Updated on January 5, 2024

18 Cruelty-Free & Zero-Waste Makeup Brands (With Vegan Options!)

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Photo: Elate Cosmetics, A Zero-Waste Makeup Brand

I’m happy to finally make and post this list of cruelty-free & zero-waste makeup brands with mostly vegan options!

Since there is no standard or legal definition of what exactly ‘zero-waste’ makeup means, I like to believe it’s supporting businesses that are reducing single-use and plastic packaging as much as possible. While aiming to have their packaging to be made from sustainable materials and/or biodegradable & compostable at the end of its lifecycle. Or to be made from infinitely recyclable materials like glass and aluminum. While I understand that 100% plastic-free is not always possible, if small components of plastic are absolutely necessary, they must be recyclable.

Taking all of the above into consideration, I’ve found 18 cruelty-free and vegan-friendly makeup brands that are as close to zero-waste as possible by either offering compostable packaging, refillable systems to reduce single-use packaging, or delivering plastic-free packaging solutions.

But above all, remember that the most sustainable and ‘zero-waste’ option is to use up what you currently have. And when it’s time to buy, consume lightly and waste little.

Zero-Waste Makeup Brands

The following cruelty-free makeup brands offer some plastic-free packaging and zero-waste makeup products and are either 100% vegan or offer some vegan options. I’ve also ensured all of the brands listed below uses ethically-sourced mica and/or synthetic mica.

Elate Cosmetics

Based & Made in: Canada

Elate Cosmetics is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Elate zero-waste? Elate Cosmetics offers several low-waste makeup options that mostly come packaged in their signature bamboo compacts that are designed to be reused and refilled over and over again.

Elate offers refills of their pressed foundations, cream concealer, pressed eyeshadow, and brow balm which all come packaged in seed paper envelopes that can be planted in your garden to sprout wildflowers. All of their cosmetics come exactly as shown on their website with no additional boxes or packaging.

Although Elate Cosmetics isn’t entirely plastic-free, they’re committed to becoming the first 100% plastic-free and waste-free cosmetic company. Currently, the small amount of recyclable plastic that Elate does use is for their lip gloss, the inserts of their lipsticks, foundation pump, and mascara, as well as for the caps of their lip and eye pencils which are corn-derived.

Elate is also very upfront about what each component of their packaging is made from and what can be recycled or is biodegradable.

Axiology Balmies

Based & Made in: USA

Axiology is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Axiology Balmies zero-waste? Axiology’s Balmies is a 3-in-1 multi-use color for eyes, lips, and cheeks. Consciously created and designed to be zero-waste and plastic-free, meaning they’re tube and cap-free! The Balmies come wrapped in paper and are designed to be carried around in their durable recyclable paper box that’s made from recycled trash by a women’s cooperative in Bali. All of Axiology products are also handmade in small batches in their own facility, check their Instagram for behind-the-scenes of how their Balmies are made!

Although Axiology’s Balmies are plastic-free and zero-waste, note that their regular lipstick tubes and lip crayons are not completely zero-waste but they’re made from post-consumer recycled plastic.

Kjaer Weis – Refillable Compact System

Based in the US & Made in Italy

Kjaer Weis is cruelty-free, with some vegan options, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Kjaer Weis zero-waste? Kjaer Weis worked with an award-winning designer to create their thoughtful, refillable system of compacts, with the intention of reducing waste. The result is a luxury and sustainable makeup product that’ll inspire you to reuse mostly, refill as needed, and recycle when necessary.

Kjaer Weis also launched their Red Edition packaging made from textured red paper that’s recyclable and compostable. When shopping on their website, you’ll have the option to get just the refill or choose between their Iconic Edition or Red Edition compact. Both are incredibly sturdy, durable, and designed to be reused over and over again.

Note that Kjaer Weis does use beeswax in most of their cream makeup products which is why they’re not an entirely vegan brand. And they also have other makeup products that come in plastic packaging, meaning they’re not 100% plastic-free and zero-waste.

River Organics

Based & Made in: USA

River Organics is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses synthetic mica therefore no child labor is involved.

What makes River Organics zero-waste? River Organics is committed to offering as close to zero-waste as possible makeup products. All of their products come in plastic-free packaging and a portion of each sale is donated to One Tree Planted.

Their collection of zero-waste makeup includes tinted lip balms, blush & highlighter sticks, as well as brow wax and concealers. All of which come in paper tubes and eco-friendly packaging, along with biodegradable sugar cane labels.

River Organics’ zero-waste philosophy also includes their shipping materials which consist of recycled envelopes from Eco-Enclose, sugarcane-based labels, and without additional marketing material or packing.

