Last Updated on August 11, 2023
A capsule makeup kit is an amazing way to still use your favorite makeup products without contributing to a ton of waste!
Keeping a simple makeup capsule collection prevents you from over-consuming but doesn’t require that you go makeup free! By using multi-purpose and sustainable makeup brands, you can reduce waste and still feel beautiful. These natural makeup brands will keep your skin healthy and glowy without having to sacrifice your favorite products!
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Table of Contents
A few weeks ago, I decided to dish on my low-waste beauty products in a ‘get ready with me’ style IGTV video.
I was heading to UC Berkeley to guest lecture, and I always wear a bit more makeup when it comes to being on stage with lights.
I thought it was the perfect time to go through my makeup capsule collection and I got a TON of questions and requests for a full blog post!
As many of you know, I have struggled a lot with skin problems.
I have tried numerous zero-waste skincare routines. A lot of the “zero waste” skincare products I was using were still low waste.
Yes, they come in a glass bottle, but they almost always have different plastic parts.
After years of searching, I think I’ve finally found a few items that are really working for my skin, thanks to the recommendation of my esthetician — but they do come in plastic.
I’ve decided to stop sweating it.
I figure if I’m able to reduce 99% of packaging waste but finally found a few green products (that are working!), then that’s fine by me.
I send my makeup and skincare empties back to Terracycle so I know that they’re in good hands.
Many places like Credo and l’Occitane have programs where you can drop your beauty products off and they’ll send them back to Terracycle for you. By investing in natural makeup and recycling waste, I feel as though I’m doing my part for the environment and for my skin.
sustainable makeup: the one in, one out rule
I don’t know how or why I used to accumulate so many beauty products. My makeup kit consisted of dozens of products.
I’m not sure if they bred at night, but man, I wound up with so many different colors of eyeshadow that I never wore.
Tons of different lip shades and eyeliner too, and I hardly wore any of them! Buying sustainable makeup only goes so far if you’re still over-consuming them.
So when I started going zero waste, I really started to pay attention to how I was accumulating items and what I actually used.
I noticed that I wore the exact same products every single day.
I also noticed that when I was halfway through a product I would run out and buy a new one.
When I was at the store, I would also pick up one or two other items just because they looked cool.
I would wear those “cool new products” once or twice and then they would languish in my makeup drawer constantly being passed up for my old faithful products.
So, I simply decided to cut all of that out.
Now, I don’t go out and buy a new product unless I’m really, really close to being out of it, and I buy one item to replace the one that is out not a handful of others.
What I find most fascinating about this, is even though clean beauty is more expensive, on the whole, I’m saving money because I’m not buying a BUNCH of products.
I’m only buying a few.
buying in person:
Another way I drastically reduce my waste in my beauty routine is to buy in person. I can see the colors, and I can see what the product feels like.
Since I have sensitive acne-prone skin, I can often tell what’s going to work and what’s not.
Almost anytime I’ve ordered something new online, I’ve been really disappointed in a color looking slightly off or the product not performing well.
Credo Beauty is one of my all-time favorite places to shop, but I know Sephora has expanded their clean beauty section quite a bit.
related: 10 Zero Waste Makeup Brands
creating a capsule:
When it comes to creating a capsule makeup collection, my best tip is to simply pack like you’re going on vacation.
You’ll typically bring your go-to day look and then one or two extra elements for a bit more of a dramatic evening look.
After whittling everything down, I’ve found that’s all I need.
Now, I’ve tried a bunch of different green mascaras and I’ve tried a lot of lip products.
If you would like for me to review each kind I’ve tried, let me know in the comment section down below!
my capsule makeup kit:
Since I use the same handful of products every day, I decided to invest in quality, sustainable versions of those go-tos and that’s it. Here are my favorites:
I do really like to prime my face. For an everyday look, I like to combine a little bit of primer and foundation together.
This gives the foundation thinner more natural coverage, and it stays pretty much all day.
I currently have the Juice Beauty Primer which has a nice glow to it.
Since I have oily skin, sometimes the glow can be a bit much. But, I certainly don’t have to worry about using any highlighter.
The Juice Beauty Primer comes in a glass bottle.
I have tried a few concealers.
I’m currently still working my way through my RMS concealer which I think is good.
I’ve enjoyed using it and I really like the packaging. It’s packaged with a metal top and glass bottom!
However, I really like the Ilia concealer more — but it is packaged in plastic.
I used to exclusively use the Marie Veronique Tinted Sunscreen as my foundation which I love!
