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Truly Eco-Friendly Makeup Accessories (+ the Best Products)


cosmetic products makeup beauty accessories

Perhaps you’ve made an effort to buy more eco-friendly and nontoxic makeup products, but what about the accessories you use to apply, store, and remove your makeup?

Makeup wipes. Makeup bags. Makeup brushes and applicators. The conventional varieties of these accessories can create a lot of waste that ultimately ends up in a landfill.

Some of them aren’t too kind to your skin or to the animals, either.

Makeup brushes, for example, are often made from squirrel or mink hair, and the animals that provide the hair are not treated well.

Each day, more than 20 million makeup wipes are tossed in the trash.

So many of them contain harmful toxins that leech into the soil and groundwater, and some of them take 100 years to break down fully. That’s definitely not planet-friendly.

So, what is a gal to do? Give up your makeup habit? Apply foundation with your fingers?

You could take that route… or you could just make a consistent effort to buy more eco-friendly makeup accessories.

Numerous cosmetic companies are taking the initiative to produce earth-friendly makeup brushes and other tools.

It’s not hard to “green up” your routine once you know what to look for.

What Are Eco-Friendly Makeup Accessories?

The term eco-friendly is pretty broad, especially when it comes to the diverse array of makeup accessories sold today.

When a particular item is sold as eco-friendly, that could mean any, some, or even all of the following things:

Cruelty-Free and Vegan

The environment is not just soil, water, and plants. Animals play important roles in nature, too, so any product that claims to be eco-friendly must be friendly to animals.

More than 100 million animals are killed in the U.S. alone for various testing and experimental purposes, and companies that make cruelty-free and vegan products are seeking to address this. 

The term “cruelty free”means a product and its components are not tested on animals.

Look for cruelty-free labeling when buying products that feature formulas or solutions — like makeup wipes and makeup remover

When it comes to physical makeup accessories like brushes and bags, look for the term “vegan.”

Any item marked as vegan is made without any animal products or animal by-products — no hair, skin, or animal proteins.

Conventional brushes are often made with animal hair, but the bristles on vegan makeup brushes are often made with plant materials, like cotton and bamboo. 

You’ll see a lot of vegan makeup bags, too. Rather than being made from leather, these may be made from organic cotton or recycled rubber. 


Waste is a big deal when it comes to makeup accessories.

The faster your brushes, bags, and sponges wear out, the more of them you use — and the more of them end up in the landfill.

Eco-friendly makeup accessories should be durable and long-lasting, so your makeup routine generates less waste over time.


Chances are, if a chemical is not friendly to your skin, it’s not friendly to plants and animals in the world’s lakes and streams, either.

This mostly comes into play when you’re choosing makeup wipes and makeup removers. You want to ensure the ingredients are friendly to skin, biodegradable, and non-polluting.

Some of the toxic ingredients to avoid in makeup wipes and makeup removers include:

  • Triclosan
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Ditheanolamine

Triclosan has been linked to antibiotic resistance, sodium lauryl sulfate can trigger allergies and skin irritation, and diethanolamine is a carcinogen and respiratory toxin. 

Most eco-friendly and non-toxic makeup remover products are instead made with natural ingredients like coconut oil, argan oil, and vitamin E.

These ingredients are gentler on your skin and kinder to the soil, water, plants, and animals after they are rinsed down your drain.


Nothing lasts forever, so it’s important to consider what will happen to your makeup accessories once you throw them away.

Biodegradable makeup accessories are made with materials that will break down easily in a landfill.

You’ll often see brushes and bags made from biodegradable materials like bamboo and cotton.

It’s really important that makeup wipes are biodegradable, too. After all, if you use one a day, they build up fast.


Some eco-friendly makeup accessories are made to be recyclable. This is the case with many makeup sponges.

They may still be made from a plastic-like material, but when they are no longer useful, the plastic can at least be recycled for another purpose. 

Also look for makeup accessories made with recycled materials.

Brushes with recycled aluminum handles and bags made with recycled rubber are relatively easy to come by. 

