5 Best Zero-Waste Makeup Brands to Shop Online (2022)

Eco-friendly Makeup - Stock Image from Canva of a zero-waste makeup set with wooden brushes

If you’re looking for eco-friendly, zero-waste makeup, there are loads of options to choose from!

Whether you’re looking for fully zero-waste, ethically sourced, vegan, or organic makeup, there are dozens of companies that claim to offer ‘green cosmetics’.

Unfortunately, not all companies are as green as they seem. Many make claims that are exaggerated or misleading to lure in consumers trying to make better choices and use eco-friendly alternatives.

So, how do you find great zero-waste makeup brands?

What do you look for when comparing brands and how do you know their products are truly as good as they sound?

Today, we’re looking at how makeup and cosmetics impact the environment, what it means for makeup to be sustainable, and how to choose eco-friendly, zero-waste makeup.

We then review six of the best eco-friendly, zero-waste makeup brands to shop online in 2022.

Let’s jump right in!

How Do Cosmetics Impact the Environment?

When it comes to cosmetics, there are environmental impacts at every step of the process. The way ingredients are grown or sourced, how they’re processed and how they’re packaged all impact the environment.

Here are some common environmental impacts of makeup:

  • Chemical ingredients that harm water quality, and aquatic organisms during manufacture and when they’re washed down the drain after use.
  • Pollution that occurs during the farming of ingredients – crop pesticides impact water and soil quality in surrounding areas.
  • Unethical farming of ingredients can lead to deforestation and loss of habitat, which impacts biodiversity.
  • Excessive water use during manufacturing.
  • Excessive and unmitigated carbon and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the supply chain.
  • Packaging that is made from unsustainable materials, like plastic and that cannot be reused or recycled adds ends up in landfills.

Palm oil is a particularly contentious ingredient that appears in a huge number of cosmetics. Check out this video by Our Changing Climate for an overview of why palm oil is so problematic:

The environmental cost of the cosmetics industry is huge and the impacts are felt at every step of the process, from manufacture to when you wash it off at the end of the day.

Cosmetics are also very poorly regulated and manufactures can get away with using ingredients that are not only harmful to the environment but human health too.

In the Unites States, only a handful of chemicals are banned from use in cosmetics, whereas over 1600 are banned in Europe. This huge discrepancy illustrates how poorly, and inconsistently, cosmetics are regulated.

How all these toxic chemicals impact our health ranges from skin rashes and eye irritation to diabetes and increased cancer risk.

What is Eco-friendly and Zero-Waste Makeup?

So, what exactly makes a makeup brand eco-friendly? And how do you find makeup brands that care for the environment, and your health?

Essentially, you’re looking for products that are made with sustainability and waste in mind, by companies that are transparent and accountable.

It can be hard to distinguish between brands that are greenwashing and misleading consumers by making vague claims about their products being ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’, or ‘organic’.

Here are some useful things to look for when you’re shopping for safe, sustainable, zero-waste makeup:

  • No harmful chemicals – look for natural, plant-based ingredients instead
  • Certified Organic ingredients
  • Minimal, sustainable packaging that is thoughtfully designed to use as little material as possible
  • Zero-waste, plastic-free or recycled and recyclable plastics
  • Packaging that is compostable and biodegradable
  • Certified Cruelty Free and/or Vegan
  • Does not use Palm Oil
  • Has verifiable eco-certifications for their ethical sustainability efforts
  • Is made in facilities that mitigate their impact through renewable energy or carbon offsets

There are loads of great sustainable, zero-waste makeup options to choose from! In most cases, a product will meet some but not all of these criteria.

Choose products that align best with your values – you will just feel better using them!

To make finding great products that you love (and that love you and the planet) easier, we have curated a list of our favorite sustainable beauty brands. Here’s how we chose them:

How We Selected and Evaluated the Zero-Waste Makeup Brands on This List

All the brands on this list are sustainable, eco-friendly or zero-waste brands. They’re brands with transparent polices and verifiable good practices, that are ethical and sustainable.

