Zero Waste Beauty: 12 Brands With The Best Eco-credentials
*This post contains affilate links
We’ve been covering a lot of zero waste brands lately…
And since we’ve also done a bit of dabbling in eco friendly beauty, we thought, – why not combine the two?!
With so many zero waste beauty options on the market these days there’s absolutely no reason to buy commercial off-the-shelf plastic products.
You can now choose beauty and personal care products (in just about any neighborhood) that are good for you and good for the environment. Its never been easier to be a conscious consumer.
And the more demand there is for zero waste beauty products the more sustainable brands will answer that call!
And speaking of brands, some of our favorites on this list are Ethique who offer effective and plastic free hair and body products that tick all our criteria, Dab Herb Makeup for a huge range of zero waste makeup with thousands of raving reviews and EcoRoots who don’t make products per se but stock a variety of options from only the most sustainable companies on the zero waste market.
If you’re curious about how we decided which brands to include on this list, jump down to the bottom of the article.
*Note: Most products tick all our boxes. Though some are not vegan, or their packaging may not be 100% zero waste. Be sure to check.
As a fully equipped zero waste store, EcoRoots curate a range of waste free beauty and skin care products, from facial oils and masks to toners and moisturizers made by well known plastic free beauty brands, like Meow Meow Tweet, River Organics and Bathing Culture.
Having said that, they do make their own natural loofah alternatives and organic reusable facial rounds for putting on or taking off makeup.
While each brand they sell differs slightly in terms of sustainability, they’re all cruelty-free, non-toxic, SLS-free, palm oil free, largely organic, and of course, come in mostly zero waste packaging. There are a few products which are not vegan though, as they typically contain organic beeswax.
EcoRoots hails from Colorado and like the lovely mountains of the beautiful state, they are purveyors of all things green. In addition to selling beauty care products from leading sustainable brands, this zero waste online store is close to being a one stop shop for all zero waste essentials from bathroom to kitchen reusables to cruelty free and vegan gifts.
Best of all, everything is shipped plastic-free! Their materials instead include recycled cardboard boxes and compostable cornstarch packing peanuts.
As a member of 1% for the Ocean, 1% of their profits go to the Ocean Conservancy to help with ocean plastic removal and restoration. So far they’ve donated thousands of dollars.
Aside from hair care, they make some of the best organic face moisturizers and body products, too, like scrubs, deodorants, and moisturizers.
Despite being a relatively new kid on the block and hailing from the small city of Christchurch in New Zealand, Ethique have exploded in popularity around the world.
And for good reason.
They’re especially unique because pretty much all their products come in bar form. And you all know how much we love bars.
They’re not only travel friendly and long lasting, but possibly the best zero waste beauty brand, from a packaging perspective because they’re either totally naked or in compostable paperboard!
This means Ethique is 100% plastic free beauty brand.
Ethique is thus challenging the beauty industry by daring consumers to #giveupthebottle.
Across the whole natural product line, they’re palm oil free, vegan, natural and cruelty free. The company as a whole is certified climate neutral.
A certified B-Corp they donate either 2% of yearly revenue or 20% of profit (whichever is higher) to charity.
Available: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Nourished Life
3. DAB HERB MAKEUP
About Dab Herb
As their name suggests, Dab Herb is primarily a plastic free brand specializing in skincare and makeup.
They create a hugely successful line of mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and eyebrow grower, organic foundation, tinted moisturize, concealer, luminizer, primer, contour powder, cheek pinch, blush and color corrector, lip gloss, tint and balm, makeup sets and tools and vegan brushes.
Many of these products are packaged in either glass or tin containers and have refill options – just open up the product description for more on this option.
All Dab Herb’s products are vegan, cruelty-free, mostly organic (food grade, in fact ingredients are sourced from fair trade certified farmers and suppliers) and entirely palm oil free.
Dab Herb that believes “beauty and self-care are inseparable from sustainability, transparency, and wellness”.
They also support “Made in the Free World” which focuses on developing and implementing high impact solutions to human trafficking by working with the most effective partners to rescue and care for victims worldwide.
