Find the top sustainable makeup brands that sell clean beauty products and also prioritize plastic-free and zero waste packaging.
Take a look in your makeup drawer and tell me what you see. A lot of plastic tubes, compacts and containers? Yep, that’s about right.
Most makeup – both conventional and clean makeup brands – comes packaged in plastic. Plastic is cheap and it’s easy – but it’s bad for the planet and we should be looking for ways to use less plastic any time we can.
If you are looking to make the switch to clean beauty products, be sure to seek out sustainable makeup brands that offer plastic-free or zero waste packaging as well. Fortunately there are quite a few of them!
Sustainable Makeup Packaging
So what makes makes makeup packaging sustainable? Let’s answer a few questions:
Does recyclable packaging count? It’s easy to get lulled into thinking that if we recycle plastic, we’ve solved the problem. The truth is that 91% of plastic is not recycled at all. Plus, most plastic makeup tubes and compacts are not recyclable anyway. If all a company is doing is bragging that you can recycle their plastic containers, then no – that’s not sustainable. But if they are using sustainable materials that are also recyclable at the end of their useful life, then yes – that is great.
Does sustainable packaging have to be plastic-free? It’s pretty hard to create makeup packaging that is 100% plastic free – although some brands manage to pull it off! (Aether Beauty is a great example)
Can makeup packaging be zero waste? Zero waste is a great inspirational goal, but most brands aren’t there. (see some of the Etsy shops I mention below for as close to zero waste makeup as you’ll get!)
How about refillable packaging? I’m a huge fan of refillable makeup packaging! It’s not very common but a couple brands are doing it (see Elate and Kjaer Weis below)
Sustainable makeup packaging comes in lots of forms. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Glass: used for bottles, containers and tubes (likely recyclable)
- Metal: used for lids and tubes (might be recyclable)
- Bamboo: used for makeup compacts and lipstick tubes (compostable)
- Paperboard tubes: used for lipsticks and cheek colors (biodegradable/compostable)
- Post consumer recycled paper: used for boxes (recyclable)
- FSC-certified paper: used for boxes (recyclable)
- Recycled plastic: used for bottles, compacts, tubes and other parts (bottles may be recyclable but most other items are not)
Top 14 Sustainable Makeup Brands
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Next time you are shopping for makeup, consider these clean beauty brands that prioritize sustainable packaging too.
About the brand: Elate Cosmetics and founder Melodie Reynolds are on a mission to create sustainable, low-waste beauty products without compromise, for everyone. The company has a goal of becoming the first zero waste cosmetic company, and they are well on their way! Their Capsule Beauty concept encourages minimal purchases of products that work best for you.
Sustainable packaging: Products are packaged in sustainable bamboo, glass and aluminum, with a minimum of recycled plastic. Bamboo palette containers are refillable.
Product ingredients: Ingredients are natural (about 75% organic) and 100% vegan.
- Bamboo Capsule Palette: A refillable container for eye shadow, blush and powders with magnets to hold colors in place
- Universal Cream: Moisturizing cream for cheeks and lips. Comes packaged in a refillable bamboo compact (I use the color Love)
- Sheer Lipsticks: Lightly pigmented lipsticks that adapts to your own lip color – packaged in a bamboo tube
About the brand: Aether Beauty was born with a goal to create clean, cruelty-free makeup products in sustainable packaging. The line is minimal because founder Tiila will only introduce a new product if it meets her clean beauty and sustainability requirements.
Sustainable packaging: Aether Beauty created the first zero waste eye shadow palettes in the beauty industry. The palettes are made with 100% FSC-certified paper and recycled aluminum and contain no mirrors or magnets, so they are recyclable.
Product ingredients: Ingredients are organic, fair-trade, and non-GMO wherever possible and over 1500 ingredients are banned. Products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free always. Eye shadows are infused with crystals to illuminate the skin and bring light to your spirit.
- Crystal Gemstone Eye Shadow Palettes are stunning and come in a few color combinations
- Crystal Charged Cheek Palettes
- Diamond Highlighter
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About the brand: After many years in the makeup industry, founder Rose-Marie started RMS Beauty in order to help women use non-toxic and sustainable makeup products as part of a healthy lifestyle. Known best for their creamy, coconut oil based makeup in glass packaging.
Sustainable packaging: Cream products are housed in recycled glass pots with metal tops. Boxes are made from 80% post-consumer recycled fiber and manufactured using 100% wind power. All packaging is minimal, recyclable or reusable. (Note: some products are
Product ingredients: RMS Beauty products are formulated with raw, food grade and organic ingredients in their natural state. Minimal heat is used in the manufacturing process in order to keep all nutrients and healing properties alive. All ingredients are GMO-free. Note: the line is cruelty free, but not vegan (beeswax is part of many of the cream formulas). Cream products are rated 1 by EWG.
- Living Luminizer – creamy highlighter (one of my fav makeup products ever!)
- “Un” Cover-Up – concealer that doubles as a light foundation
- Lip2Cheek – multitasking lip & cheek color
- Eye Polish – creamy eye shadow in metallic hues
About the brand: Miami makeup artist Valerie Giraud sought to create the best organic makeup and makeup brushes that were cruelty free but high performance too. She calls it “gentle face fashion”, a philosophy of kind ingredients with strong performance. Known for their baked products – an innovative baking process that transforms the blush crème into a finely textured powder.
Sustainable packaging: Makeup compacts are made of sustainable bamboo. Paper packaging is either recycled or FSC certified paper.
Product ingredients: Ingredients are certified natural & organic by ECOCERT. Ingredient transparency includes showing percentage of natural and organic ingredients on the product label. All products are cruelty free and everything except the lipsticks are vegan.
