10 Affordable Zero Waste Face Moisturizers For Perfect Skin

A person happily applying some zero waste face moisturizer.

The first time I read the ingredients list of my moisturizer, it blew my mind.

Nearly every ingredient added to the formula of your average moisturizer is both unnecessary and potentially harmful to your health and the environment.

I’ve spent a lot of time – possibly too much – researching and testing zero waste face moisturizer brands doing things differently.

Alongside brand recommendations I’ve also written about which ingredients you’ll want to avoid, and why you should avoid them to begin with.

First, let’s go over the best sustainable moisturizer choices:

Zero Waste Face Moisturizer Options

zero waste face moisturizers review

Tested & Reviewed Favorites

More Options

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ecoroots moisturizer review

EcoRoot’s rosehip zero waste moisturizer is the most recent product I’ve tried, and also happens to be my new favorite. There’s a few reasons for this, the main one being that it hasn’t led to any breakouts for me whatsoever.

While it’s made from similar ingredients as other sustainable brands: things like coconut and sunflower seed oil – EcoRoots simply has the best formula I’ve come across. It’s comparable to CeraVe’s PM night cream.

Their moisturizer is incredibly creamy but remains lightweight; super hydrating without leaving an annoying oily residue; and has a basic, slightly herbal scent that isn’t noticeable or overpowering in any way.

This is the moisturizer you should try if you want to be more sustainable but don’t want to slather on a thick, plant-based moisturizer formula that will end up causing acne eventually (I’ve tried lots of brands, and this is a pretty common thing).

It also happens to pair well with their zero waste face wash, which is basically an exfoliating cleanser bar.

Extra EcoRoots Info:

  • 1% For The Planet Member


ethique moisturizer review

While I’m obsessed with the moisturizer above, Ethique’s solid face cream bar ranks as a close second.

And yes, it’s a push tube bar of moisturizer! Before I started looking into eco friendly moisturizer brands I had never seen anything like this, but you quickly get used to the idea.

This is now what I use when traveling or driving – really, anytime I don’t want to deal with washing my hands before and after moisturizing. I’m still puzzled as to why more conventional brands don’t use push tubes, honestly.

A bit on the heavier side compared to EcoRoots, most people will likely need only a small amount of this moisturizer to keep their skin hydrated. The trick to using this moisturizer correctly is to press it up to your skin, wait a few seconds for it to warm up, and then slide it across the rest of your face a few times.

Ethique’s plastic free deodorant tubes are almost identical to this, in terms of packaging.

Extra Ethique Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Certified Palm Oil Free
  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • 2% sales to charity


attitude moisturizer review

Attitude is another brand who makes a push tube, plastic free face moisturizer.

I’m a huge fan of their moisturizer, and the only reason I’ve ranked it this far down the list is because of the price. The tube I have pictured is their 0.3 oz version, which they claim has around 60 uses and should last about 2 months for around $20.

Ultimately, how long the tube lasts is going to depend on how much you moisturize – other options like Ethique’s tube may be a better option if you moisturize multiple times per day.

You are paying for a bit extra with this, however, as Attitude’s vegan moisturizer comes with ingredients like vitamin C added alongside the usual stuff like jojoba seed oil and shea butter.

Because of the price, I don’t use this moisturizer everyday. But when I do use it I’m always impressed; it’s lightweight, easy to apply, non-oily, and also has a very mild and pleasant grassy scent.

I’d also recommend taking a look at their zero waste sunscreen tubes, which are excellent pocket-sized sun protection options!

Extra Attitude Info:

  • EWG Verified
  • EcoLogo Certified
  • PETA Beauty Without Bunnies Member

Meow Meow Tweet

meow meow tweet moisturizer review

Meow Meow Tweet’s skin cream is still one of my favorite skincare products, although over time I’ve started using less of it. But there are still a few reasons why you may want to consider it.

It’s budget-friendly, coming packed in a reasonably sized jar in a pretty concentrated form. It also smells amazing – with a delicious shea butter scent that sticks around a bit longer than other brands.

The main reason it’s this far down the list is, unfortunately, I started breaking out eventually after using this moisturizer. I don’t have very sensitive skin, and I’m not sure which ingredient is responsible for my acne.

Their moisturizer tends to turn into a semi-soft, solid clump of moisturizer at or below room temperature. Since it’s not super creamy in the jar, it prevents you from using too much at once. Instead, scraping out a pea-sized amount of it should do the trick for most.

I’d still recommend trying Meow Meow Tweet’s moisturizer – it was my favorite for almost a year, and tons of people have zero issues with it. I still use it, but mainly as a zero waste lotion.

Extra Meow Meow Tweet Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Leaping Bunny Member

Plaine Products

Metal bottle of moisturizer made by Plaine Products.

Similar to the rest of their product line, Plaine Product’s refillable moisturizer comes in a simple, recyclable aluminum bottle with an optional plastic pump.

