Combine Zero-Waste With Make-Up

Make-up Lipstick eyeshadow brushes

Reduce Waste in 5 Steps

When you watch Make-up videos on YouTube, there are many products to apply on your face: primer, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, highlighter, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, mascara,... and with so many brushes and beauty blenders. Seriously, who has all these things?

​At some point, it will be easier to paint your house than your face. All these products take space in our bathroom and their packaging uses a lot of plastic. Obviously, the best way to reduce the amount of plastic would be to stop buying make-up. Some of us want to continue wearing make-up so let’s see how we can combine these products with Zero-waste.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links to products that are marked with an asterisk (*). We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for yourself.

luxury makeup cosmetics

|| Buy Refills ||

You can either change place the refill in the case or store it in a magnetic palette, really handy if you often travel. I honestly thought only brands making organic make-up would offer refills but surprisingly mainstream or luxury brands also offer this option. 

Elate cosmetics Elate cosmetics make gluten-free, cruelty-free, toxin-free and vegan products made in Canada Refills available: Pressed eye colour (19 shades), brow balm (3 shades), glow bronzer, pressed powder (7 shades), loose powder (3 shades), creme blush (7 shades), powder blush (6 shades), highlighter (5 shades), Where to buy: Elate store

Estee Lauder The famous brand offers a few refills. Refills available: Brow pencil duo (2 shades), Lip pencil duo (4 shades), Perfecting pressed powder (small and large sizes). Where to buy: Estee Lauder, Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Boots.

Kjaer Weis Kjaer Weis was created by Danish-bord Make-up artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis. This brand makes organic and sustainable cosmetics. Refills available: Mascara, cream foundation (14 shades), cream blush (10 shades), glow (4 shades), lip tint (12 shades), lip balm, lipstick (8 shades), lip pencil (4 shades), lip gloss (6 shades), eye shadow (13 shades), eye pencil (2 shades), pressed powder (translucent). Where to buy: Kjaer Weis, Glow Organic*, Content Beauty and Well-Being, Wild Swans.

Mac cosmetics Mac cosmetics is a well-known brand, not organic but they do sell refills. Refills available: Eye shadow (120 shades), Powder blush (48 shades), Cream colour base (17 shades), SPF 35 concealer (20 shades), corrector (20 shades), shaping powder (20 shades), sculpting powder (5 shades). Where to buy: Mac cosmetics, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Debenhams.

NYX NYX Cosmetics states on their website that they produce 100% cruelty-free products and are also recognised by organizations such as PETA. Refills available: Prismatic pro shadow (24 shades), hot single pro shadow (88 shades), nude matte pro shadow (33 shades), blush (24 shades), highlight and contour pro (20 shades) Where to buy: Nyx, Boots.

PuroBio Cosmetics PuroBio cosmetics offers organic make-up products made in Italy. They have the following certifications: Gluten-free, Vegan OK, Nickel test and CCPB. Refills available: Compact foundation (6 shades), Compact powder (4 shades), Resplendent bronzer (4 shades), Compact eye shadow (22 shades), Resplendent Highlighter (3 shades). Where to buy: Ecco-verdeAmazon.

Zao Organic Makeup Zao Organic Makeup is an eco-luxury makeup company and also made in Italy. Their products are organic, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and mostly vegan. On their website, they even explain how to replace easily your make-up here. Refills available: Green Concealer anti-red patches, concealer (4 shades), Blush (5 shades), compact powder (5 shades), cream foundation (14 shades), silk foundation (11 shades), pearly eye shadow (16 shades), matte eye shadow (8 shades), pearly lipstick (7 shades), matte lipstick (10 shades), moisturizer, mascara, highlighter, primer, eye primer, bronzer (3 shades), eyebrow powder (3 shades), mattifying cooked powder luminous complexion. Where to buy: Zao Online Store, Glow Organic*Littlegreenshop.

sustainable Makeup bamboo brushes

|| Eco-friendly Packaging ||

More brands try to avoid plastic and use sustainable material such as bamboo to store make-up. Some of them are well-known or we already talked about them in the first post, others were completely new to me. I’ve sometimes struggled to know the material used as some brands and online stores don’t specify it. It would be easier for consumers to have more details regarding packaging either in the FAQ or directly on the item’s description.

