Less Waste Make-up

Happy Valentine’s Day! For those looking to doll themselves up for that special someone today here are my less waste makeup suggestions.

Walk into almost any store and you will find aisles dedicated to beauty and makeup products. All promising to improve your look but not necessarily your health. Most makeup brands have harmful chemicals in them and this is a not a new concept. The lengths we as humans go to for beauty can be dangerous. It is believed Queen Elizabeth I died from blood poisoning from her lead makeup, of course it was only years after she died that humans discovered how bad lead makeup truly was. So I decided I wanted to find makeup brands that offered natural ingredients with as little plastic as possible.

Everyone’s makeup routine is different but here are some of the brands and products I have found or tried for myself that use little to no plastic, are refillable and don’t use all those harmful chemicals.

Primer & Tinted Moisturizer

I discovered DabHerbMakeup through Permacrafters. I like that they use natural ingredients and work to use glass, tin and paper to package their products with refill options. I use their 4-in-1 Primer and I love it. I never liked using primers before because I felt they were chalky or unnecessary but this one is moisturizing and I tell a real difference in the look of my makeup when I use it. It has ingredients to heal skin and sometimes I use it without makeup to give my skin a moisture boost.

For the days I just want a little color but not a full face I use Raw Elements Tinted Moisturizer. It has sunscreen in it and evens out my complexion.

DabHerb Makeup Primer
Brand: DabHerbMakeup
Packaging: Tin or glass, send the container back when ordering a refill.
Cost: $21 for 1 oz, refills $25

Raw Elements Tinted Moisturizer
Brand: Raw Elements
Packaging: Tin container
Cost: $17.99 for 2.3 oz

Foundation & Powder

When looking for a foundation I wanted full coverage without being forced to layer to get that coverage. I found two options I use and like very much.

First up, Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation. This foundation comes in a metal compact case and when you run out simply remove the tin inside the case and order a replacement tin to place in the same compact. Kjaer Weis is not cheap, but the true investment is in the case upfront. The refills run about the average upscale makeup brand cost. I use this specifically for traveling, the case makes it easy to transport and the foundation is solid enough I don’t have to count it as a “liquid” in my carry on.

Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation
Brand: Kjaer Weis
Packaging: Metal Compact with refills ordered separately.
Cost: $68 for 3.5 ml metal case, refills $40

My second is my daily foundation from DabHerb (you will find a re-occurring theme here). DabHerb’s Organic Herb foundation is smooth, comes in many shades and you don’t need a lot to get good coverage. To avoid waste and hassle DabHerb has cheap samples you can order to be sure you get the right shade for you. It is packaged in a glass jar that can be sent back to be refilled.

DabHerb Organic Herb Foundation
Brand: DabHerbMakeup
Packaging: Glass jar that can be shipped back for refills
Cost: $27 for 6.8 ml, refills $24.30

I’m currently using up the powders I have left from before my low waste days but seeing as how I am loving the DabHerb products I will be sure to give their translucent powder a try when the time comes.

Depending where you live, Bare Minerals offers container recycling. I have used their powder foundations in the past and liked them a lot but unfortunately they don’t have any stores near me and places like Ulta and Sephora won’t honor their recycling program. MAC Cosmetics also has a recycling program but I can’t speak to the ingredients used for their products.

Concealer & Color Corrector

For the nights I don’t get as much sleep as I would like a concealer and color corrector for my dark circles can be a life saver. My concealer of choice is Alima Cream Concealer, it comes in a plastic compact but you can order refills without ordering a new container. For my color corrector I use DabHerb’s Organic Color Correctors. I use the Safflower for my under eye area but they also have a Turmeric to neutralize purple or brown tones and Green Tea to neutralize red tones such as breakouts.

Alima Pure Cream Concealer
Brand: Alima Pure
Packaging: Plastic compact, refills can be ordered separately
Cost: $28, refills $20

DabHerb Organic Color Correctors
Brand: DabHerbMakeup
Packaging: Glass or tin container that can be shipped back for refills
Cost: $22 for 4.2 ml, refills $19.80


Some days all I need is a swipe of mascara and some tinted moisterizer. Mascara is one of the worst offenders for plastic waste so I tried a few things to see what would work best for me. First, I tried making my own. It can be done, but it was so messy and stained some of my stuff that I know this option is not a solution for me. If you still wish to try you can find good recipes online. Second, I tried a bamboo container version. This still contained plastic and was too expensive for me to continue using. Lastly, I tried DabHerb’s mascara, they have liquid and cake style versions depending what you prefer. I use the liquid one. You keep the brush and only the tube is replaced.

For the days I really want to dress up my eyes I look for a good shadow and liner. I found Fat and the Moon has some lovely options. I use their Earth Eye Coal that comes in a small tin and you can use a brush to line your eyes with. I’m currently using up the shadows that I have but you can find options at Clean-FacedCosmetics.

Fat and the Moon Earth Eye Coal
Brand: Fat and the Moon
Packaging: Tin Container
Cost: $18 for .25 fl oz

Elate Essential Mascara
Brand: Elate Cosmetics
Packaging: Bamboo & plastic
Cost: $28 for .18 fl oz

DabHerb Organic Mascara
Brand: DabHerbMakeup
Packaging: Glass Container
Cost: $22 for 6 ml, refill $19.80

Clean-Face Eyeshadows
Brand: Clean-FaceCosmetics
Packaging: Tin Container, refills come in biodegradable bag
Cost: $13 for .5 oz, refills at the same price

Cheeks & Lips

Again, I am using up what I currently have but I love the idea of a multi-use item like Fat and the Moon’s Lip & Cheek stain. It comes in a tin and helps you cut down on the amount of products you purchase. Currently I love using my Smith’s Rosebud Salve to keep my lips moisturized and for a bit of color Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm. I use other Burt’s Bees products so I am able to send these containers to Terracycle for recycling.

Fat and the Moon Lip & Cheek Stain
Brand: Fat and the Moon
Packaging: Tin Container
Cost: $16 for .5 oz

Smith’s Rosebud Salve
Brand: Smith’s
Packaging: Tin Container
Cost: $7 for .8 oz

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
Brand: Burt’s Bees
Packaging: Plastic tube
Cost: $4.99

The list could go on, but these are my basics. What else do you use that is natural and low waste for cosmetics? Leave them in the comments.

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My name is Kate and I'm a world traveler looking to make a positive impact by reducing my waste and single plastic use.