If you’re a fan of fruity scents, you’re in luck – they only offer their moisturizer in a citrus fragrance; if you prefer an unscented moisturizer, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Compared to their other offerings, their moisturizer is kind of small. When I say small, I really only mean compared to their other bottles – such as their sustainable shampoo and conditioner bottles.

If you’re someone looking for a semi-liquid, lotiony sort of moisturizer in a pump tube, this is probably your best option right now.

Extra Plaine Products Info:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • 1% For The Planet Member

Chagrin Valley

Jar of Chagrin Valley whipped squalane moisturizer.
Image via Chagrin Valley

Chagrin Valley’s whipped moisturizing mousse is sold as an eye cream, but you can easily just use it as a full-face moisturizer.

This is a brand with pretty unique products in general, a great fit for those who connect with their standards: organic ingredients, no added preservatives or GMOs – a keen eye for sustainable formulas.

Chagrin Valley does occasionally include animal ingredients and palm oil in their products, but this moisturizer in particular has none of that. Instead, it’s formulated with ingredients like liquid shea butter, jojoba oil, and olive-based squalane – pure plant goodness.

Extra Chagrin Valley Info:

  • Leaping Bunny Member
  • Certified USDA Organic

Fat And The Moon

Moisturizer in a glass jar with metal lid by Fat And The Moon.

Fat And The Moon’s moisturizing cream is similar in versatility to Meow Meow Tweet’s; meaning, you can use it as both a moisturizer or lotion.

It has a whipped cream cheese like texture – light and fluffy, but also manages to be dense and hydrating in a non-greasy way. Infused with rosewater, aloe, and elderberry extract, Fat And The Moon’s moisturizer probably has the most unique, witchy formula if you’re into that sort of thing.

That isn’t to say it’s unnecessarily complicated, however, as it’s only made from six total ingredients! If you’re vegan or avoiding animal products for whatever reason, be aware: this moisturizer contains beeswax – but otherwise, it’s plant-based.

When using it, you may notice a bit of separation between ingredient layers, which is due to its incredibly simple formula and lack of petrochemical preservatives.

Basically, just stir it up before applying!

Foraged Fields

Three glass jars of Foraged Fields moisturizer.

Foraged Fields is an Etsy-based brand that specializes in sustainable makeup and skincare products. The best part is they have a wide variety of options for those looking to include or exclude certain ingredients.

For example, their moisturizer comes in a few different versions. They have a standard cream that contains beeswax, a version without coconut oil, and a vegan cream without coconut.

The ingredients included in all of the options are pretty neat, either way. Things like reishi and chaga mushroom, calendula flower, and oatstraw – where else are you going to find that?

They don’t spare any expense when it comes to making quality, handmade moisturizer; and it really shows, as this product in particular has close to 500 five star reviews and counting!

Foraged Fields has other items for sale as well on their Etsy shop, all of which compliment their moisturizing cream, of course. You could use this cream as a night, morning, or daily face moisturizer as well as a full body lotion – or specifically for problem areas like elbows and hands.

A little goes a long way with this one, something I always try to prioritize.

Extra Foraged Fields Info:

  • Etsy Star Seller

Sow Natural Skincare

Glass jar of manuka honey moisturizer by Sow Natural Skincare.
Image via Sow Natural Skincare

Sow Natural Skincare makes a tempting manuka honey moisturizer and offers it in a few different sizes – all made with the same simple formula.

It’s not completely vegan as it contains honey, so if you’re avoiding animal products you may want to look elsewhere. Although, some argue that ethical honey and beekeeping is possible.

Either way, the rest of the ingredients included are plant-based and result in a moisturizer perfect for those long, dry winters so many of us have to deal with. Coming in three different sizes, you should be able to find the perfect price-to-volume ratio.

Sow Natural Skincare is based on Etsy and they make a wide range of skincare products; with their lotions and moisturizers being particularly luxurious.

Extra Sow Natural Skincare Info:

  • Etsy Star Seller

Solde Luna Crafts

Moisturizer in a metal tin made by Solde Luna Crafts.

Solde Luna Craft’s face creams come in small, recyclable aluminum tins – and the texture is a bit like a balm, similar to Meow Meow Tweet’s moisturizer.

When applying it, you’ll want to first warm it up a bit between your fingers before dabbing it around like a regular moisturizer.

If you’re in the market for “mature” skincare products, Solde Luna Crafts makes a few specific mature skin creams for those with more experienced skin! And they stock a wide range of fragrances as well; palmarosa, hemp, calendula, turmeric – all of which are mild and pleasant.

Extra Solde Luna Craft Info:

  • Etsy Star Seller

Why should you buy zero waste moisturizer?

Bottles of plastic filled with moisturizer line the shelves of stores all around the world, and most people with an established skincare routine will go through multiple containers per year.

Plastic bottles of moisturizer on store shelves.

