11 Zero Waste Mascara That You Should Consider

Zero Waste Mascara – check out these 10 brands that I reviewed + 1 easy DIY if you are looking to reduce your waste.

What’s the most difficult part about makeup shopping? Is it finding the right shade of blush to complement your skin tone? Testing the right eye shadow texture to prevent acne breakout? Whatever it is, I’m sure you’ll agree that finding the perfect mascara is also at the top of the list.

It’s rare to find one that ticks all the boxes.

  • Does not smudge.
  • Resists water and sweat.
  • Prevents clumping.
  • Does not dry out in the container.

When you add on zero waste, organic, and sustainable criteria, it seems even more impossible to find the right one.

I bet you’ve come across different DIY recipes for zero waste mascara. And maybe you’ve even tried some out and loved the results. But if you don’t have much time or don’t have all the ingredients you need to make the perfect organic, sustainable & zero waste mascara, I’ve got good news. We conducted some good old research and combined it with trustworthy reviews from our zero waste warriors to help you find the zero waste mascara that works for you. We’ve investigated the best ones that tackle all common mascara problems.

I know it’s a tall order, but there are amazing brands that somehow meet all of the basic criteria I listed above. Moreover, I dug a little deeper and evaluated these brands on other standards.

Here’s the deal.

When I was researching all the highly praised alternatives to drugstore mascaras, I looked at three crucial factors. These are the three basic things you should look for when shopping for any cosmetic product.

One, is it cruelty free? A cruelty free certification or claim on a product means the company does not test its products or ingredients on animals. This is different from vegan products where no ingredients are sourced from animals. What this means is a product may not be fully vegan, but it can still be cruelty free. For example, a lipstick that has lanolin (a natural wax from sheep wool) is not completely vegan, but it may be cruelty-free if the lipstick was not tested on animals.

Companies that are Leaping Bunny certified will use a logo of a bunny mid-jump flanked by stars. This logo means the company met high standards set by the Leaping Bunny Program. A company agrees for specialists to assess their supply chain to ensure that the company is cruelty-free. And this certification is on-going, meaning the company is always making sure that their production, distribution, and disposal processes never harm any animals.

The bottom line is this. It’s never a good sign if a company tests on animals. Personally, this not only makes me question the organization’s moral code, but the safety of their ingredients. Which brings me to the next criteria.

Two, are the ingredients organic? While not all makeup ingredients can be food-grade, they should be organic (where possible) and safe. Anything we put on our skin is readily absorbed into our bodies, so we should be cautious about what we use everyday. This is especially true for mascara.

Think about it. Odds are, a little bit of product will get into your actual eyes every time you use mascara. To make matters worse, the area around our eyes is one of the most sensitive spots on our bodies–so we should treat it with extra care. Granted, there are a lot of related subcategories we can file under this second criteria. One example is whether or not a mascara is made with palm oil. Another is if the ingredients are 100% vegan. But for this article, I’ve included specific details under each specific product review below where appropriate.

It’s also helpful to remember  that what counts as “organic” or “natural” may differ from one country (or even state) or another. For instance, a product may only be 80% organic in one country but is still considered organic under certain specifications in another country. This doesn’t automatically mean that the other 20% are made of harsh chemicals; it could be the case that the other 20% is made of byproducts that simply can’t come from organic sources.

At the end of the day, the choice is ultimately up to you and what you’re most comfortable with. Always conduct further research if you’re hesitant to try a product just based off of the website reviews.

Aside from ingredients and testing procedures, I ask, is the packaging recyclable? At the very least, is it reusable or refillable? It’s difficult for companies to get this part 100% right because of the mascara wand. Sadly, it’s usually made of different types of non-recyclable plastics. What’s more, most people simply throw away mascara containers because many recycling facilities do not accept them or the containers themselves are not properly labeled. So what can we do?

Luckily, many companies now offer refillable containers in recyclable packaging. In fact, we can start by cutting out plastic right from the start so we don’t have to worry about recycling or repurposing once the product runs out. What I mean is, we can actively choose products that don’t use non-recyclable or non-reusable plastics at all. There are plenty of eco-friendly packaged cosmetics, so why not take advantage of your options?

The less waste we purchase from the get-go, the better in the long run. Many companies take it even a step further and source their outer packaging from recycled or upcycled materials.

