The beauty industry has a long way to go, but these companies are showing that there are changes in the air

When you hear about excessive plastic packaging, it is usually the food industry that is the focus; straws, disposable coffee cups, Styrofoam takeaway containers, chip bags and more. While the food industry is certainly guilty of not coming up with better packaging designs, one may ask oneself why that other industries have been spared the same level of criticism?

Take e.g. the beauty industry. Cosmetics, hair and skin care products are responsible for huge amounts of plastic packaging waste. Microbeads has long been in the spotlight, and thanks to the legislation, it is hopefully something we can put behind us soon. But just think of the typical containers used for eye shadow, mascaras, lipsticks, foundations, lotions and shampoos in pump bottles that are almost impossible to empty; most are thrown out while a fifth of the product is still inside. Cosmetic packaging can be even harder to recycle than food packaging because it often contains several types of materials that need to be separated before recycling – and often this is not possible.

Huge selection:

Euromonitor sent Teen Vogue its global data on plastic packaging for the beauty industry, showing that in 2010 the industry produced 65.62 billion plastic packaging units. In 2017, the figure was 76.8 billion. Of course, it does not even count factor in plastic accessories, such as mini scoopers or application devices.

Fortunately, there is a very small but still growing segment of the beauty industry that is looking for alternatives to disposable that are difficult to recycle. It’s still uncommon and hard to find, but ecolove comes here with a list of a few brands that challenge the status quo in the market. However, it is not easy! Glass containers are heavier than plastic, which increases shipping weight and cost. Recycled plastic is a temporary solution that ultimately goes to waste regardless; and just because something is reusable or refillable does not mean that it is actually being reused or refilled. It’s a long way to go to make this system really circular and accessible, but at least some companies are trying to do something about the problem.

The following list is varied, both in packaging solutions and products offered, and is therefore not the same either. Of course, some solutions are much better than others. But it’s a start, and by supporting cosmetics companies trying to create more environmentally friendly packaging, you are sending a message to the world that this is something that matters.

1. Loli
Loli facial oils, moisturizers and cleansers come in glass jars and vials with compostable labels, bags and boxes. Teen Vogue reported: “Compared to most beauty products, which are 70 percent to 80 percent water, Loli´’s products are 100 percent free of water, and the brand uses glass and recycled paper according to consumption in the packaging.”

Loli Beauty

2. Soué
In recent years, Australia has launched an impressive number of eco-friendly beauty brands . Soué is one of them; a vegan brand that comes all its products in compostable cardboard tubes and glass jars with metal lids. Even the labels can be composted:

The brand states: “Most labels are made with a plastic background, which means that it cannot be composted. But we found a biodegradable alternative with water-based glue and vegetable ink that can be degraded, or you can reuse your pipe to plant seeds for your garden or balcony. ” 


3. Beauty Cubes
Shampoo bars are the next big thing. Soon you will see these everywhere. Most have the shape of a solid soap-like bar, but the British brand Beauty Kubes has a different roof on it. They sell boxes of 27 perfectly formed small cubes. The cubes are meant to be crumbled, mixed into a paste with water in your hand and then massaged into the hair. Beauty Kubes states: “Most of our customers report back that they do not need to use a separate conditioner after use.”

Beauty Cubes Shampoo

4. Alima Pure
Alima Pure offers refills for your concealer, foundation and eye shadow, which means you only have to buy a single product. The refills fit into the magnetized container just like a new one. The boxes are made from 100 percent recycled paper and printed with eco-friendly soy-based inks; the containers are made of plastic that contains recycled materials, and all orders are shipped in a recyclable Geami WrapPak System which is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to bubble plates.

Alima Pure

5. Ethique
Ethique claims to have stopped over 400,000 bottles from being deposited and is on its way to making an even bigger difference. They sell everything from face cleansers and moisturizers to exfoliants, hair masks and shampoos / conditioners in solid bar form, wrapped in beautiful paper.


6. Zao Organic Makeup
Made in Italy, this company offers an ingenious refill system for most of its products. You buy a bamboo container once, so you buy refills for it indefinitely – even your mascara can be refilled. The filling system reduces costs and packaging, making them economical, sustainable and durable. ”

Zao Organic Makeup

7. Elat Cosmetics
This Canadian company is a world leader in refillable palettes. They make attractive bamboo container for foundation, blush and magic eye shadows where you can buy refills.

Zao Cosmetics

8. Lilah B .
This California-based pure cosmetics company packs its makeup in “signature stone compacts” that look like white pebbles. There is minimal information on the website about what this packaging is actually made of, but worth noting is that Lilah B. accepts her old containers for recycling. Customers can print a prepaid shipping label from the website and return them, which is a good step in the right direction.