Discover the top sustainable makeup brands that offer non-toxic makeup products & prioritize plastic-free and zero waste makeup 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 in plastic packaging. Plastic is cheap and it’s easy – but it has a negative environmental impact 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. In my opinion, the best non-toxic makeup brands are sustainable too!
Sustainable Makeup Brands – Packaging
So what 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! (Axiology 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 few brands are doing it! (see Beautycounter, Trestique, 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 packaging)
- 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)
Don’t worry about being perfect – just do your best to avoid the plastic bottles, tubes and extra outer packaging, and look for cosmetics packaged in sustainable materials as often as possible.
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: When founder Ericka Rodriguez could not find a vegan lipstick that performed, she invented her own vegan lipstick formula. If you are looking for a vegan makeup brand, Axiology is a great one!
Sustainable packaging: 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.
Product ingredients: The 10 ingredient formula is all natural, palm oil free and certified vegan and cruelty free by PeTA.
- Lip-to-Lid Balmies come in a wide range of colors and can be purchased individually or in sets.
- Highlighter colors also available.
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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.
- Cheeky Clean Cream Blush – Refillable compact made from post-consumer recycled plastic
- Lid Glow Cream Shadow in a glass tube
- Twin Skin Featherweight Foundation in glass bottles
- Beyond Gloss – in a glass tube
Read my full Beautycounter review and find out why I love this brand so much!
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About the brand: Trestique’s mission is to empower people to create a simple beauty routine that is safe for themselves and the planet.
Sustainable packaging: Products are designed to be purchased once and refilled forever. Packaging is made from post-consumer recycled plastic.
Product ingredients: Clean formulations without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, BHA, fragrance, mineral oil, formaldehyde and more. PETA-certified, cruelty-free and vegan.
- Highlight Stick – This is the only Trestique product I’ve tried so far and I LOVE it!
- Eyeliner – I have this one on my wish list – in Cote de Azur Amethyst
- Prime + Shine Lip Crayon – Love that this is two products in one – a primer and a gloss!
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)
- Pressed Powder Foundation: Hydrating, organic pressed powder foundation in a refillable bamboo compact.
About the brand: ATHR 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: ATHR 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
- Highlighting and Illuminating Oils – fast-drying oil that nourishes skin and leaves a luminous glow
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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. If you are looking for a mostly organic makeup brand, RMS Beauty is a great option!
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.
- Luminizer – a creamy highlighter (one of my fav makeup products!)
- UnCoverup – a concealer that doubles as a light foundation
- Lip2Cheek – a multitasking lip & cheek color
- Eyelights Cream Eyeshadow – creamy, buildable 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.
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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 Organic Zero Waste Mascara – comes with a sustainable bamboo applicator
- Zero Waste Makeup Palette (see photo above) – you choose 4 products
- Natural Vegan Lipstick – come 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.
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
- Plastic-Free Highlight Stick – Shimmery highlight stick in a biodegradable plastic tube
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 – lash serum mascara made with organic matcha, in a recyclable glass tube
- Radiant Firming Concealer – lightweight concealer with buildable coverage, in a recyclable glass tube
- Fruit Smoothie Lip Gloss – vegan lip gloss 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
- BALM – lip balms that also double as hand lotion and body salve
- Gift set with adorable handmade makeup bag
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.
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 + zero waste makeup brands, here are some of my favorite resources:
- The Detox Market
- Credo Beauty
- Thrive Market
- My Amazon store
- Whole Foods
What’s your favorite sustainable makeup brand? Let me know in the comments!