Plastic-free and zero-waste beauty have become hot search topics in the last few years. And for good reason—there are an estimated 5.2 TRILLION pieces of plastic floating in our oceans. Only 9% of plastic is estimated to be recycled, while fossil-based plastic production is actually GROWING.
Thanks to The Detox Market for sponsoring this post!
Plus, thanks to a worldwide pandemic, packaging (plastic and otherwise) has become an even more prominent part of our lives as we order more takeout/delivery food, and utilize online shopping more than ever. Not to mention all the single-use plastic we’ve had to rely on to keep ourselves and others safe in the last year.
We don’t say this to throw brands that use plastic under the bus. We say this to help build awareness and maintain our status as conscious consumers. So, in the spirit of Earth Month, we wanted to highlight some truly plastic-free beauty products.
These recommendations have been TNK approved, and also can help reduce your environmental footprint by decreasing single-use plastic consumption.
Plastic free isn’t always the best option
Let’s start by saying that plastic free isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes, plastic is necessary or preferred. For example:
- Some plastic is necessary to create hygienic, shelf stable and easy-to-use skin care products.
- Plastic can be safer for items like shower products.
- Plastic can be more user friendly for people with less dexterity.
- The science of plastic is evolving so now we are seeing bottles made from post-consumer plastic, recovered ocean plastic, and non-petroleum-derived plastic from commodities like sugar cane.
But sometimes plastic free is the best option
That being said, there are definitely places in the beauty industry where we can cut down our single-use plastic consumption with very little to no compromise.
The tricky thing about plastic free beauty is that some products appear to be plastic free when in reality, they are not. Glass pots can come with plastic cap components; mascaras come with a plastic wand; metal tins come wrapped in plastic; aluminum bottles can be lined with plastic; and the same goes for tubes of color sticks like lipsticks or blush.
We are not the first ones to post about plastic-free beauty but this post is different and unique in a couple of ways:
- We’ve fact checked with brands to ensure the products recommended below are indeed 100% plastic free—including the outer packaging, which is huge! There is nothing like ordering a shampoo bar (with the intention of not buying plastic) only to have it arrive wrapped in a plastic outer. That can be a bummer.
- All of the products listed below also fall in line with our TNK credo: better options for you and the planet.
We also want to acknowledge that creating truly plastic-free beauty is A HUGE FEAT. And we wanted to take this opportunity and space to tip our cap to the following brands who have leveled up against all the plastic odds.
Tips for shopping for plastic free beauty
Want to shop local or online for plastic-free beauty? Try these tips (we recommend screenshotting this section for easy reference):
- Shop refills. There is a higher chance to shop plastic-free when you can score refills for eyeshadows, concealers, bronzers, blush, and foundations that come in a tin or a pan that you can use straight or add to a magnetic compact.
- Double-check with brands. Sometimes even products that appear to be plastic-free could have some sort of unseen plastic component.
- See if the brand classifies where their plastic comes from. If it’s made from recycled plastic, or non-petroleum-based plastic, the overall footprint will be less.
- Check if brands partner with programs like Terracycle to recycle “tough to recycle” components that most municipalities won’t.
Plastic-Free Beauty: Makeup
Love this coraly trio for summer. These balmies can be used on lids and lips (and cheeks if you ask me!). Not only are they entirely plastic-free (no tubes or capes included), but they are also zero waste. Each unit is wrapped in recyclable paper and the trio is housed in a recyclable carrying case made from recycled trash via a women’s coop in Bali.
Save: Use code THENEWKNEW to save 20% at Axiology
Aether Beauty Summer Solstice Gemstone Eyeshadow Palette | $58
We are smitten with Aether Beauty’s Summer Solstice Gemstone Palette featuring 12 shades in matte, shimmer, satin, metallic, and duo-chrome for a warm and flattering golden-hour glow. This palette contains zero plastic and is recyclable. Just remove the elastic and eyeshadow pans when you’re done!
A creamy, beautifully blendable, weightless texture with a semi-matte, light-as-air finish. This foundation comes in a metal compact with a refillable metal tin. It sits heavy in the hand, like a piece of jewelry for your vanity or purse.
Kjaer Weis confirms, “Yes! All of our compacts (both Iconic and Red Edition are plastic-free).”
All RMS Makeup Brushes are confirmed plastic-free. These brushes are designed to deliver a flawless finish. They are also cruelty-free and vegan. We are partial to their Eye Polish Brush for cream shadow application and skin2skin Blush Brush for ultimate color control and blending.
RMS adds, “All of the following RMS products are plastic-free: brushes, “un” cover-up, luminizer, lip2cheek, lipstick, tinted daily lip balm, master radiance base, “un” cover-up cream foundation, buriti bronzer, master mixer, lip&skin balm, beauty oil, body oil, kakadu plum evening oil.”
Sappho blushes come in individual metal pans, without a case. They are designed to fit into magnetic compacts—or you can opt to use them on their own. Deeply pigmented, created with eco cert minerals & pressed with certified organic oils. Comes in 5 shades.
Sappho confirms, “Our blushes and eyeshadows are 100% plastic-free. They are sold as refills, which fit into most magnetic compacts.”
Plastic-Free Beauty: Skincare + Bodycare
Ayuna Terra Bella | $455
Arguably the most luxurious and science forward face cream on the planet, Ayuna’s Terra Bella is housed inside a fully recyclable, unglazed ceramic vessel with a small silicone ring to seal. The container on this product is a piece of art unto itself. Reuse the jar or return it to the earth.
Conscious Coconut Organic Coconut Oil | $17
As the meme goes, I got 99 problems and coconut oil solved like 87 of them. This 100% certified organic, fair trade, cold-pressed coconut oil is completely versatile. Use it as a shave oil and then do a little oil pulling for teeth whitening. It’s a travel-hack genius—and totally plastic free.
Plus, The Detox Market will plant a tree for EVERY purchase of this tube.
Considered the “Swiss army knife” of gua sha, this multi-function tool was custom designed by Sandra Lanshin Chiu—acupuncturist, herbalist, and expert in Facial Gua Sha and Chinese medicine based skincare—and is highly regarded among estheticians and skincare enthusiasts. Comes wrapped in cloth.
Meow Meow Tweet is an OG in the vegan, low waste, and better beauty space. Their Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick was one of the first better deodorants I tried when switching out my products. Works well, smells great, comes in a biodegradable paper tube.
MMT is also incredibly conscious of its plastic footprint. They’re one of the only brands we’ve seen that have the Certified Plastic Negative Product label, and they cut down on plastics in myriad ways.
It’s pretty, it’s pink and it’s powerful! This beautiful, floral scented soap gets its gorgeous color pink is from Australian pink clay powder for a little detox. It also strikes that balance between squeaky clean and soft skin, so you’re left without itchiness or flakiness. Did we mention it smells incredible?
The Organic Skin Co. Four Pod Palette | $12.50
Designed to reduce packaging waste and increase convenience, each travel-friendly palette can be continuously refilled (or refreshed) with The Organic Skin Co.’s range of renewable pods. They’ve got concealer and highlighter and bronzer and blush and lip colors…the list goes on. And no plastic in sight! Palettes like this are a great way to get the impact of makeup without as much of an environmental footprint.
Plus, The Detox Market will plant a tree for every sale of this palette!
More than 2 billion plastic razors are thrown out each year in the U.S. alone. Selecting a high-quality brass safety razor can save a lot of those cartridges from making their way to the landfill. Plus, safety razors are known to provide a closer shave, so what are you even waiting for?
So many great plastic-free products to shop for! And as a bonus, use Code THENEWKNEW15 to save 15% on your first order at The Detox Market.
TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.