Eco-Friendly Makeup That Will (Actually) Keep Your Wedding Makeup Lasting All Day

We love a sustainable queen.
Assortment of Eco Friendly Makeup products from Saie, Tower 28, MERIT,and ILIA
Photo: Saie / Tower 28 / MERIT / ILIA / Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated May 31, 2023
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Real talk: you don't have to choose between looking good and doing good when it comes to your wedding beauty and hosting an eco-friendly wedding. Luckily, there has been a huge expansion of eco-friendly makeup products over the past few years that you can include in your bridal event looks. This is largely due in part to the "slow beauty" movement, which is about investing in products crafted using sustainable methods and ethically sourced ingredients. In this guide, we will explore some tips and suggestions for selecting eco-friendly makeup products for your wedding day.

Before we dive in, I wanted to mention the stigma that makeup classified as eco-friendly, sustainable, clean, etc. automatically means barely-there coverage, but that isn't necessarily the case. With a growing number of sustainable makeup brands, you can opt to land anywhere on the coverage scale, whether that's full glam or light and natural. So don't let that deter you from using zero-waste makeup brands.

As you prepare for your big day, don't hesitate to talk to your makeup artist about using eco-friendly products in your wedding day look. Using eco-friendly makeup for the events leading up to your nuptials is an effective way to cut down on your wedding's overall waste and carbon emissions, as well as benefit your skin and overall health.

In this article:

Types of Eco-Friendly Makeup

There are many different labels for sustainable and eco-friendly makeup, and it can take some good detective work to figure it all out. So, if you're confused about whether a specific cosmetic brand or product is a good choice for you, you're not alone. Let's break down a few common clean beauty labels below.

Plastic-Free Makeup

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, the cosmetics industry produces an estimated 120 billion units of packaging each year, most of which is not recyclable. Choosing plastic-free makeup is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and make our beauty routines more sustainable. Fortunately, more and more beauty companies are offering plastic-free packaging alternatives using sustainable materials like glass, bamboo, aluminum and recycled cardboard.

Chemical-Free Makeup

Chemical-free makeup uses organic, natural ingredients like plant extracts, botanicals and oils as alternatives to synthetic ingredients like sulfates, silicones, phthalates, etc. This is what most refer to when they talk about clean beauty. However, chemical-free makeup can still contain colorants or fragrances that could irritate sensitive skin, so always do a skin test before a full application.

The best way to find chemical-free makeup is to check the product label. It may seem like a daunting task (which, I'm not going to lie, it sometimes is), but many cosmetic retailers like Sephora, Ulta and Target have created seals of approval and search filters for ingredient preferences to help you rule out unwanted ingredients you may not want in your wedding beauty look.

Cruelty-Free Makeup

Cruelty-free makeup refers to cosmetics produced without animal testing during any stage of the product's development, manufacture, or distribution. You can easily determine if a product is cruelty-free by looking for a certified cruelty-free bunny logo from Leaping Bunny or PETA on product packaging or a brand's website. There are even apps out there now where you can simply scan a product to see if it's cruelty-free.

Zero-Waste Makeup

Zero-waste makeup are cosmetics designed, manufactured and packaged in a way that creates no waste whatsoever and keeps conservation at the top of mind. It is purposely designed to be refilled and reused rather than incinerated or dumped once you're done with it.

Ethical Makeup

A slew of practices fall under ethical beauty, including animal testing, false or misleading advertising, unethical ingredient sourcing, child or forced labor, employee pay and more. Beauty ethics are constantly evolving and improving. It's best to always do your research, not just on the product but also on the brand behind it. A true ethical makeup brand is committed to ethical ingredient sourcing and manufacturing, high labor standards and reducing environmental impact.

Sustainable Makeup Brands You Should Know

Nowadays, it's much easier to support brands that care about the planet and eco-friendly causes thanks to the internet. All it takes is a little research and knowing what to look for in a brand that you feel good about supporting. Check out these eco-friendly makeup brands you can use for all of your wedding events, from engagement parties and bridal showers to bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners.

