Review: Plastic Free and Zero Waste UrbApothecary Lip and Cheek Makeup

19 October 2016
Making zero waste or plastic free makeup is not for everyone. Having the time, space, resources, finding ingredients package free, or at the least in reusable and recyclable packaging can put this aspect of zero waste living in the too hard basket. Luckily, there are pre-made products that tick the zero waste packaging box for some.

Last year, I set myself the mission to look for ready made zero waste beauty products that would suit people wishing to live a low waste lifestyle or plastic free lifestyle. I picked two product lines to investigate; lipstick and mascara.

Review: Plastic Free Zero Waste Urb Apothecary Tint Stick

This is not a paid review at all. I bought this for me to use, because sometimes I get busy and don’t have the time to make my own lip cream.

Luckily, there are people out there that LOVE to make beauty products for a living. Etsy and other online stores is the space to find them. This is where I found a lipstick and cheek tint in compostable cardboard, ticking all the boxes for a consumer looking for a ready-made zero waste lipstick.

I have had my UrbApothecary Tint Stick for almost a year and continue to wear it almost every day. I even wore it on my wedding day and recently on national TV. No one knew that the packaging was, gasp, made of cardboard.

Now if you clicked the link, you would have noticed that the tint stick is wrapped in a sticker. So did I. Stickers like this are not recyclable or compostable. But seeing how this was one of the only ready made lipstick/cheek tints I found in compostable packaging, I decided to contact the seller asking if they would be able to send this item without the sticker. As it is made in small batches, the maker complied easily, saying that when she makes the next batch (which mine would be from) she would keep a sticker off my one.

This is one of reasons why I encourage people to check out Etsy or other small online stores for zero waste beauty items. They are run by individuals or are small businesses, making it easier to have a direct conversation about what you (the consumer) would like. This is especially handy too when making requests on how your items should be packaged and sent (no plastic please and bubble wrap please). Same with local markets or local boutique makeup businesses.

Review: Plastic Free Zero Waste Urb Apothecary Tint Stick

UrbApothecary Tint Stick is a mainly plant based product. The red colouring comes from a plant called alkanet. Being free of mica and iron-oxide, it does require a couple of applications to provide a bold colour on the lips. On my pale cheeks, one application is more than enough.

A touch up after four hours on the cheeks and one hour on the lips suits me fine, depending if I'm eating or drinking. It has a sweet smell, nothing too overpowering or strong. I don’t know if I would classify this as tint, it does not stain the way my beetroot lip/cheek tint does. It does provide colour though, just not an instant bold colour. You gotta build that up.

It’s small (7cm long) and light weight, allowing for easy transportation.

I recognised all the ingredients, but punched them into the EWG database to double check their safety. All came back with safe recommendations. It is free of synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, cruelty free, palm oil, paraben and SLS free, plus organic and ethically sourced materials ticked boxes for me.There is also a vegan wax option too.

Review: Plastic Free Zero Waste Urb Apothecary Tint Stick

The cardboard case has held up well. The application is just like a regular lipstick with a push up function.

I did check with the seller and also the maker of the packaging if there was a lining of plastic. There is not. Instead it has a lining made of oil that is safe for composting. I’m about two months away from finishing this tint stick and will do the hot water test to double check it is indeed lined with only oil and not plastic. One of the reasons I gravitated towards paper based casing was the composting factor. If I lost this, it should break down in the natural environment quickly. I'll be quick to update if this is not the case. But until then I am trusting the maker and packaging company that is indeed free of a plastic lining.

UrbApothecary Tint Stick was shipped with no plastic too. A request I made. The lipstick came in a plain cardboard envelope, held in the small white paper envelop with paper tape seen below. It also came with the business card.

Review: Plastic Free Zero Waste Urb Apothecary Tint Stick

It was great to find a ready made cosmetic in cardboard. While there are more options in glass and metal, I prefer cardboard for a couple reasons. Cardboard can break down in my simple backyard compost. Cardboard is welcome and beneficial to the composting process. While resources, energy and transportation are needed to make the cardboard packaging, if I choose to compost it then I don't have to recycle it, which is a labor intensive industry too. If I have the choice, I will choose composting over recycling. Most glass packaging comes with a metal or plastic lid. Plastic lids smaller than a business card are harder to recycle and can escape the sorting process. It's best to ask your council or closest recycling centre if they accept them for recycling and how best to hand them over (usually as a bundle so they don't get lost). Metal lids and containers can be lined with plastic. This usually does not stop them from being recycled, but i'm trying to cut down on plastic where I can. So cardboard is my preferred packaging and if it works just as well as plastic, then why not choose it.

The only downside is that the product is made in the US. So there is the shipping miles included for us Aussies. However, I have found out there is an Australian company called Dirty Hippie Cosmetics that is set to offer some products in compostable packaging soon, including a cheek/tint stick.

Until then I’ll continue to use UrbApothecary Tint Stick as I am very VERY happy with it.

I’d love to know if you found this review helpful. I’d also like to know if there is a similar products available here in Melbourne or other parts of Australia? Have I missed it? Is there a Australian beauty business that has low waste as a priority? Are there any big brands that are trying to reduce their packaging too?
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