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8 Zero Waste Face Moisturizers for Plastic-Free Hydration

Want to reduce your carbon footprint while keeping your skin hydrated? Check out these zero waste face moisturizers that come in plastic-free packaging.
11 Zero Waste Face Moisturizers for Plastic-Free Hydration

This Article is 100% Organic: Written and Researched by Real Humans.

It’s time to put your best face forward! When it comes to choosing zero-waste skincare brands, many of us are meticulous about the ingredients, brand reputation, and how well they suit our skin type. 

Look, it doesn’t matter if it’s made of fairy dust; if it comes in the plastic packaging that the vast majority of beauty products come in, it’s not doing any favors to the planet. Or the health of your skin. (there’s a high risk of phthalates and BPA from plastics leaching into the beauty products over time.)

You’ve likely been bombarded by the problem of plastic in our products – the beauty industry alone pumps out over 120 million units of plastic packaging a year. It. Adds. Up. The solution starts with all of us. These are the eight best zero-waste moisturizers to add to your beauty routine! 

Zestain is reader supported. Purchases made through our site links may result in an affiliate commission for us, without affecting your own costs. Find out more about our rigorous brand rating process.

Zestain's Top Picks

A Quick Look At The Best Zero Waste Face Moisturizers

How We Choose These Plastic Free Face Moisturizers

We want you to feel as bright on the outside as you are on the inside – just with a little less of that persistent polluter: plastic. Here’s what we looked at when choosing these plastic-free face moisturizers below. 

A minimal design: Often the key to sustainable products is in the design of their packaging. The fewer components the better. Those fancy pumps? Full of mixed media materials that can be difficult to separate and recycle.

Packaging Materials: In a perfect world (dream big!), we only list products with compostable or biodegradable packaging. This makes it perfectly circular by breaking down in a short period without the pollutants. If we can’t have that, we’ll take post-consumer recycled content – meaning it’s taken materials out of the waste stream that were otherwise destined for the landfill. 

Recyclable: Does the brand have a takeback program or relationship with a company like Terracycle that helps brands take responsibility for the end life of the product? 

Refillable or Reusable: We are delighted to say that despite it being much more profitable to make consumers buy more, many brands have leaned into refill models and “forever” packaging like glass or aluminum tins that can be reused and refilled. 

Brand Ethics: The ethos and practices of the brand behind the product were also taken into account. We favored brands committed to sustainability, from their sourcing and manufacturing processes to their corporate policies and community initiatives. (Purchase a moisturizer and plant a tree? Yes, please!) 

Full List of Zero Waste Face Moisturizers

1
Zero Waste Store - Solid Facial Serum Moisturizer Bar - Zero Waste Face Moisturizer
Image by Zero Waste Store
Best refillable zero-waste moisturizer

Zero Waste Store: Solid Facial Serum Moisturizer Bar - Zero Waste Face Moisturizer

The Zero Waste Store’s ‘wildcrafted’ low-impact moisturizer makes the first entry on our list for its sleek, colorful, endlessly reusable aluminum tin – but also for its funky jelly bar mode of delivering hydration to your face. 

Yes, the Solid Facial Serum Moisturizer Bar’s main ingredient, a jelly serum that activates with a swoosh of your hand, also seamlessly makes it through TSA in your carry-on due to its solid nature. Its omega-rich formula is based on jojoba, olive, and plant-based squalane. The latter brightens the appearance of skin tone with stabilized vitamin C while taming redness using a specialized licorice extract combined with blue chamomile. 

Once you’ve bought your bar and reusable tin, the refills are shipped in FSC-certified veggie-coated paper meant for composting or recycling!

2
Upcircle - Face Moisturizer With Vitamin E
Image by Upcricle
Best overall

Upcircle: Face Moisturizer with Vitamin E

  • Price point: $$
  • Packaging: Glass and aluminum
  • Sustainability: B Corp certified, refill program

Upcircle has won many awards as a company – including a mention in the Forbes 30 Under 30, and accolades at the CEW Responsible Beauty Awards and the Glamour Beauty Power List. But this zero-waste product has gotten the company more individual awards than any other. Upcircle’s Face Moisturizer with Vitamin E is one of a bespoke line that features upcycled food ingredients from the juicing, coffee, and other culinary industries. 

