6 Zero Waste Makeup Removers for Clean Pores, Clean Skin, and Clean Earth

elate cosmetics eye makeup remover balm in a bamboo covered tin

These zero waste makeup removers are easy, effective, don’t involve rubbing your skin raw, and might make you want to actually take off your makeup. Your skin and the planet will thank you.

Estimated Read Time: 7 minutes

Skip down to our zero waste makeup remover recommendations! 

Whether you’re an occasional makeup user or an everyday user, makeup is a great way of expressing yourself and presenting yourself to the world. But what goes on must come off, and it’s not always easy. Scrubbing your face and eyes raw just to remove your makeup isn’t ideal and can make us skip a few (or several) nights of taking it off.

Flat lay of woman makeup swatches

But not removing your makeup, besides leaving your pillow case dirty and racoon eyes when you wake up, is actually pretty bad for your skin and over time can lead to premature signs of aging.

Having the right makeup remover is just as important as having the right makeup. Read on for more info about zero waste makeup remover and some of our favorites! 

Say Yes to Zero Waste Makeup Remover & No to All-the-Waste Makeup Remover Wipes

Raise your hand if you use or have used makeup wipes. 

*raises hand* 

Now raise your hand if said wipes have left your skin feeling a little… off. 

*Raises hand way up*

Makeup wipes can be good for a quick fix but they do more harm than good. First of all, these wipes are single use; plus they’re wrapped in plastic, and sometimes even individually wrapped. And who even wants to think about all the ingredients in them.

Turns out they’re also not so great at removing makeup, dirt, and bacteria. What they’re really good at is spreading it around to make you think it’s gone. You’re actually supposed to wash your face AFTER using them, which feels like it defeats the whole purpose. 

The brands below help you take off your makeup in a way that’s good and gentle for your skin in the least impactful way for the planet. 

Make-Up Wipes on a White Background

Why You Need A Zero Waste Makeup Remover  

First and foremost, taking your makeup off is suuuuper important. That cannot be stressed enough. Sleeping with makeup on can result in premature aging, breakouts, irritation, dry skin, and so much more. 

TBH it’s also kind of gross — not you, but the concept! Think about everything your skin and face sees and goes through every day. Bacteria, dirt, smog, sweat, public transportation (ew), recycled airplane air... plus makeup. Not washing your face after all that leads to clogged pores and the inability for your skin to regenerate.

Depending on how much makeup you wear, you might be able to get away with using only a facial cleanser. Cleansers and makeup removers actually have a bit in common in that both contain ingredients that help lift the dirt, grime, and dead skin cells off your skin. 

Used Makeup Kit

Good right? Only using a cleanser to wash your makeup off runs the risk of not getting everything off so it’s best to make sure you’re thoroughly removing the makeup and then getting in there with a cleanser.

As far as the ingredients go, makeup removers are generally pretty harmless but there are some ingredients to watch out for. 

What to Look For in a Zero Waste Makeup Remover

In a zero waste makeup remover, the main thing you want to look out for is the packaging. Something non-plastic that can be recycled, upcycled, or refilled — putting less in the landfill is the goal! 

The second is to keep an eye out for natural ingredients. The main ingredient you want to stay away from is alcohol. It strips the skin of its natural barrier and oils and can be extremely drying.

Some of the best, and our favorite, makeup removers use oils. Contrary to popular belief, using an oil on your face will not necessarily clog your pores or result in more oily skin. Oils will attract other oils, so using an oil to cleanse your skin means it will help absorb the excess while leaving the ones that belong there in place. 

Our Favorite Zero Waste Makeup Removers

1. Revive Eye Makeup Remover Balm — Elate Cosmetics 

This waterless balm contains nothing but nourishing oils that not only effectively remove makeup but keep the skin feeling hydrated and balanced. It’s great for all skin types but works well for those with sensitive skin. Use your finger, or another tool, to scoop the product out of the jar. Massage into wet skin and eyes. Use your fingers to work it around the face and remove with a reusable cotton round or cloth. This balm comes in a recyclable aluminum jar and is encased in compostable, water treated bamboo.

Open jar of cream colored remover balm cased in bamboo. Lid reads elate cosmetics revive

Shop Revive Eye Makeup Remover Balm on Zero Waste Store

2. Makeup Remover — Urban Oreganics

This alcohol-free liquid remover blends together aloe, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, and witch hazel for an effective makeup remover that’s gentle on skin. Use a reusable cotton round or another kind of facial cloth to apply the product wherever needed, then rinse off. Bottled in a glass jar that can be upcycled, recycled, or returned to the company.

Hands holding a clear glass jar of open makeup remover upright with a reusable cotton square behind it.

Photo by Urban Oreganics

3. Whole Body Oil — Good Juju Herbal

This multi-functional body oil from Good Juju Herbal can be used as a body oil, bath oil, hot oil hair treatment, beard oil, aftershave, and of course, a makeup remover. Apply either with hands or a cloth to face, rinse, and revel in the hydration. This comes in a glass bottle that can be upcycled or recycled, except for the pump unfortunately. Additionally, you can select a “Package Free Option” at checkout. 

Dark Glass Jar of body oil with plastic pump lid. Yellow label reads: Good Juju Herbal Whole Body Oil

Photo by Good Juju Herbal

4. Eye & Lip Makeup Remover— Leafology

This oil-packed makeup remover is non-comedogenic and packed with ingredients that provide nutrition and moisture to your skin — specifically the delicate eye skin that could use some help after makeup removal. To use, apply to a damp reusable cotton round or cloth. Using a damp cloth helps lift the oil off your skin. Packaged in a fully recyclable (or upcycleable) amber glass bottle with a metal lid. 

Small glass amber jar with metal lid. White label reads: Leafology pure naked plant knowledge gentle| unscented eye & lip Makeup Remover with grape, tea seed, coconut & fruit sugars

Photo by Leafology

5. Lua Love Your Face Cleansing Oil — Lua

This Cleansing Oil from Lua uses lightweight oils and essential oils to leave your skin feeling soft and dewy instead of tight and dry. To use, massage serum into the face and eyes to remove makeup and other impurities. Wipe clean with a damp facial cloth or reusable cotton round. Packaged in a glass bottle that can be reused or recycled. 

Yellow-ish glass jar with white plastic spray lid. Rainbow label reads Love Your Face cleansing oil

Photo by Lua

6. DIY Makeup Remover With Oils Found at Home

If you want to go full-on DIY there are a few oils that are better than others to start with. Bonus points if you already have these in your house as both of these can be used to cook with! Everyone’s skin is different but if you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, look for oils that are less comedogenic (pore-clogging) to start with. 

White reusable cotton rounds outside of a bamboo cotton round holder

Photo by EcoPanda on Unsplash

Hempseed Oil

This oil is non-comedogenic, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and great for sensitive skin. For consumption it’s a great oil to have around as it’s rich in Omega-3 and is great for drizzling on salads and dressings. 

Unrefined Coconut Oil

It’s likely you already have coconut oil around the house whether it be for baking, as an oil substitute, a hair or skin moisturizer, and so much more, so it only makes sense that it’s a great makeup remover. Use a previously upcycled small jar to use specifically for makeup removal purposes. To use, massage the oil into skin and eyes. Coconut oil has a melting temperature of 78 degrees (F) so it will quickly melt after skin contact. Wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge for a soft, makeup free face. Your local grocery store will have some in the baking aisle or the beauty aisle or you can support a small business like this one or this one.

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