4. CLEAN FACED COSMETICS
*Note: Be sure to request no synthetic dyes (specifically Yellow No. 5 FD&C Lake and Red No. 40 FD&C Lake) when ordering a custom palette.
About Clean-Faced Cosmetics Beauty
Clean-Faced Cosmetics is another super popular no waste beauty brand with thousands of raving reviews. And they’re geared towards, well…cosmetics!
All products come in reusable metal tins, or if you have a favorite container – just use your own and order a refill packaged in biodegradable cello bags (which are definitely not plastic despite how they look).
Straight out of Michigan, Clean Faced Cosmetics make some of the best zero waste beauty products and we love that they tick all our sustainable criteria: palm-oil free, vegan, cruelty-free (tested on friends, never animals), and as organic as possible.
They do sometimes use a tiny amount of Yellow No. 5 FD&C Lake and Red No. 40 FD&C Lake to create skin tone matched foundations. If getting a custom palette, however, you can just request they omit this ingredient.
Currently, all product packaging is either biodegradable or reusable (like their metal palates, bamboo applicator, and organic cotton storage bags).
All labels are printed on recycled paper with eco-friendly ink.
5. RIVER ORGANICS
About River Organics
River Organics‘ “hydrating plant beauty” offers a selective range of zero waste vegan beauty products. From tinted lip balms, bronzers, and highlighters to body oils, concealers and zero waste makeup sets.
Their products are formulated using only organic oils and butters, like Cacao butter, Mango seed butter, Macadamia Nut oil, and Coconut oil. They do use some mineral Mica pigmentation and candelilla wax as opposed to beeswax.
Their entire line is vegan friendly, cruelty-free, and palm-oil free. All products are packaged in compostable cardboard tubes or refillable glass if requested.
This husband and wife team hand make every single one of their waste free beauty products in their North Carolina home.
While Fabian was once a skincare chemist for Chanel, he decided to focus on the natural oil-based moisturizing traditions of Middle East which they encountered in their travels.
If you live in the southeastern U.S., be sure to pop in to one of their brick and mortar stores and say hi!
6. DIRTY HIPPIE COSMETICS
*Note: Dirty Hippie has announced that one of their suppliers no longer guarantees certain ingredients to be palm oil free. While they search for a new supplier, see below for some of the products to avoid.
About Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
Dirty Hippie finds a place on many of our product lists because they make not only great products, but consistently great zero waste beauty products across a huge range from make-up to haircare to skincare and more.
Everything they handmake is cruelty-free, vegan, and organic. Plus since everything is packaged in compostable recycled cardboard tubes or reusable tin and glass (with safely biodegrading vegetable ink labels), they are totally zero waste.
Not only do they create waste free beauty products, but the company itself is based in Bywong, Australia, a zero waste community. This allows them to make the most of nature’s resources, such as by using collected rainwater and operating from a totally solar powered HQ.
They even grow and source most ingredients locally. The few they must source externally are done through Fair Trade channels.
Unfortunately, their supplier of Olive and Coconut oils (Cetearyl and Sorbitan olivates on ingredient lists) no longer guarantees they are palm oil free. While Dirty Hippie is in the process of moving to a 100% Palm Oil Free alternative supplier it’s something to be aware of when reading product ingredients.
Until then, be sure to check the following products: mascara, eye liner, Hydrating Hempseed and Red Raspberry Facial Primer, facial moisturizing creams, mineral cream cruelty-free and vegan concealer.
Operating at a 50% (and growing!) carbon offset, they’re also involved with a big range of charities, donating to causes such animal rescue and suicide prevention. These charities revolve and current proceeds go to The Stroke Foundation Australia.
Dirty Hippie are arguably one of the best zero waste beauty brands around.
7. FAT & THE MOON
*Note that not all products are vegan but there are many vegan options
About Fat & the Moon
Fat & the Moon create one of the widest assortment of products on our list. This includes “adornment” products (makeup), deodorant creams, soothing balms, dry shampoo, anti-fungal creams, and so so much more.
They really can be your one-stop zero waste beauty brand.
All plastic free beauty products come packaged in reusable tins and are shipped as minimally and unsuperfluously as possible.