Fortunately, most of the top picks we reviewed do have recyclable packaging, so you can add zero waste mascara to your sustainability bucket list.

Now, let’s check out our best bets. Stay with me because this might be a lot of information, but trust me–you’ll be glad you did your research for the perfect eco-friendly zero waste mascara. Here we go.

Zero Waste Mascara Alternatives

1. Elate – Best water resistant

Elate Essential Mascara (28$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? No
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

Elate is helping to revolutionize the way we approach our daily cosmetics ritual. Makeup artist and Elate founder Melodie Reynolds allows consumers to analyze where we can cut out waste down to the last piece of plastic in whatever we use. Her products take into account the effects on humans, animals, and the planet so that none of these are ever compromised. Elate’s end goal is to be the first zero waste cosmetics producer through sustainable practices, inclusive policies, transparency, and transformation.

For starters, all  of their refillable products like their blush and eyeshadow compacts are housed in sustainable and reusable bamboo. As for outer packaging, their refills don’t use additional wasteful materials. Instead, their refills are sent in paper envelopes filled with wildflower seeds you can grow in your own backyard.

Elate’s mascara is packaged in a compostable bamboo case with a recyclable plastic tube. The company is 75% waste free, but the fact that their mascara tubes are recyclable and compostable is already a big deal! We hope that other companies follow suit.

With that said, their products are completely vegan, but only about 75% organic. Don’t worry–they’re working hard to make it 100%. In the meantime, the amazing organic mascara ingredients lineup includes carnauba palm wax instead of traditional palm oil, bayberry fruit wax, camellia leaf extract, and jojoba seed oil.

Their lengthening and volumizing mascara is ideal for anyone who tends to be extra active throughout the day. Even sweat or rain won’t give you the dreaded raccoon eye look. So if you’re prone to forgetting you’re wearing mascara and accidentally rub your eyes often, this is the mascara for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about accidentally smudging your makeup all day, and Elate has you covered.

This mascara weighs .18 ounces or 10 grams.

2. Antonym

Antonym Mascara (26$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable? No

Antonym prides itself in using primarily vegan and organic ingredients. Founder and makeup director Valerie Giraud wanted to bridge the gap between quality and organic certification. She noticed that natural makeup products tended to be less pigmented and offered a softer look, but she wanted to fill this hole in the market. So she founded Antonym in 2013 as a way to make high end, cruelty-free makeup products available to everyone.

Granted,the container and wand for this mascara isn’t recyclable, but Antonym uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper to make recyclable outer packaging. Remember that the FSC is a nonprofit that promotes sustainable forestry. Why is this important? This means Antonym uses packaging that’s sourced from environmentally-friendly forests and suppliers.

Furthermore, their brushes are not made with animal products. Unfortunately, a lot of companies use hair from animals like mink, sable, and even squirrel for makeup brushes. Some companies advertise these animal brushes as luxurious and cruelty-free. Sadly, more often than not, these animals were trapped and used for their hair. However, Antonym brushes are certified vegan by The Vegan Awareness Foundation.

The only non-vegan ingredient they use is organic beeswax in products like lipstick and their organic Lola Lash Too mascara. Note that 98.8% of this mascara is made from natural materials  and 17.7% are made of organically-farmed ingredients. This might seem like a low number, but they are officially certified by Ecocert standards. Follow this link if you want to find out more about the certification process.

But about their organic ingredients. Beeswax and carnauba wax gives lashes a plumped look for a fake-lash look with all-natural ingredients. Furthermore, beeswax also ties the ingredients together so it’s not just powder or liquid, but a pleasant mix between the two. Essentially, it’s what gives the mascara “body,” so to speak.

The rest of the mascara is made of rich ingredients like shea butter and sweet almond oil. In case you were wondering, sweet almond oil helps hair grow but keeps lashes apart to avoid unsightly clumps. If you’ve had enough of irritated skin and eyes from unnatural mascaras, give this one a try. You don’t need harsh makeup removers to take it off–simply use water and a reusable cotton pad or cloth.

This mascara  weighs 1.12 ounces or 31 grams.

3. Kjaer Weis – Refillable luxury mascara

Lush Up Mascara (26$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable?  Yes

Who better to give makeup advice than a makeup artist?

