I tried zero waste beauty products so you don’t have to

I’ve been on this low waste journey for a while now and over these past few years, I’ve slowly been replacing my beauty products and personal care products with zero waste beauty products!

I will say that no matter what, using what you have is the most sustainable option. But when you’ve used up all those products you might want to replace them as well. But where do you start? What brands are greenwashing? What products are actually worth it?

I’ve spent a lot of time on my zero waste journey trying out popular low waste and zero waste products with the hopes of sharing my thoughts with you!

So this is an honest review of some of the most popular beauty and personal care products to help you discern what you might want to try out! 

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Popular Zero Waste Beauty Products:

Elate Cosmetics

I tried out a few products from Elate cosmetics and if you’ve been in the zero waste space for any amount of time then you’ve probably heard of them. They’re real trailblazers in the zero waste movement and I really wanted to see if they were worth the hype.

Not only are elate’s products clean, natural, and non-toxic but they’re doing amazing at keeping their waste minimal. The brand itself makes it clear that they are currently about 75% low waste and striving to be 100%.

I don’t believe there is any brand that is perfectly zero waste right now but what excites me about Elate is that they’re always striving to do better and are making real progress to not only minimize waste but also make zero waste beauty more mainstream.

So that being said, I tried out three of their products and wanted to share my thoughts. 

1. Elate Creme Revealer (Concealer)

I actually really liked this concealer. I’m no beauty guru or makeup expert but as far as concealers go, this stuff gets the job done. I would say the formula is medium coverage but it’s definitely buildable and easy to blend. 

As far as the actual product goes, I love it! I really love cream products over liquid and powders so I might be biased. Which brings me to the second product I tried. 

zero waste beauty

2. Elate Bliss Universal Natural Makeup Creme

This product can be used as a lip tint or a cheek tiny but I use it mostly as a blush. As I mentioned, I love cream products. I feel like they work so well with my skin to give me a natural flush.

The formula itself I would say is pretty similar to that of the creme revealed. it applies really smoothly and blends out easily. The coverage isn’t as pigmented as the product looks, but I have only tried one shade, so I can’t speak for all shades. 

However, I don’t mind it. It is buildable if you want a more noticeable bush look but I like the minimal, simple look just one application gives me. 

Both the creme revealed and the creme blush has the same kind of packaging just in different sizes. They both come in a little metal pan and are housed in a gorgeous bamboo compact. Bamboo is a super sustainable self-regenerating natural source meaning it doesn’t need to be replanted, once cut it simply regrows on its own. It also requires a lot less water to grow. 

Once you run out of the product, you can simply pop out the pan and purchase a refill that comes in a little cardboard sleeve and place it into the compact. The empty metal pan and the cardboard sleeve are both recyclable. 

So really, if you take amazing care of the bamboo compacts you may never need to repurchase them again! Which I love! You guys know I’m a huge fan of reusing everything so why not reuse your makeup compacts as well?

zero waste beauty

3. Elate Essential Mascara

The last product I tried from Elate was their essential mascara. This is probably my least favorite of all of their products and Elate has even said that it’s their least “low waste” product.

It comes in a bamboo tube which is to be expected but inside the wand is plastic and there is also a plastic tube that holds the mascara. I’m sure the logistics of putting a mascara formula into just the bamboo tube would be difficult and I can’t say that I have any better ideas.

What I have loved about Elate is that they are honest and they’re doing their best and they’re always improving. So I would rather support a clean, sustainable brand that isn’t perfect than a brand that isn’t trying. 

As for the formula, I thought it was fine. It wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t spectacular. I’m not saying that to hate on Elate because if I haven’t made it clear, I love them.

It doesn’t do anything more or anything less than other mascaras I’ve used before. That being said, you really would have to try it out for yourself. And I would also rather use this mascara than a drugstore brand that just uses plastic and doesn’t care about their footprint. 

zero waste beauty

Shampoo + Conditioner Bars

For shampoo and conditioner bars I tried out HiBar which is arguably one of the most popular or most known shampoo bars brands and Bkind which is a super popular Canadian brand. Here are my thoughts!

Curious about how to use a shampoo bar or why you should try it? Click here!

1. HiBar Shampoo bar and Conditioner bar

I haven’t tried a lot of shampoo bars but I’ve tried enough to know that so far, Hibar is my favorite. It’s got so much going for it. 

I purchased the volumize bar in both the shampoo and conditioner because I’m lacking volume and will look for t anywhere I can get it. All of my life, in fact, I’ve bought volumizing shampoo and conditioners and none of them have done anything for my hair. I will say that while the volumizing Hibar bars aren’t miracle workers, I have actually noticed a difference in volume after using them.

Both bars come in a little cardboard sleeve and contain no plastic at all nor do they contain any palm oil which is also something that’s super important to me. But the big selling point with these bars is that they aren’t even really bar-shaped. You’ll see in the picture below that they have an angle which makes using the bar that much easier.