Handmade to order (because per Fat & the Moon, “body products, like food, are not meant to last forever!”).
Fat and the Moon really strives for the quality and care once achieved by naturalist healers. They stay grounded in those inspired roots by calling many of their recipes “potions”.
These all-natural healing potions, while not 100% organic, use “plants that are abundant, ethically harvested and organically cultivated and combine them in formulations that are radically non-toxic”. The explicitly mention which ingredients are and aren’t organic. All Fat and the Moon products are palm oil free.
Please note that, while cruelty-free, not quite everything is strictly vegan friendly (speaking to their lips stains and eye coals) as they contain ethically sourced beeswax.
Fat and the Moon is a women owned and run business. They also support various charities and causes in their community.
Available: Fat and the Moon
8. EMPIRESQUID ORGANICS
*Note that not all products are vegan but there are many vegan options
About EmpireSquid Organics
Quirky name aside, EmpireSquid is another zero waste beauty company that just keeps showing up on our lists.
Which is no surprise considering the quality of their zero waste skin care products, such as sunscreen, toners, anti-aging serums, and even natural acne treatments.
As a family-run brand, EmpireSquid provides affordable, yet “amazingly wholesome” and responsible skin care for men, women, and children through quality, handmade-to-order items.
They started in 2013, and in the last six years, they’ve garnered a slew of high reviews.
Everything is natural, cruelty-free, and palm-oil free.
A handful of products (such as their sunscreen) are not vegan by default. But send them a simple request and they’ll make any non-vegan product with a vegan recipe.
Their Fair Trade-sourced ingredients are currently sitting at 70% organic, though it is continually growing.
9. MEOW MEOW TWEET
About Meow Meow Tweet
Meow Meow Tweet is a New York City-based vegan skincare company certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
With small-batch crafting, unrefined plant oils, and cold-pressed essential oils everything is super fresh and pretty much how it comes from nature.
As for their zero waste beauty products, they offer soaps, skins exfoliants, skin repair balms, make-up remover, and more.
All in all, their products pair really well with other zero waste make-up to help cleanse and clarify the skin underneath.
They come packaged in glass jars or cardboard.
We really love their biodegradable PCW cardboard stick deodorants.
All in all, they’re really trying to ease people toward choosing ethical beauty and personal care products so more people do it! Their goal is to make the “experience [of making small changes toward completely natural goods] accessible and our process transparent”.
They also donate on a regular basis to a diverse list of charities!
10. RAINWATER BOTANICALS
About Rainwater Botanicals
Rainwater Botanicals makes “responsibly sourced, natural-derived skincare, ethically created, never tested on animals (and also amazing for you)”.
They’re believe in this so much, they’re a certified member of the Safe Cosmetic Business Network.
We first discovered their irritant free and naturally antibacterial deodorant, but they also make perfumes, bar soaps, shampoo and conditioner bars, and facial serums.
An older company relative to this list, this zero waste beauty brand started with just one product: a simple, natural multi-purpose healing salve. Fast forward two decades and a lot of product demand later, they make a huge selection of handmade products.
They test on themselves only and consider staying cruelty-free to be one of their three core philosophies.
As for packaging, not everything is entirely zero waste. Some of their facial serums and bath oils, while in glass bottles, have plastic squirt lids. Yes, these are intended to be reused, but if possible, select their other zero waste products.
They make plenty of compostable paperboard tube products and bars.
11. APOTHECARY MUSE
About Apothecary Muse
Apothecary Muse is an “Adventure Skin Care” company that makes everything from vegan deodorants, vegan sunscreens, vegan muscle salves, and much more.
Their cold-process soaps won the Design Mania award in 2017.
Founder Eryn Hughes is an avid lover of the outdoors. She started Apothecary Muse in 2013 to provide quality skincare specially designed for outdoor athletes that tend to be a little harder on their skin.
Built for nature from nature, many of the ingredients are either wild harvested or grown by Eryn. This ensures pure and ethical sourcing. For things she can’t grow or find, she sources from local, organic companies. You can look at the full raw materials list to see all the great ingredients yourself. Note no palm oil or any derivatives!
