This minimal zero waste makeup post has kindly been sponsored by EarthHero, an online store that’s already done the research for you and offers products that are sourced, manufactured, and shipped in a way that protects our planet’s future!
A large part of my minimal zero waste makeup routine is not so much about aesthetics, but leaving my brain free to think about the things I truly value. Let me explain.
While I’ve always worn makeup, it’s never been a big passion. With OK skin and a casual disdain for what others think of me, makeup was mostly just a way to make my eyes and lips stick out from my very pale skin.
But like anything else, consumerism began to creep in. Suddenly I had foundation, concealer, creams… all things I didn’t really use but felt like I should.
Finally I decided to tackle my makeup like anything else: with the goal of consuming less, using only what I liked, and reducing my decision fatigue.
What’s decision fatigue?
The premise that we’re making decisions all the time and those decisions are mentally taxing. And the more tired we are, the worse our decision-making and self-control becomes.
As one study found, “Making choices led to reduced self-control (i.e., less physical stamina, task persistence in the face of failure, more procrastination, and less quality and quantity of arithmetic calculations).”
All of us practicing zero waste are constantly making decisions – and that’s a big issue when our choices are often tied to our ethics. It can make every choice feel much higher stakes when it’s not “red or yellow shirt”, but rather “cocoa with potential child labor or rainforest-destroying coffee”.
One of the ways to combat decision fatigue is by reducing the choices you have to make daily AKA leaving brain space for the real decisions. By having a minimal zero waste makeup routine, you don’t have to waste your peak decision-making on something like makeup.
(Unless, of course, you want to!)
Enough science! Show me your minimal zero waste makeup routine
I’ve come to terms with my face – for better or worse – and figured out what matters to me: eyes and lips. Aside from some moisturizer, that’s it. Here’s specifically what I use:
Some of these are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase. If you buy through EarthHero, be sure to use my code GREENINDY (throwback!) for 10% off.
- Badger’s Damascus Rose Face Oil: A super simple facial oil that’s super-moisturizing without being greasy. This is my combo makeup remover/moisturizer and a little goes a long way. I also love that it’s from a small family-owned company in New Hampshire and you can return the bottle back to EarthHero to be recycled at end-of-life. (But I’ll keep mine.)
- Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion: Not much to say about this one except you can find it in the drugstore and it’s the only SPF lotion that doesn’t make my skin incredibly irritated. It works.
And what I like about EarthHero – again, back to that decision fatigue – is they have an easy visual index of all the boxes these items tick. (Ex. if you want your cosmetics to be vegan, you can immediately see if it is or isn’t – no need to hunt down obscure ingredient lists or outside reviews!)
- Elate Black Liquid Eyeliner: When I first got this, I was a little hesitant because the applicator seemed really messy and large. Weirdly, it’s probably the easiest applicator I’ve ever used, but it may be difficult to be precise if you’re not a big, lazy winged eyeliner type of person. (Also, as a greasy eyelid person I can attest that is actually water resistant and doesn’t go all over your face!)
- Elate Bliss Universal Natural Makeup Cream: A solid multipurpose item is key for any minimal zero waste makeup routine and this cream is a strong contender. I use it as a bronzer and lip color; I’ve tried it on my eyes but it moves around too much to be a solid eye shadow for me.
- Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara: I was sold on the Ilia ethos when I read on their about page “not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, nor is every synthetic bad.” I grabbed their mascara and haven’t looked back. It’s not waterproof, but I’ve only experienced minimal running/flaking with day-to-day wear.
Looking for even more makeup? Here’s a full post of zero waste makeup brands. Oh, and here’s my very plain face, decision fatigue free and ready to take on the world: