Let’s face it: no one likes chapped lips. Many people keep lip balm containers as staple products in their purses or bags to prevent chapped lips. Lip balms provide various benefits to our lips including keeping them moisturized and in some cases, also preventing sun damage. As much as these skincare products are important, we also need to consider their overall impact.
If you’re on your zero waste journey, it’s normal for you to prioritize eco-friendly swaps. Have you also considered the environmental impact of your lip balm? As small as it may seem, switching to a zero-waste lip balm can help prevent plastic waste and every little bit counts. Consider the billions of people on the planet who use lip balms with plastic containers; if a large percentage of these people make the switch, the benefit is simply less plastic needing to be produced in the first place. Furthermore, consumer demand can drive change and encourage the larger producers to find less wasteful ways of packaging their lip balm products.
Many find lip balm essential to help protect our lips from the daily grind. Whether in sport or the outdoors or simply in and out of air conditioning or throughout the day’s activities, lip balms help ensure our lips don’t crack and retain their moisture.
However, the challenge lies in the packaging and ingredients that many manufacturers use. Although they come in small containers, lip balms contribute in their own small way to the eight million tons of plastic waste that flows into our oceans yearly1.
There’s a ton of information on plastic pollution facts, with the numbers constantly rising. Apart from the pollution from packaging, many conventional lip balms also include chemicals that the makers of zero waste lip balms prove we can avoid while still keeping lips moist.
If you’re interested in personal care products for other uses, you can also check out our zero waste makeup guide or pick up a zero waste sunscreen or browse our top picks of eco-friendly shaving essentials.
Many people are unaware of the role they play in getting materials ready for recycling. Sometimes it is easy to think that the environment will be fine as long as we can recycle our plastic containers. However, recycling can be a complicated process. For instance, before tossing your lip balm in the recycling bin, you need to remove all excess products.
By removing the products from the tube, you help to prevent contamination in recycling bins. Apart from this, we also need to consider that we can’t recycle all plastics. If you're curious about your lip balm’s recyclable nature, check the packing for the Mobius loop symbol. If your product is recyclable, you should see a number within the symbol. This number indicates the type of plastic it is and how you should recycle it.
Within the zero waste community, one of the best ways to reduce your impact is to reuse what you own. Over the years, some brands have been prioritizing recycling programs. For instance, the popular personal care company Burt’s Bees has a program in partnership with TerraCycle. The free program includes a collection and free recycling program for their products. Another way to reduce your environmental impact is to refill old lip balm containers. If you’re feeling crafty, you can make homemade lip balm and fill old containers with it.
Not everyone is cut out, nor has the time, for homemade products or DIY crafts. In this article, if this sounds like you, you’ll find various zero waste lip balms to choose from. Each zero waste lip balm contains natural ingredients and comes in plastic-free packaging. Get ready, kisser soft protected plump lips while caring for the environment.
Quick links to our picks of the best zero waste lip balms:
Dab Herb Makeup offers a range of unique tea balms. The tea lip balm range includes Lavender-Vanilla, Hibiscus Grapefruit, Matcha, and Choco-Assam. Each of these comes in glass jars that you can reuse. The brand also offers a refill option for some of its products in metal and glass containers to support the zero waste community. Apart from the balms, Dab Herb offers a range of makeup products. Instead of using harsh ingredients, Dab Herb uses natural, organic, and food-grade ingredients. The brand uses responsible sourcing methods as well.
The Matcha zero waste lip balm contains organic, food-grade ingredients. The ingredient list includes shea butter, extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, peppermint essential oil, and matcha green tea. The oil blend with the shea butter offers a creamy and smooth texture making it easy to glide over your skin. The matcha tea gives the product a sweet herbal taste. Peppermint oil contributes to the minty scent and flavor. The brand checks the eco-friendly box in various ways. It uses organic ingredients, offers sustainable packages, is sourced ethically, and offers refills.
This brand offers a zero-waste lip balm set consisting of three flavors. The flavors in the set are Raspberry Shea, Mango Coconut, and Peppermint. Depending on what you like, you can purchase the variety pack or buy a bundle with the same flavor.
These products are compostable and contain safe ingredients. Some of the ingredients in each tube include shea butter, vitamin e, and plant-derived wax. Apart from the products, the brand also packages and ships its items using zero-waste materials.
Eco People offers a personalized service that allows you to swap ingredients. So, if you have allergies to any ingredient, you can reach out to them for a customized ingredient swap. Due to the absence of additives such as preservatives, the lip balms are susceptible to temperature changes. As a rule of thumb, keep your products in cool places and away from heat.
This brand commits to eco-friendly practices, including the rate at which it produces. Rather than using a mass production process, Freewhilin’ Market creates its balms in small batches. This method is better for the planet, but it also helps maintain the quality of each item.
One of this brand’s unique features is that it offers lip products in black tubes. There’s also a kraft-colored tube. Each handmade product contains beeswax, olive oil, cocoa butter, vitamin e, and some other natural materials.
The brand creates various flavors, with the option to choose an unflavoured lip balm. Some of the flavors include peppermint, vanilla mint, spearmint, orange clove, pineapple, and buttercream. Each flavor is either from an essential or flavor oil. From the dropdown menu on the purchase page, you can easily identify which is essential and which is flavor.
Despite the variety of flavors, each tube provides a subtle scent. So, if strong scents overwhelm you, this product will work fine for you. On each tube, the branded paper clearly states out all the ingredients. This way, it’s easy for you to identify the contents quickly.
Meow Meow Tweet’s vegan lip balm checks the right boxes of sustainability, ethical sourcing, and cruelty-free practices. This brand’s product line is compostable, vegan, palm-oil free and plastic-free. The zero-waste lip balm comes in three flavors; Rosemary Eucalyptus, Coconut Cacao, and Sweet Orange Tangerine. Each flavor and scent features people and planet-safe ingredients.
