Zero-Waste Beauty Products That Will Help Make Your Routine a Little Greener
From swearing off chemicals and exclusively sourcing local, organic ingredients to opting for compostable packaging (or no packaging at all!), there's a new wave of eco-friendly makeup and skincare brands taking over the green beauty industry. And these makers aren't just greenwashing their products with buzzwords like "all-natural" on their bottles and calling it a day. They're making it their mission to ensure you feed your skin the purest ingredients nature has to offer while manufacturing more mindfully to keep their environmental footprint as small as possible.
But what exactly is a "zero-waste" product? As a whole, the term zero-waste means striving to create just that: no waste. In terms of product design, this can mean everything from completely recyclable or reusable packaging to production powered by renewable resources, all of which result in nothing going to waste or landfills. Zero-waste production may also mean working to source only local ingredients as this reduces energy spent on transportation and keeps chemicals out of the environment, respectively.
For brands like New York City-based LOLI, zero-waste means choosing responsibly-sourced, food-grade ingredients for its serums, masks, and toners instead of conventional synthetics and chemicals (which can be harsh on the skin and on the environment). For the makers of Canadian beauty brand, Elate, "zero-waste" is also about conscious packaging. By opting for reusable bamboo compacts and offering blush and foundation refills in easily recyclable aluminum tins, they can avoid single-use plastic, a material that has become an increasingly dangerous threat to our health and the health of our planet. As for body care line by Humankind, their shampoo bars (which work just like soap bars that you lather in your hair) skip plastic packaging altogether and their deodorant comes in refillable containers.
Want to see who else is shaking up the sustainable beauty game? Read ahead to discover our favorites, and learn about the simple changes you can make to make the world a greener place.
There's a reason Martha loves this newcomer to the clean-and-green beauty game. Entirely vegan, sulfate-free, and completely naked (no bottles to recycle here!), by Humankind's shampoo bars are the perfect eco-friendly swap to make to any shower routine. Each bar is made with nourishing and organic oil extracts, plus they last just as long as bottled shampoo. Snag one in peppermint, lemongrass, or citrus lavender, and subscribe to get a refill bar shipped to you every four or six weeks.
by Humankind Shampoo Bars, $12.95, byhumankind.com.
Handcrafted and packed on a 1,200-acre organic farm in Vermont, each Tata Harper product is made with love—and never artificial fragrances, colors, fillers, or toxins. And like nearly all Tata Harper goodies, this spa-quality scrub comes packaged in glass so it's easily recyclable or ready to be reused.
Tata Harper Smoothing Body Scrub, $79, net-a-porte.com.
Youth to the People
Send your skin to heaven with this ultra-light, vitamin-packed moisturizer that will keep you happy and hydrated all day long. Made in California, this rejuvenating cream also features antioxidants from cold-pressed kale, spinach, and alfalfa extracts, and comes in completely recyclable packaging.
Youth to the People "Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream," $48, sephora.com.
With this CBD-infused balm, you can soothe, moisturize, and protect your lips all at once thanks to its all-natural ingredient list which features organic shea butter, beeswax, Vitamin E extract, and CBD isolate from Colorado-grown hemp. Plus, the balm comes in a completely recyclable, plastic-free tube. The New York-based beauty brand also offers an array of other (non-CBD) products—all made with clean beauty and a cleaner environment in mind.
Shea Brand CBD Restorative Lip Balm, $9, sheabrand.com
On a mission to make your manis and pedis kinder on Mother Nature, this New York-based nail care company has formulated a gorgeous line of nourishing, cruelty-free, and toxin-free polishes (they also sell polish remover, cuticle oils, and top coats). When you're done with your polish (from any brand), bring it in to your local Tenoverten salon, and they will help you get rid of it responsibly. The brand partnered with Chemwise to recycle both leftover nail polish and the packaging's glass, plastic caps, and brushes.
Tenoverten Nail Color, $12 each, target.com.
