We’ve been doing a lot of zero waste listing lately…
With so many great zero waste beauty brands on the market these days there is absolutely no reason to buy commercial off-the-shelf beauty products that are unsustainable.
You can now choose beauty and personal care products (in just about any neighborhood) that are good for you and good for the environment.
Thanks to the many brands who are changing the status quo its never been easier to be a conscious consumer. And the more demand there is for eco friendly beauty products the more zero waste brands will answer that call!
FINDING ZERO WASTE BEAUTY BRANDS
Of course, finding true zero waste beauty brands is a tough ask.
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.
The zero waste lifestyle itself, 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 in your life.
FINDING ZERO WASTE BEAUTY BRANDS
- 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.
While we hope to provide a useful resource for you, we would also love to hear your thoughts and suggestions if we missed anything or if you have any experience with these brands, as we haven’t tried them all just yet.
Ethique first got our attention with their wide range of zero waste haircare products designed for all types of hair. Aside from hair care, they make face and body products, too, like scrubs, deodorants, and moisturizers.
Despite being a relatively new kid on the block (2015) and hailing from the small city of Christchurch in New Zealand, Ethique have somewhat 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 the best solution to zero waste beauty packaging, because they’re either totally naked or in compostable paperboard!
This means Ethique is 100% plastic free beauty brand.
Ethique is 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. While charitable actions aren’t a requirement on our list, they sure do help!
2. DIRTY HIPPIE COSMETICS
About Dirt 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 is their product line zero waste, 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 external 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.
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.
3. DAB HERB MAKEUP
About Dab herb makeup & skincare
Dab Herb, the “Nature to Nurture” zero waste beauty and skincare brand believes “beauty and self care are inseparable from sustainability, transparency, and wellness”.
Founder Chrissy started by just making her own make-up and now runs a successful company that promotes green beauty standards across the industry.
Their organic powder mascara is what initially caught our eye but their line is huge, including haircare, foundations, lip tints, and much more. Check out these adorable mini facial vials they just added!
They even have some items typically tough to find in the natural aisle, like skin tint color corrector.
Everything contains only food-grade, certified organic, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients. They’re also all free from palm oil, glycols, alcohol, silicones, parabens, and heavy metals.
Some products come in compostable cardboard sticks, but most are packaged in an adorable antique-looking glass jar, non-plastic down to the lids.
Send them back clean when you’re done for a refill!
4. FAT & THE MOON
About Fat & the Moon
Fat & the Moon create one of the widest assortment of products on our list. This includes “adornment” products, deodorant creams, soothing balms, dry shampoo, anti-fungal creams, and so so much more.
They really can be your one-stop zero waste shop.
All products come packaged in reusable tins and are shipped as minimally and unsuperfluously as possible.
Handmade to order (because “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.
5. EMPIRESQUID ORGANICS
About EmpireSquid Organics
Quirky name aside, EmpireSquid makes some seriously solid zero waste skincare 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 super 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.
6. BYROBIN CREATIONS
About ByRobin Creations
Based in the state of New Mexico, ByRobinCreations is a 100% vegan company that creates so many (100 to be exact!) haircare, dental care, skincare, suncare, and general self care products.
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 updated about new glass packaging.
Just as the sunscreen has an optional zero waste bar form, most their products offer some zero waste alternative and a refill program for existing containers.
7. 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. Noteno 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 aboutdeforestation impacts. When I am purchasing at an increasing volume, it is essential to me to maintain reduced impact.”
The product line is also entirely vegan, cruelty-free, AND zero waste. 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!
8. 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 product lineup, it includes 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.
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!
9. 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.
An older company relative to this list, this 1999-born company 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.
10. PLAINE PRODUCTS
About Plaine Products
Plaine Products is a natural vegan hair care company most notable for their pioneering of the bottle return concept.
Sisters Lindsey and Alison Delaplaine started the company under the dream of helping make the world a plastic-free place. That’s why they designed the production line to be completely plastic free, right down to the worldwide shipping.
How is that possible? Let’s break down the Plaine bottle return program to find out:
Your first order for shampoo and conditioner will come in a 100% recyclable aluminum bottle with a pump. When it’s time for a refill, just order one and select “no pump”. They’ll then send you a filled “new” bottle to which you’ll switch your old pump to and send back the empty bottle in the same box the new one came in.
These boxes, by the way, are custom fit to the bottles to eliminate the need for fillers and made from 95% post-consumer waste and 5% post-industrial waste. It’s plastic free right down to the tape.
Your old bottle will be cleaned, sanitized, and refilled for someone else. Though they are intended for reuse, the aluminum content ensures that if they do get recycled, they get recycled as purely as possible. Aluminum recycling not only takes less energy than original production, but it can be recycled indefinitely with no loss in quality, unlike the “down-cycling” that occurs to plastic.
As much as we love shampoo bars, Plaine is an amazing zero waste shampoo and conditioner option for those still partial to liquid suds.
Each product undergoes rigorous testing prior to approval. First, each ingredient gets the non-toxic green light from the Environmental Working Group. Second, the finished products get tested. Of course not on animals, but instead on the sisters and their families.
That’s how much they trust and invest in their products.
They are also palm oil free and totally biodegradable, so you can safely wash your hair anywhere.
Let’s not forget about the zero waste smile! We’ve featured them several times, like in our article on zero waste toothpaste.
Georganics is a vegan dental care company based in the U.K.
Everything is fresh and made to order, so no preservatives necessary. Their big seller is their enamel strengthening, fluoride-free toothpaste, available in enough flavors to suit every palate. They’re one of our favorite fresh breath providers, for sure.
You can also buy dental supplement vitamins, oil pulling mouthwashes, compostable floss (which we’ve tried and tested – zero waste floss is obviously a bathroom essential we recommend!). For fresh breath on the go, their ultra portable mouthwash tabs are fantastic!
All products come in reusable glass pots (with compostable bamboo spatulas for the pastes) and get shipped in craft paper boxes. Labeling is eco safe and printed with vegetable ink.
If you’re in the UK, you can also return any Georganics products and components at not cost as part of their “Zero To Landfill scheme”.
Georganics tooth soap contain Sodium Palm Kernelate, “derived from sustainable and organic RSPO kernel oil” (i.e. palm oil) so if you’re anti-palm oil, stick to the “toothpaste”.
All their products are cruelty free and vegan (except, strictly speaking, for their silk floss which is “obtained only once the worms have hatched and cocoons are vacant. Made in a way that is more humane to silkworms than many traditional methods”. This is also compostable).
Their products are manufactured in England and most of their ingredients are sourced locally. They also support The Ocean Cleanup.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ZERO WASTE BEAUTY BRANDS
It’s inspiring to see how many zero waste beauty brands there are now, and how many new ones are popping up every day.
It’s even more inspiring when you consider that these brands exist thanks to conscious consumer demand. Small changes can make a huge difference!
People want products with less: less crap, less side effects and less waste. It’s thanks to people like you that help these brands survive and thrive.
Check some of our other lists below for more specific product recommendations from these companies.
Please reach out if you know of any other zero waste brands that have slipped under our radar. You reach us in the comments or through a message!