This brand offers a transparent list of its vegan ingredients, most of which are certified organic and fair trade. The main ingredients present in each tube are coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, and candelilla wax. The choice of wax is a vegan alternative to beeswax.
The best thing about this lip balm is that it gives a buttery smooth finish that’ll leave you feeling moisturized. Also, you don’t have to use it only for your lips. Each lip balm is multipurpose, which means you can also use it on other dry areas of your skin.
This zero-waste lip balm comes in a large paper tube guaranteed to last you quite some time. Unlike many conventional lip balms, you can get the best use out of each jumbo paper tube. The brand, however, suggests that you should use the lip balm within three months. Looking to join the zero waste community? You could start with swapping your lip balm for a zero-waste option.
Flawless is a UK-based brand that offers vegan beauty and body products. One of the essential items they offer is their range of lip balms. Coming in five different flavors, each container supports your zero waste journey. The brand uses cruelty-free and palm-oil-free ingredients in its products.
Each vegan lip balm is also carefully handmade. One of the top challenges people have with accessing zero waste swaps is the pricing. Flawless set out to not only provide zero waste products but also make them affordable.
Unlike many conventional and zero waste lip balm tubes, Flawless uses aluminum tins. So instead of getting the regular lip balm tube, each purchase from Flawless comes in a recycled aluminum tin. Flawless uses ingredients such as coconut oil, mango butter, and vitamin e in its zero waste lip balms. With each use, you get nourishment, moisture, and fruity scents. If you want to gift it to someone, you can also consider the gift sets the brand offers.
This brand’s natural lip product comes in a set of two. Depending on the scent mix you want, you can choose the bundle you wish to purchase. This brand uses natural ingredients such as organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin e oil, and natural fruit flavor. The shea butter and coconut oil mix offer intense moisturizing properties.
Also, the natural fruit flavor gives each zero waste lip balm a sweet, subtle scent and flavor. This lip balm’s moisturizing properties mean you don’t have to reapply every few minutes. Even during cold and dry days, the oil blend offers adequate lip protection.
Farmstead Apothecary uses biodegradable paper tubes for its zero waste lip balm range. By prioritizing plant-based ingredients, the brand minimizes its environmental impact. Plant-based also mean you can avoid synthetics in your products. Farmstead Apothecary specially formulates its products for sensitive skin. So, there are no chemicals or toxins that are harsh to the skin. This zero-waste product fits easily in the pocket, making it easy to carry around.
This balm checks the organic, vegan, and handmade boxes. The brand offers three flavors - original flavor, cocoa, and mint. Lupa offers its balms in a minimalist compostable kraft tube. It uses natural and vegan-friendly ingredients, including plant-based wax, grapeseed and coconut oil, cocoa butter, and essential oils.
The blend of the oils provides a soothing effect while keeping your lips hydrated. Each balm offers a creamy, non-crumbly texture with subtle flavors of essential oils. The scent and taste are subtle and not overwhelming.
Lupa gives you the option to choose either tubes or circular tin-like containers. Due to the absence of preservatives, you need to be cautious about exposing your item to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight will lead to melting. You can purchase this zero waste lip balm for yourself, a friend, or a family member or even include them in party favors. The absence of beeswax makes it a vegan alternative for vegans.
This Hurraw! bundle of three balms is all-natural and certified vegan. What makes this product stand out is its unique slim tin container design. Unlike the regular tubes, each of these balms comes in a slim tin slider. Each tin contains a wide range of natural oils, butter, and plant-based wax. It includes certified organic ingredients.
Since the products are vegan, they’re free of beeswax. The products have a pleasing scent, particular to each flavor. Each zero waste lip balm offers a smooth application and moisturizing properties.
The brand processes its products at low temperatures. Through this process, the ingredients in each product retain their nutrients. By purchasing this three-bundle collection, you get the chance to test out the three flavors. Apart from the tin slider design, Hurraw! also offers a wide range of products in various scents and flavors.
This particular product is a tinted lip balm targeted at giving your lips a little tint. Each product contains natural and organic ingredients, including mango and cacao butter, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and vitamin e.
You can choose from various colors, including rose gold, sand, nude, and rouge. The available tints give you the option to play around with various colors. Each tube presents a subtle cocoa butter aroma while providing you with adequate hydration against dryness. The butter mix makes the product thick and smooth to apply. This product is vegan and therefore doesn’t use beeswax.
River Organics uses eco-friendly paper tubes for its balms. The presence of organic, chemical-free oils makes them suitable for people with sensitive skin. River Organics doesn’t end its zero waste practices at the production of its products—the brand ships items out in EcoEnclose recycled mailers.
If you’re feeling creative, you can opt to make your lip balm at home. You’ll need simple ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, your choice of wax, and a variety of oils. If you have the time and patience, you can source these ingredients and get creative.
If you choose the homemade route, ensure that you’re making your lip balm zero waste. The first thing would be to shop for high-quality ingredients from a bulk store. This helps to prevent waste and bonus points if you shop locally. Instead of buying new tins or containers, simply refill your old balm containers.
Some alternatives to regular balms include butters, honey, and vitamin e. Depending on how dry your lips get, using each one on its own may not provide lasting moisturizing effects. So, in a similar way to homemade products, you can simply mix them.
Making the switch to eco-friendly lip products is a small but significant change. If many people make this swap, it’ll help reduce the waste from single-use lip balm containers. Each item on the list is not only eco-friendly but also fulfills its purpose of moisturizing and protecting your lips.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (2018, May). Issues Brief: Marine Plastics. [PDF]