Switching To Clean and Eco Friendly Beauty

Image: Kjaer Weiss

Raise your hand if your makeup bag needs a makeover! Why not regain control and power over your regime and clean up your makeup bag? These are our tips to switching to clean and eco friendly beauty.

The Issue With Packaging

Makeup products are highly polluting. The cosmetics industry produces 120 billion units of packaging every year globally. A large number of these products are not recyclable. Here’s the problem at it’s core: cosmetic packaging is challenging to recycle because of the way it’s created. For instance if you look at the pump on your foundation bottle, you’ll notice that it’s made with a number of different materials. So unless they are cleaned and separated out correctly, they ultimately end up in a landfill.

Plastic certainly isn’t the environment’s best friend. The lifespan of a plastic bottle that your makeup product might be packaged in is between 450 and 1,000 years in a landfill. When plastic cosmetics packaging does begin to degrade, it emits harmful greenhouse gases throughout our atmosphere which contributes to climate change. So would 100% plastic packaging work, if you could potentially recycle it all? Unfortunately just 31% of plastic waste is successfully recycled. (For help, head to Terra Cycle, they have several ongoing collaborations with beauty brands helping their customers to recycle empty packaging.)

Don’t Throw Makeup Away

That doesn’t mean you have to start looking at every product you own with horror and throw them in the bin, in order to start buying clean, non toxic makeup from scratch. The best thing you can do is to declutter your make up drawer and makeup bag the same way you would do with your closet. Keep the products you use, the ones that work, and make you feel genuinely good about yourself. Once they are finished, look for a clean, non toxic and recyclable replacements instead.

How To Dispose of Beauty Packaging

As for the rest, why not check if any of your friends are interested in making good use of what doesn’t belong in your routine anymore. Maybe you can get together and do a swap? However items such as mascara and eyeliner shouldn’t be shared because of the risk of bacteria applied to your eyes. We also love to repurpose efficient empty packaging. Can you use it as a travel mini to decant other products into? It could also have handy household applications. Maybe it houses your homemade anti bacterial spray, making your sink look a little prettier at the same time. See what you can come up with before making the bin your last option.

Choosing Recyclable Packaging

When replacing your makeup, look out for recyclable, biodegradable and refillable packaging to limit the waste you create. Packaging has come a long way in the last few years but it’s always worth checking the bottle or brands website to get more information on responsible disposal.

Kjaer Weiss Refillable Cosmetics Switching To Clean and Eco Friendly Beauty


Kjaer Weis offers only refillable products created from durable metal. The packaging is uber stylish, immediately elevating any cosmetics bag or vanity. While it’s not the cheapest brand around, having tried the products we believe it to be worth the investment. The Flush & Glow Duo is a two in one highlighter and blush that gives you apple-cheeked glow and colour: it’s easily bendable and certified organic. If you prefer a powder texture, Zao is a great option. All of it’s products come in refillable bamboo packaging. Which is even better because at the end of it’s life it’s biodegradable. This blush and highlighter duo is a winner. To apply, we love EcoTools. They are a great green choice for brushes. 

Flush and Glow Duo, £41, Kjaer Weis at Content Beauty and Wellbeing


Are you a lipstick aficionado? We think you’ll love Confession™ Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick from Hourglass. It’s a long-wearing colour with a satin finish. The sleek gold applicator is designed to be used interchangeably with the entire collection of refills. You can have fun with colours without ending up with hundreds of half-empty lipsticks, and then a pile of trash. For a more luxurious investment, La Bouche Rouge offer leather lipstick cases with refillable colours. They now offer a new serum lip care set too. 

Confession™ Ultra Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipstick, £33, Hourglass

Hourglass Confession Lipstick Refillable Cosmetics Switching To Clean and Eco Friendly Beauty
Bésame Mascara Cake Refillable Cosmetics Switching To Clean and Eco Friendly Beauty


Bésame Cosmetics offers a refillable solid mascara that can be stored in a tin, which is recyclable or can be repurposed. If you’re not comfortable with the brush they provide, why not reuse one of your favourite mascara wands? Antonym Cosmetics uses sustainable bamboo for their power and eyeshadow packaging, along with FSC-certified wood for their eye pencils. This makes them very nearly a plastic-free brand. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics also provides refillable products. They’re all handmade using green energy, and their plastic-free, recycled paper labels are printed in-house using green energy. They are 95% plastic-free with the exception of a few spray tops on their hair products and facial oil. 

Black Cake Mascara, £20, Bésame Cosmetics


If you’re a maximalist when it comes to makeup, you’ll probably have a hard time finding those incredible eyeshadows palettes you love. Especially one that is made with natural materials and sustainable packaging. In this case, Āether Beauty is your best choice. They use organic, fair-trade, and non-GMO ingredients wherever possible and ban over 2700 ingredients from their formulas. Plus: they’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free. If however you like to build your own, Sappho’s refillable cardboard palettes are environmentally friendly and chic. 

Crystal Grid Gemstone Palette, £56, Aether Beauty at Glow Organic 

Aether Beauty Refillable Cosmetics Switching To Clean and Eco Friendly Beauty

Now for the good news – soap brows are the new big thing in beauty, and they’re perfectly zero waste. All you need is an organic soap bar, we love Tanaka Soaps, Basic Bar. It’s ideal because it isn’t coloured. Simply apply to your brows using an old mascara wand to create your look. If you  need to fill in your eyebrows afterwards, then you can do some touch-ups with a brown pencil.

Did This Put A Smile On Your Face? Why Not Subscribe?

If you enjoyed this then theres plenty more on our email newsletters that you'll love. Whether you're a sustainable newbie or an eco conscious pro, our bi monthly emails will inspire you to live sustainably and ethically.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is for general advice only and should not be used as a substitute for professional healthcare or beauty advice. We make every effort to ensure we only recommend safe products however you should always do a patch test when trying new products. This post may contain affiliate links.