Zero Waste Beauty Products: Do Beauty Products Need Packaging?

How to care for your skin while also caring about the environment: zero waste beauty products

The war on plastic is well and truly underway. With the average Australian producing two tonnes of waste per year, it pays to think about ways to reduce plastic and waste consumption.

But reducing plastic doesn’t just have to pertain to water bottles and coffee cups. Every year, 120 billion units of packaging are produced by the global cosmetics industry.

And it only takes a second to think back on all the cosmetics one has purchased, and notice the plastic they have come in, or the bottles that have been thrown out.

The increasingly popular trend of zero-waste beauty hopes to reduce this. From products with no packaging at all, to ones that offer refillable glass bottles, there’s always a way to reduce waste.

Here are some amazing beauty products and beauty brands that are waste free, in the hopes of not only caring for one’s skin, but also caring for the environment.


Zero Waste Beauty: Lush with shampoos, bath bombs and bars free from packaging
Just some of Lush’s “naked” packaging free products

Lush has been at the forefront of environmental movements in the beauty industry for years since it’s inception in 1995.

In 2017, the brand transitioned to making over 60% of their year-round range “naked”, meaning plastic free.

In addition, January this year saw the announcement that Lush would be opening their first completely package-free store in the United Kingdom, the first of its kind for the UK.

From shampoo bars, solid shower gels, massage bars and bath bombs, Lush tries wherever possible to make their products zero-waste.

But what about their products that still are contained in packaging like bottles? They can be returned for free to be refilled, minimising the number of empty bottles or jars to be throw into landfill.

Zero Waste beauty, Lush
Even Lush’s moisturizers and body butters have been made packaging free.

The brand also claims that by eliminating packaging, it’s also benefiting the consumer. With packaging making up an estimated 30-40% of the final cost of a product, removing it is making products cheaper.

Lush also claims making naked products means consumers get more of what they are paying for, because no space is wasted on the packaging that would normally surround the product.

“In Lush we work in an industry where the packaging costs the customer more than the product,” said co-founder and managing director, Mark Constantine OBE.

“Now, the customer needs to worry about how to recycle something they didn’t want to buy in the first place. This seems like a raw deal to us. If we can cut out all the plastic packaging, we can give our customers better value for money.”

Constantine was awarded an Order of British Empire for his services to the beauty industry, by campaigning for animal cruelty-free products and sustainability, actively making this a priority for Lush.

LOLI Beauty

LOLI Beauty: zero waste beauty products
LOLI uses reusable food-storage grade jars for their packaging

Launched in 2014 in New York, LOLI Beauty is a certified organic, vegan and cruelty free brand, offering custom-blend products in reusable, or biodegradable, packaging.

LOLI was created by Tina Hedges, who after years of working in the beauty industry with Estee Lauder and L’Oreal, decided that “the beauty industry needed stirring up.”

LOLI, which stands for ‘Living Organic Loving Ingredients” was born, with a focus on ingredients that nourish the skin and the body – food.

The brand claims they remove 95% of the water, synthetics and preservatives commonly found in beauty products, and instead replace them with concentrated superfood ingredients.

Additionally, all the products in the LOLI range are customisable. Starting with bases, these are “multitaskers that cleanse, hydrate or treat skin, body or hair.”

LOLI Beauty zero waste beauty
LOLI Beauty also uses natural, organic superfood ingredients

Available in blends such as Purple Corn Grains, Matcha Coconut Paste or Blue Cornflower Water, these can then be mixed with another product in the range so as to create an individualized product, tailored to personal needs.

The “Mix-In” products include ingredients such as Tumeric Root, Prickly Pear Seed, or Wild Yam Root, providing different benefits such as anti-inflammatory, plumping serums or anti-ageing extracts.

The products are packaged in food-grade, glass yoghurt jars that can be reused for food storage. When other packaging is required, it is always certified compostable and biodegradable.

Kjaer Weis Cosmetics

American brand Kjaer Weis is one of the leading cosmetics’ brands that offer refillable beauty on all of their products.

Zero waste beauty: Kjaer Weis
Kjaer Weis offers refillable beauty, where the packaging doesn’t need to be replaced.

Offering organic, luxury beauty, Kjaer Weis uses organic, superfood ingredients to create their products, additionally all free of parabens, silicones and harsh emulsifiers and fragrances.

With sustainability at the forefront of the brand’s philosophy, the packaging is designed to last, built out of high-quality metal.

From powder compacts to lipsticks and mascaras, everything from the brand is designed to be refilled, so the packaging doesn’t just become another figure of waste. 

Zero waste beauty: Kjaer Weis
Even Kjaer Weis’ mascaras can be refilled.

The refillable products are also noticeably cheaper than purchasing the products with the packaging, giving an additional economic benefit to those helping to reduce waste. 

Other brands that offer waste-free initiatives


Zero waste beauty: MAC
MAC Lipsticks; return 6, get one free

The ‘Back to MAC’ initiative allows people to return six empty lipstick tubes and exchange them for one free lipstick. The old tubes are then recycled and reused by MAC.


Le Labo zero waste beauty
Le Labo fragrances

Fragrance brand Le Labo encourages customers to return their empty perfume bottles for a refill, in exchange for 20 per cent off.


Zero waste beauty Youth to the people
Youth to the People offers recyclable glass packaging

Youth to the People’s superfood-packed skincare products are packaged in glass bottles and jars that not only feel luxurious, but can also be reused or recycled.


L'OCCITANE eco-refills zero waste beauty
L’OCCITANE eco-refills

L’OCCITANE offers eco-refills for a selection of their soaps, shower gels and shampoos, encouraging people to keep the initial packaging and refill with another product.

Zoe Bradbury

Zoe is a self-confessed health and fitness fanatic. She loves working out and being active, almost as much as she loves going out for brunch and eating avo toast. If she’s not in the gym, you’ll usually find her online shopping, buying something she definitely does not need, or updating her Pinterest board with travel and adventure ideas for the future. Her other loves include dark chocolate, coffee and cats, all enjoyed while watching bad (or really good?) reality TV

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