The ultimate zero-waste makeup solution is to go au natural, and for those lucky enough to have a glowing, blemish-free complexion go for it. But for those (hand up over here) who tend to break out when stressed, time of the month, tired or who simply like how it looks, a bit of slap* is a small miracle.

*British slang word for makeup

I’m constantly assessing the various areas of my life to make them more resource efficient and less wasteful. My makeup bag has been reduced down to the bare minimum. I swapped blusher for cocoa powder and plastic bottles for glass, etc., but it still wasn’t optimal with plastic lids and items I had to throw away/recycle.

But, the wonder of social media recently drew my attention to a Swedish cosmetics brand who not only produce natural, mineral-based makeup, but they also offer refills in paper bags. Hallelujah! Local, natural and zero waste. You can order the first time in pots and then get refills when you need more, or if you have lots of old small jars and pots at home (hand up again) then just order the refill. They do foundation, concealer, blusher and eyeliner amongst others. I’ve started off with foundation and concealer and will swap to their eyeliner when mine runs out.

So, here’s what’s in my makeup bag:

  • Mineral foundation – Back to Earth
  • Mineral concealer – Back to Earth
  • Blusher/bronzer – cocoa powder (I happened to find a compressed chunk of cocoa powder in the bulk bin at Gram, which works amazingly, but you can also use the loose powder)
  • Eye liner – Wooden pencil (to be swapped for loose power when it’s out)
  • Lipstick – I still have a lipstick that I love and wear very occasionally – I will cross that bridge when it runs out and figure out an alternative
  • A few wooden/metal brushes

DIY makeup

If you don’t have access to a zero-waste makeup brand or want to save money, there are plenty of ways to make your own cosmetics from natural ingredients. Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste Home has lots of recipes from eyeliner made from burnt almond skins to powder from corn starch and lip stain made with boiled beetroots. Or do like our grandmothers probably did and pinch your cheeks for a bit of colour!