Switch to zero waste cosmetics, try to find brands packed in reusable pots or cardboard pots, rather than simple throwaway plastic containers. Many cosmetics brands use animal ingredients (like dead red beetles) for red and pink colours, so find vegan brands too. Also avoid cosmetics made with talc (an inorganic substance not good for health – better brands use arrowroot or cornstarch). Use with reusable makeup pads and vegan brushes (below).
Avoid shea butter (found in some lipsticks) for latex allergies. If choosing lipsticks made with carnauba wax, ensure they are Fair Trade, as reports have been of unfairly-treated Mexican harvesters/workers. Avoid cosmetics with zinc oxide or titanium oxide or cocoa butter if you live with pets, as it’s toxic if licked off your face (same with sunscreens).
This make-up packed in cardboard pots is by All Earth Mineral Cosmetics, a collaboration between a make-up artist and natural skincare expert. Everything is sold in cardboard pots or sustainably-harvested beechwood pots (the liners are made from recycled fishing nets). Made in Cornwall and Kent, the items are sold with linen storage bags (the vegan brushes do contain plastic but if you purchase direct from their site you have the option to send them back to the maker in a returns envelope for recycling).
The vegan beauty tints are in 6 lovely shades, sold in a linen storage bag (tick the box, if you prefer not to receive the bag). Made with natural ingredients, they are stored in glass jars with metal lids. Choose your favourite pop of colour to add to lips, cheeks and eyes. Also contain vitamin E, jojoba oil and lavender. Apply with a brush or dab on with your finger. Choose from:
- Nude Pink
- Peach Pink
- Salmon Pink
- Candy Pink
The secret to good application is to sprinkle a tiny amount into the lid and swirl in your brush, then apply with a buffing motion to the desired affect. For conceal, again use a tiny amount using a small brush then buff with a foundation brush. Mineral makeup won’t clog pores or dry skin, but it does contain zinc oxide (anti-bacterial for us but toxic to pets, so don’t let them lick your skin until you’ve washed it off – also found in natural sunscreens, which is why you should never use human sunscreen on pets).
Love the Planet (Scotland) is a mineral make-up company that offers vegan items all free from palm oil, in sustainable packaging. The items are packed in tins or compostable pouches and the range includes foundation, powder, blush and eyeshadow, plus a nice range of vegan make-up brushes (sold alone or as a set). You can also buy Starter Gift Sets that include the basic range along with reusable cleaning pads. Wholesale orders are sent in biodegradable packaging. Items contain ethically sourced mica and zinc oxide (so keep away from pets).
Zao makes this makeup in biodegradable bamboo pots. If you wear mascara or prefer ‘tube lipstick’, this company offers bamboo casings that you buy once, then order refills (in recyclable plastic). Industrial bamboo is not the same as the fresh green shoots eaten by pandas, but with its popularity (and the fact it’s not local) we have to ensure we don’t go overboard, in case companies start chopping down forests, to grow more plantations. But as a fast-growing grass, hopefully that’s not likely to happen.
Zero Waste Alternative to Mascara
Mascara was first made by combining mud with khol, honey and crocodile droppings (!) in Egypt, mascara is the world’s oldest beauty product. Used to lengthen and curl eyelashes, modern versions are often full of chemicals and usually sold in plastic packaging (with some versions being tested on animals). Ophthalmologists and make-up artists recommend replacing mascara every three months to prevent bacterial build-up, but obviously this is wasteful. So by choosing a refillable mascara, you can still do this, without harm to the planet. Some eco mascaras are made with zinc oxide or titanium oxide that are toxic to pets, so keep these tubes out of reach of pets and children.
Izzy is the world’s first zero waste mascara. Shipped with no outer packaging in recycled materials, just one swipe leaves lashes fuller and thicker. This mascara is sold in medical-grade stainless steel tubes, that can be refilled over 10,000 times, so never have to be thrown away. Even the water used to cleanse is reused, rather than being dumped in the ocean. Made within a 400-mile radius with a 78% smaller carbon footprint after 25 refills, after 90 days you are sent a reminder to send the empty packaging back for recycling. The slight floral scent is from jasmine wax to gently condition the lashes.
Badger-Friendly Make Up Brushes
Conventional make-up brushes can sometimes be made with real animal hair, often from culled creatures (mostly squirrels or badgers). These make-up brushes use synthetic bristles, and often use eco-friendly handles too. Use them if you wear make-up, a small set is usually enough for most, but there are bigger sets, if you like to plaster it on! For longer use, wash as instructed, leave to air-dry and store as recommended.
Bristol Made Bamboo make-up brushes, with synthetic (vegan) bristles. Ideal to apply foundation, eyeshadow, blush or bronzer, the brushes are stored in a drawstring linen bag, making them ideal for travel. At end of use, just remove the bristles and bin, then the bamboo handles can be safely placed in your compost bin to naturally biodegrade. The brushes will have light shedding, for first few uses.