Kjaer Weis is a sustainable luxury cosmetics brand founded by Danish makeup wizard Kirsten Kjaer Weis.  She was inspired by Scandinavia’s minimalism and New Yorks’ electric, bold energy. Yes, she fused these contradictory themes together along with an eco-friendly business plan. And voila, Kjaer Weis was born in 2010. What’s unique about this company is that it offers a refill system where you can infinitely refill and reuse each compact, mascara, or lipstick case. Kjaer Weis partnered with a prestigious designer to craft timeless, refillable, metal compacts that were sustainable and fashionable.

This is great news! Beyond the compact items, this also means the Kjaer Weis mascara wand and “inner case” are recyclable–two of the most commonly discarded makeup items. Once you get your new refill in the mail or from a partner store, it’s easy to install. Check their website to see if there is a partner store near you so you don’t have to order from online.

I know luxury cosmetics may seem off-putting when it comes to upfront cost, but Kjaer Weis’ high-quality ingredients are totally worth it. Think of the quality of production and what you’re supporting with your choice. Their products are certified organic by the CCPB, which stands for Consorzio Per Il Controllo Prodotti Biologici or in English, the Consortium for Biological Control Products.

Listen to this. This Italy-based organization has one of the most rigorous criteria for companies, and Kjaer Weis meets them all. 

For the zero waste mascara, you can choose between volume or length (or treat yourself and get both!), but either way you’re choosing between all-natural ingredients. So it’s a win-win. And get this: rosehip seed oil, lavander, castor seed oil, rosemary extract, and chestnut extract are just some of the top-shelf items on their list. All in all, Kjaer Weis’ mascara achieves a natural look, but it’s easy to build up and apply several coats for a more dramatic eye. She is a makeup artist after all, so she recognizes various needs across the board, whether it be for the client rushing to work or prepping for a wedding dinner rehearsal.

So glam up your look with an elegant mascara in a refillable container.  If you want a luxurious go-to mascara, Kjaer Weis’ high-quality lengthening or volumizing mascara is your best choice.

One refill weighs 0.19 ounces or 5.4 grams.

4. Zao Organic Makeup – Refillable bamboo case

ZAO Volume Mascara (24$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

Zao Organic Makeup is a classy makeup brand  with products made in Italy and France. Zao, a combination of Zen and Tao practices, is built on respect for the planet. David Reccole wanted to highlight the power of sustainable, organic ingredients.

Consequently, all Zao makeup products have a low to zero carbon footprint and an all-natural composition. Zao Organic Makeup’s professional credentials are long, but one of their most noteworthy contributions is setting the bar high for organic certifications. They even have a specialized lab in Milan where many other makeup products from different companies are crafted.

Now, about their zero waste mascara. You can purchase the mascara with or without a refillable bamboo case and cotton bag. Think: you don’t have to dig through your bag  every time you want to reapply mascara anymore. It saves you time and is much more hygienic.  And you don’t have to keep using and throwing away plastic or metal containers either. Since bamboo is such a sustainable resource, Zao Organic Makeup is using it as a refillable case for most of their products–clean, chic, and eco-friendly.

While Zao Organic Makeup meets organic standards in most countries and states, this mascara contains 100% natural ingredients but only 40% organic ingredients. Unfortunately, this doesn’t meet organic certification in California, but in many other states and countries, they pass with flying colors.

Their ingredients are either derived from organic farming or processed from organic ingredients. For instance, their organic bamboo leaf hydrosol is a moisturizing substance that helps keep lashes healthy. But make no mistake–this mascara packs a punch. It’s meant to create an intense eye by providing volume and thickness.

If you want an easily buildable zero waste mascara for more formal occasions, Zao Organic Makeup is an ideal choice.

It weighs 0.30 ounces or 8.6 grams.

5. RMS beauty  – Best food-grade mascara

RMS Mascara (28$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

RMS Beauty products are made of food grade ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, and tamanu oil. One of their key priorities? Delivering items that have gone through the least amount of processing as possible to seal in natural nutrients and nourish skin. All of their ingredients are high quality, organic ingredients that are officially certified.

Let’s look at one example: tamanu oil. This extract comes from the tamanu tree nut, which is native to Asian and Pacific countries. It’s known to help combat dry skin, wrinkles, and scars. In RMS Beauty Products, tamanu oil is used as a natural preservative and prevents formation of free radicals.

