Rather than use cosmetics made with inorganic talc in plastic pots (and makeup brushes made with animal fur), try these brands instead.
Most cosmetics use cocoa butter and zinc or titanium dioxide. It’s really important if you wear make-up not to let pets lick your face until you’ve washed cosmetics off, as these ingredients are unsafe.
Love the Planet (Scotland) offers a lovely range of sustainable vegan makeup, mostly sold in metal pots. You then just order refills in compostable pouches. The range includes mineral foundations, concealers, powders, blush and eyeshadow.
Everything is sustainably-sourced and the pouches are made from paper, starch and cellulose so can be composted after use. You can also buy vegan make-up brushes.
This sustainable make-up tool kit is made in the USA, by a company that is finishing off the single-use plastic industry single-handedly! Designed to replace thousands of single-use swabs, the kit contains three tools for removing make-up, smudging and touch-ups, separating lashes and feathering brows. The set includes a case with a large mirror, made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.
The soft tips of the swabs are made from medical-grdae TPE and they are easy to use and clean. You break even on carbon emissions after just 32 uses (that’s just a month, even if you wear make-up like Dolly Parton!) The kit takes up minimal space, so is easy to transport, and shipped in plastic-free packaging. To clean, just gently rub with soap and water, then store in case to prolong life.
Honeypie Minerals was founded in Essex by a woman who had acne from conventional make-up. Sustainably-sourced vegan minerals are used in zero-waste packaging with compostable refills. Sample kits are sold in sustainable packaging with organic drawstring bags. Everything is made with green energy, and trees are planted for each order.
All Earth Mineral Cosmetics are sold in Pots for Life, made from fishing nets discarded on the Cornish coast, just buy the biodegradable refills, then decanter using the lid that fits flush, to stop spilling. The biodegradable pots can be stood upright, but are not waterproof so keep in a dry environment.
The range includes a wide range of foundations, powders and tints. You can use these standalone or alongside the tints for lips, cheeks and eyes. In 6 shades, these little pots of joy add a subtle pop of colour from one pot, and contain vitamin E, jojoba oil and lavender to heal and moisturise. Apply with one of their kabuki brushes, free from animal fur.
how to remove your makeup, naturally
Disposable facial wipes make up around 93% of sewer blockages, as people wrongly flush them down the loo. Sewage blockages also cause garden floods (including neighbours).
Jungle Culture reusable makeup remover pads are made from a blend of bamboo and organic cotton. This 18 piece set includes 15 rounds, plus 3 plastic-free bamboo microfibre terry pads to remove stubborn makeup, deep cleanse and exfoliate your skin. 9.3 million wet wipes are flushed down toilets each year in the UK.
Bristolmade is a sustainable skincare brand from England’s greenest city! Packed in glass jars, these micellar waters are made in-house. To use, just soak a reusable cotton pad in the micellar water and gently wipe over your face, neck and eyes, with no need for rinsing. The micelles will lift dirt and oil, while the other ingredients get to work. Use morning and night. Made with essential and base oils and a little witchhazel, it’s sold in 3 scents: rose geranium, jasmine and lavender.
Avoid aromatherapy oils (and hibiscus) for pregnancy/nursing or affected medical conditions (asthma, epilepsy, high blood pressure).
Micellar waters are all the rage these days, used as a make-up remover, facial wash and moisturiser combined. However the main brands are packed with chemicals, and can do more harm than good (they’re also sold in plastic packaging). They are basically a mix of water, moisturiser and gentle detergent. The ingredients in many brands also harm aquatic life when they are rinsed off and go down drains and into the rivers, seas and oceans. The good news is that there are better alternatives.
zero-waste cosmetics from abroad
Although we have some zero-waste cosmetics brands in England, they are few and far between, so sometimes it’s good to look across the shores for further inspiration (until we get similar inventions here).
River Organics (North Carolina – enter coupon code ENGLANDNATURALLY for 15% discount) is a wonderful zero waste brand founded by art historian Corinne and her late husband Fabien, a French chemist who worked with Chanel. These vegan cosmetics are sold in compostable packaging with sugar-cane labels, shipped in eco-enclose envelopes.
The blush sticks go on as a cream and turn to a powder, sold in push-up cardboard tubes. Made with sunflower, safflower and jojoba oils, for all skin tones. The stained lip balms are also in cardboard tubes. The mascara is made with coconut oil and Rhassoul clay.
Axiology is a plastic-free lipstick company, founded by a woman who was shocked to learn of the waste in the industry. All their boxes are made from island trash, providing income to women living on the island of Bali. Free from palm oil, these multi-sticks are suitable for lips, cheeks and eyes and packed with nourishing oils and butters. If you have oily skin, use the Balmies instead with sunflower wax and kokum butter. Tubeless crayons means – no need for plastic caps.
Izzy is the world’s first zero waste cosmetics brand, offering mascaras and other items in metal tubes.The medical-grade containers can be filled thousands of times, and everything is sent in recycled packaging. Even the water is reused (not dumped in the ocean) and everything is made locally, to reduce carbon footprint. The mascara is unscented but does have a slightly floral scent due to lash-conditioning jasmine wax.You simply send back the tube after 90 days or so and ge it refilled.
Pyra Beauty offers unique products like talc-free setting powder in cardboard pots. And aloe vera shea butter foundation in glass bottles. The Colombian founder used to work in a salt mine 180 metres below ground, and this led her to appreciating the natural world, and creating a mineral-based makeup in biodegradable packaging. The plant-based setting powder contains green tea (no talc) and the cardboard tub can be used as a jewellery container after use. The foundation is in a glass pot, made with shea butter and aloe vera.