Ahhhh, the simple pleasures of end-of-the-day removal.
You take off your shoes, your organic bra (for some), and your slightly (or mostly) smeared makeup.
We know it’s not good to sleep in makeup, but have you thought about the harm being done when taking it off?
At the end of the day, we don’t give much thought to how or what is getting rid of our mascara. But we should, because many makeup removers contain synthetic solvents and hydrocarbons (usually petroleum-based) that are doing damage to our faces.
What’s perhaps more shocking is that zero waste makeup remover is totally possible.
Aside from shunning the plastic bottle, most zero waste alternatives are made with ingredients that are far better for your face and our planet.
Ethique’s zero waste makeup remover bars, for instance, use 100% non-toxic ingredients. Good Juju follows suit with their organic and plant-based makeup removers.
If you’re feeling especially crafty, you can even whip up your own DIY zero waste makeup remover.
Grab your reusable zero waste makeup remover pads and lets get cleansing.
Don’t forget to (black)head to the end of the article to take a peek at our ethical beauty criteria.
*This post contains affilate links
Ethique keeps it simple with the Superstar! face cleanser and makeup remover.
The zero waste makeup remover gently scrubs away makeup, moisturizes, and works as a general face wash… all in one little plastic-free bar!
It’s suitable for all skin types but works especially well on dry ones (don’t worry, it’s not greasy either).
It’s made from cocoa butter, coconut oil, castor oil, and sweet orange essential oils—among other non-toxic and sustainable ingredients.
It’s not tested on animals, is totally vegan, and is certified palm oil-free.
Ethique creates an array of natural products like organic body wash, vegan shampoo, and zero waste cleaning solutions—and they keep our planet pretty clean, too.
This Certified B Corp is beyond impressive.
Since the beginning of 2012, they’ve prevented more than 9 million plastic bottles from being manufactured. They were one of the first companies to revolutionize soap and shampoo by getting rid of the bottle altogether.
Everything in their product range comes in the form of a 100% plastic-free bar.
Their positive impact doesn’t stop there.
The New Zealand to USA company plants a tree for every online order and donates 20% of their annual profits to charity.
*Note: Good Juju Herbal’s featured body oil is vegan, however some of their other products contain some ingredients that would not be considered strictly vegan (e.g. beeswax)
Good Juju Herbal’s Whole Body Oil isn’t just made from whole ingredients, but it’s a unisex do-it-all product, too.
Make no mistake; this “body oil” is just as suitable for the face as it is anywhere else.
If you need a moisturizer, bath oil, hot oil treatment for your hair, beard oil, aftershave, and, of course, makeup remover, this is your knight in shining armor.
Their zero waste eye makeup remover is made with organic, plant-based, food-grade, and responsibly-sourced oils that will absorb into your skin.
These include all-organic grapeseed, jojoba, and castor oils along with rosemary, nettle, and Ylang Ylang infusions.
It’s gentle enough to soothe all types of skin, even the most sensitive skin.
Good Juju Herbal is one of our favorite ethical beauty brands and one of our favorite zero waste skincare companies.
It’s really no wonder they made our list again for their zero waste face makeup remover.
Good Juju Herbal’s founder, Judith, came to a shocking realization: the skincare industry was using greenwashing to confuse us about supposedly “natural” products.
As a lifelong sufferer of eczema and allergies, she was eventually diagnosed with an allergy to the chemicals commonly found in body care products.
Since “all natural” actually has no regulated meaning, Judith was inadvertently continuing to take care of her body with the chemicals causing her problems.
With a need for something better, and actually natural, she decided to problem-solve and started her own company with uncompromising standards.
These include the avoidance of any compounds that can irritate sensitive skin, the use of effective and perfectly executed formulas, no animal testing, and ingredients that are responsibly (and locally) sourced.
Everything is also stored in a recyclable glass bottle and all shipping materials are either recyclable or compostable.
You can even select a “Package Free Option” at checkout.
For some real good juju, their Happy Skin Project provides local cancer patients with free or discounted soap.
Available: Good Juju Herbal
*Note: Andrea’s featured Cleansing Oil is vegan, however some of their other products contain some ingredients that would not be considered strictly vegan (e.g. honey)
She’s got a variety of scrubs and cleansers that contain some of Earth’s finest medicines—cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, matcha green tea powder, raw wildflower honey, aloe vera juice, and much more.
The Luminous Skin Facial Cleansing Oil is a vegan facial cleansing oil and makeup remover combo that retains your skin’s natural oils to leave it feeling soft but not greasy.