- Baked Blush (I use the Peach color)
- Quattro Eyeshadow Palettes
- Vegan makeup brushes in many sizes
RELATED: Zero Waste Swaps for the Bathroom
Clean Faced Cosmetics
About the brand: Etsy shop with rave reviews specializing in zero waste makeup. Containers can be sent back for refills.
Sustainable packaging: Products are packaged in metal tins and glass jars.
Product ingredients: Ingredients are all natural and products are made in a home kitchen, not a lab. Mostly organic. Completely vegan.
- Vegan Zero Waste Mascara – comes with a sustainable bamboo applicator
- Zero Waste Makeup Palette (see photo above) – you choose 4 products
- Vegan Lipstick – in a metal tin
About the brand: Danish born makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis had a vision to create luxury beauty products that were organic and sustainable too. After She worked with a designer to create a practical but stylish refill system.
Sustainable packaging: All makeup products are refillable – even the lipsticks and mascara! Face products (blush, foundation, eye shadow) have a choice of compact – either the original metal or the new red paper packaging – both refillable of course!
Product ingredients: Ingredients are certified natural or organic by the CCPB (Controllo e Certificazione Prodotti Biologici), a prominent European certification body. Note: Kjaer Weis products contain beeswax, so are not vegan.
- Cream Blush
- Cream Foundation
- Flush & Glow Duo
About the brand: When founder Ericka Rodriguez could not find a vegan lipstick that performed, she invented her own vegan lipstick formula.
Sustainable packaging: Balmies are 100% zero waste, lipstick tubes are recycled plastic. Product boxes made from recycled trash.
Product ingredients: The 10 ingredient formula is all natural, palm oil free and certified vegan and cruelty free by PeTA.
- Lip-to-Lid Balmies are 100% zero waste – wrapped in recyclable paper and packaged in a box made from recycled trash by a women’s cooperative in Bali.
- Lipsticks come in some really unique colors
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About the brand: Beautycounter is dedicated to clean beauty, ingredient transparency and sustainability in every way possible.
Sustainable packaging: Many products are packaged in glass and paperboard. Sustainable packaging initiatives include using less plastic and reducing unnecessary boxes, caps and spatulas. Consumer friendly How2Recycle recycling labels are on every product.
Product ingredients: Beautycounter’s Blueprint for clean includes unparalleled safety screening (they screen every batch of raw materials for color cosmetics for heavy metals!) and ingredient transparency.
- Twin Skin Featherweight Foundation in a glass bottle
- Satin Powder Blush in a paperboard tray
- Velvet Eyeshadow Palette in a paperboard tray
- Give ‘Em Lip Color Intense Lipstick – tube is made with FSC-certified paper
Read my full Beautycounter review and find out why I love this brand so much!
About the brand: Etsy shop that specializes in plastic-free, minimal ingredient cosmetics and body care products.
Sustainable packaging: All packaging is plastic-free – including 100% biodegradable paper or reusable tin containers.
Product ingredients: A minimal number of all natural ingredients are used.
- Raven Mascara – Natural formula made with beeswax, coconut oil, bentonite clay, activated charcoal and shea butter. Available in either a tin or a biodegradable paper container, with a reusable spoolie applicator if needed
- Nudi Goods Starter Pack: includes Raven Mascara, Lion Brow Taming Wax, Coral Rust Lip Balm and Redwood Rain Dry Oil Moisturizer
RELATED: Non-Toxic Lipsticks
About the brand: Makeup artist, Audra McDonald started making clean beauty products in her kitchen for all shapes, sizes and shades. She eventually moved to a commercial space as the business grew, and she continued to innovate clean and sustainable products.
Sustainable packaging: Not everything at this company is in sustainable packaging, but this is the only company I’ve seen that uses glass tubes for mascara and concealer.
Product ingredients: Many organic ingredients are used and paraben preservatives are avoided
- Matcha Mascara – in a recyclable glass tube
- Concealer – in a recyclable glass tube
About the brand: Based on a farm in Vermont, Tata Harper specializes in botanical skincare and cosmetics.
Sustainable packaging: Glass containers with metal lids, sustainable packaging made with 100% post-consumer materials and soy based inks.
Product ingredients: Tata Harper sources high-quality, natural ingredients from their own farm and around the world.
- Anti-Aging Blush – made with moisturizing ingredients and packaged in a green glass pot
About the brand: Etsy shop selling handmade natural products for color and glow.
Sustainable packaging: Everything comes in a biodegradable paperboard container.
Product ingredients: All natural ingredients with colors from roots and seeds.
- TINT – for cheeks, lips or whatever
- Gift set with adorable handmade makeup bag
Keeping it Natural
About the brand: Etsy shop selling natural, mineral-based cosmetics
Sustainable packaging: Products sold in biodegradable paperboard tubes or reusable metal tins.
Product ingredients: Vegan formulations made with natural ingredients.
- Mineral Lip Color (many colors available)
- Mineral Cake Mascara
About the brand: Etsy shop selling hand crafted makeup using certified organic healing plants as pigments and coloring and packaged in glass, metal or paper containers. Most products are refillable as well.
Sustainable packaging: Everything is packaged in glass, metal or paperboard containers.
Product ingredients: Most ingredients are certified organic and many are wildcrafted herbal ingredients.
- Organic Cheek Pinch Balm
- Organic Face Luminizer
- Organic Color Correctors
P.S. Don’t forget your zero waste makeup rounds for removing and applying makeup!
Where to Find Sustainable Makeup Brands
If you are looking for stores that carry clean + sustainable beauty brands, here are some of my favorite resources:
- The Detox Market
- Credo Beauty
- Roven (part of Grove Collaborative)
- Thrive Market
- My Amazon store
- Whole Foods