1. Milk Makeup

For eco-friendly wedding makeup that is going to last, let me introduce you to Milk Makeup. Their products are vegan, Leaping Bunny Certified, gluten-free, paraben-free and avoid harsh allergens like talc, synthetic fragrances and mineral oils. In addition to being a champion for eco-friendly beauty standards, they also put a big emphasis on diversity and inclusion ethics, with 49.2% of employees identifying as BIPOC. They also donate a percentage of sales to The Center, a nonprofit committed to empowering LGBTQIA+, and The Fashion Scholarship Fund, which fosters the next generation of BIPOC talent in beauty. You can learn more about Milk Makeup's commitment to eco-friendly and ethical beauty here.

2. Saie

If there's one thing you need to know about Saie, it's that she's the "it girl" of sustainable and transparent beauty practices. It's also home to many beloved TikTok viral products, like their Sun Melt Bronzer and Drew Blush, that will take your wedding beauty looks to the next level. Saie cofounder Laney Crowell created the beauty brand "built on the simple idea of feeling good and doing good," according to the website. Their products are made with good-for-you ingredients, fair manufacturing and recyclable packaging. In addition to being Leaping Bunny Certified, Climate Neutral Certified and Certified Plastic Negative, Saie also gives back to organizations like 1% for the Planet and the Carbon Neutral Club to support conservation and climate change issues. You can view Saie's comprehensive list of eco-friendly standards here.

3. Haus Labs by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has always been here to serve, so it's no surprise that her makeup brand, Haus Labs, does the same. The brand blends innovation and artistry with clean standards and sustainability, making the high-performance makeup brand ideal for wedding makeup. Haus Labs is vegan, cruelty-free and made with sustainably sourced ingredients (while avoiding over 2,700+ questionable ones). Intending to be 100% carbon neutral by 2027, Haus Labs uses recyclable materials and FSC-certified paper sourced from sustainably harvested forests to reduce our climate impact. Read more about Haus Labs' sustainable beauty standards here.

4. MERIT Beauty

MERIT is made for the bride with a "clean girl" aesthetic who loves responsible luxury. The brand is vegan, EU-compliant and cruelty-free, as certified by Leaping Bunny. They focus on using safe and effective non-toxic ingredients while also being free of parabens, sulfates, and over 1,300 additional ingredients. With a focus on creating products that are safe for the body, skin and planet, MERIT partners with celebrity aesthetician Biba de Sousa, famous for her "no-list," to eliminate another 73 clean but potentially acne-triggering ingredients to ensure their products are safe for all skin types. Read more about MERIT Beauty's eco-friendly practices here.

5. Ogee Luxury Organics

Ogee is the organic beauty brand you never knew you needed for your wedding events. The brand combines powerful innovation with plant-derived ingredients for formulations that deliver beautiful, luminous skin. They are also committed to each formula being free of harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and artificial dyes. In addition to being cruelty-free, GMO-free, non-toxic and gluten-free, Ogee goes beyond clean beauty with a certification by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which requires a minimum of 70% organic ingredients within each formula. Take a deep dive into Ogee's commitment to sustainability and clean beauty here.

6. ILIA Beauty

Ilia, a clean cosmetics company, is dedicated to reducing the makeup industry's impact on the planet. They use sustainable packaging options such as recycled aluminum, glass components, and responsibly sourced paper. But Ilia is also focused on what happens after a product is finished, so they're partnering with Pact Collective to reduce and recycle. To-be-weds who live in the U.S. can mail in 10 empty beauty products per month to Ilia (psst: they can be any brand), and Pact Collective will break them down responsibly so they don't end up in a landfill. If planning your wedding is stressing you out, learn more about the eco-friendly decluttering method that might just be perfect for you.

Editor's Picks: Eco-Friendly Makeup We Love

Whether you're looking for sustainable, high-quality makeup products that will last through late-night bachelorettes and sentimental wedding toasts or just sound intrigued by the brands listed above, these product picks from myself and fellow editors at The Knot will not disappoint. Keep scrolling for our favorite eco-friendly makeup must-haves on the market that will help you look your best for all of your wedding events.

1. MILK MAKEUP Hydro Grip Hydrating Makeup Primer

    Why It's Eco-Friendly: This viral TikTok primer is 94% natural, vegan, clean, cruelty-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, and gluten-free. It also contains natural, skin-loving ingredients like blue agave extract, hyaluronic acid, cannabis seed extract, and niacinamide to provide long-lasting hydration and visibly smooth the appearance of your skin.