Reusable Rather Than Single-Use

If you have your choice between a package of single-use accessories and one that you can use again and again, the reusable one is almost always more eco-friendly.

For example, instead of using a new cotton swab to apply your under-eye cream each day, look for a reusable applicator made from recycled plastic and aluminum.

You’ll then be throwing out one applicator every year or two, rather than a cotton swab every day.

Made With Renewable Resources

Companies that sell sustainable makeup accessories often design their production facilities to be more earth-friendly, too.

Many rely on either wind or solar power to run their factories, rather than burning polluting fossil fuels like coal or oil.

This helps reduce the production of greenhouse gasses and fight against climate change.

Benefits of Choosing Eco-Friendly Makeup Accessories

So, who benefits when you make the switch to earth-friendly makeup accessories? Everyone. The trees, the plants, the soil, the animals — and you.

Fewer Animals Are Harmed

The process of obtaining animal hair to make mink, camel, or squirrel hair brushes is a cruel one.

Often, these animals are kept in captivity, treated poorly, and injured or killed when their hair is removed.

With each vegan makeup brush you purchase, you are saving animal lives.

The same is true for makeup bags. Animals must be killed to obtain the skin used to make leather makeup bags, so bags made from cork, bamboo, or cotton are much kinder.

Fewer Toxins Introduced to Your Body

You may not immediately notice side effects when you apply a conventional makeup remover to your skin, but the effects are cumulative over time.

So many toxic ingredients in these products have been found to be endocrine disruptors.

Ingredients like BPA, dioxin, and perchlorate interfere with the thyroid gland and pituitary gland, ultimately impeding your body’s proper production of hormones.

These hormones affect every organ system in your body, from your circulatory system to your reproductive system.

Choosing non-toxic makeup accessories made without harmful endocrine disruptors is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health.

Less Waste

The average American produces 1,000 pounds of garbage each year. That figure is staggering — and it’s the reason why landfills just keep growing and growing.

By switching to sustainable makeup accessories, you can reduce your personal waste production.

Less Pollution

When you do send items off to the landfill, they do not just sit there. They break down over time, releasing their contents back into the soil and the water.

Many conventional makeup accessories contain various plastics and chemicals that ultimately pollute the groundwater and end up in lakes and streams.

Choosing nontoxic makeup accessories helps ensure you’re only adding helpful compounds back to the soil each time you send something to the landfill.

Also consider the pollution generated whenever waste has to be transported to the landfill.

The emissions released by gasoline-guzzling garbage trucks contributes to the greenhouse gas effect and global warming.

The less waste your makeup habit produces, the less fuel needs to be burned to transport that waste.

Easier to Clean

This is more of a happy accident rather than an intentional benefit of eco-friendly makeup brushes.

Natural and synthetic fibers tend to be easier to clean than bristles made from animal hair.

This means you can clean your natural makeup brushes using milder, non-toxic cleaners.

Synthetic and non-animal-hair bristles are also less likely to trap dirt and bacteria.

Natural hair has an outer covering called a cuticle, and bacteria can get caught beneath it.

Introducing bacteria to your skin with every brush use can lead to acne and irritation.

Synthetic & plant-based bristles lack a cuticle and therefore stay more hygienic. 

Tips for Buying and Using Eco-Friendly Makeup Accessories

There are really two components to making the switch to eco-friendly products.

First, you must find and purchase products that are better for the planet.

Second, you must use those products in the most earth-friendly and sustainable ways.

Turn to these basic tips for guidance:

Look for Logos

Most brands that make sustainable makeup accessories proudly advertise this fact on their packaging.

In addition to looking for words like “vegan”, “biodegradable” and “cruelty-free” you can also look for a few key logos that indicate the manufacturer’s claims have been verified by an outside organization:

  • The Leaping Bunny Logo is awarded to products that are made without animal testing.
  • The Fair Trade Certified logo is awarded to products that are made sustainably and by workers who are treated fairly. 
  • The USDA Organic logo indicates the product and its ingredients are grown without chemical pesticides.