Founder Rose-Marie realizes the importance of synthetic additives, chemicals, and GMOs. I don’t know about you, but I feel comfortable when a company’s philosophy is based on the idea that each and every ingredient should be safe, beneficial, and sustainable. In their holistic production process, RMS Beauty ensures that each ingredient is never bleached or stripped of its natural properties. On one hand, this preserves beneficial properties and on the other, avoids use of chemicals to treat the ingredients.

This is just one of the reasons why their mascara is very promising.

When it comes to their mascara, you have two options. One formula focuses on volume and the other on definition. The volumizing mascara is crafted with plant-based waxes and naturally-occuring minerals to give your lashes a noticeable lift. (Note that this product contains gluten). RMS Beauty uses the keyword “emollient” for their volumizing mascara because it moisturizes both hair and skin, ensuring safety for very sensitive skin.

By contrast, the defining formula is thick and luxurious to accentuate each lash and bring out your eyes without being uncomfortably cakey. Both mascaras are made of non-GMO and non-nano ingredients. Both also come in a traditional mascara tube with a built-in wand.

Try RMS Beauty Product’s defining mascara for a bold look without the hassle of fake lashes. If you want a more natural makeup remover, this mascara is best paired with RMS Beauty’s raw coconut cream.

One container weighs 0.23 ounces or 6.5 grams.

6. 100percent pure – Most color options from fruit pigments

Ultra Lengthening Mascara (26$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

Check this out: fruit pigmented mascara. Yes, you heard that right. If you’ve ever wanted to try a blueberry or a dark chocolate tinted mascara, here is your chance. And that’s not all there is to it with 100% PURE. The three founders Susie Wang, James Wang, and Ric Kostick all believe in positive change through healthy, high-quality products. Among many organic products and social programs, 100% PURE is committed to helping all beings on Earth live a healthy life.

At 100% PURE, they don’t just create safe and nourishing cosmetics. They also donate healthy food to dog shelters and donate to tree planting organizations. With each order, they donate either one bowl of vegan dog food to a partner shelter or pay the cost of one tree to be planted by a partner organization. You can choose which donation they make. Amazing, right? They’re clearly committed to making life easier for humans and animals, but how does their mascara hold up?

Let’s check it out. I know you can relate when I say mascaras are rarely available in colors other than black or brown. This isn’t that big a deal when you have dark hair, but for lighter hair or for those days when you want to switch it up, it does make a difference.

You’ll be glad to hear that 100% PURE’s fruit pigmented mascara is available in four tantalizing hues–blueberry, black tea, blackberry or dark chocolate. This mascara is suitable for people with sensitive skin seeking a lengthening mascara. The natural conditioners and pigments in the mascara help nurture hair and skin while keeping clumps at bay.

I know it may feel counterproductive to use food-based cosmetics, but think about it. Makeup used to be made of naturally-occuring minerals and plant pigments. It was only when we started making cosmetics in labs and factories that we steered away from makeup’s natural roots. Something that lasts for an unbelievable amount of time (drugstore makeup) is made that way with preservatives and additives. By contrast, 100% PURE’s cosmetics are free of synthetic dyes and harsh ingredients.

You wouldn’t expect organic food to last as long as genetically-modified produce, so let’s start setting the same standards for organic makeup. Nowadays, organic products are superior to synthetic products in so many ways. And it’s time we realize the potential of food-based cosmetics. It’s time to show that natural cosmetics are just as good, if not better than synthetic products.

Try 100% PURE’s mascara and you’ll see that it resists water just as well as your old mascara. To top it off, the packaging is recyclable and it is never tested on animals.

It weighs 0.35 ounces of 10 grams.

7. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics – Choice of lengthening vs. volumizing 

Volumising Mineral Mascara (16.35$)
  • Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable?

You may have heard of Dirty Hippie Cosmetics–they’re popular in the zero waste community. And for good reason! They’re an Australian-based, family-owned business that celebrates natural ingredients and environmentally-friendly practices. This means handmade, organic, and ethically-sourced products. What’s more, their packaging is either recyclable or refillable. (They even have a recycling program where you can return containers if you live in Australia.)

So why choose their mascara? Get this: the base is made of aloe vera and clay. Two simple, wholesome ingredients compared to heavy metal and chemical-based mascaras in drugstores. Additionally, various oils like castor, lavender, and jojoba provide hair nourishment. On the other hand, Vitamin B5 and E help you achieve those coveted long lashes.

