I think advocating a sustainable lifestyle is all about the ripple effect. If I harp on about it enough then something I say will strike a chord with someone. Then they might start harping on about that. And something THEY say might strike a chord with someone else. Then they might start harping on about that. And something… I jest! You get where I’m going here. So I’m currently very happy to say my ripple has started to turn into a very small wave. Lots of my friends and family are asking me more and more questions about how they can make sustainability part of their lives. Go team!
My lovely cousin Louise recently asked me about make up brands that offer plastic-free or minimal plastic packaging. This is something I have looked into in the past but decided that more research was needed before dedicating a whole post to the topic. But now I have the fear that poor Lou will reluctantly spend her hard-earned mula on yet more plastic packaged, chemical ridden make up before I get the chance to do the research. So without further a do, here’s my top 3 plastic free make up brands.
ZAO Organic looks and feels like your “standard” high-end high street make up brand. From what I have read, the Bamboo that features heavily in their formulations and packaging is harvested from China in a “controlled fashion”. Although I can’t seem to find any information on the sustainability of the bamboo they use, they do mention that the farming practices don’t pose a threat to the habitats or food availability of the Giant Panda so for this, they get my approval. Despite the Bamboo ambiguity, ZAO certainly pack a sustainable punch. Their products are cruelty free, vegan and 100% certified organic. Some products are even gluten-free. Hands up who knew that gluten in make up was a thing?
As I mentioned, a lot of the outer packaging is made from bamboo and many items are refillable so you only need to buy the bamboo packaging once. Unfortunately a lot of the refills do come packaged in plastic. The website states that this is required in order for the product to be certified organic. After researching other brands offering refills I’m not 100% convinced this is entirely true.
With a lipstick costing only £17.75 (refills £12.75) ZAO give our trusty high street brands a run for their money. Are they 100% plastic free? No. But they’re lots of other great things and if you’re on a budget I don’t think you’ll get much better.
Drawing inspiration from her childhood (Kristen Kjaer Weis grew up on an organic farm in Denmark), sustainability is at the heart of this brand. Using only plant-based ingredients, almost all of the products have been Certified Natural or Certified Organic. And yes, all that is really great but, what I love about this brand is the packaging and refill system. Even their mascara is refillable. Something I haven’t found in other refill systems. Packaged in metal casing, these products are the epitome of sustainability and luxury. The refills are wrapped in paper. Yes, Kjear Weis is a (very nearly) plastic free zone!
The brand itself is in NYC so I can’t find you a shop here in the UK but fear not, you can purchase most of their items online at Naturisimo.com.
Kjaer Weis isn’t the cheapest. I guess that’s what happens when you avoid nasty plastics and harsh chemicals. A lipstick will set you back £51. Yes, its expensive when you compare it to the likes of Mac. However the refills are £29 making them slightly more competitive depending on the brands you currently enjoy. I guess it comes down to priorities and budget. I would certainly consider this brand, I like their ethos and the quality is unquestionable.
Elate Clean Cosmetics
Last but no means least is Elate Clean Cosmetics. I really didn’t want to include this brand in my top 3. Believe me it’s not because I don’t think their products are exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to package free make up. It’s because they’re Canadian. More specifically they are based only in Canada. And no I don’t hate Canadians, I love Canadians. But, anything you order from their web shop must be shipped across the Atlantic. Not really the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is it? Having said all that, I just can’t write my top 3 without them.
So what’s so great about these products that makes me even consider Transatlantic shipping just to get them? In a nutshell pretty much everything. The Founder is Canadian so she’s obviously a really nice person. The brand is all about the Fem. Elate wants to empower women and encourage them to embrace their natural beauty using natural product’s that enhance, not conceal. See you like them already don’t you?
“Their bamboo sourcing is pretty transparent”
Of course, the products are naturally plant-based, vegan, cruelty free, organic (only 90% but we’ll let them off) and most importantly, the packaging. Oh the packaging. Each product is packaged exactly as you see on their website. No additional plastic or cardboard boxes in sight. The pressed powders come in seed paper which is basically paper with seeds embedded in it that grow into flowers when planted. How bloody cute! They sell wooden and bamboo palette’s that you can store your pressed powders in and the lipsticks, mascaras, concealers etc come in bamboo casing. Unlike ZAO, their bamboo sourcing is pretty transparent. It’s from China, and it’s green certified and fair trade. The only thing they don’t do is refills. Shame.
What about the price? I hope you’re sitting down. A lipstick costs just £11! Excuse my French (Canadian) but that just shit’s all over any decent high street brand out there. Like I said, the only real drawback for us non-Canadians is the shipping both in terms of footprint and cost. If you’re planning on making a purchase can I suggest maybe doing some kind of bulk order with your fellow Conscious Crusaders? Yes I just called you Conscious Crusaders.
So there you have it. Three pretty amazing make up brands that offer quality, natural products (very very ever so nearly) package free. Please please let me know if you have already tried them out and also what you liked, didn’t like etc.