Discover the top sustainable makeup brands that combine clean ingredients and non-toxic makeup with 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 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 switch up your beauty routine to clean beauty products, be sure to seek out sustainable makeup brands that offer plastic-free, refillable or zero waste packaging as well. Fortunately the beauty industry has evolved and now there are quite a few eco friendly makeup brands. In my opinion, the best non-toxic makeup brands are sustainable too!
Zero Waste Packaging for Makeup
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) Any company that is striving to reduce plastic waste is taking a step in the right direction in my opinion.
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 makeup? I’m a huge fan of refillable makeup packaging! It’s not very common but a few brands are doing it! (see Beautycounter, Elate, Kjaer Weis and Alima Pure 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 Sustainable Makeup Brands
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Next time you are shopping for makeup, consider these clean beauty brands that prioritize low waste, sustainable packaging too. Rest assured that all of these brands are high quality, use clean ingredients and avoid the artificial and potentially toxic chemicals that are in most conventional makeup products.
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, cruelty-free makeup brand, Axiology is a great one and in my opinion, Axiology makes the best zero-waste makeup products around!
Sustainable packaging: These multi-tasking makeup crayons and sticks are 100% zero waste with plastic-free packaging. Lip-to-Lid Balmies come wrapped in recyclable paper and packaged in a box made from recycled trash by a women’s cooperative in Bali. Multi-Sticks are packaged in 100% FSC certified paper, recyclable push tubes. Love how they strive to a minimal impact on the planet, and a positive impact on people!
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.
- Multi-Sticks are softer and more hydrating than Balmies and are a better fit for those with dry skin.
- 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. Beautycounter is a member of the PACT collective recycling program.
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: ATTITUDE is committed to making products that are better for human health and the planet.
Sustainable packaging: The Oceanly line of makeup is packaged in compostable cardboard containers that are completely plastic free.
Product ingredients: All products are made with 99%+ natural origin ingredients and are EWG VERIFIED™ by the Environmental Working Group.
- Cream Blush Stick – available in 5 colors, provides 380 uses per stick
- Cream Highlighter Stick – available in 2 colors, 355 uses per stick
- Tinted Oil Stick – available in 3 colors, 80 uses per stick
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About the brand: Elate Beauty 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, FSC certified bamboo, glass and aluminum, with a minimum of recycled plastic. Bamboo palette containers are refillable. Elate is a member of the PACT collective recycling program.
Product ingredients: Ingredients are natural (about 75% organic) and 100% vegan.
- Blush Balm: Moisturizing cream for cheekbones and eyelids. Comes packaged in compostable sugarcane packaging.
- Pressed Powder Foundation: Hydrating, organic pressed powder foundation in a refillable bamboo compact.
Shop Elate Cosmetics at EarthHero
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. Some refillable products are also available. Boxes are made from 80% post-consumer recycled fiber and manufactured using 100% wind power. All packaging is minimal, recyclable or reusable. RMS Beauty is a member of the PACT collective recycling program.
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.
RELATED: Zero Waste Swaps for the Bathroom
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.
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 – A lash serum mascara made with organic matcha, that comes packaged in a recyclable glass tube
- Radiant Firming Concealer – A lightweight concealer with buildable coverage, packaged in a recyclable glass tube
- Fruit Smoothie Lip Gloss – A 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.
- Vitamin Infused Cream Blush – made with moisturizing ingredients and packaged in a green glass pot
About the brand: Shannon Goldberg founded Izzy with the goal of creating a zero-waste makeup brand that would contribute to a brighter future for her daughter. The company has CarbonNeutral certification, which means that their carbon footprint has been reduced to zero through a combination of measures.
Sustainable packaging: The stainless steel tubes can be refilled thousands of times and wands and brushes are reground, remolded and reused over and over again. Refills are shipped in sustainable mailers.
Product ingredients: Izzy makeup products are formulated with clean, cruelty-free, vegan ingredients and are free of gluten, GMOs, alcohol, oil, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and talc.
- Zero Waste Mascara – Compared to the industry standard, Izzy mascara has a 78% smaller carbon footprint after 25 refills. (the perfect zero waste mascara!)
- Zero Waste Brow Gel – Available in clear or a variety of shades
- Zero Waste Lip Gloss – Buildable color in two signature shades
Fat & the Moon
About the brand: Fat & the Moon was founded by Rachel Budde, an herbalist who wanted to create handcrafted, herbal body care and makeup products to people seeking natural and non toxic alternatives.
Sustainable packaging: Fat & the Moon products are packaged in glass jars, aluminum tin containers and paper shakers. Packaging is meant to be reused, recycled or composted at the end of it’s life.
Product ingredients: Products are made in small batches out of herbal ingredients that are sourced from farmers that align with their Earth First values.
- Lip & Cheek Stain – A multi-use, plant-based stain for the lips and cheeks
- Beam Highlighter – Provides a mineral-based glimmer anywhere you want to add some glow
- Eye Coal – A cross between an eyeliner and an eyeshadow
About the brand: Kate O’Brien founded Alima Pure in her attic with a mission to create cosmetics that were luxurious, high-performance, and made using clean ingredients.
Sustainable packaging: Cosmetics compacts are refillable with new makeup pans.
Product ingredients: All products are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dimethicone, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles.
- Cream Blush – A silky-smooth blush with a creamy texture and super saturated color for easy blending and layering
- Pressed Eyeshadow – Easy to blend formula with intense pigmentation
- Cream Concealer – A full-coverage concealer made with hydrating, vitamin-rich ingredients
About the brand: River Organics is a small sustainable, vegan beauty company located in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Sustainable packaging: Products are hand poured into eco-friendly paper tubes
Product ingredients: A mix of plant oils and butters, along with conflict-free mica and iron oxides
- Blush Sticks – Easy to apply, vegan blush formula
- Tinted Lip Balm – An ultra-hydrating, tinted lip balm with sheer color
- Long Lash Mascara – Vegan cake mascara formula made with coconut oil, clay and castor oil. “Spoolie” mascara wand available for purchase.
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!
About the brand: Small business 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
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:
What’s your favorite sustainable makeup brand? Let me know in the comments!