We specifically looked for brands to review that: 

  • Make great makeup products with good user reviews and ratings
  • Are zero-waste and use eco-friendly packaging that is reusable or recycled, recyclable, or compostable
  • Offer refills and/or subscription and collection services
  • Use natural ingredients rather than chemical and potentially toxic ingredients
  • Are cruelty-free brands that use only ethically sourced ingredients
  • Are vegan brands, using only plant-based ingredients
  • Use Certified Organic ingredients for reduced environmental impact
  • Do not use palm oil (or at least use responsibly sourced palm oil)
  • Manufacture and distribute in sustainable, responsible ways

Right, now that you know how we chose them, lets take a look at the brands:

5 Awesome Eco-friendly & Zero-Waste Makeup Brands

1. Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty makes a wide range of cosmetics and skincare products. They only use natural, certified organic ingredients in all their products, which are also cruelty-free and vegan.

Eco-friendly Makeup - Juice Beauty

Based in California, Juice Beauty believes in a ‘farm to beauty’ approach and uses only locally sourced ingredients.

Their natural pigments are great and create highly pigmented makeup products, without the synthetic colors used by conventional makeup brands. We love their lipsticks and blushers!

Their packaging is recycled and their facilities use solar and wind power for sustainable energy.

 Snapshot – Juice Beauty: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Certified organic (USDA) and natural ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Recycled packaging
  • Animal Ethics: Cruelty-Free and Vegan
  • Palm Oil Free: Not stated (if they do, it is organic)
  • Where it is Made: California, USA
  • Price Range: $10 – $100
  • Where to Buy: Juice Beauty
  • Shipping: US, Canada and most other countries

2. Clean-Faced Cosmetics

Clean-Faced Cosmetics offers a beautiful range of zero-waste cosmetics such as eyeshadows, mascara and eyeliner, and pigmented lip balms.

Zero-waste Makeup - Clean-faced Cosmetics

They will also make up custom orders for clients who want something special and will even switch out ingredients for those who are sensitive to particular ones!

Clean-faced Cosmetics’ products are all palm-oil free, vegan, and cruelty-free, and use natural and mostly organic ingredients. They also go out of their way to source their ingredients ethically.

All their packaging is recycled, reusable, or biodegradable. They’re in the process of going zero-waste, so minimal and sustainable packaging is a focus point for them.  As an Esty vendor, their shipping is carbon-neutral too.

Snapshot – Clean-faced Cosmetics: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: All natural and mostly organic ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: All packaging is either biodegrade, recycled, or reusable. Labels use eco-friendly ink.
  • Animal Ethics: Cruelty-Free and Vegan
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: Michigan, USA
  • Price Range: $4.99 – $18.99
  • Where to Buy: Clean-faced Cosmetics on Etsy
  • Shipping: International

3. Vapour Beauty

Vapour Beauty has an impressively comprehensive range of eco-friendly beauty products. From primers, foundations, blushers, and bronzers, to lipsticks, eyeshadows, mascaras, and eyeliners – they have something for everyone.

Eco-friendly Makeup Brand Vapour Beauty

They use only natural ingredients, most of which are plant-based and many are organic. Vapour uses natural minerals and carmine for pigmentation and many of their formulas are water-based. They do not use parabens, fillers, or preservatives.

They’re ‘Champion Status’ certified safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which certifies ingredients in cosmetics and skincare as safe and non-toxic. They’re also Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free.

Their facilities in New Mexico are powered with solar power and they use eco-friendly packaging. Their packaging is FSC certified paper and cardboard, recyclable plastics, and compostable shipping products.

Snapshot – Vapour Beauty: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and some USDA Certified Organic ingredients
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Paper packaging is FSC Certified
  • Animal Ethics: Certified Cruelty-Free and some products are vegan
  • Palm Oil Free: No (but uses responsibly sourced Palm Oil)
  • Where it is Made: New Mexico, USA
  • Price Range: $18 – $50
  • Where to Buy: Vapour Beauty
  • Shipping: International (via USPS, so limitations may apply)

4. Alima Pure

Alima Pure products are made from only natural ingredients and do not contain any of the nasties that you see in so many conventional cosmetics.

Their sustainable makeup lines include options for your skin, cheeks, eyes, and lips. Most of their products come in reusable packaging and are refillable.

Eco-friendly makeup brand - Alima Pure

They’re not vegan as they use beeswax but they are completely cruelty-free. Alima Pure is B Corp Certified. This means they’re verified by one of the strictest sustainability certifications, which looks at every aspect of their business and products.

Alima Pure has been 100% carbon neutral since 2008, offsetting all their carbon emissions through Carbon Fund. They’re part of the Green Source Renewable Power Program, using 100% renewable energy, and donate to causes like 1 for the Planet.

