Turns out there is almost nothing available in the usual places. But, if you’re committed to living with less plastic, read on. Because it’s definitely do-able, once you know where to look.


first thoughts

Buying less of something is the obvious way to reduce plastic waste. Whilst this is hard in some areas, like food, it’s easy in others where the ‘something’ is more of an indulgence.

Use up all the things you already have. You’ll be amazed at how long you can probably go before needing to buy anything new.

Simplify your make-up. Make conscious choices. Better to buy one thing from a range you adore, than two ‘eco’ things you don’t like (& won’t use).

Look within your favourite brands and see if there are any easy switches. Foundation in a glass bottle? Old school eye pencils you sharpen yourself, rather than twist up?



If I wrote a list of my top five plastic-free superheroes, Lush would be on it for sure. More than just stinky bath-bombs, they were selling ‘naked’ products long before it became ‘a thing’.

They get an extra high five now because they have just launched a range of cosmetics, which are not just plastic-free, but genuinely zero-waste.

Products like foundations, concealers and all-purpose glow-sticks (not the rave variety) can be used directly out of their cardboard boxes. Or, with the lipsticks, just peel off the wax wrapper and pop it into whatever empty twist-up lippie you have. It’s genius.

Not pictured, but also worth mentioning is the Lush mascara. I’ve gone around the houses researching the best option and this is what I think is best. But on one proviso - you return the empty tube to them. Keeping plastics in a closed-loop recycling scheme is one of the most efficient use of of resources and guarantees it won’t end up in landfill.


zao refillables

For some reason, I was a bit sceptical about Zao. I’d seen their products popping in some of the ‘plastic free’ shops, but wasn’t convinced that they could live up to that claim.

I had a really positive email exchange with the Director of Zao, who was completely transparent about what they can do, can’t do, will do and won’t do.

My view now is that some products are better than others. I don’t believe that a refillable mascara or lipgloss is much of an improvement (the only plastic ‘saving’ being the wand). But I do think the refillable powders, eye-shadows and blushers are truly fabulous.

Overall, they definitely one of the good guys :-)



Definitely a bit of a weird name, but the products are lovely.

Fat and the Moon have perfect little pots of colour for lips and cheeks, as well as dramatic black kohl for eyes, which is now in my make-up essentials bag.

The range, which is made with 100% natural ingredients, also includes lovely skincare things too.

They are a US brand that you can buy via Etsy, but stocked by a few UK places too.



If you want to splash out, or are sensibly adopting a ‘buy less, buy better’ thing, RMS Beauty is a proper treat.

The minimal packaging is made from sustainable materials, meaning it's either reusable, recyclable or compostable - and many products are entirely plastic free.

I have a pot of lip colour and a cheek tint, both of which are in glass pots with metal lids.

The range is organic, beautiful quality, but wowzers, it’s expensive!

I discovered RMS at a sustainable Christmas pop-up event (Oooops. Happy Christmas to me) but have since found it stocked at Space NK too, which might spell danger.



Dirty Hippie Cosmetics are a fab Australian brand.

They are great value, hand-made (made to order, in fact) vegan and totally plastic-free.

They stock the only only plastic free mascara I’ve come across (aside from a disastrous Etsy buy) but I’ve not got it, so can’t vouch for it being any good either.

Items are coming a loooooong way, but are shipped by standard mail, weigh very little and are sent in uber-eco packaging. Personally, I think that’s okay.



I left the only make-up brushes I had in a hotel bathroom eons ago. And, to be honest, it’s been a struggle to find anything that I’m 100% happy are a genuinely eco choice. These Eco Tools were the best I’d found. But they’re not perfect. The brushes themselves are made from bamboo and recycled materials. But they do come in plastic packaging, which I gather is for hygiene reasons. They are lovely quality though, so I can’t see I’ll be needed any others for a long time.

Since buying these, I’ve discovered Zao do very similar brushes. Same deal, bamboo handles, vegan-friendly synthetic tops. But they are not sold in plastic packaging.


lip balms

I wondered if you can get actually be addicted to lip-balm. Apparently not, but it’s a close call for me. Good thing there are lots of easy-to-find options in little glass pots or stainless steel tins.

I’ve even started making my own - it’s really easy. So the few pots I have (that are on a constant cycle of being lost and found) can stay in my at-home zero-waste lip-balm factory.

If you’re buying, give those blue tins a swerve if you can. Vaseline, AKA petroleum jelly, is, well, petrol. Try this (Fair Squared) or this (Wild Sage) or this (Evolve Beauty) instead.

Save the empty tins to take on holiday. They make perfect travel-sized pots for skincare products.



From time to time, I think we all need a bit of magic and sparkle in our lives.

I was gutted when I found out about the environmental impact of glitter, AKA teeny-tiny pieces of micro-plastic. (Is nothing safe?!).

But, phew, there’s eco-glitter, which is totally biodegradable and ocean safe.

Festival go-ers, use it with aloe vera gel for sparkly faces and bodies. Christmas crafters, this works a treat for your creations too.


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