Zero Waste Makeup: A Look Inside My (Imperfect) Makeup Bag

I have to kick off this post by saying that I don't flatter myself that any of you give a shit what's in my makeup bag.  I just wanted to show you in order to illustrate a point.  This is the makeup bag of a person who is in transition, working toward a less wasteful lifestyle.  Not all of these products are my ideal, but I'm working through them so I can replace them with others that are. 

When I started cleaning up my act and paring down the amount of plastic crap I owned, it was tempting to chuck everything out and start from scratch.  But then I would have sent a load of perfectly usable things to a landfill, all for the sake of being less wasteful, which to me didn't make any sense.  I also would have spent a bunch of money replacing it all. 

So I resolved to make do with what I have before I buy new things, only replacing items that are truly used up and empty.  That's why there are some products in this photo and on the list below that don't fit in with my newfound values.  In a perfect world, all my makeup would be natural, organic, toxin-free, plastic-free, cruelty-free, etc.  As I say, change is a process, and it doesn't happen overnight, nor should it.  

So here's a little snapshot of where I am in the process of making over my makeup bag:

Makeup Bag

1. Lush Colour Supplements

My first makeup purchase with plastic-free packaging in mind, I mainly chose it because it comes in a glass jar.  Only later did I realize that it's made mostly with natural ingredients, including titanium dioxide which has a natural SPF.  I love that Lush doesn't test on animals, and that I can pick their products up locally, keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

2. Estee Lauder Concealer

Purchased in my former life, before I started working towards zero waste.  This stuff has lasted me a very long time (almost a year) since I use it sparingly.  I dab a tiny bit onto the dark circles under my eyes, and onto my lids near my lash line where they can sometimes get a little red.  Once this sucker finally runs out, I'll pick up RMS Beauty's "Un" Cover-Up in 00. 

3. Lush Emotional Brilliance

I initially picked this up as a setting powder, but quit using it all over my face after I realized that powders are really too drying for my skin type.  Instead I use it as a primer for eyeshadow, and to set my concealer.  It goes on colorless, so I can use it underneath my eyes and on my lids, all the way up to my arch.  It creates a smooth, even surface on which to apply eyeshadow.

4. Maybelline Eyeshadow Palette

I bought this over a year ago, after leaving my entire makeup bag in a hotel room by mistake.  Because I don't wear eyeshadow every day, it has lasted me a long time.  It's a cheap product that I wouldn't buy again, but it does the job, and I want to "hit the pan" on all the colors before I buy new eyeshadow. 

I use the neutral colors on my lids, the middle browns in my crease and to fill in my brows, and the darkest tones as eyeliner for nights out.  I use the light, shimmery shades to highlight the center of my lids and the curve below the arches of my brows. 

I actually have backups in my arsenal that I can use once these colors run out, but when eventually it's time to replace everything, I've got my eye on Elate's beautiful, refillable Bamboo Capsule Palette and Pressed Eye Color.  But it's likely I won't need to buy a replacement for at least a year.

 hey :)

hey :)

5. Lush Eyes Right Mascara

It took me a while to get used to the short mascara wand on this bottle (and honestly I still don't love it) but I do love that the bottle is glass and fully recyclable.  This product is cruelty free and is made of natural and safe synthetic ingredients.  Since it's natural, though, this product does have more of a tendency to migrate than drugstore brands.  If you fall asleep in it, know that you'll wake up with massive raccoon eyes.  All the more incentive to remove it before going to bed!

6. Anastasia Brow Gel

Also purchased in my former life.  I use a tinted brow gel to make my very pale eyebrows show up on my very pale face, lest I walk through life looking like this.  This gel comes is a plastic tube that is not recyclable and its ingredients are not exactly natural.  However, for the sake of not wasting products unnecessarily, I'm using it up before I replace it with a more natural, sustainable alternative.  I've got my eye on Elate's Brow Balm in Suede. 

7. Lid Brush

I use this guy to sweep my eyeshadow primer and neutral shades onto my lids, to blend in my crease color, and for highlighting.  This brush will last me the rest of my life if I take care of it properly. 

8. Crease Brush

I've literally had this brush for almost 20 years - it was part of the first real makeup kit my mom bought me when I was in middle school.  It still works great for sweeping color into my crease and blending it down to the outer corners of my lids.

9. Angled Brush

I use this brush to fill in my brows, and to line my eyes.  For lining, I dip the end in water and dab it into a dark brown shade in my eyeshadow palette.  I then gently press the color into my lid as close as possible to my lash line.  I simply wipe the bristles on a towel if I'm switching between dark and light tones. 

10. Homemade Lip Balm

Early in my zero waste journey, I went down a rabbit hole if DIYing personal care products.  Not all of my experiments were successful, but this one was.  I melted beeswax and coconut oil together in a double boiler, added peppermint essential oil, poured the mixture into tiny jam jars, and let it set.  The only downside to homemade lip balm is that it does expire sooner than synthetic kinds, so I make very small batches unless I'm prepared to give some away. 


So there you have it.  I'm chipping away at it slowly, and some day will own only products that work for me and my values.  Until then I feel good knowing that I'm using what I already have, and I definitely don't mind not throwing down tons of money on pricey products!  

My skincare routine is a whole other ball of wax, and I'm still working on that too.  Leave a comment if you'd like to see a similar post about skincare!

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Zero Waste Makeup - A Look Inside One Blogger's Imperfect Bag