high-end makeup for plastic-free enthusiasts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I love makeup.

I don’t feel an obligation to wear makeup every time I go out, but I like the way I feel when I’m wearing it. I almost always have on concealer, liner, mascara and lipstick/balm.

It’s been easy to switch to a plastic-free concealer — check out my post about RMS Beauty‘s un-cover up here.

But swapping out my mascara and eyeliner hasn’t been easy.

So for a few years now I’ve been using Pacifica’s mascara. And I loved it!

Although for some of Pacifica products, the ingredients aren’t top-notch… and the mascara comes in a plastic container, I still support Pacifica as a brand. Not to mention, they have a recycling program, so you can send your empty containers back to them to be properly recycled!

Note: if I can’t find a zero waste brand that works well, I settle for a brand I can stand by. Two of those brands are typically Pacifica and Shea Moisture. Though both come in plastic, and some of their products don’t have the best ingredients, I support what they stand for. Pacifica is owned and operated by a woman and they don’t test on animals, not to mention their Sea Foam Face Wash was my go-to until I opted to buy plastic-free products. Shea Moisture is fabulous. They are a certified B-Corporation; they’re fair trade and support local community development and they offer a wide spectrum of colors/shades — which is specifically dope for women of color, because the vast majority of cosmetic brands are catered only to white women.

But I’ve been on the look-out for a zero waste or refillable liner and mascara that ACTUALLY WORKS.

And after months of searching, reading/watching reviews, I finally found ZAO Organic Beauty a few months ago.

Their mascara gets a 0 on the Think Dirty app (AKA — the ingredients are baller) and both the liquid eyeliner and mascara are refillable.

Essentially the liner and mascara come in recyclable tubes. Those tubes are encased in a bamboo shell for protection (also, bamboo is super sustainable and a full stalk grows back in 2 years. OPT FOR BAMBOO FAM!).

You can recycle and then buy a new tube on their site to slide into your bamboo shell. (Not EXACTLY zero waste, but pretty dang close!)

It’s super easy, sustainable and the ingredients are dope.

Their Organic Volume Mascara runs for $33, which includes the bamboo case. Refills are $23.

Their Organic Felt Tip Eyeliner is $29.50, which includes the bamboo case. Refills are $19.

Not to mention, these two products are amazing! And I’m not just saying that.

I’m picky when it comes to liner and mascara. I’ve got tiny eyelashes, so I need a good lengthening and volumizing mascara.

The mascara isn’t the BEST I’ve used, but for being sustainable, it’s definitely good! Also, my lids are oily, so I can’t use most pencil liners or I’ll look like a raccoon by noon.

Before limiting my plastic, I used Stila liquid liner — it’s the greatest liquid eyeliner ever. (ya know, minus the packaging and ingredients and whatnot….)

But, yo, I’m not kidding when I say that ZAO liquid liner is actually comparable to Stila!

The only difference really is the applicator brush. I’m not crazy about ZAO’s applicator, but it’s not the worst I’ve used. It just takes getting used to. Now that I’ve been using it for a while, it feels completely normal!

Also, it’s not entirely waterproof, so it may smear if your eyes water significantly.

If you want to switch over to plastic-free makeup options here what you should do:

  1. Use up what you’re already using. If you just bought a brand new maybelline mascara, don’t just pitch it. Use it up! And then in the next few months when you’re on the look-out for a new product, consider ZAO.
  2. Research what is important to you. If plastic-free isn’t your aim, then check out a company’s ethics, ingredients and whether or not you feel comfortable supporting them. There are a lot of quality brands out there — so do some research and feel free to ask me questions if you’d like!
  3. Watch and read reviews. I’m a huge believer in reviews. I rarely buy a product I haven’t researched and reviewed. I typically look up reviews on YouTube because I find that if someone feels passionate enough about a product to create a video and plaster it up on YouTube, then it’s gotta be worth checking out. And, if people put makeup on during the video, you get a better sense of how that makeup is applied and how it looks. This video is what sold me on ZAO’s mascara and liner.

Even if sustainable makeup options aren’t your thing — consider switching to ZAO beauty anyways. They really are a great brand and their products are quality. I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t think so. Consider making the switch, my friends!

What plastic-free makeup is your favorite?

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