While some of their other products feature coffee grounds, blueberry extract, and date seed, this glass pot of moisturizing goodness is powered by orange peel oil, tangerine leaf oil, and aloe leaf juice powder – all redirected from the waste stream as byproducts of juicing businesses. 

As a company, Upcircle started a 9-month journey through rigorous vetting to become B Corp certified, the cream of the crop in eco credentials. This means their entire supply chain from sourcing and ingredients to zero-waste packaging has been vetted for low-impact practices!

3
Free The Ocean - Rosewater Face Cream
Image by Free the Ocean
Best for supporting environmental causes

Free the Ocean: Rosewater Face Cream

  • Price point: $$$
  • Packaging: Glass and aluminum
  • Sustainability: Zero waste packaging, ocean clean-up initiatives

To date, Free the Ocean has removed 3.5 million pieces of plastic bound for waterways through purchases made of their zero-waste products. You can get your skin supple and be an earth hero with their Rosewater Face Cream, packed with simple ingredients like apricot oil and bolstered by probiotics. 

Free the Ocean directly funds two incredible organizations focused on removing and repurposing plastic from the ocean. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Parley Global Cleanup Network are both working hard locally to make a difference. This is where your beauty routine can be part of the bigger solution! 

4
Chuan'S Promise Solid Face Moisturizer - 3 Formula Balms
Image by Chuan's Promise
Best zero waste stick moisturizer

Chuan's Promise: Solid Face Moisturizer - 3 Formula Balms

  • Price point: $$
  • Packaging: Biodegradable and compostable paper tube
  • Sustainability: Certified B Corp (Earth Hero), small batches

Whether you’re embarking on outdoor adventures or navigating through your daily work routine, your skin is your constant companion. Chuan’s Promise offers a solution on the go with its eco-conscious lotion bar. Ideal for use at home or on the move, it fits effortlessly into your travel or gym bag, providing hydration wherever you are. 

This luxe roll-on is enriched with natural butter and oils, completely devoid of any artificial additives or chemicals. It boasts a formulation that’s both kind to your skin and backed by science. 

Ingredients like shea and cocoa butter offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, while almond oil locks in moisture for lasting softness. Coconut oil further supports your skin’s natural defenses.

An innovative paper tube is both biodegradable and compostable, eliminating landfill waste! 

5
Attitude - Oceanly Solid Face Cream With Peptides
Image by Attitude
Best for travel zero waste moisturizer

Attitude: Oceanly Solid Face Cream with Peptides

  • Price point: $$
  • Packaging: Compostable paper tube
  • Sustainability: One tree planted program, EWG verified

You don’t have to turn back time when you’ve got Attitude’s Anti-Aging Solid Face Cream. This one comes packed with peptides – short chains of amino acids that make up certain proteins needed by the skin. More specifically, it stimulates your skin to make collagen. The big player in keeping wrinkles at bay! 

Clean ingredients keep your skin and the earth young. Like Chaun’s Promise, it is a 

solid moisturizer, but the bonus of also being vegan and EWG verified. The latter comes from the Environmental Working Group and is considered one of the gold standards in vetting brands for sustainability. 

It comes housed in a biodegradable cardboard tube sourced from sustainably managed forests.

6
Meow Meow Tweet Rosehip Shea Skin Cream
Image by Meow Meow Tweet
Best value zero waste moisturizer

Meow Meow Tweet: Rosehip Shea Skin Cream

  • Price point: $$
  • Packaging: Glass and aluminum
  • Sustainability: B Corp Certified, Fair Trade ingredients, vegan and cruelty-free

Meow Meow Tweet may have a cute brand name, but they are a fierce trailblazer when it comes to zero waste beauty. Founded in 2009 by friends from art school (see funky branding for evidence) the pair set out to create an all-natural vegan apothecary and the zero-waste packaging has been part of the deal since the beginning. 