And they are actually quite big and condensed which makes the price totally worth it. I usually wash my hair about 3-4 times a week and these bars can easily last me 6-8 months. (Especially since I have short hair.) So really I’m only buying shampoo and conditioner maybe twice a year.

zero waste beauty

2.Bkind Shampoo bar and Conditioner Bar

For some reason, the website that I bought both of these products no longer stocks the conditioner bar but I’m going to tell you all about them anyway. 

Like I mentioned these bars are Canadian made and probably more popular or known by Canadian zero-wasters. But they were actually the first bar products I ever tried out and they honestly made me fall in love with shampoo and conditioner bars.

Because these were the first ones that I tried, I didn’t really know much about using them or what I wanted to get out of a shampoo bar. Here’s the thing: They’re not bad. I would use them again. The thing with these ones for me is that they’re almost $20 CAD for each bar. And they’re not nearly as big as the Hibar bars so I’m going through them more frequently.

If I had to repurchase these bars roughly every 3 months I would be spending about $160 on shampoo and conditioner a year which is not something I want to do or am able to do. Other than the size not being worth the price (in my opinion) I have nothing bad to say about these bars.

They work really well and they’re easier to travel with than the Hibar ones because of their shape.

zero waste beauty

Personal Care products:

Moving on, I have three more zero waste products I want to talk about. These products take a step away from zero waste beauty more into zero waste personal care products.

1. Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant

If I were a brand, I would be meow meow tweet. Cats? Check. Compostable packaging? Check. Funky doodles? Check. Non-toxic? Yes, ma’am! I love everything about this brand and I am obsessed with this deodorant. 

My favorite scent is the Rose Geranium and I kid you not it seriously smells like a greenhouse. Which is everything I want for the spring and summertime. 

And this is a natural deodorant that actually works. All-day long in the summer sun and I haven’t found the need to reapply.

If there is a true pioneer in the zero waste beauty space, it’s meow meow tweet.

zero waste beauty

2. Patch bandaids

Patch bandaids are making their way onto the zero waste scene. But I hate to say that I’m not a big fan…yet.

I think there’s some improvement that needs to be done. The bandaids themselves are made from bamboo which as I talked about earlier is a super sustainable resource. The tube that the bandaids come in is compostable and I believe the bandaids are meant to be as well but as I talked about in a recent post, biodegradable and compostable products aren’t the answer to our pollution problem. 

Their packaging and website don’t say anything other than that it is compostable but that still doesn’t really tell me how to dispose of it. Is it backyard compostable or commercially compostable? Because most people won’t take the time and energy to bring a couple of bandaids to a local composter.

I also wonder how compostable bodily fluids are. Chances are your used bandaid may have some blood or puss on it and I’m very unfamiliar as to whether or not that can be composted.

As for the bandaid itself, I didn’t really like it. It fell off after a few hours of wear and for sure fell off every time it got wet. So having a cut on your hand and having to wash your hands meant changing the bandaid frequently. Which felt like such a waste especially when you consider the price.

Don’t get me wrong, I will 100% pay more for things that are ethically and sustainably made because that’s how it should be. But I don’t want to pay extra for something that’s meant to be sustainable if it doesn’t work.

All that said, I think the brand itself is doing wonderful things and I definitely think they’re on the right track and I most definitely want to see them succeed! I just think there is room for improvement. 

zero waste beauty

3. Toothpaste tabs

What are toothpaste tabs? They are exactly what they sound like. Little mint shaped tabs that are compressed toothpaste! Basically, it’s solid toothpaste that you pop in your mouth, chew, it foams up like normal toothpaste and you brush away!

This form of toothpaste makes packaging a thing of the past. You can get these in either a glass jar, (which is reusable or recyclable) or a compostable tube. These are also more sustainable than traditional toothpaste because there is no water used in the toothpaste itself.

This isn’t my favorite product. It’s really weird trying to get used to chewing your toothpaste. That being said, it’s a fantastic product that helps reduce a ton of waste and since it’s in solid form it’s also great for travel!

zero waste beauty

4. David’s Natural Toothpaste

While toothpaste tabs are a great option and I know a lot of zero wasters who swear by them, I’m now 100% team Davids natural toothpaste.

Before I made a lot of low waste swaps I made non-toxic swaps and one of the most important items I want to be non-toxic is my toothpaste. Enter in: Davids. 

This toothpaste is truly the best of both worlds and I’m obsessed. Their ingredients are all-natural and sustainably sourced, they’re fluoride-free, vegan, cruelty-free, made right in America, and of course, it sustainably packaged.

I think I just prefer the feeling of a real toothpaste over the tabs! (though they’re still great.) I love that the toothpaste comes in a recyclable metal tube and that their entire production chain is as natural and sustainable as possible.

It even comes with a little metal key to help you use every last bit of toothpaste! Waste less, want less!

zero waste beauty

Related Posts:

The top Zero Waste Swaps that changed my life

The beginners guide to clean beauty

I just want to reiterate that using what you have is the most sustainable option. You shouldn’t feel compelled to buy any of these popular zero waste products just because you want to reduce your waste. Using what you have will do that.

But if you’ve been wondering about any of these zero waste beauty products then I hope this post serves as an honest review from a friend to a friend. 

As always, thank you for reading! Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration!!

zero waste beauty


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