Lush Launches Its First Packaging-Free Mascara

Lush takes a bite out of the 120 billion pieces of mostly unrecycled beauty packaging the world creates every year.

Person with mascara on eyes


The packaging of beauty products is hard. Many products have certain requirements to ensure their quality, while many consumers want packaging that is easy to use and easy on the eye. Meeting all of those requirements in a recyclable format is both challenging and expensive.

“Many of the design technologies that make personal care and beauty products so squeezable, twistable, portable and generally easy to use render them difficult to recycle,” says Stephen Clarke, the European head of communications for the recycling company TerraCycle. “The more complex or costly the packaging, the harder it is to collect, separate and recycle. As a result, it makes it more economically viable to simply trash it than put forth the resources to recover it.”

This is how we end up with an estimated 120 billion pieces of beauty product package units a year, with only around 30% (at most) being recycled.

Fan-favorite company Lush first tackled this dilemma way back in 1987, when they invented the shampoo bar, an innovation that has gone mainstream amongst zero wasters, travelers, and everyone else who prefers "naked" products without packaging.

Now, the company is pioneering a new product with its launch of Naked Mascara. Unlike traditional mascara, this one comes without the typical plastic tube. It's like a cylinder of product that contains itself.

Person applying mascara


As described by the company, the mascara contains "beautiful ingredients that are good for your lashes and the planet." All vegan, the formula includes organic cocoa butter, which helps condition the lashes, while Illipe and cupuaçu butters help to soften them. Japan wax is added to give lashes definition, and rice bran and candelilla wax help to evenly distribute the color. Carnauba wax creates a lengthening effect.

One uses the product by lightly wetting the brush, swishing it around inside the "tube," and then applying. Kind of like using watercolor (or cake mascara, if you've used that before). Afterward, simply rinse the brush and let both items dry.

The wands are made using a 100% bio-based material and can be recycled at home or returned to Lush for recycling. They come in three styles:

  • Thickness and volume (thick wand)
  • Definition (one-sided comb)
  • Separation (wand with circular end)
Package-free mascara and wands


"If there is one makeup product we can’t do without—it’s mascara,' says Helen Ambrosen, the Lush co-founder who invented the product. "So it is right at the top of the list to create a more environmentally friendly way to enable us to use something we know and love."

The mascara comes in four shades Orca (black), Earth (brown), Reef (coral), and Ocean (blue). They cost $14 and are available starting May 25th online at Lush USA and June 5th in stories.