The Rosehip Shea Skin Cream is minimalist at its best. No funky stuff. The cream’s scent is a delightful blend of grassy and nutty notes, while its texture offers the rich, comforting feel of a balm – perfect if you are spending the day hiking or out on the water! 

This company is also a B Corp member in big part due to its consideration in packaging. Glass pots with aluminum lids are fully recyclable or reusable, and mini sizes are perfect for tossing in your bag and starting at a very reasonable price.

7
Plaine Products Refillable Vegan Face Moisturizer
Image by Plaine Products
Best for reusable packaging

Plaine Products: Refillable Vegan Face Moisturizer

  • Price point: $$
  • Packaging: Refillable Aluminum with BPA and PVC Free Lining
  • Sustainability: B Corp certified, 1% for the Planet member, biodegradable formulas, carbon neutral product, plastic free shipping

Plaine Products Face Moisturizer is your go-to everyday moisturizer. Perfectly balanced for all skin types – in large part due to its absence of naughty ingredients. Instead, Plaine is a big fan of clean, vegan ‘hero ingredients’ like aloe leaf juice, shea butter, and jojoba seed. Time-honored natural moisturizers are here to do their job without leaving chemicals behind. 

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and meticulously formulated without harmful chemicals such as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and synthetic fragrances, ensuring it’s safe and gentle for all skin types.

This product is not only zero waste (it comes in an infinitely recyclable can) but is part of a unique program that allows customers to return bottles for free to be washed and reused.

8
Fat And The Moon - All Cream Face And Body Lotion
Image by Fat and The Moon
Best for all-around use

Fat and the Moon: All Cream Face and Body Lotion

  • Price point: $
  • Packaging: Glass and aluminum
  • Sustainability: Handcrafted in small batches, recyclable packaging

The All Cream Aloe Lotion from Fat and the Moon is available at one of our favorite Earth First marketplaces – Earth Hero. This moisturizer is a creamy and all-natural addition to a lineup the brand calls “Plant Potions for Your Bod Garden. 

Its formulation is a blend of nutrient-rich ingredients like sunflower oil, known for its healing and balancing properties; beeswax, which soothes skin irritations; and aloe vera. The company prides itself on using plants that are abundant, ethically harvested, and organically cultivated.

Production is small and local with operations all under one roof in Grass Valley, California with all sourcing coming from farms in nearby Nevada City and the Mendocino Coast. 

We also love that Fat and the Moon sees packaging as an ingredient. All of their packaging materials are recyclable, reusable, or compostable. They even have a super cool Regeneration Guide illustrating in the funniest of ways how to keep their packaging in circularity!  

Comparing Zero Waste Skincare Brands

ProductPrice PointPackagingSustainabilityOur Pick For
Zero Waste Store - Solid Facial Serum Moisturizer Bar - Zero Waste Face Moisturizer
Zero Waste Store: Solid Facial Serum Moisturizer Bar - Zero Waste Face Moisturizer​
$$$AluminumShipped carbon neutral, 1% for the Planet Member, TerraCycle partnerBest refillable zero-waste moisturizer
Upcircle - Face Moisturizer With Vitamin E
Upcircle: Face Moisturizer with Vitamin E
$$Glass and aluminumB Corp certified, refill programBest overall
Free The Ocean - Rosewater Face Cream
Free the Ocean: Rosewater Face Cream
$$$Glass and aluminumZero waste packaging, ocean clean-up initiativesBest for supporting environmental causes
Chuan'S Promise Solid Face Moisturizer - 3 Formula Balms
Chuan's Promise: Solid Face Moisturizer - 3 Formula Balms
$$Biodegradable and compostable paper tubeCertified B Corp (Earth Hero), small batchesBest zero waste stick moisturizer
Attitude - Oceanly Solid Face Cream With Peptides
Attitude: Oceanly Solid Face Cream with Peptides
$$Compostable paper tubeOne tree planted program, EWG verifiedBest for travel zero waste moisturizer
Meow Meow Tweet Rosehip Shea Skin Cream
Meow Meow Tweet: Rosehip Shea Skin Cream
$$Glass and aluminumB Corp Certified, Fair Trade ingredients, vegan and cruelty-freeBest value zero waste moisturizer
Plaine Products Refillable Vegan Face Moisturizer
Plaine Products: Refillable Vegan Face Moisturizer
$$Refillable Aluminum with BPA and PVC Free LiningB Corp certified, 1% for the Planet member, biodegradable formulas, carbon neutral product, plastic free shippingBest for reusable packaging
Fat And The Moon - All Cream Face And Body Lotion
Fat and the Moon: All Cream Face and Body Lotion
$Glass and aluminumHandcrafted in small batches, recyclable packagingBest for all-around use