Eryn is clearly passionate about Ethical Sourcing which is great to see! Here’s what she had to say about it:
“When sourcing materials, I look for real people who share the values of fair trade, giving back to the community, and reduced impact. My olive oil supplier is a Greek family-based business who ships their whole, organoleptic certified olives to Pittsburgh and they press them 10 miles from my studio which reduces shipping materials and emissions. After they bottle the top shelf, I get the middle shelf olive oil which is a little more cloudy and wouldn’t look good in a bottle but is still food-grade and I use it to make soap (which they get a portion of).
This reduces their waste and increases both of our profitability. I recently chose a new bulk supplier for other materials because of their details in material safety data sheets and ability to answer specific questions about deforestation impacts. When I am purchasing at an increasing volume, it is essential to me to maintain reduced impact.”
Their no waste beauty products are also entirely vegan and cruelty-free. Products come in either reusable stainless steel tins or compostable cardboard push sticks. Any labeling is done on biodegradable, environmentally safe adhesive labelsprinted with wax-based ink.
But the best packaging is reserved for the soaps. They’re wrapped in plantable paper embedded with North American wildflower seeds so you can simultaneously pretty up yourself and planet.
They are then shipped with reused and recyclable filler in Forestry Initiative packaging. Eryn even delivers local orders herself by bicycle.
Talk about a business that pedals the extra mile!
12. BYROBIN CREATIONS
About ByRobin Creations
Based in the state of New Mexico, ByRobinCreations is a low waste beauty brand who focuses on creating 100% vegan friendly beauty products including haircare, dental care, skincare, suncare, and general self care.
They’ve got some unique products we didn’t find on other product lists, like their brittle nail serum.
Aside from being vegan, these products are cruelty-free and completely natural.
Like many of these outstanding companies, ByRobinCreations began with some experimental vegan lip balms and vegan deodorants. Pretty soon, the rave reviews inspired them to create much more.
And no wonder, considering how much ByRobinCreations value each individual customer with a hand-written thank you note and a free sample gift with each order.
Company wide, they are not entirely zero waste. Some products, like their liquid sunscreens, come in plastic bottles, but they told us that they are slowly phasing these out.
Even if a product image looks like it has a plastic container, check the description for any updates about new glass packaging.
Just as the sunscreen has an optional zero waste sunscreen bar form, most their products offer some zero waste alternative and a refill program for existing containers.
Available: Etsy | ByRobinCreations
THE CHALLENGE OF ZERO WASTE BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Regular plastic containers are manufactured with a bunch of composite plastics, which makes it really difficult to recycle as the various parts (e.g. of a squirt bottle) would need to first be separated to avoid contamination of a recycling batch.
So not only is it likely that the product at the end of it’s single use life will not be recycled but because it’s also made of plastic, it ain’t going nowhere for a very very long time.
That’s why we’ve searched for the best zero waste beauty brands we could find that offer products in reusable or compostable containers.
Remember, zero waste (in a consumer nut-shell) focuses on using only that which can be reused or composted, instead of trashed or burned.
FINDING ZERO WASTE BEAUTY BRANDS
If this is your first time visiting Sustainable Jungle, our approach to sustainable beauty is to look for brands and products that are:
- organic / natural
- palm oil free
- have ethical ingredient sourcing policies and
- use thoughtful, (ideally) zero-waste packaging (as mentioned above, since the zero waste ethos aims to throw nothing away, this means the packaging is either reusable (like tin pots) or compostable. The goal is no plastic at all!).
We know it’s tall order and believe us, it takes a fair bit of time to find zero waste beauty brands to meet all or most criteria.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST ZERO WASTE BEAUTY BRANDS
It’s inspiring to see how many zero waste beauty brands there are.
It’s even more inspiring when you consider that these brands exist thanks to people like you.
We hope this is a useful list for you, we would also love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments if we missed a brand that you think should make the cut or if you have any experience with these brands, as we haven’t tried them all just yet.
And just remember, a zero waste lifestyle is a journey with incremental improvements (just like your beauty routine!) and sometimes it feels like you’re never quite there. But just like a little highligher can go a long way, little steps in the right direction can make a big impact.