Opt for Long-Lasting and Durable Products

Whether you’re shopping for brushes, a bag, or makeup sponges, pay close attention to longevity. Products that come with a warranty are often a good choice.

If a company is willing to back their product with a warranty, that means they are confident it will last.

Also read some reviews to see what other buyers have to say. Is the product still working well a year later?

Remember, the longer your accessories last, the less waste you generate long-term. 

Do Away With Disposables

A good first step in your effort to “go green” with your makeup routine is to pay close attention to each step in your routine.

Write down each disposable product you use as a part of that routine. Maybe you use cotton pads to apply powder under your eyes.

Could you use a sustainable, reusable brush instead?

Perhaps you use makeup wipes to remove your makeup every day.

Could you switch to a reusable, washable cloth and a container of coconut oil-based remover?

Take Care of Your Makeup Accessories

The better you care for your makeup accessories, the longer they will last — and the less waste you’ll produce overall.

This especially applies to makeup brushes. Cleaning them regularly and gently will extend their life.

Clean any brushes you use around your eyes twice a month, and clean all others at least once a month.

Use a gentle soap and water, and dry your brushes with the bristles hanging off the edge of the counter, which will help them maintain their shape.

Check out this video to see how you can easily clean your brushes without any expensive cleaning products:

How to clean your makeup brushes

If you’re wondering which soap you should use to follow the cleaning routine shown in the video, check out our article on eco-friendly & non-toxic soaps.

4 Eco-Friendly Brushes and Brush Sets

A good set of eco-friendly makeup brushes will last for years and allow for flawless application of your favorite natural makeup products.

Here are of the top sets to consider:

1. EcoTools Start the Day Beautifully Kit

This kit of five brushes includes an angled foundation brush, a blurring brush, a defined crease brush, an angled liner brush, and a full blush brush — everything you need to create your favorite full-face makeup look.

The brushes are cruelty-free, vegan, and made with recycled materials. Even the packaging is made from cotton and bamboo.

EcoTools, as a company, is dedicated to helping preserve the planet. They also donate to campaigns that support women’s empowerment.

2. 100% Pure Cruelty-Free Flat Kabuki Brush F40

100 percent pure Cruelty Free Flat Kabuki Brush
100% Pure’s Cruelty Free Flat Kabuki Brush (photo: www.100percentpure.com)

If you have a pretty simple makeup routine and are looking for a simple, eco-friendly makeup brush that can do it all, this kabuki from 100% Pure is a great choice.

Its bristles are ultra-soft and perfect for applying foundation, tinted moisturizer, highlighters, and even blush.

100% Pure have made a name for themselves in the natural makeup industry. Not only do they use earth-friendly materials and ingredients, but they donate to organizations that help plant trees and care for shelter dogs.

Buy now on 100% Pure U.S. (also free shipping to Canada, UK & EU)

Buy now on 100% Pure Australia (via NourishedLife)

3. ELF Cosmetics – Professional Set of 12 Brushes

ELF Cosmetics set of 12 makeup brushes
e.l.f. cosmetics’ professional set of 12 makeup brushes (photo: www.elfcosmetics.com)

ELF is an all-vegan makeup brand that takes pride in offering affordable, sustainable alternatives to conventional makeup and makeup accessories.

This set of 12 brushes gives you everything you need to create a subtle daytime look, a posh nighttime look, and everything in between.

There’s even a dedicated eyeliner brush, a brow comb and brush, and a blending eye brush in the set.

ELF’s professional brushes are also designed to fit ergonomically in your hand, which makes them a joy to use.

Buy now on ELF Cosmetics U.S. (also ships to Canada)

4. Aveda Flax Sticks Special Effects Brush Set

Aveda flax sticks special effects makeup brush set
Aveda’s Flax Sticks Special Effects Brush Set (photo: www.aveda.com)

If you’re searching for a more specialized set of brushes, try this three-brush set from Aveda.

