Zero Waste Makeup

Zero Waste Makeup

I've been slowly working through my modest selection of makeup and hunting for less wasteful alternatives. I don't wear makeup often and already use brands who have made reducing their waste a priority. But there's still a few items I'm struggling to find plastic-free alternatives to that work for me.

The options for vegan-friendly zero waste makeup in the UK are very slim, and if they don't offer your shade, it doesn't leave you with much of a choice at all. These are the brands I recommend if you're looking to replace your beauty products with vegan-friendly low waste alternatives.

LUSH Naked Makeup

LUSH are well known for their low waste beauty products. Since their high street stores make them so accessible, LUSH is often the first place people shop when looking for packaging-free alternatives for their makeup and skincare products. Although not everything is vegan-friendly, the LUSH range is quite extensive and covers the makeup basics.

This guide gives you several ideas for storing your packaging-free LUSH makeup although I've chosen to keep mine in the recyclable boxes they're sold in. The slide-up refillable lipstick case is fantastic; you could buy a couple of shades and switch them out. Although the mascara is packaged in a plastic tube, it is recyclable and you can save your empties for LUSH to reuse; you'll receive a free product with every 5 you return.

Tropic Makeup

The Tropic makeup range was designed with low waste in mind. It's 100% vegan-friendly with refillable and recyclable packaging. The shade range for foundations and concealers are being added to regularly, and the colour range spanning cream and power formulas is vast. You can build your own Colour Palette with exactly what you need, leaving out what you don't; switching products out to create different palettes with the removable trays, making it ideal for those who enjoy makeup but hate the waste. There's even a range of refillable lipsticks. The best thing is all the products are multi-purpose meaning you don't need to buy as many products.

My makeup collection is made up of mostly Tropic products. I just find it so much easier to have a single multi-purpose palette that doesn't take up much room, that I can change around when I need and take with me when I travel. I've always been a reluctant lipstick-wearer but Tropic lipsticks, balms, and glosses are super comfortable to wear.

Zao Organic Makeup

Zao offer a range of vegan-friendly refillable makeup including mascara and eyeliner, something other low waste brands are yet to provide. However, while you can refill your products, the packaging is not entirely plastic-free. There are inner plastic tubes and pencil lids that needs to be recycled. Having said that, this is still one of the best alternative that exists to the plastic beauty products that exist right now. The price of a Zao mascara is comparable to a popular high end brand of non-recyclable mascara and costs less to refill it, however, it's significantly more expensive than drugstore brands.

I've only tried Zao Eye Shadows but I can attest to their value for money. One pan has lasted more than a year and if I didn't own a Tropic palette I would return to Zao to replace it. The colour and pigment is fantastic. I'm keen to be try more from the range, I only wish they were sold in more places online in the UK.

DIY Makeup

You can DIY your own makeup, of course. Although it's doubtful that the process is any less wasteful. To make your own mascara, for instance, you'll need to purchase at least 3 or 4 ingredients (all in their own packaging) and have them delivered (or make trips to multiple stores). Then there's the question of whether DIY-ing your own makeup is a sound choice. The results I've seen aren't so great and I'm not entirely certain how safe it is. Each to their own!

There are a few independent brands making low waste makeup. You can find many of them on Etsy. Again, it's tricky to find UK-based sellers with the products you need. I do wonder though how the market is regulated to ensure these products safe for consumers.

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