When it comes to giving your skin some TLC, less is (seriously) more with Crude's two-ingredient face mask. Its organic French clay helps exfoliate, absorb excess oils, and restore your natural glow, while antioxidant-rich green tea reduces UV damage. Free from parabens, sulfates, synthetics, and any artificial colors or fragrances, this mask is especially ideal for anyone with sensitive skin. Best of all, Crude's glass product jars are the perfect size for reusing (turn them into travel-sized containers or repurpose in a craft project).
Crude "Detox Skin-Balancing Miracle Mask," $20, livecrude.com.
With a multi-purpose beauty essential like this one—it tames frizz, soothes chapped lips and inflammation, and brightens skin—you can soon bid farewell to your bathroom shelf overflowing with bottles and tubes of products. Made from all-natural organic ingredients including plum kernel oil, hibiscus, and passion fruit, this little-goes-a-long-way oil is also vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable and compostable packaging.
Loli x Natch Beaut "Pank Plum Elixir," $52, lolibeauty.com.
Adding a pretty pop of color to finish off your look doesn't have to be complicated—or harsh on the planet. Thanks to Elate's multi-purpose cream, you can instantly brighten up your lips and cheeks or even add a little contouring to your face. And when it's time to restock, the eco-friendly Canadian brand makes it easy: Keep your beautiful bamboo compact and simply order refills which get shipped in seed paper packaging that you can plant. Empty containers can be recycled with the rest of your household aluminum items.
Elate Universal Crème, from $22, elatebeauty.com.
To keep both your tresses and our oceans cleaner, this American-made, locally-sourced beauty brand is powering its hair care products with all-natural ingredients, including organic sunflower seed oil to hydrate and turmeric to nourish your scalp. As for the bottle, the paper exterior is completely compostable, and the recyclable inner plastic liner is 95 percent thinner than conventional shampoo bottles. It's also designed to help you get every last drop of product out so nothing is wasted. Bonus: The pumps can be recycled for free with Seed's TerraCycle mail-back program.
Seed Phytonutrients Daily Hair Cleanser, $24, sephora.com.
This organic brow balm is made from just five ingredients. Tinted with a pinch of cacao powder, the balm also keeps hair nourished thanks to jojoba and coconut oil. You can even massage a little onto your eyelashes before bed. The best part? With every cocokind purchase, you're supporting the company's larger initiative to provide grants to other female-run businesses with a focus on sustainability and wellness. And if you need ideas on reusing your empty jars, check out the cocokind blog for inspiration.
cocokind "Full Brow Balm," $14, cocokind.com.
As a veteran of the green beauty movement, RMS has been putting healthy skin and a chemical-free planet first since before it was cool. Their latest launch, a cream foundation (available in 18 gorgeous shades) promises coverage, hydration, and that perfectly dewy look minus pesky additives. As for the packaging, the small glass pots and recyclable lids are perfect for reuse. Our favorite way to put them to good use? Turn each one into a container for your own lip balm.
RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up Cream Foundation, $52, dermstore.com.
There's nothing like a good lip color to perk up your look, and now you don't need to toss out those old lipstick cases every time you want to refresh your stash. Thanks to this luxe-organic brand, you can (finally!) purchase just one lipstick compact, beautifully built and designed to last, and order lipstick refills when you run out.
Kjaer Weis Lipstick, $56, net-a-porter.com.
Keeping more than 4.3 million plastic bottles out of landfills since its debut in 2012, this New Zealand skincare brand is revolutionizing the meaning of a "clean" hair care routine with a simple product: bars. Not only are these bars concentrated formulas, nixing all that added water in most conventional shampoos, but they're also easier to pack plastic-free. Made with 100 percent all-natural plant-based ingredients, each Ethique shampoo and conditioner bar is also certified Fair Trade and Palm-Oil free.
Ethique Shampoo and Conditioner Bars, from $13, amazon.com.