They feature flax-infused handles and vegan bristles for an earth-friendly alternative. The eye smudger brush is perfect for creating a smoky eye look.

The contour brush adds depth, and the complexion brush is lovely for applying foundation to trouble spots.

Aveda’s mission is to use better ingredients and environmentally-friendly practices to better care for the planet. They have helped fund clean water initiatives and breast cancer research.

3 Eco-Friendly Makeup Bags

Especially if you travel often, it’s important to have a durable, easy-to-use makeup bag to hold your makeup products and accessories.

A good makeup bag protects your other items so they last longer. Here are a couple of unique, earth-friendly bags you might enjoy:

1. Terra-Thread Cre Pouches

Terra Thread Cre Pouches
Terra Thread Cre Pouch (photo: www.terrathread.com)

Made from 100% organic cotton, these handmade bags carry the Fair Trade Certified Logo. Part of the proceeds from each sale go to support the hunger relief organization Feeding America.

Measuring 4.5″ by 6.5″, these pouches are the perfect size for travel. Plus, they come in an array of fun colors like pink and blue, orange and black, and solid green.

The tough woven material and metal zippers will last for years, even when tossed around in a suitcase or purse.

As a special bonus for our readers, the guys over at Terra Thread created a special discount code: “SUSTAINABLECITIZEN”. Use it to get 20% off your entire Terra Thread purchase.

2. Tree Bag Company Telma Cosmetic Case

This unique cosmetic case is made from cork, which is a remarkably eco-friendly material.

Cork can be harvested from the outer bark of the cork tree — the tree does not have to be killed to obtain it. Plus, cork breaks down easily and cleanly, so when you do dispose of the bag, it won’t leech harmful toxins into the soil. 

The Telma Cosmetic Case has a center compartment plus an outside zip pocket. It’s lined with fabric for a luxurious feel, and it’s sturdy enough for travel.

3. Novica Handwoven Recycled Plastic Cosmetic Bag

Novica Handwoven Recycled Plastic Cosmetic Bag
Novica’s handwoven recycled plastic cosmetic bag (photo: www.novica.com)

This unique makeup bag is sure to turn some heads!

Handmade by a Guatemalan artisan, it is woven from strands of recycled plastic material.

It’s easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth; there’s no need to dry clean it with harsh chemicals. 

This bag’s navy blue color is versatile and attractive, and its sturdy zipper ensures it will last.

3 Eco-Friendly Makeup Wipes

While the most eco-friendly approach may be to avoid using disposable makeup wipes entirely, this is not always feasible — particularly if you are traveling or trying to remove makeup on-the-go.

These nontoxic and biodegradable makeup wipes are planet-friendly alternatives to keep in your purse.

1. Almay Biodegradable Makeup Remover Cleansing Towlettes

Made without any added fragrances and with hypoallergenic ingredients, these nontoxic makeup wipes are perfect for anyone with sensitive skin.

They’re effective enough to remove even stubborn, long-wear makeup. The wipes themselves are made from consciously sourced, biodegradable fibers.

They come in an easily resealable package to keep them fresh and reduce waste.

2. RMS Beauty Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipe

These wipes are cruelty-free, non-GMO, and made with simple, natural ingredients. What’s not to love?

They’re a good choice for sensitive and dry skin, since they’re infused with moisturizing coconut oil. And they don’t just remove makeup — they also help soothe irritation and heal blemishes.

You can even use these makeup wipes around your eyes, so you won’t need to pack a separate eye makeup remover.

3. Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes

Polar bears are suffering. The ice caps are melting, and their habitats are being destroyed by climate change.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could help save polar bears each time you reached for a makeup wipe? Actually, you can.

Josie Maran donates a portion of the proceeds from their makeup wipes to organizations that help save polar bears.

Plus, these natural makeup wipes are vegan, biodegradable, and free from harsh ingredients. Made with argan oil and vitamin E, they nourish and protect your skin with every use.

2 Eco-Friendly Makeup Removers

Remember, your makeup remover eventually goes down the drain — so it’s important to choose a formula that is as kind to the planet as it is to your skin.