ZAO Organic Makeup – Refill System

Made in: Europe

ZAO is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes ZAO makeup zero-waste? ZAO’s makeup products packaging is made from controlled harvested bamboo and designed to be refillable so that you can buy once and use it endlessly.

ZAO offers refillable makeup for almost everything in their collection including liquid foundation, concealer, lipsticks, mascara, and anything that goes into their bamboo compacts or palettes. Their refill system was designed to reduce waste and use less plastic & energy.

Note that some components of ZAO’s refilllable makeup product packaging are made of plastic. So they’re not 100% plastic-free.

Lush Cosmetics – Naked Packaging

Based & Made in: the UK

Lush Cosmetics is cruelty-free, with some vegan options, and uses synthetic mica therefore no child labor is involved.

What makes Lush’s makeup zero-waste? Only available in the UK, Lush offers several ‘naked’ makeup products that come package-free. Their range of zero-waste makeup includes solid foundation ‘slap sticks’, multi-use concealer and highlighter sticks, and low-waste refillable lipsticks.

Note that not all of Lush’s makeup products are package and plastic-free like their mascara and eyeliners aren’t.

ĀTHR Beauty

Based in US & Made in US, Canada, and/or Europe

ĀTHR is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses a combination of ethically-sourced natural mica and synthetic mica that’s made in a lab and therefore no child labor is involved.

What makes ĀTHR zero-waste? ĀTHR’s palettes are zero-waste and fully recyclable. ĀTHR’s eyeshadow, blush, and highlighter palettes and compacts come in 100% recyclable packaging. No mirrors or magnets, only recyclable aluminum pans, FSC certified recycled materials, and printed using soy-based inks.

In addition, ĀTHR offers carbon-neutral shipping to reduce shipping emissions. All of their shipping and packaging materials are also fully recyclable, packed in an FSC certified box, and sealed with a sugar-based biodegradable sticker.

Principle Beauty

Based & Made in: USA

Principle is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Principle Beauty’s palette zero-waste? Principle Beauty’s zero-waste makeup palette is plastic-free and sustainable. Their vegan eyeshadow palettes are fully compostable and made from organic materials: paper and cork, and contain makeup pans made of 100% recycled aluminum. 

In addition, all of Principle’s shipping materials are made from recycled brown kraft paper and can be composted or recycled and again, zero plastics here.

Aleph Beauty – Circular Initiative

Based & Made in: New Zealand

Aleph is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Aleph Beauty zero-waste? Aleph Beauty’s core packaging is made from glass and their lids are made from aluminum. Currently, Aleph’s collection of zero-waste makeup includes vegan concealer, cheek & lip tints, and highlighters.

Aleph also has a Circular Initiative where you can send in your empty Alpeh jars and container to be reused and refilled by them, thereby reducing single-use packaging and new materials entering the loop.

Note that Aleph Beauty is not 100% plastic-free as they do use plastic when absolutely neccessary and when there’s no alternative like the cuffs on their serum/primer bottles. But they assure the small amount of plastic they use is recyclable. 

In addition, all of their courier bags and courier labels are biodegradable and compostable.

Clean Faced Cosmetics (Etsy)

Based & Made in: USA

Clean Faced Cosmetics is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Clean Faced Cosmetics zero-waste? Clean Faced Cosmetics is almost completely zero-waste and plastic-free. Most of CFC’s zero-waste makeup comes in refillable and recyclable tins or glass veils. And they offer vegan mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, foundation, concealer, bronzer, and eyeshadow.

They also offer refills that come in biodegradable bags and since Clean Faced Cosmetics is sold on Etsy, the retailer offsets all carbon emissions created by shipping.

Dirty Hippie Cosmetics

Based & Made in: Australia

Dirty Hippie is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Dirty Hippie zero-waste? Most of Dirty Hippie Cosmetics’ product packaging is zero-waste and plastic-free, made from 100% compostable and recycled materials, and are refillable.

Dirty Hippie has a range of cream and powder makeup in metal tins, eyeliner and mascara in glass veils, and lip & cheek tints in 100% compostable and recycled paper push-up packaging. Refills come in 100% post-consumer recycled paper envelopes.

They also offer a recycling program for Australian residents. And Dirty Hippie’s shipping materials consist of post-consumer recycled paper tape, boxes, and recycled newspaper they collect as waste from local businesses for padding.

All Earth Minerals

Based & Made in: the UK

All Earth Minerals is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes All Earth Minerals zero-waste? Almost all of All Earth Minerals packaging is plastic-free, refillable, biodegradable, or recyclable. They offer mineral makeup in their low-waste Pots for Life containers or it also comes in compostable paper tubes, and they also have cream concealer, highlighters, and tints in glass jars.

