13 Plastic-Free Beauty Products

April 19, 2021 (updated May 10, 2023) — Written by

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.

Woman holding plastic-free beauty products

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:

  1. Some plastic is necessary to create hygienic, shelf stable and easy-to-use skin care products.
  2. Plastic can be safer for items like shower products. 
  3. Plastic can be more user friendly for people with less dexterity. 
  4. 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. 

RELATED: How to recycle your beauty products properly and my top picks from Fitglow Beauty

Plastic-Free Beauty: Makeup

RELATED: Read more about TNK’s favorite makeup brushes.

Plastic-Free Beauty: Skincare + Bodycare

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.

xo, lisa in cursive

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.

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

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