I have probably lost count of the number of times I’ve attempted to make diy mascara; each one an epic fail. Not to mention the mess I create which requires a serious clean up squad afterwards.
I still find blobs of beeswax on our kitchen surface for weeks afterwards. Two of my least favourite things: DIY makeup + cleaning = mascara soaked tears running down my face.
Throughout my zero waste journey, I have settled on using a lot less makeup, choosing good quality, organic or 100% natural brands that were at least packaged in some form of easy to recycle packaging. As a result, my skin has improved, I feel far more confident without a lot of make up (I used to work in TV and had to cake it on regularly to a point where it become part of my everyday routine!), and as a result, the items I have chosen now last a lot longer. Wow I sound smug!
I know there are far more makeup brands out there now offering refills or plastic-free packaging (waaaaay more than when I first started going zero waste!), however they all contain an ingredient I’m personally keen to avoid: TITANIUM DIOXIDE. Whilst natural, it has been linked to lung issues and to be honest, I’d rather avoid it as much as possible.
Recently, when I lost my ENTIRE makeup bag (still not sure how, where or even when!) I decided it would be a good opportunity to start over and see if I could find some makeup products that were more in keeping with my zero waste values. Things have come a long way and more options are available since I first overhauled my makeup kit four years ago.
Here is what I have found and loved using. (Affiliate links marked with *)
SIDE NOTE: As always, when ordering anything online, I follow up with an email requesting no plastic packaging. This doesn’t always work, but it often does!
Zero Waste Mascara + Eyeliner
I found two options and was keen to test them both out. Both are multipurpose and come packaged in a small tin that can be easily recycled or, even better, reused!
Despite being made in America, I found a UK stockist of Fat And The Moon. Hooray! This came with a small piece of bubble wrap around it BUT the retailer has since said they simply reuse what they have available to them and it was rare for them to use plastic.
As with all of the zero waste make up options I’m sharing in this post, they require a little more time and skill to apply. You’ve heard of Slow Fashion and Slow Food? Well this is Slow Beauty…my friends, settle in. But, once you retrain your hand eye co-ordination and pay attention, it actually gets easier. I’ve used this as both a mascara and winged eyeliner and it’s build-able too depending on how dramatic you wanna go.
This arrived in a plastic padded envelope from America. And the inside of the lid seems to have a small round plastic coated card sitting inside. But overall, the product* itself is dreamy to use and when purchasing I had the option to opt out of the mascara wand that is usually sent with it. It glides on really easily for a winged liner look and I can re-use a mascara wand to apply to my lashes. It rarely smudges and lasts all day. I have been very impressed!
Both eye coals are multipurpose, meaning I can use them as: mascara, eye liner and eye coal.
I’ve previously been using Miessence, an Australian brand that is certified organic and has incredible ingredients. No titanium dioxide either. I love it! It is packaged in a non-leaching, easy to recycle and completely recyclable plastic bottle. No metal spring for the pump, all made of one material. But it’s still plastic and I was curious to see if there was an alternative out there that would measure up. I decided to try the 100% Pure Foundation* in White Peach. I think I may try the shade below this next time but it’s actually a pretty close match.
It comes housed in a metal tin and as far as I can tell, there is no plastic but I can’t be 100% sure (unintended pun!). I tried taking the tin apart the other day to see if any was lurking underneath the product but as far as I can see, it’s all metal which can be recycled time and again. It is packaged in a simple recyclable cardboard box but it does, however, come with a small plastic tamper seal around the lid – since reading their “about us” page (which is really interesting btw)* I suspect it may be a form of biodegradable plastic made from corn starch. Not great as bio-plastics often (not always) come from GMO crops and require special composting facilities to breakdown. I’d be intrigued to know if their corn based plastic is free from GMOs.
100% Pure* is one of the few make up brands I really love. And whilst I prefer to choose certified organic beauty and makeup where possible, I feel that choosing a brand that uses a lot of organic ingredients whilst being completely natural and packaged in plastic-free/minimal plastic packaging is a pretty good option too, especially if the one that is certified comes in a lot of plastic. It’s all about finding balance and what sits well with me and this will be different for everyone.
When talking about sustainability, the 100% Pure* website says:
“…all of our packaging is sourced from recycled materials – post-consumer recycled glass, plastic, tin and paper. If not for recycling, these materials would otherwise have added into the earth’s ever-growing landfills. So instead of creating more trash, we package all our pure formulas with recycled materials – items that were once a water bottle, old coffee paper cup, old beer bottle, etc.”
Their labels are printed with non-toxic vegetable and soy inks and all of their product formulas are biodegradable. The 100% Pure HQ is 100% Purely (see what I did there?) solar powered too. For those based in the U.S, they recently launched their Recycle and be Rewarded program: simply bring back used, empty 100% Pure products to any 100% Pure retail store location and receive a stamp card. Once you receive ten stamps, you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary product and they’ll take care of recycling all the used packaging. Lucky you!
