zero waste beauty swaps

Zero-Waste Swaps For A Better Beauty Routine

As much as we love delving into our eyeshadow collections and admiring the creativity of our fav beauty influencers, a lot of modern ‘makeup culture’ is hyperfocused on the newest, latest, greatest release. As well as just inviting excessive consumption your face and wallet probably don’t need, it’s not ideal for the planet. So much of the current packaging in the skincare and makeup world is single-use and very difficult to recycle, though some programs like Terracycle are workin’ on that. We previously covered off a few ways we can reduce our use of single-use plastic and disposables for plastic-free July, consider this a bumper, personal care-themed edition of zero waste beauty swaps.

While some YouTubers and communities are pushing for more conscious consumption, for example with Shop My Stash challenges, the zero-waste beauty world has some less talked about options for those who wanna go even further. Even beyond our favourite sustainable beauty brands. Before you get worried, nobody is suggesting you stop showering to save water. However, there’s also really no need to be using single-use makeup wipes while you’re chilling at home to take off your experimental beat for the day. Oil cleansing is gentler and more effective anyway, imo.

In most cases, zero waste beauty products and tools are not only more environmentally friendly but because of their reusable or refillable nature are often a little gentler on your wallet too. Some things might cost a lil more upfront before you get that cost-per-use down, but as Paloma Elsesser told us, “why not invest in something that didn’t punish the world?” Plus, the superior glow you’ll get from knowing your beauty routine is as low impact as possible is the best highlighter out.

5 Zero Waste Beauty Products And Swaps

Bottled haircare → bar haircare

If you’re anything like us, you choose your shampoo and conditioner pretty much purely based on 1. whether it’s sodium lauryl sulphate free and 2. what is calling to your soul. While many packaging-free bar shampoos options were usually SLS-heavy and not ideal for dry or curly hair, there are so many more new options on the market. Even those with dry, curly hair are raving about packaging-free haircare—the ultimate litmus test. We love this option by Bar None.

Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner Bars, $17.25 at Bar None Co.

Antiperspirant → natural deodorant

In a long quest for the ideal natural deodorant for our particular armpit chemistry, we’re tried a LOT of natural deodorants. What we see less frequently though, are options like this zero waste deo from Biode. Packed in a paper tube, vegan, bi carb-free and invisible on clothes, what more could your now fresh-smelling pits desire?

Deodorant, $19 from Biode.

zero waste beauty swaps

We’re also really into this natural deodorant from new Aussie brand ASUVI. The deodorants do come in a plastic tube, however, the tube is made of high quality recycled plastic, which can be recycled again. The real idea though, is that you just refill it endlessly with the biodegradably packaged refills. This one hasn’t left my gym bag, and thanks to the sturdy tube it’s also has survived a bunch of water bottle leaks! Plus, the scents are some of the most refined and, dare we say, elegant, that we’ve ever sniffed in the lemongrass and tea tree heavy world of natural deo.

Reusable tube + deodorant stick, $22 from ASUVI.

Makeup wipes → makeup removing cloths

Makeup wipes, if you think about it, are not dissimilar to wet tissues sitting on shelves for questionable amounts of time. They usually require a lot of fragrances, alcohols and preservatives stabilise them. Not ideal for your skin and extremely not ideal for the environment—most don’t break down and even ‘biodegradable’ ones often need certain conditions to get degrading. Instead, we’re big advocates for reusable microfibre makeup removers. The amount of money you’ll save on makeup wipes is limited only by how soon you buy ’em, as they can be rewashed p much endlessly. They could also replace your heavy-duty cleansing oils or micellar water and cotton pads if you’re not a wipe user.

We’re big fans of the fluffy Face Halo clouds and their body version is great for removing an old tan and gently exfoliating.

Face Halo Original – Pack Of Three, $30 from Priceline.

Body scrubs → body brushing

On the topic of exfoliating, what if we told you about a body exfoliator that wouldn’t run out after years of use? After being mentioned by nearly every chic beauty aficionado we love, we finally tried exfoliating using a body brush. While it was initially kinda strange to be brushing ourselves soft rather than scrubbing, it actually made for a really soothing pre-shower ritual? Maybe brushing towards the heart really does help boost circulation and relaxation? 🤔 As well as being extremely soft, there’s also the benefit of no oily films or grittiness to wash off the shower floor post-brush down.

Sisal dry body brush, $16.95 from Biome.

Single-use compacts → refillable compacts

When it comes to buying zero waste makeup things get a little trickier. One of the easiest things we’d suggest is looking for brands that have the option to refill their existing compacts. Brands like Kjaer Weis, M.A.C., Surratt and Fluff Beauty sell bronzers, blushes, eyeshadows and highlighters that can be popped out of their compacts or palettes once you’re done and replaced with a refill. Depending on the refills packaging, you might also be able to recycle it, as is the case with Fluff’s bronzer. Which also happens to look like a beautiful chrome sculpture, and whose refills only cost $25.

Bronzing Powder with compact, $43 from Fluff.

P.S. If you want more tips in a ~visual format~ you should follow us on IG 🙏

Monisha Rudhran (@monishamay) is a writer and chronic Pisces. Formerly at Syrup, she's now a Digital Content Producer at ELLE and marie claire Australia. She’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.