Here are two top contenders.

1. Honey Girl Organics Facial Cleanser & Makeup Remover

This gentle makeup remover is made with 100% USDA Certified Organic Ingredients, which means no harmful pesticides are used in its production.

Glance at the ingredients list, and you’ll see only familiar substances: water, organic extra virgin olive oil, lemon oil, and beeswax.

As gentle as this makeup remover is, it is still able to break up tough cosmetics and leave your skin feeling soft and clean.

It’s safe to use around your eyes; you can even use it to remove false eyelashes. You can apply it with your fingertips and wipe it away with a damp, reusable washcloth, which makes for a low-waste beauty routine.

2. One Love Organics Botanical B Cleansing Oil

One Love Organics is an eco-friendly company that is 100% cruelty-free and also Green America Certified.

Their Botanical B Cleansing Oil is made with natural fruit enzymes, allowing it to remove makeup and gently exfoliate without irritating your skin.

This cleansing oil is perfect for dry and sensitive skin. It restores your skin’s natural pH and restores your moisture barrier for a more beautiful complexion.

3 Other Eco-Friendly Makeup Accessories

As makeup routines have become more complex and diverse, so have makeup accessories.

From false eyelashes to applicator sponges, every element of your beauty routine can be made more sustainable if you know where to look.

Here are a few other eco-friendly accessories to keep on-hand.

1. The Beautyblender

The Beautyblender has revolutionized the makeup industry. It’s a huge hit among beauty gurus and professional makeup artists.

So many people have switched away from foundation brushes and conventional sponges, instead using this dense sponge to apply primer, foundation, bronzers, and blushes.

How to use a Beauty Blender

Here’s the good news: the Beautyblender is a more sustainable makeup tool than you might have thought.

It’s made from a recyclable foam. When you’re finished using it, you can just toss it in the recycling bin. The Beauty Blender’s packaging is also recyclable. 

Using a Beautyblender can also help you cut back on waste.

A single beauty blender can last months, whereas those cheap makeup sponges from the drugstore break down with just one or two uses.

Beautyblender even makes an eco-friendly cleanser, called Liquid Beautycleanser, which keeps your Beautyblender clean between uses and breaks down naturally in the environment.

2. TrueGlue Eco Chic True Lashes

True Glue Eco Chic Lashes (photo: www.safeandchic.com)

Did you know that most false eyelashes are made from mink hair, which is obtained through cruel and inhumane practices? Yikes!

The glue used to adhere most false lashes isn’t great for your skin or for the planet, either. 

TrueGlue Eco Chic True Lashes are different. They used to make their lashes from human hair, which was gathered from temples in India where people have ritually shaved their hair (the company asked permission of donors before taking their hair).

Since then, they have changed how the eco-chic lashes are manufactured, and they no longer use human hair in their products.

This could be good news for you if the idea of wearing lashes made from human hair weirds you out (even though it’s a very eco-friendly method).

Their current lashes are made from a synthetic silk, produced using cruelty-free practices. The bases are made from cotton, a natural plant material. With these lashes, you can enjoy a bold look without the guilt.

The lashes are packaged in recyclable materials, and they’re free from toxic chemicals.

How to apply lashes like a Pro

Buy True Glue Eco Chic Lashes now on Safe&Chic.

3. EcoTools Makeup Brush Cleansing Cloths

Remember that cleaning your eco-friendly makeup brushes will help them last longer, which in turn helps reduce waste.

If you often forget to wash your brushes, these makeup brush cleaning cloths are a good way to simplify the routine.

These cloths are free from toxic ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.

They’re cruelty-free, and also made from Forest Stewardship Council certified material — which means they will break down easily when you dispose of them.


If green and sustainable living is important to you, it’s time to re-think your beauty routine.

There are so many eco-friendly makeup brushes and makeup accessories available online and in stores.

Buy from companies that truly share your passion for a healthy planet, healthy animals, and healthy skin.

We only have one planet, and you only have one body. Take care.

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