3 Plastic Free Make Up Brands

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

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.

Kjaer Weis

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.


My top 3 zero waste products

At the moment, being zero waste feels like an implausible, abstract concept.  I mean, I’ve always been someone who recycles food packaging and composts kitchen waste, I feel like these practices are pretty standard.  Most people would frown upon a person who didn’t recycle ANYTHING.

But ZERO WASTE?  Like.  NO.  WASTE.  That is next level.  Is that even possible?  Well I’m pleased to say it looks like it might be…

I’ve been inspired by the ingeniously named blog Trash is for Tossers by Lauren Singer.  Lauren lives in New York City and in my opinion is the Queen of zero waste.  The waste products from the last 4 years of her life fit into a single mason jar.  My boyfriend thought this was a joke.  I will assure you like I assured him this girl and her mason jar is real.  You can watch a video of Lauren talking us through the contents of her jar here.

Two Years of Trash
See.  I told you so.  Image via trashisfortossers.com

So now you’re probably thinking that you and I are in some way incapable of achieving this incredible feat.  And you might be right BUT I’ve already told you I like a challenge.  So here are my current favourite products that are helping me take baby steps towards a zero waste life.

A list!  Yeay!

  1.  Cotton carrier bags

    “why waste your money?  And why put another plastic bag into circulation?”

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you will be well aware that stores in the UK no longer hand out a plastic bag when you make a purchase.  You can still buy a 5p bag from most places or, if you’re feeling extra flush you can buy a bigger, very-slightly-better-quality-but-still-plastic bag for 10p.  But why waste your money?  And why put another plastic bag into circulation?  I won’t bore you with facts about how evil plastic bags (and single use plastic items in general) are but if you want to know just how evil then take a look here.

Historically I’ve been pretty bad at remembering to grab my cotton shoppers before I hit Aldi, but I’ve learnt the trick is to have a few of them.  I now carry two in my handbag and I also have a spare in the car.  I’m not claiming the cotton shoppers I own are the most ethical or sustainable available but they are DEFO better than plastic bags.  I’ll keep my 5p thank you very much.

2.  Re-useable water bottle

Like most of us I’m a pretty busy person and spend a lot of time working or driving or generally being on the go.  This beauty comes with me everywhere.  I have the 532ml reflect bottle in matt silver (they also have an 800ml version and you can get both sizes in shiny silver too).  It’s perfectly sized to fit in my handbag and it has a cute little handle so you can swing it around and show it off to your friends (if you like).

More importantly the materials are all sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly.  The bottle itself is made from BPA free stainless steel, the lid from bamboo and the liner from food-grade silicone.

If you’re interested in this beautiful piece of zero waste kit you can get one right here.


To top it all off Klean Kanteen are kicking butt in the Sustainable Business Olympics (I don’t think that’s actually a thing but it should be).  Their factories are socially and environmentally responsible, they operate a green shipping program, and they belong to an organisation called “1% For The Planet” which means they’re committed to contributing lots of money to environmental organisations dedicated to preserving and restoring wild places.

3.  Menstrual cup

“There are loads of alternative eco-friendly products on the market now and the Mooncup is just one of them.”

I’m sorry guys but I’m going there.  So if you’re weird and squeamish and prefer to stay in a world where women are made from sugar and spice or whatever it is, then I suggest you leave.  Now.

We all know that cruising the crimson wave is a bit of a drag.  And thanks to single use sanitary products Mother Nature isn’t really enjoying the ride either.  Most single use tampons and pads use non-recycleable and potentially toxic materials that are harmful to our bodies and our environment meaning they all go to landfill.  There are loads of alternative eco-friendly products on the market now and the Mooncup is just one of them.  Its made from soft medical grade silicone, is latex-free and hypoallergenic and contains no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins.  Each cup comes in a cute little ethically produced organic cotton bag, the only waste is the recyclable cardboard box it’s packaged in.

Are you sold yet?

How about the fact that they last for years and years and cost the same amount that you’d spend on disposable products in 6 months?  You only need one cup no matter where you are in your flow AND they’re Vegan.

Of all the items here I think that my Mooncup has been the biggest life changer.  I wont lie, it took a couple of months to get used to putting it in correctly, taking it out etc but now its as easy as anything else I’ve used in the past.  I’ve even lived in a van in a car park with VERY basic bathroom facilities and managed to use it so this in my book makes it a winner.  Now I get to enjoy the fact that every month I’m doing something great for the planet.

If you’re interested, Amazon seem to have them going pretty cheap.  Make sure you check out the Mooncup website to check your size before you buy.

And you get a fridge sticker!  Yes this is actually stuck on my fridge.  Boyf dispairs…

I’m currently eyeing up some new products to add to my zero waste tool kit but like the good, slow-living, Conscious Queen I am, I’m taking my time deciding which products I can invest in that will make the biggest impact.  I’ll do another post like this one when I’ve added to my kit.

Please share your thoughts on these products or similar if you have them, and let me know what steps you’re taking to reduce your waste production in the comments below!