Why Switch to Zero Waste Face Moisturizers

In an ideal world, we’ve made our case. But what is going to compel you to step away from your tried and true (if not a bit imperfect) moisturizer packaging in the naughty materials? 

It’s time to walk the talk

If there is one thing you can do to really show your love for the planet – choose zero-waste products. They significantly reduce the amount of plastic and non-recyclable materials that end up in landfills and oceans. 

The good stuff

Sustainability and clean formulations often go hand in hand. Many zero-waste face moisturizers are made with natural and organic ingredients, free from harsh chemicals found in conventional skincare products.

It’s a whole movement rooted in better practices

Zero-waste skincare brands often prioritize not only environmental sustainability but also ethical practices, including cruelty-free product testing and fair trade sourcing. By supporting these brands, you’re endorsing a more humane and ethical approach to beauty, ensuring that your products are kind to animals and fair to workers involved in their production. 

Kind to the planet and your pocket

Zero waste and refillable models are often found under the same brand. Less packaging means less of a cost to you the consumer. Refill packaging is often less expensive than rebuying the primary packaging over and over again. 

Are There Zero Waste Face Moisturizers with SPF?

Yes, there are zero-waste face moisturizers with SPF available in the market, catering to those looking to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays while also being conscious of their environmental impact. These products are designed to offer the dual benefits of hydration and sun protection without the waste associated with traditional packaging. Here are a few we love: 

  1. Raw Elements Tinted Moisturizer with SPF: Raw Elements offers a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 that is zero-waste and mineral-based. It is formulated for light to medium skin tones and provides effective sun protection while also offering a bit of coverage. The product comes in a plastic-free tin, making it an eco-friendly choice for those looking to minimize their environmental footprint (Source: The Reduce Report).
  2. Activist SPF 30 Tinted Zinc Mineral Sunscreen Cream: This tinted zinc mineral sunscreen cream is designed to provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, it acts as a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting harmful rays. Enriched with nourishing ingredients and antioxidants, it also helps moisturize and repair the skin. 
  3. Zero Waste Store Sun Cream SPF 30: This all-natural, reef-safe sunscreen offers SPF 30 protection in a plastic-free container. It’s a great option for environmentally conscious consumers looking for effective sun protection without contributing to plastic pollution. 

Final Thoughts on Plastic Free Face Moisturizers

Just as we scrutinize what goes on our skin, we should also be discerning about how it’s housed! From ensuring the integrity of the ingredients to reducing our carbon footprint, being picky about your moisturizer’s packaging is a step towards a more conscious and sustainable beauty routine.

For more brands to inspire your own eco evolution, follow Zestain on our blog, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin!

Alyson Lundstrom

Alyson Lundstrom

Born in the Pacific Northwest, Alyson is a recovering nomad with a degree in Environmental Science. She has had professional lives as a marine biologist, eco-entrepreneur, and community sustainability leader in the Caribbean, China, Mexico, and currently the less exotic, but always green, Washington State. She currently covers movements, brands, and humans as they pursue the elusive quadruple bottom line of people, profit, planet, and purpose.
Alyson Lundstrom

Alyson Lundstrom

Born in the Pacific Northwest, Alyson is a recovering nomad with a degree in Environmental Science. She has had professional lives as a marine biologist, eco-entrepreneur, and community sustainability leader in the Caribbean, China, Mexico, and currently the less exotic, but always green, Washington State. She currently covers movements, brands, and humans as they pursue the elusive quadruple bottom line of people, profit, planet, and purpose.

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