It’s perfect for all skin types, especially those with sensitive or damaged skin.
It’s made from grapeseed oil, which helps strengthen skin and prevent clogged pores, and sweet almond oil to cleanse the skin and remove dirt and debris.
Both options come in a glass bottle with options of dropper, pump, or plain cap tops so you don’t need to waste droppers and pumps on reorders.
Andrea’s Organic Market has us covered hair to toe.
The brand’s vegan hair products create sustainably supple manes, but that’s just the beginning for this well-loved Etsy shop.
Located in Muldrow, Oklahoma, Andrea has been impressing customers left and right.
The shop has had more than 10,000 sales and five-star reviews.
Her mission is to create products that harness the power of nature. All products are made with organic, chemical-free, non-GMO, palm oil-free, and non-synthetic ingredients. She sources fair trade certified ingredients when possible.
While not everything is vegan, it’s very easy to find vegan products.
Only glass containers are used, which can be recycled, repurposed, or reused. She also accepts containers for refills and has some biodegradable refill pouches available for certain products.
You’ll receive your eco friendly makeup remover in eco-conscious packaging which includes 100% recycled paper for the packing slips and shipping labels, compostable packing peanuts and recycled paper cushioning tied with biodegradable hemp string.
Even the packing tape is biodegradable!
While you can easily get lost in all of Leafology’s impressive skincare clays, serums, cleansers, and face food, their zero waste eye makeup remover is one of their most versatile products.
It works to rid your waterproof mascara raccoon eyes by actually lifting away makeup, rather than just smearing it all around your face.
All while moisturizing!
The eye and lip makeup remover is ultra-simple, non-irritating, unscented, lightweight, and nourishing. It’s a friendly blend of nourishing plant seed oils with a gentle, fruit sugar-derived and coconut emulsifier.
Bring ECOCERT certified, it’s free of preservatives and impurities.
It comes in a fully recyclable amber glass bottle with a metal lid.
Leafology is all about pure naked plant knowledge.
The brand was started by Ella, a ‘professional muse’ who spent a decade traveling around the world and using her natural style and pure appearance in various fine art photography projects.
When complimented by makeup artists and industry professionals about the condition of her skin and hair, she gave credit to the pure ingredients found in nature.
Eventually, she decided to bring these pure plant powers to the rest of the world and launched her Leafology brand.
This UK-based and award-winning skincare brand features a handcrafted range of vegan products for our skin, hair, and home.
All products are free of synthetic fragrances and colors, petrochemicals, PEGs, sulfates, and parabens.
The products are made by Ella in fresh batches and tested on Ella’s friends, not on animals.
Everything is packaged in glass and metal with options to get paper bag refills on powdered products.
*Note: Dirty Hippie has announced that one of their suppliers no longer guarantees certain ingredients to be palm oil free. This does not apply to the ingredients in their makeup remover.
The zero waste makeup remover from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics won’t irritate skin—or our planet.
It’s made with only three ingredients: organic and cold-pressed hemp seed and castor oils combined with witch hazel extract to wipe away stubborn makeup with ease.
Unlike alcohol-based removers or wipes, this product is formulated to be light, non-greasy, yet moisturizing, and won’t leave your skin feeling dry or irritated.
And who doesn’t love the elegant look of their reusable amber glass bottle to spruce up their zero waste bathroom?
We’ll get dirty any day for Dirty Hippie Cosmetics.
The Australian brand doesn’t only help us remove makeup, they also help us apply it.
We’ve been loving their natural eyeshadow, zero waste lip balm, and the rest of their eco friendly makeup range for years.
Then there’s their skin and hair products to mention—deodorant, zero waste shampoo, moisturizer, and so much more.
Is there anything DHC can’t do?!?
For those new here, we’ll explain why we love them so much.
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics is actually based in a zero-waste community and their headquarters uses collected rainwater and partial solar energy.
They offset a significant portion of their emissions and regularly support charities committed to social, environmental, and animal justice.
They also have an awesome program to accept their tins for refills (Australia only) and they send all orders in recyclable/compostable packaging that often includes locally-sourced recycled newspaper.
Speaking of local, some of the ingredients used in their products are sourced locally and even grown themselves. Others are still ethically sourced (fair trade and organic when possible) and all are cruelty-free and vegan.
While their makeup remover ingredients are not among the list of common palm oil derivatives, be aware one of Dirty Hippie’s suppliers no longer guarantees some ingredients to be palm oil-free.
