If like us, you’re addicted to your reusable water bottle and buy your shopping with a trusty canvas tote bag, perhaps it’s time to inject some sustainability into your beauty regime.
Makeup is a plastic heavy industry. Single-use plastic coats almost every cosmetic product on the market and the low-price point and accessibility means we’re tempted into buying, but damaging our planet in the process. Many will admit they have wandered into a highstreet pharmacy, picked up a cheap lipstick for under five euros and never even used it. However, finally the cosmetic world seems to have got the hint - with new biodegradable and aluminium packaging options available, brands are taking the initiative to go clean and green.
Here at Living, we have worked out that every key item in your make-up bag can be replaced with a re-fillable alternative. What’s more, it will benefit the environment and your wallet, since most brands sell their refills for a fraction of the original product’s price. Conducting a round-up of all your make-up bag essentials, we can show you how to clear your cosmetic conscience.
Foundation is one of the hardest beauty products to choose - matching your skin tone, finding the right coverage and avoiding brands that make you break out is no easy feat. Luckily, we’ve selected 2 trusted brands you’ll already have heard of, that boast refillable options.
Clarins’ easy to apply ‘Everlasting Cushion Foundation’, requires a light sweep across the face for glowy, fresh skin. It’s buildable, for those who desire a bit more coverage, and water-based, for a soothing, hydrated finish. The applicator allows easy on-the-go usage and most importantly, when it’s finished, the foundation sponge and cushion are re-fillable and a new set can be purchased to sit in your white and gold compact. With “triple protection against pollution” and high SPF, Clarins’ foundation helps you stay protected from the effects of global warming, whilst allowing you to be more eco-conscious with its nifty re-fillable packing.
Another environmentally conscious foundation compact is the ‘Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation’, from YSL, which is another firm favourite of ours.
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Yet another brand looking to reduce single-use plastic, Stila is our new favourite concealer. Much like Clarins, Stila’s concealer compact is reusable, meaning customers can hold on to their containers and buy refills at a fraction of the cost.
From persistent under-eye bags to blemishes and age spots, it’s a perfect cover up for all imperfections, blending seamlessly for a flawless finish. With antioxidants and Vitamins A, C and E, this skin nurturing concealer will be sure to neutralise any discolourations.
Being kind to the environment is at the very heart of the make-up brand, Zao, which draws on the Asian philosophy of respect towards nature. The company uses eco-friendly, organic ingredients, and reusable packaging, incorporating bamboo into the casing as well as the formulas of its products. Because trees absorb carbon, Zao’s prolific use of the material means that the company sustains a negative carbon footprint.
Their organic vegan certified concealer is a make-up bag essential. Made with castor oil, imbued with soothing and healing properties, this refillable concealer acts much like a lipstick, slotting into the reusable bamboo holder.
An eco-alternative to make your eyes pop.
Danish make-up artist, Kirsten Kjaer Weis, had the vision of creating a refillable make-up brand with beautiful sleek design that lasts. Not wishing to compromise her creative design, the containers you initially buy are not made from recycled metal, however the packaging for each new refill can be recycled. On her website there is a clear step by step guide with images on how to insert the refills to make it as simple as possible.
The lengthening mascara is a particularly popular product, infused with Jojoba and caster seed oil. The mascara promotes moisture, and healthy skin and hair, through its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Giving a natural but lengthened lash with anti-clumping formula, this brand is a fantastic eco alternative.
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For that all year round summer glow, opt for the ‘Ecco Bella Bronzer powder’, a formula imbued with what the brand call “Flower Cutins”, minerals and reinforced with aloe, green tea and Vitamin E. Ecco Bella aims to protect the beauty of its customers and the planet - they are cruelty free, anti-microbeads, and use recyclable packaging. The company even support eco-friendly initiatives such as planting trees with American Forests.
The bronzer comes in a 100% paper pulp, cardboard compact, which comes with a puff and inbuilt mirror for on-the-go application. It’s gluten and fragrance free, naturally preserved and vegan.
The cult favourite make-up brand M.A.C, backed by huge female celebrities such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga, has been selling refills for some time now. Concealers, powders and eyeshadow products can be re-bought in their magnetic metal pan without you having to repurchase the plastic container - it’s cheaper and more sustainable too! What’s more, if you don’t want a refill, M.A.C offers a free new lipstick on the return of 6 of its original packaging containers - at no charge.
Our favourite is blush “peachy keen”, a subtle peachy palette for a cheeky glow.
M.A.C isn’t alone in selling magnetic refillable packaging, NARS’ powder based products can also be bought in a containerless state and added to the NARS Pro Palette, which comes in small and large. In this way you can customise your own palette with all of your favourite eyeshadows and blushes without ignoring your conscience and wasting money in the process.
Every make-up bag needs a daring red.
Luxury cosmetics brand Hourglass is known for its commitment to innovating and reinventing beauty. Also famed for its Vegan and strict anti-animal cruelty support, the brand is helping the world go green through its refillable lipsticks. The product comes in a slim sexy gold casing, fine and bullet-shaped, it ensures precise and easy application.
Our favourite shade is “My Icon Is”, a bright and chic glossy red with serious staying power.
Perfect eyebrows are the current obsession so we've rummaged around for a sustainable fix.
Our pick for rainproof brows is the eyebrow pencil from luxury Japanese cosmetics company, Decorté. The narrow bodied twist pencil is great for precision with the ‘spoolie’ (brush) on the reverse for blending and shaping. Available in 4 shades, the tool is easy to refill when finished.
Perhaps the most unlikely of refillable makeup tools is the liquid eyeliner. A product that is often frequently replaced from drying out, the liquid eye-liner is screaming for an eco make-over. We’ve found another Zao alternative.
Offering the usual black and brown tones, for those who are fairer skinned, Zao has also made an electric blue, emerald green and plum colour to compliment every eye colour. Enriched with anti-infection remedies, the soothing formula claims to comfort your skin with a whole host of natural goodies, including UV protection! Like their concealer, mascara and powders, the liquid eyeliner sits in a handy bamboo casing, making your makeup bag natural in more ways than one.
Words: Kiltie De Cleyn