Snapshot – Alima Pure: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and non-toxic
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Reusable and recyclable packaging
  • Animal Ethics: Cruelty-Free
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: Oregon, USA
  • Price Range: $14 – $46
  • Where to Buy: Alima Pure
  • Shipping: International (to countries serviced by USPS and FedEx)

5. Dab Herb Makeup

Dab Herb Makeup and Skincare offer a great range of natural, non-toxic, and mostly organic makeup and skincare products. They have everything from zero-waste mascara and vibrant eyeshadows, to lip stains, tinted moisturizers, and foundations.

Eco-friendly makeup Brand - Dab Herb Makeup and Skincare

All their products are cruelty-free, vegan, and palm oil-free and most are organic too. Dab uses fair trade certified farms and suppliers for their ingredients and they support Made In The Free World to fight human trafficking.

They do not use synthetics in any of their products and provide a full breakdown of the ingredients they use on their website.

Dab uses as little plastic as possible and ships its products in the packaging they re-use from their suppliers.

Snapshot – Dab Herb Makeup: 

  • Natural or Organic Ingredients: Natural and some Certified Organic ingredients  
  • Eco-friendly Packaging: Plastic-free, recycled, and reusable packaging
  • Animal Ethics: Vegan and Cruelty-Free
  • Palm Oil Free: Yes
  • Where it is Made: California, USA
  • Price Range: $6 – $39
  • Where to Buy: Dab Herb Makeup and Skincare
  • Shipping: International

DIY Homemade Mascara Recipe: Eco-friendly, Organic and Zero-Waste

Making your own, homemade makeup is a fun and easy way to create your perfect product!

When you’re DIY-ing it, you can choose ingredients that best suit your needs and your values, even if they’re both pretty strict!

We love this all-natural, zero-waste mascara recipe by Ela Gale! It uses only natural ingredients, which are safe to use so close to your eyes, and you can source your ingredients to make it ethical, sustainable, zero-waste, organic, vegan, and cruelty-free!

Ingredients

  • 3 capsules Activated Charcoal
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Beeswax or Soy Wax
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons of Aloe Vera Gel

Equipment  

  • Teaspoon
  • Two small bowls – one smaller than the other so you can make a DIY double boiler with hot water
  • Something to mix ingredients with, when you’re combining them in the small bowl
  • Container to keep your mascara in – you can use a repurposed and thoroughly cleaned mascara tube, a small glass jar, or any other sealed container you have.

Instructions

  1. Make a double boiler by placing hot water in the bigger bowl and the smaller bowl inside it/over the hat water
  2. Melt and mix the oils and wax in the warm bowl
  3. Add the Aloe Vera Gel and mix it in
  4. Add the Activated Charcoal and mix well
  5. Make sure the mixture is well blended and then transfer it into your storage container or repurposed mascara tube.

Final Thoughts on Eco-friendly & Zero-Waste Makeup

Whether you’re looking for cruelty-free and vegan makeup, organic, eco-friendly makeup, or zero-waste makeup products there are loads of great options to choose from on this list!

We selected eco-friendly makeup brands that truly deliver on their sustainability claims so that you can shop from any of these brands with confidence!

What sustainable makeup will you try first?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best eco-friendly makeup?

There are loads of great options for eco-friendly makeup. Our favorite sustainable cosmetics brands are:
1. Juice Beauty
2. Clean-faced cosmetics
3. Vapour Beauty
4. River Organics
5. Alima Pure
6. Dab Herb Makeup.
Check out the full article for more on each of these sustainable cosmetics brands and what makes their makeup products eco-friendly.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging refers to packaging that is thoughtfully designed to have the least environmental impact possible. This means it is made out of responsibly sourced materials and it can be re-used or recycled, or it can be composted at home. Check out the full article for more on sustainable packaging.

Why is palm oil in cosmetics bad?

Palm oil is used in many, many applications from food to cosmetics and cleaning products. The product itself is not harmful but the manner in which it is produced is highly problematic. Commercial palm oil plantations have lead to devastating deforestation in tropical areas, loss of habitat and biodiversity and massive increases in carbon emissions. Read the article for more on palm oil in cosmetics and a list of brands that do not use it.

References

Brightly: Cosmetic Ingredients That Are Harmful to the Environment

Eco-Label Index: Searchable Directory of Eco-labels and Certifications

Environmental Working Group: Skin Deep Database of Ingredients

Green America: The Ugly Side of Cosmetics

Healthline: 6 Faux Eco-Friendly Beauty Products to Avoid

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