We all want healthy skin, and none of us want to deal with acne, itchiness, or redness – especially on our face. Moisturizers are one of the most useful tools a dermatologist has at their disposal, and for that reason nearly everyone you know probably has a favorite, go-to brand of face cream.

Here’s a short and interesting video covering the benefits of a healthy skin barrier – a barrier that’s aided by regularly applying moisturizer:

Unfortunately, billions upon billions of plastic moisturizer bottles enter the waste stream each year – and most of us also use face cleansers and other products as well.

Not only are these bottles made from plastic, the design of the containers make it incredibly hard to fully use all the product within – but can’t you just rinse them out and recycle the plastic?

The truth is, plastic recycling is essentially just a well organized scam; and there’s no legitimate way for billions of moisturizer-coated bottles to be effectively recycled.

Obviously, not everyone in the world uses moisturizer – but those of us who do are all guilty of either throwing away or lazily tossing our creamy plastic bottles in the recycling without giving it much thought.

Moisturizer bars, tubes, and packaging made from paper, glass, and metal are clearly better choices – and most of these plastic free moisturizer brands use ingredients that can be composted because they aren’t environmental pollutants, which we’ll talk about next.

Which moisturizer ingredients should you avoid?

Everyone wants a quality moisturizer that isn’t full of harmful or difficult to pronounce chemicals, but that’s not exactly an option if you’re buying from popular, big name brands.

You may be unaware of this, but many of the chemicals found in your average bottle of moisturizer are either petrochemicals or animal products; with petrochemicals including thousands of different byproducts produced by oil refineries.

I’ve highlighted some common examples found on the ingredient label below:

A moisturizer label with highlighted ingredients to avoid.

The worst part about all of this is that many of these harsh but moisturizing chemicals are easily absorbed by your skin – alongside the beneficial ones you want.

I’m going to go over two of these in particular, mineral oil and petrolatum; but you should also check out our more extensive harmful skincare ingredient list as well.

And on that note, if you’re looking for a list of trustworthy brands to choose from in addition to the ones on this list, you can read about them in my sustainable skincare brand guide.

Mineral oil

Mineral oil is, well, oil. And it’s not a plant-based oil. It’s actually a byproduct of crude oil drilling, and is added to things like moisturizers and lotions to hydrate and prevent moisture from leaving your skin.

Refined mineral oil, which is what’s supposed to be added to moisturizer, is considered relatively “safe” for humans.

Oil refinery pumping out clouds of greenhouse gasses.
Image by Art Prof via Flickr

However, unrefined mineral oil has been a suspected human carcinogen as early as the 1970s due to the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

And most countries – including the US – don’t have airtight regulations surrounding mineral oil refinement (similar to many other questionable chemicals). So, why even risk putting it anywhere near your skin?


Yep, another petroleum byproduct, if you couldn’t tell from the name. You probably know this ingredient as petroleum jelly, and if you’re anything like me you never made the connection between its innocent sounding name and crude oil.

Your moisturizer may be formulated with ingredients refined from the same crude oil that leaks out of ships, destroys and pollutes the environment, and does this to oceanic animals quite regularly:

Ocean bird soaked in crude oil from an oil spill.
Image by GOHSEP via Flickr

But why is it added to moisturizers? Well, it’s added for the same reason as mineral oil – it locks in moisture and gives the product a creamy texture.

Petrolatum can also easily be contaminated with harmful impurities, similar to mineral oil (as they’re almost the same thing).

Of course, regulations exist for both of these ingredients, but the existence of regulations doesn’t mean they’re implemented effectively or that they aren’t abused through loopholes.

What animal products are found in moisturizer?

Animal byproducts are pretty cheap as well, at least for now. So you can often find ingredients sourced from animals inside your moisturizer if you don’t buy vegan and cruelty free moisturizer.

A few examples of what to look out for:

  • Retinol or vitamin A (enzymes from fish, eggs, etc.)
  • Squalane or squalene (liver oil from sharks)
  • Oleic acid (animal fats)

Why does moisturizer have palm oil in it?

Palm oil is added to moisturizers for its moisture-trapping properties, and while it isn’t petroleum based the oil palm industry tends to annihilate rainforest ecosystems in its quest to produce efficient oil – making palm oil one of the most common rainforest products you use everyday.

You can find it in a lot of foods and cosmetics; not just because it’s great for thickening and adding volume and foaminess, but also because it’s so cheap.

Palm oil production is one of the main causes of extensive rainforest deforestation happening around the world, as the plant species thrives near the equator.

Final thoughts

Your skincare routine can survive and thrive while using a sustainable face moisturizer – the recent explosion in popularity means you have dozens of different options to choose from.

It’s now possible to find a brand that works for your skin’s specific needs without contributing to insane amounts of plastic waste, so what are you waiting for?

Do you have a favorite earth-friendly moisturizer?

We love hearing from you.

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