These zero waste makeup remover options are toxic-free, better for your skin, better for our planet, and many of these options are even cheaper than typical makeup remover, especially when you purchase the ingredients in bulk.
This guide will break down the various options for removing your makeup with minimal waste: pure oils (which you may already have in your kitchen), easy DIYs, and all-natural pre-made makeup removers.
Before we dive in, let’s talk about oils:
The most common (and easiest) low waste makeup remover option is using a pure oil that you can — or already do — use for other things, like cooking. But, it’s important to look at the comedogenic rating for any oil you choose to ensure it’s okay for your skin!
Comedogenic essentially can be understood to mean “pore-clogging”. If a product or oil is comedogenic, it means that it can cause blackheads on your skin.
There is a comedogenic rating system of 0 to 5, with 0 being non-comedogenic and 5 being the most comedogenic. I will include the score next to each oil listed in this guide.
Everyone’s skin is different and some skin types are more acne-prone but generally, we’re going to want to look for oils that are minimally comedogenic or completely non-comedogenic. However, if you don’t typically have problems with your pores getting clogged, a comedogenic oil might not be a problem for you. Okay, so let’s get to the makeup remover options…
(Note: This guide includes affiliate links; all selections and opinions are my own.)
1. Grapeseed Oil
Comedogenic Rating: 1 -2
This is the oil I recently started using as my own zero waste makeup remover and I love it! It’s a lightweight oil and it doesn’t feel like it sticks on your skin after using it (like coconut oil).
We already had grapeseed oil in the house for cleaning our reclaimed wood cutting boards so I didn’t need even to buy anything new. I just put a little bit of the oil in an old makeup remover container that I had cleaned out and saved. That is my favorite way to be “low waste”: just using what I already have!
Grapeseed oil has a low comedogenic rating, which means it’s not completely non-comedogenic but it has a low chance that it will clog your pores. Most people will not experience pore-clogging issues with grapeseed oil, but if you do, or if you already know that your skin is acne-prone, skip the grapeseed oil and find a makeup remover with a 0 comedogenic rating.
Comedogenic Rating: 4 (though I’ve been able to use coconut oil in the past without a problem)
Coconut oil is what I used to use as my zero waste makeup remover. And for a while, it worked just fine! I have sensitive, “normal” (i.e. not super dry or super oily) skin and I didn’t experience issues.
However, a little bit ago, I started to notice that my skin was breaking out more than usual. So I started looking for an oil that was less comedogenic (which brought me to grapeseed oil).
I still put coconut oil on this list because it is such a common low waste makeup remover and many people love it and don’t experience issues — and I didn’t experience issues for years, either. You may also find coconut oil to be a good solution for you, especially if you’re just using the coconut oil for removing eye makeup and not rubbing it on your entire face.
The best part about coconut oil is that you can use it for so many things and you may already have some coconut oil laying around your house, like I did, which means no need to purchase anything new!
3. Hempseed Oil
Comedogenic Rating: 0
Hemp is a seriously sustainable crop to grow — since it’s a “weed”, it grows easily and quickly without pesticides or fertilizers. It also doesn’t require much water, and irrigation is rarely necessary. Growing hemp can even have a beneficial impact on the soil by minimizing soil erosion and replenishing vital nutrients.
It’s clear that hempseed oil is a sustainable choice, but how is it for your skin? Turns out… just as miraculous.
Hempseed oil is non-comedogenic, anti-inflammatory (so it’s great for helping heal skin conditions like acne and eczema), moisturizing, and is non-irritating/gentle for the skin.
When I run out of grapeseed oil, I’ll be trying hemp seed oil out next!
4. Olive Oil
Comedogenic Rating: 2
Olive oil is another easy zero waste makeup remover option. You likely already have a bottle of olive oil in your kitchen cabinet!
I tried using olive oil as a makeup remover in between switching from coconut oil to grapeseed oil — it felt lighter and less sticky than coconut oil, but I ended up liking grapeseed oil a bit more.
Olive oil is nourishing and moisturizing and with a comedogenic rating of 2, most people will not experience clogged pores or breakouts when using it. But if you have very oily or acne-prone skin, you may not want to choose this option.
Comedogenic Level: Depends on what oil is used
Witch hazel is a natural astringent, helping to shrink pores and cleanse the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can make it a useful natural treatment for conditions like psoriasis.
Witch hazel can also be used as a makeup remover, but it works better when mixed with oil. To make this super easy DIY makeup remover simply mix equal parts witch hazel (such as Thayer’s Witch Hazel Facial Toner) with an oil like safflower oil, avocado, or almond oil.
Comedogenic Rating: 0 – 1; non-comedogenic
If you prefer to purchase a low waste makeup remover, EcoRoots — one of my favorite online zero waste stores — has an all-natural one made with organic hemp seed oil (which we just discussed how awesome hemp seed oil is for the skin!), sea buckthorn oil, and rosemary extract.
The makeup remover is in a recyclable glass bottle and pump and all of EcoRoots’ shipping is minimal and plastic-free as well.
Comedogenic Rating: Oils in this makeup remover are non-comedogenic or rate low on the comedogenic scale
Province Apothecary’s Moisturizing Oil Cleanser and Makeup Remover is made with completely natural and organic ingredients like sunflower, jojoba, raspberry seed, primrose, and avocado oil. The makeup remover is packaged in a recyclable and/or reusable glass bottle and ships in plastic-free recyclable paper shipping materials.
Both the brand and the retailer, EarthHero, are members of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of their revenue to environmental nonprofits.
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