While they hunt for a new supplier, this does affect their moisturizing creams, cream concealers, mascaras, and eyeliners.
If you look through the ingredient list of most of these zero waste makeup removers, you’ll see a relatively short list of simple ingredients.
If you have the time and resources, try to whip up your own DIY zero-waste makeup remover out of these easy-to-obtain materials.
There are two main active ingredients to consider when choosing your recipe.
Oils and Witch Hazel – you can buy many of these raw ingredients in the supermarket or through Sky Clad Apothecary on Etsy.
Some of the best ways to naturally remove makeup just involve cleaning your face with oil.
It’s super simple and it works effectively because guess what… our skin thrives on oil!
Perhaps counterintuitively, oil actually health/oil-cleansing-method#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1″ target=”_blank” aria-label=” (opens in a new tab)” rel=”noreferrer noopener” class=”rank-math-link”>dissolves the oil produced in your pores, which can help correct either dry or oily skin, among other benefits.
There are many different types of oil that can be used to remove makeup, many of which are found around the house or at your local supermarket.
- Olive oil: Ideally extra virgin, olive oil (organic, if possible). Simply combine with water (two parts oil, one part water), shake, and put it to work with one of your reusable makeup remover wipes
- Castor oil: Castor oil can be used in the same way, but it has the added benefit of supporting hair growth, making it one of the best zero waste eye makeup removers to promote lush lashes. Maybe one day, you won’t even need that zero waste mascara anymore!
- Sweet almond oil: Unrefined sweet almond oil has skin-supporting nutrients and can be directly applied to your face (just a few drops) before being wiped off.
- Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil can be used in the same direct-to-skin way—plus the subtle scent will transport you to a tropical beach!
- Jojoba oil: You can either apply jojoba oil directly to your face or a few drops can be added to a dampened zero waste makeup remover pads.
If you’ve never applied these products to your skin, do a small test on your hand to ensure you don’t have any allergies or reactions.
To wipe away with witch hazel, simply mix it with equal parts of water and apply it to one of your reusable facial rounds.
If you want to do DIY all around, you can cut or sew your own DIY reusable makeup wipes. If you’re looking for something to do with used clothes, this is a great use for old flannel or cotton fabric garments.
Now we get to the other half of the zero waste makeup removers: zero waste makeup remover wipes.
Not very useful to forgo the plastic bottle if you’re just going to turn around and use plastic-tubed Q-tips and other wasteful wipes.
Fortunately, zero waste makeup remover wipes are very easy to come by (you probably even already have one in the form of a washcloth!).
However, if you want something a little softer and face-skin specific, you can find them in various zero waste online stores:
- Eco Roots is our go-to shop for lots of zero waste essentials, including their own organic reusable facial rounds made from cotton and bamboo.
- Well Earth Goods also has their own handmade reusable facial squares, which are 100% compostable (thread included!).
- beauty-care/juniperseed-mercantile-hemp-sherpa-reusable-facial-rounds/?ref=sustainablejunglel” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow” class=”rank-math-link”>EarthHero sells reusable and washable organic hemp facial rounds from Juniperseed Mercantile. They’re compostable at the end of their life, too!).
- beauty-care/marleys-monsters-organic-reusable-makeup-remover-pads-marleys-monsters-earthhero/?ref=sustainablejunglel” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener nofollow” class=”rank-math-link”>EarthHero can help again with these organic and reusable makeup remover pads from Marley’s Monsters, the brave brand behind zero waste toilet paper. Alternatively, you can find their fun-printed facial rounds on Etsy.
Getting rid of that caked on eyeliner in a way that wouldn’t harm our planet required us to take another look at some of our ethical beauty criteria:
- Thoughtful packaging – in this case, we aimed for plastic free
- Non-toxic natural & organic ingredients
- Palm oil-free
- Ethical ingredient sourcing policies
Clean and clear skin is beautiful skin, just like a clean and clear planet is a healthy one.
While it’s only natural to dress up from time to time, it’s nice to know we have the tools to responsibly remove all that foundation and eyeliner.
And we can even use a simple DIY zero waste makeup remover recipe. Which also happens to be the most environmentally friendly, for your wallet, and our planet.
Of course, not all of us have the time so you’d be forgiven if you choose to support one of these brands who are changing the cosmetics industry from the inside.
We’d love for you to help us spread the word about skin care sustainability! If you know anyone who will benefit from some of this earth-friendly makeup removal, feel free to share it and keep the ball rolling.