Let’s have a look...

Glass Glass is mainly used to store foundation. Glass bottles can be tricky as they can be easily broken (we really don’t want that in a bathroom, especially 2 days after opening the bottle) and it might be hard to get the last drop – you will be surprised to see the number of articles about this online. However, glass is a sustainable material, can be reused, no risk of BPA and with no impact on the product as impermeable.

Clarins – The brand offers 4 foundation stored glass bottles.

Couleur caramel – One foundation is available in a glass bottle. Ere Perez – I discovered this brand on Glow Organic Store* while I was preparing this post. They use glass for their Quinoa water foundation, lips & cheeks product and concealer. Estée Lauder - With the Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup. Hynt Beauty – This colour and skincare cosmetics brand offers paraben-free products with no nanoparticles, no artificial preservatives, no gluten and PETA-certified vegan (besides the mascara). Due to popular demand, they replaced the plastic jar with a nice glass one to store the concealer. It seems to be the only product available in glass packaging at the moment. Nui Cosmetics – This German company makes clean, vegan and stylish cosmetics. Some of their products are available in glass jars such as the natural illusion cream (multi-tasking cream to highlight your skin) and the liquid foundation. Zao Organic Makeup - The brand offers the primer* and foundations* in a glass bottle with a bamboo lid. 

orange peach eye shadow jar

Bamboo Bamboo cosmetics jars are cost-effective, environmental-friendly, resistant and really aesthetically pleasing.

Antonym - Baked foundation, blush, highlighter and eye shadow products are available in simple but stylish bamboo cases. As stated here, the compacts are made with sustainable bamboo. Also, the paper is either recycled or FSC paper. It is good to know that this US company manufactures its cosmetics in Europe. Elate Cosmetics - The following products are available in bamboo cases: Eyeliners, brow balms, mascaras, creme blushes, lipsticks and lip gloss. As explained in my previous post, you can buy refills but if you pay an extra, they will send you the matching bamboo case. Zao Organic Makeup – We’ve seen above their primer and foundations in a glass bottle with a bamboo lid. Besides the refills, their make-up products* are stored in bamboo packaging.

eco-friendly bamboo with organic aloe-vera

Metal/ Aluminium Packaging This option has many benefits: it is lightweight, cannot be broken, can increase the life of a product and you can recycle it.

Besame Cosmetics - Famous for their cake-mascara, it appears most of their products are available in aluminium tins or tubes. Unfortunately, the cake-mascara is not vegan because it contains beeswax.

Kjaer Weis - Their packaging* is well-known as the quality is really good, the design astonishing and modern. Also, you can put one lip tint* in a clutch bag with no problem.

Recycled cardboard These materials have almost the same benefits as aluminium and metal with their lightweight and sustainability. However, the design tends to be less stunning and not really waterproof. Be careful if you carry your make-up and your bottle of water in your bag :)

​Couleur Caramel - This company has been famous for years in France for offering one of the first natural make-up and I am happy to see the brand is now available in Ireland (for example in Nourish stores). You will be able to buy eye shadows* and powders* stored in cute cardboard cases. I've just seen today they also sell refills :)

Veg-up - A brand I've discovered on Ecco-verde. They use recycled cardboard and recycled plastic derived from corn. The design is nice and I do love their palette called "Eye shadow Veggy 6".

After reviewing the refills option and eco-friendly packaging, we will have a look at eco-friendly accessories. There are make-up brushes for everything nowadays and overall, make-up accessories are really trendy. I doubt all these accessories are essential as we did not have the need for years but some brands use recycled and sustainable materials.

|| Eco-friendly Accessories ||

Anneco Accessories: Face and eyes brushes. Material: Wood, 100% sustainable resources. Where to buy: Anneco, Evergreen. Vegan: Yes.