The only recyclable plastic they use is in their Pots for Life. The outer casing is made from solid beech wood sourced from sustainable UK forests and the inner plastic casing and sift is made from reclaimed fishing nets salvaged from the sea. All Earth Minerals also offer biodegradable refill tubes so that you can reuse and refill your Pot for Life.

Their shipping materials are also made from recycled and biodegradable materials.

Zerra & Co.

Based & Made in: USA

Zerra & Co. is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically sourced natural mica but they’re transitioning to become 100% mica-free by 2022.

What makes Zerra & Co. zero-waste? Zerra & Co. offers many plastic-free and zero-waste makeup products stating Zerra & Co. “never use single-use plastics and limit plastic in product packaging as much as possible.”

Some of their zero-waste cosmetics include vegan mascara and eyeliner in a plastic-free glass vial, mineral foundation and setting powder in a 100% paper container, tinted lip balm in 100% compostable packaging, and eyeshadows in metal tins or in a plastic-free palette.

Zerra & Co. also ships carbon-neutral and use 100% plastic-free shipping materials.

Love The Planet

Based & Made in: the UK

Love The Planet is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Love The Planet zero-waste? All of Love The Planet products are plastic packaging-free. Their zero-waste mineral makeup products come in recyclable and refillable tins.

Love The Planet also offers their vegan and zero-waste mineral foundation, concealer, blush, and eyeshadows in compostable refill pouches (made from paper, starch, and cellulose film from wood fibre).

In addition, Love The Planet ships orders in paper envelopes that are also plastic-free.

PHB Ethical Beauty – Zero Waste Makeup

Based in the UK & Made in the UK and Canada

PHB Ethical Beauty is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes PHB Ethical Beauty zero-waste? Not all of their makeup products are plastic-free and zero-waste but PHB Ethical Beauty does have a collection of zero-waste makeup. The collection includes pressed mineral foundation, blush, highlighter, contour, eyeshadow, and brow powders, all of which are packaged in paper compacts without magnets or mirrors, making them fully recyclable.

PHB Ethical Beauty also has a low-waste vegan lipstick packaged in a paper tube and may not be entirely plastic-free but it uses 70% less plastic than traditional lipstick packaging.

Hurraw! Aura Balms

Based & Made in: USA

Hurraw! is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses synthetic mica that’s made in a lab therefore no child labor is involved.

What makes Hurraw! zero-waste? Hurraw! offers ‘Aura Balms’ that are essentially vegan cream highlighters, bronzers, and blushes, available in six wearable colors and they come packaged in a glass jar with a tin lid that is 100% recyclable.

Note that some of Hurraw’s other products, like their lip balms, aren’t plastic-free or zero-waste. But Hurraw is continuously striving to reduce their plastic use and choosing readily recyclable and PCR materials.

Hurraw! also ships their orders in recycled and recyclable corrugated packaging and use 100% recycled post-consumer paper for void fill.

Root Beauty – ECO Refills

Based & Made in: USA

Root Beauty is cruelty-free, 100% vegan , and uses ethically-sourced mica without child labor.

What makes Root Beauty zero-waste? Root Beauty isn’t entirely plastic-free, but I’m adding them to this list of zero-waste makeup brands because of their compostable ECO refills and bulk options.

Root offers ECO Refills for pretty much all of their powder makeup products including foundation, blush, and eyeshadow colors. Their innovative refill pouches are made from plant-based material derived from corn, making them compostable. You can refill your existing container or get one of their reusable glass jars.

In addition, many of their other makeup products are available in refills and low-waste options, including their pressed eyeshadow pans and cheek + lip tins. They also accept back all empty Root packaging to recycle them for you or they’ll sanitize and reuse them, if possible.

Honourable Mentions

Besame Cosmetics, Fat and the Moon, and RMS Beauty all offer some zero or low-waste makeup options but unfortunately, most of their plastic-free and zero-waste makeup products contain beeswax, making them not vegan.

Final Words

This is the first post of my journey to transitioning to more sustainable makeup (in addition to cruelty-free & vegan of course), I plan to post more sustainable and zero-waste makeup guides in the coming weeks & months. So, please let me know in the comments below what type of content you’d like to see more of!

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What do you think

2 thoughts on “18 Cruelty-Free & Zero-Waste Makeup Brands (With Vegan Options!)”

  1. This is great! It is so hard to find ethical, zero waste make up thatis actually good! I look forward to trying some of your suggestions. Do you have any suggestions for brands based in the EU? I live in Germany and also want to factor in local products, on top of ethical and zero waste, as much as possible. Such a challenge!!

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