I love that this doubles up as a concealer*, owing to its thicker texture and good coverage, which is also pretty matte, meaning I don’t feel the need for any powder (another product I can do without!). I rarely wear foundation these days but it’s nice to cover up the odd spot with this if needed, or go full face for an event or for photographs if I want to. And, crucially, it’s free from titanium dioxide!! Not all of their products are which means I carefully read the ingredient list on each product…. perfect activity for a fun Friday night in….
Lip & Cheek Stain
As if I’d learned nothing from my failed diy mascara attempts, I recently took on the challenge to make diy tinted lip balm. Needless to say, I created an unusual concoction that didn’t tint very well – at all in fact! I decided, this sort of thing is best left to those who make a business out of it.
I found two options and was keen to try both. I sometimes justify this by the fact that I’m a blogger and YouTuber and it’s my “duty” to trial these things so I could perhaps recommend them to others who are struggling to find zero waste alternatives for makeup. Ha! How the mind works. So yeah… I indulged in two lip and check stains. I like that these are both dual purpose, therefore minimising the number of products I need…. even if I did buy two! 😉
This caught my eye because firstly the packaging is adorable. The 3 oz cardboard tube is recyclable/compostable and the customer can request a “zero waste” option, meaning no stickers on the tube and it is sent out in a 100% compostable/recycleable padded paper envelope. Secondly, the ingredients are awesome. All apart from the kaolin clay and non-gmo vitamin e are organic! She can also make a vegan option for those who are keen to avoid beeswax.
I simply sent her a note at the checkout saying “hi, zero waster here, could I go for the zero waste packaging option please?”. As promised, it arrived sans stickers and in a paper envelope (the padding is made from shredded recycled paper).
The product is moisturising and the colour is build-able, starting out as a very subtle tint and working up to a much deeper colour. Me likey!
Seeing as I’m a natural blusher, I haven’t used it on my cheeks yet but know it would be great to add a hint of rosiness once I’ve done a full face of foundation.
Having found the UK stockist of Fat & The Moon, I thought, “what the heck, I’m buying their eye coal, I may as well try their Lip & Cheek Stain too”. This also works really well, keeping lips moisturised and the colour gets more intense, the more you apply. I love the little metal tin it comes in and this one came wrapped in paper from the stockist, so no plastic there!
I would honestly find it tricky to choose between the two, and would happily buy both again.
Cocoa powder. I rarely use this (unless I’m making hot chocolate!), but I know it works in case I do decide to look a little sun-kissed… and smell divine all at once. I simply buy the cocoa powder from bulk – both Neal’s Yard Remedies and Bulk Market in London sell it without packaging, and I think a lot of health food shops with spices and herbs sold from large jars would likely have cocoa too. I simply take along my own jar and they fill it up right there, deducting the weight of the jar.
With a large makeup brush, I lightly sweep it along my cheekbones and forehead. Go easy with this as a little goes a long way!
I found these ones by Spanish brand Vie Long on Sin Plastico. They are made from natural bristles and wooden handles. Previously, I had brushes by eco tools which I later regretted, discovering that the bristles were synthetic, which is not my vibe at all.
They hairs are super soft and the handles are long and elegant which is something I apparently like in a makeup brush! They feel like they’re really well made and with care, would last a very, very long time.
OK, so this one isn’t totally zero waste. But hear me out. There was one lipstick that I was seriously missing and wished to have back in my life again. I love how I feel when wearing it. As far as I can tell, the inner body is made from (recycled) plastic and the outer lid from metal. The lipstick came packaged in a simple box. Better not perfect!
The colour is called Cactus Bloom* and has a matte finish. I love to wear this when I want to go for a more dramatic, edgy look. I also love that 100% Pure use fruit pigments instead of synthetics to achieve their colours. I couldn’t resist taking a screenshot of this picture from their website, which explains the difference between natural and synthetic colours.
And that’s everything! Pretty neat, minimal and does the job for me!
As well as reducing the amount of makeup I wear throughout the week, I have also minimised what I do feel I need/want, choosing multi-purpose products in better packaging.
Things I decided not to buy again:
- Eyeshadow – I can always use some cocoa powder or eye coal instead
- Lipliner – I had originally bought this for a hosting job I used to have (anyone a fan of BBC America’s Angolphenia?) and no longer felt like I needed it
- Eyebrow Filler/ Gel – I liked it, used it sometimes, but I’ve managed the majority of my 33 years on this earth so far without needing it.I tried adding a light dusting of cocoa powder once and it seemed to do the job. So, for now, I’m fine without…And my mother always said I had “handsome” eyebrows anyway…
- Liquid Eyeliner – the eyeliner options above work just as well!
- Powder – I’ve tried making my own by mixing various spices such as cinnamon with cornstarch or arrowroot powder. It kinda works, but honestly, I’m preferring a more natural skin look these days and the foundation mentioned above has a matte finish to it = no shine.
Have you had any luck making your own zero waste makeup? Do you possess magical powers?
If you’re better at the whole DIY thang than me (highly likely!) and you want to try making your own beauty products, here are some lovely blog posts by fellow zero wasters that you may find useful. And good luck!
p.s. I’ll add a little pic of me wearing the above makeup soon!