Antonym Cosmetics Accessories: Face, lips, eyes brushes. Material: Sustainable bamboo, recycled paper, FSC (sustainable forest) paper. Where to buy: Antonym cosmetics, Sonaturalbeauty (Belgium, in English). Vegan: Yes.

Benecos Accessories: Face, lips, eyes brushes. Material: Certified bamboo, recyclable aluminium. Where to buy: Benecos Vegan: Yes.

natural Benecos eye brush

Couleur Caramel Accessories: Face brushes, eye brushes, powder puff, a make-up sponge, multi-purpose boxes. Material: Bamboo, cotton (powder puff), recyclable cardboard. Where to buy: Ecco-verde, Nourish, Couleur Caramel (FR). Vegan: not all brushes are vegan due to goat or pony hair.

Elate Cosmetics Accessories: Empty palettes, Empty compact. Material: high-grade aluminium, sustainable bamboo, eco-resin based glue. Where to buy: Elate cosmetics Vegan: Yes.

Ecotools Accessories: Brush kits, face brushes and applicators, eye brushes, blenders, brush cleansers. Material: EcoFoam (for blenders), recycled aluminium, recycled plastic, recycled bamboo, tree-free paper (packaging is made with 20% cotton and 80% bamboo fibres). Where to buy: Ecotools, Boots Vegan: Yes. 

benecos ecotools vegan bamboo brushes

Everyday Minerals Accessories: Face and eyes brushes Material: 100% renewable bamboo. Where to buy: Ecco-verde, Everyday Minerals Vegan: Yes.

Zao Organic Makeup Accessories: Face, lips and eyes brushes, empty palettes, natural rubber sponge. Material: Bamboo. Where to buy: Zao organic makeup Vegan: Yes.

|| DIY Make-up products ||

Another way to reduce waste is to make our own make-up products. I haven’t tried it yet but it is definitely on my to-do list once I finish my products. In the meantime, I’ve compiled a few recipes to try!

Face Powdered foundation – Don’t waste the crumbs Blush – A Blossoming Life Bronzer – A Blossoming Life Contouring powder - Helloglow

handmade pink rose blush with bamboo brush

Eyes Eyebrow powder and eyeshadow – The Rogue Ginger Mineral clay eyeshadow - Helloglow Eyebrow filler – A Blossoming Life Cake mascara – We Tell you how Mascara (not vegan) - A Blossoming Life Eyeliner - A Blossoming Life

handmade purple, white, black, blue vegan eye shadows with bamboo brushes

Lips Beet Lip gloss – Helloglow Hibiscus lip cream (not vegan) – The Rogue Ginger Cranberry coconut lip gloss – Helloglow Creamy marsala lip gloss – Helloglow

As you can see, these recipes don’t require a lot of ingredients and most of them are already in our kitchen.

When we talk about Zero-waste, we often refer to the famous 5 R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. We’ve seen over the past few weeks that we can refuse mainstream make-up by purchasing make-up available in eco-friendly packaging, reduce waste by making our own products, reuse make-up cases with refills but what about recycling? A few brands offer a recycling program and you might get rewarded for it! I have to admit that I expected more make-up recycling programs in Europe. Let’s have a look...

|| Recycling ||

Garnier - Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Programme (with TerraCycle) You can join the program for free, print a pre-paid shipping label and contact UPS to collect your empty products (from all brands). Points can be redeemed for charitable gifts or payment to the non-profit organisation of your choice. 

recycling program in Ireland

Mac Cosmetics - Back to Mac Probably one of the most famous recycling program for make-up. Bring back 6 Primary packagings and get a free lipstick as a reward.

Origins The brand takes back all empty packaging, even from other brands. The program is currently available in North America only but they would like to expand it to other regions. Hopefully, the program will be setup up in Europe soon.

Recycling plastic, paper, aluminium in Ireland For more details, please check these websites: recyclinglistireland and Repak. They explain clearly what we can put in the recycling bin in Ireland.

How do you combine zero-waste with make-up? Do you know of other recycling programs in Europe? I hope these posts helped you and you learned new things...