The Best Budget Zero-Waste Beauty

We have been plastic-shaming the food and fashion industries, but what about beauty — a $445 billion industry that sells lipstick at light speed? When I ask this question to my family and friends they typically look at me like I have three heads and then counter by saying, “Those products are just so expensive.” Sigh

Going green may be good for the mind, body, soul, and planet, but it may not be so great for your bank account — trust me, I’m a NYC-based entrepreneur… I feel your pain. However, I truly believe this is a common misconception. We have to flip our mindset here.

Yes, a green product’s price tag is a little higher than average, but for good reason! These products are meant to last a lot longer and typically utilize organic and nontoxic ingredients — a win-win! We should be more mindful of buying quality, sustainable products that are made to last — especially when it comes to beauty, an industry that we use in our daily rituals, even if you don’t wear make up!

So, what are some ways you can join the zero-waste beauty movement without breaking the bank you ask? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite plastic-free budget beauty buys —

Herbivore Pink Clay Soap Bar, $15









Plastic bottled soap is an easy thing to swap in your shower. Opt for a naked bar of soap like this one from clean beauty brand, Herbivore. This pick has a light floral scent that’s not overpowering and a pink clay base that is detoxifying without drying out the skin.

Package Free Albatross Safety Razor, $25 









The EPA estimates 2 billion razors are thrown away every year. I’m not telling you to go hippie and harry, but instead, opt for a razor like this one — one that lasts while also giving you the closest shave imaginable. When your done with your blades send them back to Albatross so they can be recycled — now that is what I like to call cradle-to-cradle design!

If you’re looking to invest a little more dough, check out this sustainable pick from Leaf. Its pivoting razor head makes for an easier, closer shave in my opinion. If you purchase through Grove you can get a free Grove Essentials & Sustain set (better-for-you female wellness products) with this link.

Elate Clean Cosmetics Foundation, $40









Elate Clean Cosmetics is another brand that does a phenomenal job at embracing and executing circular design. The product is made of clean, nontoxic ingredients (like argan and coconut oil) that are all housed in a refillable bamboo container  — the powder refills are $28! Lastly, the paper wrapping is made out of herb and wildflower seeds so you can not only treat your face to some love, but your garden too!

Kjaer Weis is another great brand that I love and that offers refills, but they’re a little more expensive. 

Olas Bamboo Toothbrush, $8









1 billion toothbrushes end up in the landfill every year and this type of plastic can take over 1000 years to decompose — that’s a lot of generations right there. Shop this biodegradable toothbrush so people don’t have to smell your bad breath for years to come.

Stasher Bag, $12









Fair warning, once you buy one of these, you will want one in every size! You can use these super durable silicone bags for plenty of things, but I primarily use mine while traveling to house all of my liquids and beauty essentials. They are nontoxic and dishwasher safe.

Lush Conditioner Bar, $13









Ditch plastic bottles and opt for shampoo and conditioner bars. Lush has a fantastic selection perfect for any and every hair type. Add water and these bars instantly suds up for a salon-worthy wash. If you don’t like the pesky rings they make in your shower, I recommend picking up one of Lush’s tins that are also great for travel!

Shop more of Kara’s sustainable beauty favorites

[Axiology lipstick, $30 | One Love Organics Sponge, $10 | Antonym Cosmetics Highlighting Blush, $42]