This zero waste mascara is available in Carbon Black or Cacao Brown. The bamboo handle brush, glass container, and aluminum lid are all recyclable or reusable. The product itself requires an adjustment period because the wand does not store in the container. To use, dip the wand in the vial and twist out against the opening to remove extra product. It may take up to three minutes for the mascara to fully dry. It’s also advised to wait at least 20 seconds between each coat. Finally, it’s advisable to wash the brush after every use with warm water and soap.

The product weighs 0.3 ounces or  8.5 grams.

8. Bésame Cosmetics – Vintage-inspired

BLACK CAKE MASCARA (25$)
  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? No
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

Bésame Cosmetics is inspired by vintage makeup of the 1920s and 1940s. Think bold red lip, strong, pronounced eyes and lashes. It’s definitely a vibe, and if you’re a fan of minimalism and high impact cosmetics, this cake mascara is the top choice. Makeup in the early to mid 1900s  was less about carefully blended eyeshadows and just the right shade of contour cream. Instead, manufacturers focused more on  the most effective solution with minimal product. These products emulated on-screen makeup and admirable movie stars. One such product is cake mascara.

As the name implies, Bésame’s cake mascara is available in a semi-solid form packed into a square tin container. The tin is collectible–it’s a deep red borered by a golden ornate design. It’s painfully Since vintage products are minimal by design, they are also multipurpose. Customers then didn’t have the convenience of thousands of products in one single store aisle. Keeping with the high-impact minimalism ideology, Bésame crafted this product to be used in various ways. You can use this cake mascara as an eyeliner or eyebrow filler. Just make sure you have the right type of brush for the desired effect. A flat or sharp brush is best for applying eyeliner and a brush or spoolie is best for eyebrows.

Alternatively, you can use a fine-tipped brush to fill in sparse areas in your brows–but use a very light hand! Cake mascaras can build up quickly and you don’t want solid blocks as eyebrows. To use as a mascara, first make sure the brush is damp. Then, take a drop of water and mix it into the cake using the provided brush. Let your lashes dry between coats to avoid clumping. To remove, use a gentle skin cleanser and warm water. 

This mascara is ideal for someone looking for something versatile–finish your brows, eyes, and lashes with just one product. I don’t know about you, but taking just one eye product on-the-go is so much less stressful than lugging around three different containers.

The Bésame mascara cake weighs 0.39 ounces or 11 grams.

Note: while the tin and paper packaging are recyclable, the brush comes in a plastic bag.

9. Bee You Organics – Available in travel size

  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

Bee You Organics is a trustworthy brand. It’s a family-run business which was founded by Larissa, now a mother of two, when she realized mainstream cosmetics did not cater to sensitive skin. Furthermore, she understands the importance of organic and natural ingredients, as well as fair trade and sustainable practices. As a result, Bee You Organics products are handcrafted, organic, and environmentally sustainable.

For starters, their mascara contains no alcohol, which is known to dry and irritate skin. What does help is a mixture of castor-, jojoba-, and coconut oil and carnauba wax. The Black mascara is pigmented with activated charcoal and the Brown mascara is tinted with cocoa powder.

When choosing a mascara color, black is always a safe bet. However, if you have lighter hair and want a softer look, opt for the brown mascara. To use, insert the wand into the mascara container and then slowly sweep the brush alongside the jar opening. Make sure all sides are covered evenly to avoid clumps. Slowly build up to your desired thickness. When finished, you can keep the wand in a separate clean, mascara tube or in the provided cotton bag.

This product is available in a travel size  (0.17 ounces or 4.8 grams) or full size (0.34 ounces or 9.6 grams).

If you need another reason to check out Bee You Organics, you’d be glad to learn that they partner with a wildlife organization that takes old mascara wands and cleans wild animals with them. Think cute, fuzzy squirrels getting a brush-down to remove small insects and dirt. What could be cuter? Or more socially and environmentally-friendly?

10. Clean Faced Organics – Handmade volumizing mascara or multipurpose mascara

  • Is it Cruelty free? Yes
  • Organic? Yes
  • Is the packaging recyclable? Yes

CleanFacedCosmetics is run by a single, dedicated employee out of an Etsy shop. This is great for multiple reasons–no harsh chemicals are used, most products are either zero waste or very close to it, and the products are handmade and of high quality. Additionally, supporting small businesses is always a bonus! In this case, you’re supporting someone who advocates zero waste habits and safe cosmetics.

