7 Zero Waste Mascara Brands For Sustainably Bold & Beautiful Lashes
Zero waste looks good on everyone, just like long lashes! Lucky for us, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
But unlike other plastic-free beauty products, eco-friendly mascara is a notoriously tricky product to make, proving difficult to properly store and apply without making a mess.
So the zero waste mascara brands who have worked it out make us bat our lashes in their direction.
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If you want to know how we decided which brands made the cut for this list, flutter down to the bottom of the article.
1. Dab Herb Make-Up
Dab Herb’s Refillable Mascara
Dab Herb’s take on sustainable mascara takes a little bit more time for the prep and application process because it requires mixing together the coconut activated charcoal mascara powder and lash serum.
They recommend first priming your lashes with just the serum and then mixing the serum with the powder to make it into a paste (which can then also be used as eyeliner and brow filler).
They’ll send all the zero waste mascara tools (a bamboo wand and reusable silicone-mixing dish) if you need.
The powder and the serum are both free from parabens, heavy metals, glycols, alcohol, and silicones.
You can choose either full or sample size, as they both come in glass tubes with tin lids.
Once you use it, just clean it and send it back for a refill.
This brand also offers two other refillable mascaras: Organic Herb Mascara Black and Organic Henna Mascara, both of which come in glass refillable packaging.
About Dab Herb Makeup
Dab Herb is a “Nature to Nurture” zero waste beauty brand that believes “beauty and self-care are inseparable from sustainability, transparency, and wellness”.
From natural foundation and beyond, every product uses only food-grade, certified organic, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients. They’re also palm oil free (including free of palm oil derivatives).
Ingredients are sourced from fair trade certified farmers and suppliers making them one of the best zero waste mascara brands.
Dab Herb ships their products plastic-free, and they re-use their own suppliers’ shipping materials for larger orders. Back in the office, any printing they do is on recycled materials.
They 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.
2. River Organics
River Organics’ No Waste Mascara
River Organics is one of the best zero-waste mascara brands without any unnecessary frills or fluff.
The Long Lash Mascara is 100% vegan and cruelty-free certified, providing vegan color that stands up to a full day and hugs onto lashes without clumping or smudging.
The formula uses minimal ingredients, including organic coconut oil, bentonite clay, rhassoul clay, organic arrowroot powder, castor oil, rosemary leaf, iron oxides, and organic shea butter.
The castor oil helps prevent chunkiness and helps to condition your lashes for future applications.
The zero-waste mascara is shipped in eco-friendly paper packaging with a biodegradable sugarcane label.
About River Organics
River Organics is run by Corinne and Fabien, an independent husband and wife team based in Wilmington, NC.
They produce eco-friendly makeup utilizing plant-based, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients without any palm oil.
River Organics works to minimize its impact every step of the way, with many products shipped in environmentally friendly paper packaging, recycled envelopes, and sugarcane labels.
They also support charities and organizations, like local animal rescue centers.
3. Besame Cosmetics
Bésame’s Sustainable Mascara USA
Bésame makes two different kinds of eco-friendly mascara aimed at capturing a vintage aesthetic: the 1920 refillable cake mascara and 1940 cream.
The 1920 Cake is a zero waste vegan mascara that comes in an elegant refillable metal case (refills come in paper envelopes) while the 1940 cream mascara comes in a plastic tube (and contains beeswax).
Inspired by the femme fatale look of the 1920s, both give dark, defined lashes through a cruelty-free and paraben-free formula.
Since leading ladies of old needed their makeup to withstand the long days under movie set lights, you know this is some smudge resistant zero waste mascara that works.
It’s designed for multi use as eyebrow filler and eyeliner as well. Just add an extra drop of water to the cake for these uses.
Bésame makes “modern reproduction of classic luxury makeup […] designed to make women feel elegant, inspired, and empowered by their beauty”.
Based in Southern California, products are made in the USA, zero waste mascara included.
All products are gluten-free, PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies-certified cruelty free, and many are vegan.
Bésame uses a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients.
These include: Mica (natural, cosmetic grade, ethically sourced), squalane (plant derived – not to be confused with squalene which is the one that comes from sharks), talc (cosmetic grade and not to be confused with asbestos) and a variety of pigments (food grade dyes).
They also commonly use Ethylhexyl Palmitate, a palm oil derivative.
Their packing materials are made from recycled paper (though on occasion, they use bubble wrap).
4. Bee You Organics
Bee You Organics’ Black & Brown Zero Waste Mascara
Bee You Organics’ waste free mascara is super simple (only five ingredients) and promotes lash growth, especially when primed with their minerals setting powders.
The brown shade is 100% organic and the black (while not certified organic activated charcoal) is mostly organic and 100% natural. Both are free from parabens, phthalates, and oxides.
While they are cruelty-free, Bee You is not strictly vegan as their mascaras contain USDA-certified organic beeswax.
However, they make a vegan mascara option upon request, which substitutes beeswax with Carnauba Wax.
Since you probably already have zero waste mascara brushes on hand, they’ll leave one out on request. All you’ll get are glass tubes with aluminum caps.
If you’re looking to retire your mascara wands, they urge you to donate them to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, where they’ll be used to help remove fly eggs and larvae from wildlife.
About Bee You Organics
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Bee You was started by Larissa, who was raised holistically but rebelled against the lifestyle until a car accident left her face scarred and sensitive.
