Sustainability in the world of beauty has been a long time coming! With recent trends in using cruelty-free, vegan, and eco-friendly products, there has also been a major push to be “zero-waste” in all aspects of life.
There are actually many zero-waste and sustainable beauty brands on the market. And no, they aren’t ridiculously expensive—most are actually probably cheaper or around the same price as your current products. And many zero-waste products last much longer than their competitors.
We’ve rounded up our list of top zero-waste makeup brands to fill your professional makeup kit—reduce your waste a professional makeup artist and save the planet!
Keep reading for some of the best zero-waste beauty products out there!
So, what exactly is “zero-waste” beauty?
Generally, it means avoiding single-use plastic and metals. A zero-waste guru will make what they can, buy in bulk, and seek out recyclable or compostable options whenever they can. The net result is no garbage or trash being tossed to the landfill or into our oceans!
In the beauty world, this means looking for high-quality, plant-derived beauty products. The ingredients should not be farmed unethically or unsustainably (ex. palm oil). But the biggest focus will be on product packaging. Besides the shrink wrap seal on the package, zero-waste brands also concern themselves with the product packaging itself. Lipstick tubes, mascara wands, and powder compacts aren’t often made from recyclable or sustainable materials. The zero-waste movement is trying to change that!
Lipstick by Axiology
Axiology’s luxury lipstick range comes in a wide range of gorgeous colors. The usable product itself is vegan, with ingredients sourced through fair trade channels. But they go a step further. Their lipstick tubes are made from recycled aluminum, are are 100% recyclable again at the end of their life.
Another bonus: their packaging is made from a women-owned paper-recycling business in Indonesia. They collect used paper products from households and businesses all over the island headquarters!
Classic Lip Pencil by Kjaer Weis
Kjaer Weis’ lip pencils come in four gorgeous shades. The pencil is made of natural wood, and the product is made (mostly) of natural ingredients. This means, when you’re finished with the product, it can be composted. Or, if it goes in the trash, you can trust it will biodegrade in the landfill and won’t be there 100 years from now (like plastic packaging).
Lip (& Cheek) Stain by Fat and the Moon
Fat and the Moon is a small Etsy store, but many zero-waste beauty gurus swear by it! Their packaging is aluminum tins, which can be easily repurposed after they’re empty (also, they’ll just look super cute in your MUA kit!). Many of their products are multipurpose, making them a perfect addition to your makeup artist kit. For instance, this product can be used as a lip or cheek stain on all different skin tones and it’s all natural!
Eye and Brow Makeup Products
Refillable Mascara by Kjaer Weis
Yup, you read that right: REFILLABLE mascara! This is actually something Kjaer Weis specializes in. Many of their blushes and powders can also be refilled. The packaging is made of durable high-quality metal; so all you have to do is order a refill from their website! Then put it into the old container when it arrives!
Certified Natural Eyebrow Pencil by Antonym
Antonym Cosmetics’ products are packaged in bamboo or wood and recyclable aluminum. They have three shades of eyebrow pencils, which can be used together to make the perfect shade! Plus, all their products are certified natural!
Bioglitter® by WilliamsPro
QC Makeup Academy’s very own Azzi Williams is an accomplished makeup artist with her own makeup line! The Australian-owned line is all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and $1 from every transaction is donated to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their claim to fame is their HD setting powders offered in refillable packaging. But we’re most excited about their new Bioglitter® range—an environmentally-friendly, plant-based glitter that’s marine and biodegradable! Can’t wait to test these out? QC students get a a 20% discount off all products!
Universal Crème Blush by Elate
Founded in Canada, Elate’s powder products are all packaged with compostable bamboo. The bamboo cases feature magnetic closures to ensure your eco-conscious choice doesn’t mean settling for broken product!
Although their crème blush is a bit pricey, it’s definitely worth the cost! It is available in three gorgeous shades, and they all result in a natural, dewy look.
Psst—they also sell highlighters under their Universal Crème range!
Did you know you can make your own bronzer/contour powder using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen? Yes, in your kitchen. It sounds wacky, but don’t knock it before you try it! It works well (especially with some good setting spray) and will save you some serious money on contour palettes.
“UN” Cover-Up by RMS
RMS’s cover-up aims to brighten skin naturally, rather than cover it up completely. This is a great option for clients with sensitive skin or limited blemishes! All their packaging is plastic-free, and only uses glass or recyclable metal. With a variety of different shades, this is a great addition to your MUA kit!
Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation by Vapour
Similar to RMS’s packaging, Vapour only uses recyclable glass and metal. Their glowy foundation comes in 19 different shades, and you can save money if you schedule regular orders! This is a great option for MUAs if you seem to go through one shade quickly.
Yarrow Cucumber Toning Mist by Urb Apothecary
This toning face mist is perfect to prep freshly-washed skin. A luxurious combination of hydrosols and clary sage essential oil, this mist pulls attracts water from the air to hydrate skin. Follow this up with a moisturizer for a full-faced makeup look that doesn’t dry out the skin!
Brushes & Applicators
Various Makeup Brushes by Antonym
Antonym sells high-quality brushes made of sustainable and compostable bamboo and recyclable and durable aluminum. Though a bit pricey, these brushes will get you through so many clients. Plus, when they’ve run their course, they can be taken apart, the bamboo and bristles can be composted, and the metal can be recycled.
Making your own cotton rounds is quick and easy! If you made them with durable 100% cotton material, they can be reused and then composted once they’re worn out. It’s a quick and cheap DIY that will work wonders when prepping your client’s skin!
Bamboo Cotton Swabs by Peace With the Wild
Cotton swabs are multi-functional, but ultimately, are designed to be single-use. Makeup artists use cotton swabs to clean up application mistakes with precision. Unfortunately, the stick between the two cotton ends is usually made of non-recyclable plastic! These cotton swabs made by Peace with the Wind use sustainable bamboo, thus making the entire swab biodegradable! Best of all, their manufacturing processes are water-neutral and fair trade!
Clarity Organic Makeup Remover by Vapour
In their glass and metal packaging, Vapour also sells organic makeup remover! Without alcohol or harmful chemicals, the product will be gentle on your client’s skin! With your DIY reusable cotton rounds, you’ll leave your client’s skin clean and soft before starting your makeup application.
There are so many recipes for homemade face lotion depending on specific needs. The linked recipe is for sensitive skin, as it is free from harsh chemicals or ingredients. The ingredients (Shea butter, apricot seed oil, vitamin E, aloe vera, and essential oils) are all-natural and are often found in store-bought products. Making your own beauty products is an easy way to reduce or eliminate waste and save some cash!
Zero-waste sounds intimidating, but it can actually be quite convenient! DIY-ing products is likely the cheapest way to move towards less waste in your professional makeup kit, but buying the above products can also get the job done. Plus, products using natural ingredients, like many of the ones we have listed, are great for clients with allergies to common artificial beauty ingredients.