Making the Switch to Zero-Waste Cosmetics, Part 1: Getting Started
Making plans to replace your makeup regimen with sustainable products
When I first started trying to reduce waste in my life, I put most of my focus on things related to my household and kitchen. The first habit I swapped was stopping buying paper towels and replacing them with cloth rags, next I swapped mesh produce bags for plastic film, and so on and so forth.
Even though I’ve made huge strides in reducing waste in other areas of my life, I’ve been holding out on swapping out my cosmetics for more sustainable options for a while. I guess I felt that because I don’t wear very much makeup to begin with, it wasn’t a huge deal. But, making gradual swaps over time is what striving towards producing zero waste is all about. So, I’m going to get started on switching over my cosmetics collection to more sustainable options, and I’m going to share my process with you here on my blog.
In this post, I’ll share my current cosmetics routine, and some criteria for the kinds of brands I’d like to make the move to instead.
Over the next few weeks and months (as my current brands run out), I’ll share more posts on specific items (like mascara, highlighter, etc) and the brands I’m considering, the brands I try, and what I end up choosing.
If you have recommendations for favorite low-impact cosmetics brands or products, please share them with me in the comments!
My current makeup routine
Here’s what I’m currently using (and will continue to use until the containers run out):
Highlighter — Haloscope from Glossier
Eyebrow Crayon — Brow Stylist Kabuki Blender from L’Oreal Paris
Eyebrow Pomade & Brush — Boybrow from Glossier
Mascara — LashBlast Fusion Mascara from Covergirl
Eyeliner — Sephora Collection Kohl Pencil from Sephora
Lip Balm — Balm Dotcom from Glossier
Lipstick — Amuse Bouche from Bite Beauty
As you can tell, I really love Glossier’s products. I wish they would consider making a switch to more sustainable packaging or running a refills program. I’ve actually contacted them about this in the past, but unfortunately I don’t think it will come to pass any time soon! Glossier, if you're reading this...pretty please?
Criteria for my new products:
There are a few things I’m looking for in new makeup brands when I run out of the stuff I have already:
1) I’m primarily not looking for DIY options (with the exception of maybe makeup remover — I hear you can just use oil), because aint nobody got time for that. I also actively want to support brands in this space that are awesome!
2) I’m looking for brands with a commitment to low-impact packaging. This can include both the exterior packaging (i.e., box) and the actual material of the compact itself (i.e., the lipstick tube). Ideally, I’d like brands that use either compostable, metal, or glass containers for makeup — no plastic. If plastic has to be involved, it should be for a long lasting, multi-use item. I’d also prefer to buy from brands that make an effort to use sustainable materials on the whole, rather than buy from a brand that happens to have one item packaged in a glass jar for aesthetic purposes. Ya dig?
3) I’m looking for brands I can either purchase locally (NYC area) myself or where the company is willing to ship in a low impact manner — like with recycled packaging.
4) I’d love to purchase from a brand that has a refill program so that I’m not re-buying the same packaging each time. (pssst — Glossier, if you would do this, I would return to you! I’m very sorry to go.)
5) Lastly, I’m looking for non-toxic brands. If I’m putting it directly on my skin, I’d like to be able to pronounce most of the stuff in it.
If you’ve been thinking about reducing waste in your makeup routine for a while but just haven’t taken the plunge yet, I hope this series can help motivate you — let’s do it together! If you’re already on the zero-waste makeup train, please hit me up with your recommendations in the comments. I’ll be forever grateful!
Obligatory P.S. — I know makeup is totally nonessential, and the most zero-waste way to do makeup would be to, well, not wear makeup. Additionally, nobody is under any obligation to wear makeup, at all, full stop. That said, I and lots of other folks do like to wear a bit (or a ton!) of makeup, which is cool too. You do you!