    Why We Love It: If there ever was a day you needed your makeup to stay in place, it's your wedding day (and maybe a long night out at your bachelorette), and the iconic Milk Makeup hydro grip primer is sure to do just that. The dewy gel formula applies tacky, but this is so it can grip any makeup you put over it, so your makeup can last from the first kiss to the last dance. Psst: Do you have oily skin? Give their Pore Eclipse Mattifying and Blurring Primer a try.

    2. Saie Glowy Super Gel Lightweight Dewy Highlighter

      Why It's Eco-Friendly: Another TikTok find, the Saie Glowy Super Gel is loaded with skin-nourishing ingredients like ethically sourced mica in the formula, which is a clean ingredient that adds that subtle sparkle, and squalane, which will strengthen the skin's barrier while also keeping it hydrated and plump with glycerin. Oh, and it's recyclable. Once empty, simply recycle the glass after twisting off the plastic pump to remove the inner pouch.

      Why We Love It: She's an icon. She's a legend, and she is the moment. Saie's Glowy Super Gel gives that perfect lit-from-within bridal glow that can be used at every wedding event. Use either shade as a luminous primer for your wedding shower, top off your reception look with the Starglow shade for a champagne highlight or wear the shade BronzeGlow on its own before hitting the beach on your honeymoon.

      3. HAUS LABS BY LADY GAGA Triclone Skin Tech Foundation

        Why It's Eco-Friendly: Lady Gaga knew what she was doing when she packed this high-performance wedding foundation with 20+ skincare-friendly ingredients, like their proprietary fermented arnica, which helps reduce redness, even skin tone and protects from environmental stress. Bonus: The bottle is made of recycle-friendly glass packaging.

        Why We Love It: For to-be-weds looking for an eco-friendly full-coverage foundation, the Triclone One Skin Tech foundation is the pick for you. Available in an inclusive range of 51 shades, this medium coverage formula has a natural, skin-like finish that easily blends into the skin with staying power that won't smudge or sweat off at an outdoor summer wedding. No bad romances here.

        4. MERIT The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick

          Why It's Eco-Friendly: Aside from the luxurious packaging of this foundation-concealer hybrid, the complexion stick is made with 43% recycled plastic and ships in the brand's signature packaging that is either recyclable, reusable, or compostable. Not to mention it's vegan, cruelty-free and packed with clean ingredients like sea daffodil extract, which helps diminish the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots.

          Why We Love It: Minimalist brides rejoice because Merit's complexion stick can be used as both your foundation and concealer. Display it on your vanity (because it's just that pretty) or toss it in your bridal purse or honeymoon tote for on-the-go application. It can be easily applied in seconds thanks to the stick formulation.

          5. Ogee Contour Collections

            Why It's Eco-Friendly: Let me count all the ways that Ogee's Contour Collection is eco-friendly and harsh chemical-free. It's made up of 83% organic ingredients while also being cruelty-free, gluten-free, non-toxic, GMO-free and produced in the United States. Need I say more?

            Why We Love It: If you want a bronzer, blush and highlighter trio that builds and blends for all of your wedding events, look no further than Ogee's Contour Collections. The set allows for easy contouring while stimulating collagen production and skin firming with trace amounts of caffeine while blurring Tapioca powder minimizes the appearance of pores for smooth, flawless skin. It's basically made to give you that no-makeup-makeup glow.

            6. Honest Co. Crème Cheek Blush + Lip Color

              Why It's Eco-Friendly: Let's be honest: Honest Co. knows what they're doing when it comes to clean and sustainable makeup. Their crème blush is made without petrolatum, paraffin, silicones, mineral oil or synthetic fragrances and instead uses a multi-fruit extract of raspberry, blackberry and grape. Plus, the durable compact is made from metal, and their sustainable cartons are environmentally friendly, FSC-certified, and made from 100% recycled materials.

              Why We Love It: Honest's crème cheek and lip glide on like butter and provide a pigmented finish for that perfect pop of color for an engagement party or bridesmaid brunch. It melts seamlessly onto the skin with buildable pigments from sheer to bold for a breathable, healthy-looking flush that can easily be applied with your fingertips. Best part? It comes in seven shades and only costs $18.

