This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on May 23, 2022.
Okay friend. I don’t know about you, but I basically gave up on all makeup about two months into the pandemic. No one was seeing my face, anyway. Why bother with the time and effort of putting on a full face everyday?
But sometimes I do enjoy getting all done up and feeling cute.
And when we look at our makeup bags, there’s typically SO much plastic in them.
From foundation bottles to eyeshadow palettes to mascara tubes - it adds up!
One thing I really started focusing on at the beginning of my zero waste journey was being sure I used up what I had before buying new. I didn’t even realize how long my stash of makeup would last until I didn’t buy more.
It’s been over five years since I started going zero waste and I am STILL working through the makeup I already had on hand at the beginning.
But the one thing that always runs out first (and should be replaced most often, anyway) is mascara.
And lemme tell ya, the sustainable mascara journey has been a frustrating one, to say the least.
I know I’m not the only one. I hear about this from EcoWarriors all the time. What the heck are we supposed to do about mascara?! And don’t even get me started on the greenwashing happening from some of the most well-known brands - that are still being promoted by the zero waste influencers of the world.
So after waiting for FAR too long, I finally decided it’s time to stop using the same mascara I’ve been using for three years that I never really liked anyway and should have been replaced years ago. And in my quest to find the best products out there, I was excited to finally give Izzy mascara a try after following them on IG for several months.
And I’m excited to share with you my experience! So let’s dig in.
Quick disclaimer: This review is in no way sponsored. I purchased the mascara myself and have had no communication with Izzy.
Why Izzy mascara?
I first heard of Izzy products a few months ago when the Instagram algorithm served me up an ad for their mascara before it was even available for purchase. I was intrigued, but skeptical. (Which is unsurprising if you’ve been around for a minute; I’m always skeptical of everything before I do a ton of digging into it.)
After several months of following their social media, reading reviews, and diving into their website, I was pretty darn sold.
Here are a few of my personal favorite highlights:
Returnable + Reusable Packaging
From the mascara tube and wand themselves to the shipping packaging, Izzy takes the burden of disposal completely off the consumer, which is one of our core values here at A Drop in the Ocean, too.
The shipping, return, and reuse system that Izzy has implemented makes for a completely closed loop product and I am so here for that.
Stainless Steel Tube
One of my biggest frustrations with sustainable mascaras has been in trying to understand the packaging from the beginning of the purchasing process.
If it’s a bamboo tube, is it all bamboo or is it a bamboo-wrapped plastic tube that’s actually making it even more difficult to properly dispose of?
If it’s a refillable tube, what are the refills packaged in? How do I properly dispose of the empties?
It’s nearly impossible to find this information without actually purchasing the mascara and trying it yourself.
But what I love about Izzy is their transparency about their stainless steel tube and ESPECIALLY that I don’t have to worry about properly recycling it.
The tubes are a medical-grade stainless steel, and when you return the empty tube to them, they’ll sanitize and reuse it 10,000+ times. No having to worry about whether or not my tube is 100% clean and will actually be accepted by my local recycling service is a huge weight lifted.
And if you’re wondering about the water impact of sanitizing all of these tubes, Izzy has thought of everything. Even the water they use in their sanitization process is captured and reused, rather than dumped.
Recycled + Recyclable Wand
It’s pretty impossible to get away from a plastic mascara wand.
But with Izzy, I don’t have to worry about what happens to that wand once it leaves my hands.
Maybe you’ve seen that wildlife rehabbers can use cleaned mascara wands in their work. And even the “sustainable” brands often promote sending your wands to Wands for Wildlife. But that means that…
(A) the consumer now has to thoroughly clean their mascara wand and pay to ship it to an organization that will then distribute it to wildlife rehabbers,
(C) when that program gets overwhelmed with mascara wands and has to pause or shut down their operations (like they are at this very moment), consumers are SOL and producers can still say, “Well we tried.🤷♀️”
Izzy, on the other hand, takes full responsibility for their wands.
When you send your empty tube back to them, they actually recycle the wands back into new wands on site at their own facility.
Now that I can get behind.