She returned to her humble holistic beginnings and now creates soothing products—like zero waste lotion—designed to heal on every level, right down to each ethically sourced, non-GMO, cruelty-free ingredient.
Most are certified organic and ALL are 100% natural, alcohol-free, palm oil-free, and preservative-free.
While not vegan as a company (look out for beeswax and emu oil) they have many vegan options available. Plus, they source from local Pacific Northwest beekeepers and donate to local bee research projects through WSU.
Bee You Organics supports local and small businesses when possible and also supports various charities in their community.
5. Blinking Owl Acres
Blinking Owl Acres No Tint Zero Waste Mascara
Blinking Owl Acres takes a different approach by amping up the natural health of your lashes with its natural mascara pomade.
Packaged in a reusable glass jar and shipped with a bamboo mascara wand, this fragrance-free pomade does not have any pigment or coloring as it acts as more of a lash serum and conditioner.
With only seven, natural ingredients, the castor oil and silk fibers work together as the perfect duo to create absorption and thickness with regular use.
This mascara does contain beeswax and silk, so it’s not vegan. Their silk consists of textile industry byproducts, meaning it’s using already-harvested silk that would otherwise go to waste rather than creating new demand for it.
About Blinking Owl Acres
Founded on the principles of holistic living, Blinking Owl Acres has skincare and makeup collections that are minimalist and nourishing.
Created on a homestead, their products avoid preservatives and toxic chemicals that can have a negative impact on the skin’s protective layer and environment. They’re made with the skin’s microbiome in mind.
Ingredients consist of the cleanest, most options available, sourced organically and from local American businesses wherever possible.
All item packaging and shipping comes in compostable, biodegradable, or reusable materials, keeping consistent with their eco-friendly, holistic values.
6. Elate Cosmetics
Elate Cosmetics’ Low Waste Mascara
Elate Cosmetics is a popular choice for those seeking smudge-resistant zero waste waterproof mascara—thanks to vegan carnauba wax.
However, it’s not (strictly speaking) zero waste.
They come in compostable bamboo tubes with recyclable plastic liner tubes and silicone mascara wands.
For proper disposal, crush the bamboo shell to remove the inner plastic, wash it, and recycle separately.
You can donate old mascara wands to Project Wild Wands Canada where they’ll get another life aiding in the cleaning and knit removable of endangered wildlife.
They may be more low waste than zero waste, but at least that waste is put to good use!
They’re also gluten-free, Cruelty-Free International certified, and PETA-certified vegan.
They do use Phenoxyethanol as a preservative (meaning they’re not 100% natural) and RSPO palm-derived Stearic Acid.
About Elate Cosmetics
Certified B Corp Elate strives to make “products that don’t compromise the health of any person, animal or the planet”.
Currently utilizing 90% certified organic ingredients in their eco-friendly toiletries, they still sometimes choose fair trade over organic.
Most products are packaged in self-regenerative, non-chemically treated bamboo, with powder refills offered in seed paper pouches.
For shipping, you’ll get all plastic-free packaging.
This Canadian zero waste mascara and cosmetics company uses Bullfrog Power to offset all emissions, and they donate to a variety of charities, like sponsoring elephants through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
7. Aussie Organics Co.
Aussie Organics Co.’s Zero Waste Mascara Australia
We definitely see eye-to-eye with Aussie Organics Co. as they tick every box on our ethical criteria list, making them one of the best zero waste cake mascaras.
Both colors (brown and black) come in reusable metal tins complete with zero waste mascara wands made from bamboo.
The natural mascara is plastic-free, vegan, cruelty-free, all-natural, and 98% organic.
With ingredients such as activated charcoal, coconut oil, jojoba oil, zinc oxide, and vitamin E, this product is extremely nourishing but not waterproof.
Application is simple: just roll the mascara wand over the cake and reapply if necessary later in the day.
About Aussie Organics Co.
An Australian small business, they have a product range that focuses mainly on body goods such as face oils, shampoo and conditioner bars, bath bombs, and perfumes.
All ingredients are ethically sourced and finished products are minimally packaged in reusable or compostable materials.
Everything is fragrance free, as well as free from other toxins like parabens and propylene glycol.
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How We Found The Best Plastic-Free Mascara
First, what is zero waste mascara?
Ideally, it means plastic-free mascara packaging, but the consistency of the finished product often makes finding both plastic-free or refillable packaging and zero waste mascara wands difficult.
So we sometimes settled for low waste mascara that also met our other ethical beauty criteria:
- Vegan: While ethically sourced beeswax and honey are sometimes acceptable, we ideally look for those with no animal byproducts.
- Cruelty free: Meaning no animal testing.
- Non-toxic: We looked for organic or at least natural mascara devoid of the many ingredients to avoid in skin care. Fragrance-free is also ideal for anything that goes near the eyes.
- Palm oil free: Or since palm oil derivatives are often used to get the mascara consistency right, organic or RSPO-certified palm oil.
- Ethical ingredient sourcing
- Thoughtful packaging: Instead of single-use plastic packaging, zero waste mascara packaging and tools should be reusable, refillable, and/or compostable.
Final Thoughts On Zero Waste Mascara Brands
Mascara is one of the tricker makeup products to make eco-friendly—so we’re happy to see these zero waste mascara brands taking that bold (lash) step.
It’s time to go green, go bold, and show off those sustainable, smoky eyes.
We hope this helps you not only get glam but feel good about doing it. Help others discover the inner and outer beauty of plastic-free mascara by sharing this article.