Good news: there are actually two mascaras available from CleanFacedCosmetics. The first is their volumizing mascara. It comes in a glass container covered with an aluminum lid and a bamboo handle brush. But no pressure. If you don’t need a brush, just leave a note in your order. This brush is currently made of plastic spools, though the shop owner is actively searching for a plant-based alternative.

Like other products that don’t use alcohol and other synthetic ingredients, this zero waste mascara takes a few minutes to dry. However, this minor inconvenience is easily overlooked with the healthy and beneficial ingredients. Agave syrup, for one, seals in moisture and helps your lashes build volume. Castor oil helps condition your hair for healthy, long lashes.

If you’re looking for something more multifunctional, their vegan cake mascara can also be used as a liner, brow gel, and eyeshadow. Bamboo-handle brushes and applicators along with cotton bags are included if you need them. The cake mascara is crafted with castor oil, candelilla wax, activated charcoal, and kaolin. The key ingredient is castor oil which provides moisture and encourages hair growth.

To use, mix a drop of oil of your choice. Make sure it’s safe for use on skin, so consider well-researched options like olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. Mix the oil with the cake using your brush. Note that you only need to do this prior to your first use and when/if the cake becomes dry. Proceed to use as a liner using the brush, as an eyeshadow using your finger or brush, as a brow filler using the spoolie or fine-tipped brush, and as a mascara using the spoolie.

Clean brushes with mild soap and water.

There are no specific weight/volume measurements on the site, but are similarly sized to other products on our list.

If you simply love making your own products and want to master your very own mascara recipe, here is a DIY zero waste mascara to help you get started.

11. DIY zero waste mascara

What you’ll need:

  • Refillable container
  • Container for excess product
  • 3 grams activated charcoal
  • 3 grams beeswax or bentonite clay (Optional, but good for thickening the mixture)
  • 5-8 drops of skin safe oil (coconut, olive, castor, etc.)
  • 2-5 drops of Vitamin E oil

Believe it or not, the instructions are fairly easy and take little time. Ready?

  • Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan until bubbles form.
  • Mix ingredients in a separate glass container.
  • Place this glass container in the simmering water until the ingredients are melted.
  • Mix with a clean stirrer or utensil.

If you used beeswax or clay, the mixture will be cakey and more solid. In this case, it’s ideal to pour the mixture into a  shallow container like a reusable metal tin like an empty  eye shadow metal compact. If you skipped out on the beeswax or clay, your mixture will likely be more watery, so you can use a mascara tube for easier application later on. Let the mixture cool and secure with a lid.

To use the mascara cake, dampen your brush before applying to loosen the mixture. To use the mascara tube, use like any other mascara and apply with a spoolie. Be careful not to apply too much product at once to avoid clumps.

Save the excess product in an airtight container for maximum shelf life. Use the bulk ingredients for other DIY recipes. In the meantime, enjoy your mascara for months!

So we’ve reached the end of our list.

Let’s reiterate the most important points.

Mascara is an invaluable makeup tool–one coat can elevate your look from “just woke up and rushed out of the house” to “charmingly natural, but somehow put-together.” An easy-to-use and dependable mascara is the simplest tool you can add to your daily routine.

Before grabbing the first mascara on the aisle, I hope you looked over our list of the top zero waste mascaras available. When doing your own research, remember to check if the product is cruelty-free, organic, and recyclable (both outer and inner packaging).

If a product is cruelty-free, they will have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program. You’ll see a leaping bunny sticker somewhere in the product description or the website.

If a product is organic, you’ll find various stickers, logos, and certifications under the product. If you’re based in the U.S., you’ll see “NOP” certified or “USDA” on the label. If you’re based in Europe, you’ll encounter the white leaf made of stars on a green background.

Check the container itself or the packaging to determine whether a product is recyclable.

Beyond these three standards, the rest is up to you. As you can see, there is a wide range of zero waste cosmetics and mascaras available. There are fruit-pigmented mascaras, food-grade mascaras, multipurpose mascara cakes, and even DIY options.

As always, consider what you value most and compare that with your best options. Let us know which product you decided to try or make–we’re interested to see how natural cosmetics has changed your life for the better.

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