              7. Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener

                Why It's Eco-Friendly: Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener does not just shine brightly around the eyes but also shines in terms of its ingredient list. The stick is vegan and cruelty-free, while also avoiding parabens, sulfates, phthalates and synthetic fragrances. Instead, it uses natural emollients like macadamia and meadowfoam seed oils to hydrate deeply and smooth fine lines.

                Why We Love It: Stayed up a little too late at the Bach party? Or maybe you couldn't sleep the night before the big day? Applying the Thrive Brilliant Eye Brightener will make you look awake in a jiffy. It uses Ring Light Technology light-reflecting smart pigments to visibly diffuse imperfections with a flawless, luminous shimmer to wake up tired skin and give an instant "I woke up like this" eye lift.

                8. W3ll People Power Palette Eyeshadow

                  Why It's Eco-Friendly: W3ll People's eyeshadow palette is vegan, PETA cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny certified, and dermatologist-developed while still being made with plant-powered ingredients like organic jojoba oil, grape seed oil and rich starch while staying away from thousands of potentially toxic ingredients.

                  Why We Love It: What I love most about this eyeshadow palette is that no matter which color palette you pick, they are all perfect for weddings. The long-wear powder formula is packaged in a five-pan palette filled with matte and shimmer finishes and a touch-up mirror with a beautiful color payoff.

                  9. ILIA Limitless Lash Lengthening Clean Mascara

                    Why It's Eco-Friendly: The 99% naturally derived formula is cruelty-free Leaping Bunny Certified and has won multiple awards for its clean formula that has been ophthalmologist-tested and approved. The mascara is also recyclable and Ilia even offers a free shipping label to those who want to have it recycled responsibly,

                    Why We Love It: Can we hear a little commotion for the mascara? Seriously, once you've tried Ilia's lengthening mascara, you'll understand why it's one of the top-selling clean beauty mascaras on the market. Gentle enough for sensitive eyes, this mascara is made with a blend of organic bee and carnauba waxes to weightlessly condition each lash while still keeping them looking flirty and lifted throughout your entire wedding day.

                    10. Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel

                      Why It's Eco-Friendly: Kosas is known for only formulating its products with "only the good stuff, nd their brow gel is no exception. The tube is made from 100% biomaterials, and the formula contains biodegradable plant-based microfibers to boost volume and fullness, as well as castor oil to help your brow hairs grow. It does not contain fragrance, silicone, mineral oil, synthetic waxes, or microplastics. Let's not forget that Kosas is also cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny Certified, which we love to see.

                      Why We Love It: Air Brow could not be a more accurate name for this brow gel, as it gives the perfect feathery finish. Available in ten different shades, the gel has an airy mousse-like texture that's boosted by hair care actives to support brow health. You can literally spend your entire wedding day with this gel, and your brows will stay in place while still feeling comfortable and conditioned.

                      11. Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Lip Jelly Non-Sticky Gloss

                        Why It's Eco-Friendly: Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly is not just your average moisturizing lip gloss or treatment for dry lips. This clean gloss also contains a unique combination of five natural oils to protect and soothe lips. Beyond just the gloss, Tower 28 is the first beauty brand to follow the National Eczema Association's ingredient guidelines, making it ideal for sensitive skin types.

                        Why We Love It: Real talk: Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly ate and left no crumbs. This Gen-Z favorite will easily become any to-be-weds favorite thanks to its pretty glossy finish and vibrant fruity shades (along with two clear options if that's more your vibe.) It hydrates and soothes lips with apricot kernel oil and has a unique blend of five nourishing oils to soothe and protect lips. You (and your partner) can thank us later.

                        12. Caliray Surfproof Hydrating Setting Spray with Niacinamide

                          Why It's Eco-Friendly: California-born beauty brand Caliaray is on a mission to make sustainability sexy, and their setting spray is no different. It comes in a reusable and refillable spray bottle and is packaged in a 100% upcycled plastic bottle and a post-consumer recycled paper box. It's also free of harsh drying alcohols, microplastics, sulfates, parabens, phthalates and more.

                          Why We Love It: Every wedding makeup routine needs a powerful setting spray to last through happy tears, dance floor breakdowns, hugs and kisses. Enter Caliray's Surfproof Setting Spray. The long-wearing formula is transfer-proof and delivers an ultrafine mist that provides bouncy hydration and a natural finish using skin-loving ingredients like prickly pear, agave and glycerin.

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