Zero-Waste Cosmetics for Sustainable Makeup Lovers

Zero-Waste Cosmetics

A zero-waste lifestyle is one of the most sustainable ways to live. But did you know it’s also great for your health and wellness? With their focus on simplicity and natural ingredients, zero-waste cosmetics can do wonders for your skin, hair, and overall health. If you’re switching to a zero-waste lifestyle or simply adopting a few new sustainable habits, you can still maintain your love for beauty. All it takes is adding zero-waste beauty products to your everyday routine.

What does zero-waste mean?

Zero-waste is a sustainability movement aimed at reducing the amount you consume and throw away. It’s rooted in simplicity and sustainability. Those who live a zero-waste lifestyle go against the norm of consumer culture by only buying what they need, instead of what they want. Instead of throwing things away, those who follow a zero-waste lifestyle reuse, repurpose, recycle, or donate whenever possible.

Going zero-waste doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s okay if you aren’t fully zero-waste from the get-go. Everyone has to start somewhere, and even small changes add up. Stick to it, and you’re sure to succeed!

What are zero waste cosmetics?

Mainstream beauty products are incredibly wasteful. Unlike traditional plastic packaging, zero-waste cosmetics use sustainable packaging, if any packaging at all. Some zero waste stores offer personal care items in bulk, which allows their customers to fill up their personal bottles with the products, so there’s no need for any additional packaging.

sustainable beauty routine

Reducing waste is only half the story. Look on the back of any commercial beauty product and you’ll find a list of ingredients you can barely pronounce, let alone understand what they are. Unfortunately, most mainstream beauty products are filled with chemicals and preservatives that are potentially harmful to our bodies and the environment. Zero-waste beauty products are almost always natural, non-toxic, and cruelty-free.

The 5 R’s of Zero-Waste Beauty


The first step to living waste-free is to refuse what you don’t need and what doesn’t fit into your zero-waste lifestyle. This means saying no to disposable items like single-use makeup sponges, cotton pads, and face masks. It also means saying yes to sustainable products like reusable makeup wipes, fabric face masks, and menstrual cups.


If you’re living a zero-waste lifestyle, you’ll simply have to get used to living with less. While cutting back may involve making some sacrifices, seeing how little you can live off of can be incredibly freeing. Start by letting go of old beauty products you no longer use, donating unwanted clothing and accessories, and getting rid of unnecessary clutter in your bathroom drawers.


Reusable containers are an essential part of living plastic-free. If you use a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, you’ve already taken the first step in swapping disposable items for reusable ones. Living a zero-waste lifestyle means using only reusable items. Since most zero-waste beauty products don’t use any packaging, stock up on glass jars to store liquid products like lotions and soaps.

reduce reuse recycle


While recycling is the go-to for most consumers, it’s considered the last resort in a zero-waste lifestyle. An item should only be recycled if there are no other options. While tossing your empty shampoo bottle in the recycling bin may feel eco-friendly, the positive environmental impact of recycling is a bit of a misconception. The enormous amount of single-use plastics make it difficult for the recycling industry to keep up. Plus, most items are only ‘downcycled,’ meaning they are turned into single-use products that will ultimately end up in a landfill.


Repurposing simply means to reuse an item for an entirely different purpose than the one it was intended for. Upcycling is an easy way to reduce waste and extend the life cycle of nearly any object. If you need inspiration, there are plenty of zero-waste DIY projects on blogs and social media sites. For starters, try repurposing a glass perfume bottle into a small vase.

Zero Waste Beauty Essentials

Shampoo Bar

One of the easiest places to go zero waste is in the shower. The plastic packaging used for traditional shampoo bottles takes hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. Plus, liquid shampoos are often filled with chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. A shampoo bar—a concentrated version of liquid shampoo—is just as easy to use, but doesn’t harm the environment in the process.

Natural Deodorant

Unlike traditional deodorants that use pore-clogging chemicals such as aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium, natural deodorants use commonplace ingredients like coconut oil, cornstarch and arrowroot powder. These powerful ingredients have natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that prevent odor-causing bacteria without clogging your pores.

solid shampoo bar

Toothpaste Tablets

Toothpaste tablets are an environmentally-friendly alternative to tube toothpaste. They contain natural ingredients that fight plaque and freshen your breath. The small mint-sized tablets work just like regular toothpaste. Simply pop one in your mouth, crush the tablet between your teeth and brush. As you begin to brush, the tablet will feel, taste, and foam just like regular toothpaste.

Reusable Makeup Wipes

Conventional makeup wipes are remarkably wasteful. One use and they’re headed straight to the landfill. Single-use makeup wipes are typically made from a combination of polyester, polypropylene, wood pulp, and other ingredients that are not biodegradable. Instead, a zero-waste makeup wipe is made from natural materials (typically cotton) and can be used over and over again. As you transition towards zero-waste, add reusable cotton pads, swabs, and sponges to your beauty routine as well. To remove makeup the natural way, apply a small amount of coconut oil,  instead of makeup remover, to your reusable makeup wipe.

Why should you use zero waste cosmetics?

Reduce Your Trash Output

By using little to no packaging materials, zero-waste cosmetics cut out the pollution and waste that comes from making and throwing away disposable packaging. Using your own reusable or repurposed containers also reduces your trash output and eliminates the need for one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste, single-use plastics, entirely. For inspiration, check out the founder of the zero-waste lifestyle, Bea Miller, who fit an entire year’s worth of her family’s trash into a small mason jar.

Save Money

Say goodbye to the half-used shampoo bottles and dried-out makeup products cluttering your bathroom. A zero-waste lifestyle uses every beauty product until the last drop (and perhaps reusing or repurposing its packaging too). Purchasing less overall and using products until they’re completely gone helps to reduce impulse purchase. By only buying what you truly need, you begin to free yourself from a buy, buy, buy mentality. Ditching consumer culture can be one of the most rewarding parts of adopting a zero-waste lifestyle.

Encourage a Healthier Lifestyle

Zero-waste products are natural, non-toxic, and safe for your body. Once you become aware of the products you put on your skin, you’re more likely to think twice about what goes into your body as well. Choosing to use products that are natural and non-toxic often leads to adopting healthy habits in other areas of your life. Those who follow a zero-waste lifestyle are more likely to eat healthy foods, fill their home with natural products, and care more about their health and the health of the environment.

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