This past year I’ve focused a lot more on clean beauty brands – brands that don’t use harmful chemicals or ingredients. In today’s post I’d like to take that a step further and highlight clean beauty brands that also care about reducing waste and recycling.
I’ll be honest, I never really thought much about what to do with the empty cosmetics containers that I have. And cosmetics containers are often complicated with lots of different kinds of parts – which makes them harder to dispose of responsibly. And if I’m being really honest, even if the packaging is recyclable I’m often too lazy to break it apart and take it to a recycling center. That’s why I love that the following brands are clean AND they make it easy to recycle their products through their own recycling programs or by making their packaging reusable.
Clean Beauty Brands with Refillable Packaging
Kjaer Weis (pronounced Keer – Why-s) is another brand I’ve seen around Instagram. They make high-quality makeup that’s both luxurious and simple. Their products are Cruelty-Free and also free of parabens, silicones, petrochemical emulsifiers and synthetic fragrances. Most of their products are certified natural or organic through Italy’s certifying agency, since that’s where they are made.
Kjaer Weis Sustainable Packaging Options
What I love about Kjaer Weis are the packaging options. Their original Iconic Collection is packaged in gorgeous metal compacts that can be refilled. This option is the most expensive but once you invest in the metal compact you can reuse it endlessly by just buying refills! You can also refill their mascaras, lipsticks, lipglosses, and skincare bottles! The newest addition to the Kjaer Weis lineup is their “Red Edition“, which is an eco-friendly packaged version of most of their products. The Red Edition compacts are made from a lightweight, 100% recyclable paper that can be refilled 2-3 times. The Red Edition line is slightly less expensive than the Iconic Collection. They don’t have a recycling program but I thought their packaging was so cool that they needed to be included.
Shop Kjaer Weis
by Humankind is a personal care brand that makes low waste shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, deodorant, body wash, and hand sanitizer. The products are Cruelty-free, Vegan, and made with natural ingredients. But what’s cool about this brand is that everything is low waste and/or refillable! You can get refills for the deodorant and mouthwash and the shampoo/conditioner/body was is sold in bars so there’s little to no packaging involved. Refills are available as a one-time purchase or subscription if you want to save a little money. I also have to mention that I love the aesthetic of this brand!
Zao Organic Makeup
Zao Organic is an eco-luxury makeup brand made in Italy and France. The products are Cruelty-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, and certified organic. Their products are packaged in sustainable bamboo and refillable!
Myro Deodorants are simple formulas made with natural ingredients AND refillable! They are also Cruelty-Free, Vegan, and Gluten, Soy, and Mineral oil free. You get to pick your refillable case color, the scent of the deodorant so it’s kind of customizable, which is fun! Myro deodorant refill pods are also available as a subscription plan or one-time purchase. When you need a refill just
Clean Beauty Brands with Recycling Programs
ILIA is a brand that I’ve been seeing all over social media recently. I haven’t gotten a chance to try their products but I love the minimal packaging design and simplicity. Their products are Cruelty-Free, and formulated without Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates, GMO, Synthetic Fragrances, gluten, and talc. Many of their products are Vegan as well. Now let’s talk packaging! ILIA “strives towards more sustainable packaging through the use of recycled aluminum, glass components, and responsibly sourced paper”.
ILIA Beauty Recycling Program
They’ve also partnered with TerraCycle to make sure that used makeup containers get broken down the right way and recycled. All you have to do is fill out a form for a shipping label, attach it to any package, and mail back up to 5 empty beauty products per month. They don’t even have to be from ILIA! You can send back any empty brand makeup container to be recycled. I love that!
Shop ILIA Beauty
I’m a huge fan of lilah b. and have tried the majority of their products! Lilah b. is a clean beauty brand that specializes in multi-purpose products for a simple beauty routine. Their products are Vegan and Cruelty-Free and are made without Gluten, Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates, and Synthetic fragrances. You can find my full lilah b. review here.
lilah b. Recycling Program
One of my favorite things about the brand is the packaging. The compacts look like beautiful white pebbles! Sadly, you can’t refill them like the Kjaer Weis compacts. BUT lilah b. has a recycling program where you can send them your unwanted beauty products (lilah b. or other brands) and they will properly process and recycle them!
Shop lilah b.
Lush makes fun and clean bath and body products. I think they are probably most know for their “bath bombs” which are fizzy balls of nourishing ingredients for your bath. Their products are Cruelty-Free and Vegetarian/Vegan. Their products use ethically sourced natural ingredients and safe synthetic ingredients. But what is probably most impressive is their packaging!
Lush “Naked” Packaging and Recyclable Containers
35% of the Lush products are packageless, or “naked”, and the rest are packaged using recycled and recyclable materials. Some of their products come in their signature black pots, like their body lotions . You can save up 5 of those empty black pots to return to a Lush store to be recycled and in exchange you get a free face mask! It’s a win-win!
Seed Phytonutrients is a hair and body care brand that has THE COOLEST recyclable packaging. Their shower friendly paper bottles use 60% less plastic than a traditional bottle. A thin plastic bottle made from recycled plastic is surrounded by 100% post consumer recycled paper (which is also recyclable and biodegradable. Once you are done with the bottle you remove the paper packaging to reveal a seed packet which you can use!
Seed Phytonutrients Pump Recycling Program
You can recycle the outer paper cover and the plastic bottle yourself and then request a recycling envelope to send the bottle pumps back to Seed Phytonutrients to be recycled through the TerraCycle Recycling Program.
Shop Seed Phytonutrients
More Beauty Brands with Recycling Programs
Summer Fridays: This clean beauty brand specializes in face masks but they’ve recently expanded their line to include a cleanser, lip balm, and serum. Once you collect 5 empties, email them to get a free mailing label and send back the products. In return you’ll get a free mini mask!
OSEA: OSEA is a clean skincare brand based in Los Angeles that offers recycling of their products if you bring them to their Venice store. For every six empties returned, you get $40 treatment credit!
Tenoverten: This clean nailpolish brand aims for environmentally friendly packaging and they also offer to recycle old nailpolish bottles – from their brand or any other brand. Nailpolish is notoriously hard to recycle so this is very cool! You can bring your old bottles to any of their stores for recycling.
Credo: Credo is the largest Clean Beauty retailer and they sell a curated collection of clean beauty brands (including some I’ve listed above). You can take your empties (Credo brand or not) to their store to be recycled and earn points!
How to Recycle Skincare and Beauty Empties
TerraCycle Recycling Program
If your favorite brand doesn’t have a recycling program yet don’t worry! TerraCycle in partner with Garnier will accept ANY brand skin care, hair care, or cosmetic packaging* for recycling. It’s easy to sign up for their program and then you just collect the empties, download a shipping label, and mail it in!
*I’m unsure if you can recycle the bottles (such as shampoo bottles) through this program. Be sure to check the programs approved list of items to recycle. It looks like if the bottle is a #1 or #2 then you can recycle it through a local recycling center.
TerraCycle also partners with a bunch of other brands for recycling! Each brand has a specific list of what you can recycle through them but there are programs for toys, food packaging, personal care, shoes and more!
You can also check out this guide from Versed (another clean beauty brand) on how to clean and prepare your empty containers for recycling if you plan to do it yourself!