Milk Makeup has the most impressive sustainability initiative I have seen when comparing to other mainstream cosmetic brands. With their transparent and evident commitment to reducing their waste, making their products recyclable, and using post-consumer materials provides a great model that other cosmetic brands should follow. They also provide yearly updates on how they are becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainable with their products. With regards to solely the Kush High Volume Mascara, I find that this product would probably be, one of, if not the best mainstream mascaras to buy. I do have my doubts about how sustainably sourced their ingredients are, so I would want them to include that on their yearly updates as well. There are other sustainable, lesser-known mascaras made by NudiGoods, BeeYou Organics, and Dab Herb Makeup. These products are proven to have responsibly sourced ingredients, materials, and non-plastic applicator wands. However, my only concern with these products would be how effect their mascaras are in terms of pigment, and how clumpy it can make your lashes. All things considered, if you want to support a company that has an effective mascara product that is growing sustainably, Milk Makeup would be the one you should go for.
The container of the product is made from recycled aluminum, which is great since aluminum does not degrade in quality when recycled. The inner tube is made of plastic and the bristles are most likely made from nylon. Thus, the wand is tricky to recycle and the nylon part of the product can release microplastics when thrown away or not properly recycled. As for the formula of the mascara, Milk Makeup claims that the product is paraben-free, contains Cannabis Seed Oil, has a clean formula, and Clean pigments. The mascara also contains Acacia Senegal Gum, which comes from the Acacia tree. The gum is used to help thicken the product and is what gives the mascara the gel-like texture while also making it easier to apply. Milk Makeup is not transparent about how responsibly they source the Acacia Senegal Gum which is worrisome. I do wish they were more transparent about how responsibly sourced all their signature ingredients are.
In terms of how mascara is traditionally made, water and thickeners are combined to make a lotion or cream base. Waxes and emulsifiers are heated and melted separately, and pigments are added. After the mascara solution has cooled or reached the proper state, workers transfer it to a tote bin. Next, they roll the tote bin to the filling area and empty the solution into a hopper on a filling machine. The filling machine pumps a measured amount the solution into glass or plastic mascara bottles. The bottles are usually capped by hand. As mentioned in the above sections, the bottles are carved out of recycled aluminum, which is much better than plastic as the aluminum can be recycled without loss of quality of the material. Milk Makeup products are manufactured in the United States, however the brand is well known and does have international shipping. Thus, the carbon footprint of the brand as a whole is quite high because of this.
Milk Makeup is a cosmetics company based in downtown New York City. The company believes in clean ingredients that are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and 100% vegan. One of the Co-founders Georgie Greville states, “when we started Milk Makeup, we all had young kids, which makes you hyper-aware of all the toxicity in the world. We wanted to use healthy ingredients that we felt great about, especially if our kids got their hands on the products”. With regards to their sustainability as a brand, Milk Makeup has made some impressive strides with their products. In January of 2021, Milk Makeup redesigned their e-commerce shipping system and started transporting products in their new sustainable shipping box, which is printed with petroleum-free plant-based ink. The inner shipping bags are also made form 100% post-consumer waste, and both are 100% recyclable once you remove the adhesive strip on the box. The brand also laid out their steps to reduce their waste, such as removing outer-packaging, and making packaging out of 100% consumer waste fibers that are Forest Stewardship Council certified. In the US and Canada, Milk Makeup has partnered with How2Recycle, which is a labeling system that helps communicate clear recycling instructions. These labels are meant to guide the consumer through which products and packaging are recyclable and, if necessary, how to prep them for recycling. How2Recycle’s labeling system is also a great resource for clarifying what not to recycle, which can mitigate contamination in recycling streams. Milk Makeup has also partnered with g2 revolution, a specialty recycling solutions program that helps figure out ways to responsibly dispose of hard-to-recycle excess products and components. This partnership ensures that we’re keeping as many materials out of landfills as possible, from our warehouses to post-consumer efforts. This is the most detailed sustainability approach I have seen from a mainstream makeup company, and I am very impressed on how transparent they are about the steps they are taking to be more sustainable.