But, as I’ve started doing a lot more work on camera, I’ve needed something a bit more heavy-duty.
I saw somewhere that Shailene Woodley used the Vapour Foundation when on set.
I thought it MUST have a great matte finish for camera, so I ordered some online and have been sooooo disappointed.
It is so greasy and oily.
Since I have oily skin, my face is subject to non-stop shine all day no matter how much powder I put on.
I am going to try and finish using the product, but honestly, it’s so bad, I don’t know if I can.
After I run out of Vapour, I think I’m going to try the RMS foundation which just came out.
Once again, having oily skin, I typically finish up with a powder to prevent any excess shine.
I’ve been using the AU Natural Skin Food Powder.
I have really enjoyed using this and how well it travels.
I got it because they offered refills which I think is super cool! But, currently, on the website, I’m not seeing where they sell the refills.
They might be sold out?
But, I think the premise of the powder and how it’s refillable is really cool.
The powder also has an SPF of 25 which is a great addition.
I’ve been using the Ilia Multi-Stick in the color At Last for blush, plus on my lips if I’m going for a very nude lip.
I really like products that can pull double duty.
It’s great to have something that works for both my lips and cheeks!
One of the things I love about Ilia is that they package their products in recycled aluminum.
I have two eyeshadow palettes.
Even though I’m not a huge fan of the color purple, a lot of the colors in the palette are very subtle and I really like wearing them!
The palette is made completely from paper.
You will have to remove the small tins and elastic band from the palette before recycling, but it’s really cool how they took their packaging into consideration.
This has to be one of my favorite tools in my makeup kit. I was so excited to find a really good eyelash curler that comes with pad refills.
My previous eyelash curler was from high school, but it broke this summer.
I used the opportunity to try and find a really heavy-duty curler that should last me for the rest of my life.
Replacement pads used to be very common, but they can be difficult to find these days.
When you buy the curler it comes with refills, but if you run out you can purchase them separately.
I have tried quite a few different types of eyeliners.
I’ve tried a few of the pencil eyeliners, but they haven’t done very well staying on my face.
I would say the Juice Beauty is a little more difficult to control because it’s kind of like using a small very flexible paintbrush. Whereas, Ilia is a bit more difficult to get a smooth line because it’s like a rigid felt tip pen.
If the Juice had a bit more structure and the Ilia had a bit more flexibility, they’d both be perfect!
So, for now, I’m just accepting almost perfect and am pretty happy with that!
I have tried five different green, low-waste mascaras and I have to say: Ilia has knocked it out of the park.
Their mascara is packaged in recycled aluminum like the rest of their products.
The mascara stays on all day, it doesn’t flake or run, and it washes off easily at night.
The best part is the brush!
Half is a comb and half is a brush. It also has some really nourishing ingredients to strengthen your natural lashes.
I like to buy smaller fragrances so I can change them up pretty often. I haven’t found a clean signature scent just yet, but right now I’m really liking MCMC Maine Perfume.
It comes in a cute roller bottle that I plan on upcycling once I’m done with it.
I have tried countless lip products and I’m still looking for THE one that can stay on for a few hours.
With so many of these green beauty products, it’s gone after I take one sip of water.
If I ever find something that stays on longer than 20 minutes, I’ll be sure to let you know.
And, if you want me to compare and contrast the 10 lip products I’ve tried, let me know in the comment section down below!
Currently, I like the Ilia Multistick in a fine romance. I keep this one in my purse, which is why it wasn’t featured in the video.
I have the tata harper in very popular which I wore for my wedding. It’s a great color, but as far as performance goes, it’s just OK. The Ilia Multistick is about the same color, and I think it lasts longer.
I also have the Kari Gran Lip Whip which is a good clear gloss like lip balm. It works pretty well and is a staple basic.
That is my 15 product capsule make-up beauty collection! I feel like it can pretty easily take me from day to night and through any situation.
And, I definitely am dying to find some lip products that can stay put. If you have any recommendations please let me know!
how many products go in a capsule makeup collection?
Makeup routines vary, so each person’s capsule is personal! I have a friend whose go-to makeup routine consists of mascara, blush, and tinted lip balm. If she has spots, she’ll use some concealer. But that’s it! So her capsule makeup collection is even smaller than mine.
I would aim for fewer than 20 products. That would allow you to swap certain products out depending on the day’s events.
how do you store a makeup capsule?
However you’re currently storing your makeup is probably fine. I keep mine in a small makeup bag so I can toss it into my suitcase when I travel with zero effort. I love storing my items in tins or decorating storage in my bathroom, too.