustainability and other issues. Am I missing something? Ugh, this feels so ranty, I’m sorry, I just want to do good by the earth :(.

    1. Hey friend, don’t despair! Clean faced cosmetics on etsy makes *excellent* mascara in both liquid and cake form. Look at the pictures in the reviews! You can also try the cake mascara from Besame.

      I have found the zero waste makeup quest to be really easy on some fronts: I have mascara and eyeliner (clean faced), lips and cheeks (axiology), eyeshadow and bronzer (elate), all covered. My plastic free white whale is foundation! Why can’t normal companies sell foundation in a glass bottle with a metal lid! Even the “eco conscious” companies sell it with a plastic lid. It’s weird!

      Also, remember that zero waste isn’t a goal, it’s a journey. Making some good choices is worth it, even if you can’t make all the good choices yet! <3