To be honest, I have been disappointed by most of the “sustainable makeup” lists and blog posts I’ve seen. They always seem to actually be about organic or cruelty-free options, which are also great, but I am looking for plastic-free and reusable packaging. Too many of the companies on these lists use lots of plastic.

I’ve probably talked about my goals of reducing makeup waste before but I haven’t bought new makeup in a while so I haven’t thought about it recently. I don’t know about you but I’m not wasting time and mascara primping for Zoom meetings these days… Hahaha.

When I decided to really work on my sustainability a few years ago, I knew it would mean more than saying “no” to straws and plastic bags. I wanted to really reduce my single-use consumption as often as possible, especially when making new purchases.


Step 1: I canceled my Ipsy subscription. I already had enough makeup to work through. I put up a small shelf in my bathroom for it and it was full, so I cut myself off. Now I had to decide how to not let this happen again, and be more conscious of new purchases and their packaging.

Step 2: Don’t buy something similar to what I already have and pass on stuff I don’t use (for hygiene reasons, I wouldn’t give used mascara to friends but pretty much everything else is probably safe. My bestie can pull off the coral lip shade that I learned did not work on me…)

When I filled this shelf plus a makeup bag with so much plastic, I knew I needed a change.

Step 3: Seek out environmentally- responsible makeup companies that offer refillable packaging in glass, tin, wood, or cardboard. Bonus if they’re local or a U.S. small business, to save carbon emissions and support real people too!

Step 4: Be aware of “Green-washing”. This term refers to companies and advertising using colors, symbols, and phrases to appear sustainable when their practices don’t back it up. It’s all fine and well to offer “recyclable packaging” and “eco-friendly ingredients” but companies can do better than that, especially when it comes to packaging. Support ones who really try (see list below!)

I am not sponsored by any of the companies I mention on this blog, I just honestly love their options and efforts to help protect the planet 🙂


Zerra & Co.I just came across this Maryland small business on Instagram and it inspired me to write this post. Hailey, the founder, aims to check all the sustainability boxes – from product production to plastic-free packaging. They are cruelty-free, have vegan options, work with local beekeepers for their beeswax, ship carbon neutral and more. They even offer $1 shop credit when you return containers in good condition. They have lots of options – like a gorgeous eye shadow pallette, make-up remover, and mascara – yes, even the wand is plastic-free! I can’t wait to try their tinted lip balm too. It’s so affordable and has amazing reviews. Insta: @

Cardboard tube and gorgeous, cruelty-free colors!

Clean-Faced Cosmetics – This Michigan company is another great option that’s not greenwashing us. Laura uses sustainable packaging and has vegan options too. This is a good shop to try some foundation and lipstick in reusable packaging.

Dab Herb Makeup – If you’re looking for a wide variety of concealer shades or other prep items, like color corrector, tinted moisturizers, or primers, check out this California shop. They have a few plastic components like pumps and some samplers so look out for those and request samples in tin instead (they offer that option.) But they have wonderful packaging otherwise and a huge selection.

Etsy is really where you’ll find some of the best options for sustainable packaging!

Don’t forget, visit farmer’s and craft markets near you to find local, sustainable items!