Local Sourcing + Manufacturing
All of Izzy’s products are manufactured within a 400-mile radius. The closer all of this happens to each other, the more sustainable it is by reducing emissions from transportation.
According to Izzy, after 25 refills, their mascara has a 78% smaller carbon footprint than other industry-standard mascaras.
Yep, love that 🥰
You already know ya girl is a big fan of give-back programs.
At A Drop in the Ocean, we’ve got our 1% for the ocean donations and our tree planting program, and 46% of our products are sourced from companies with their own give-back programs.
So when I saw that Izzy has their own give-back programs with focuses on forest conservation, social justice, and improving education, I was sold.
Purchasing My Izzy Mascara
The Izzy website is super easy to navigate, especially because [currently] they only have a few products so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
I especially appreciate the transparency of listing the ingredients on the product page, not hidden behind any buttons.
One of my biggest red flags when I’m looking at new “eco” products is having to dig for an ingredients list. For me, if the ingredients aren’t clearly listed front and center, I feel like there’s something to hide and I’m not about that life.
So the fact that Izzy has their ingredients clearly listed on the product page in a large font is a great plus for me. I may not understand all of the ingredients (not my forte), but I feel so much better about my purchase knowing they’re up front.
There are three different options for purchasing your mascara - a one-time purchase, a quarterly subscription, and an annual subscription.
Personally, I jumped right into a quarterly subscription, which over the course of a year saves a whopping $64 - and keeps me from using the same mascara for three years which is just not healthy.
I like knowing that when it’s time to replace my mascara, a new one is going to show up at my doorstep right when I need it. (That’s also why we have subscription options on most of our products at A Drop in the Ocean, too! Convenience is key, my friend.)
I’ve already alluded to this, but the packaging Izzy uses to ship their products will have me returning again and again.
My mascara arrived in a reusable pouch made from recycled materials with no additional packaging. I just unzipped the pouch and there was my mascara tube, along with a return label to use in three months when it’s time to send it back.
If I had ordered multiple products, they would have all been in that same pouch, so no separate pouches for separate products.
One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to keep track of this mailer! If you do not return the mailer or the empty mascara tube, you’ll be charged a $30 restocking fee ($25 for the mascara tube, $5 for the pouch).
This fee is intended to incentivize the return program as well as recoup some of the expenses associated with replacing the mailer and the tube. These things aren’t cheap, and keeping them in circulation keeps costs down.
Okay, now for the most important part. How well does Izzy mascara actually work? Because zero waste doesn’t matter much if the product doesn’t work and we have to buy something else instead.
But lemme tell ya, friend, this stuff WORKS. I was hooked on this mascara the second I applied that first coat.
Just one coat is honestly enough to make my eyelashes pop, but it’s also layerable - meaning I can apply a few coats for even more “wow.” My lashes are longer, darker, fuller, and not at all clumpy. Honestly it’s one of the best mascaras (if not the best) I’ve ever used.
And it STAYS. I’ve tried zero waste, clean mascaras in the past that end up giving me dark circles around my eyes all day. But Izzy holds up. After a long day at the Tacoma Night Market last month, when the rest of my makeup was sweating off my face, this mascara was still going STRONG.
But when I’m ready to take it off for the night, it comes off so smoothly. Like, way better than any other mascara - especially considering how well it stays on my lashes all day.
So not only am I thrilled with the sustainability of this zero waste mascara, I’m thrilled with how well it actually works, too.
I would absolutely recommend Izzy zero waste mascara.
I am obsessed with how my lashes look, I’m in love with the plastic-free tube and zero waste shipping, all of the company sustainability initiatives are *chef’s kiss*, and topping it all off with a closed-loop system that keeps the burden of disposal 100% off of the consumer is just incredible.
With all of that in mind, it is worth noting the price.
One tube of Izzy mascara is $39, which is well above drugstore mascaras. Subscriptions do bring down the cost quite a bit, as a quarterly subscription is $35 up-front + $19 every quarter, and an annual subscription is $85/year, but these are still higher than you’d find at Target.
But with these higher prices you’re also supporting a sustainable and ethical product and business model. The formulations of Izzy products are cleaner, the manufacturing process is super sustainable, the packaging is plastic-free and zero waste, and in general you’re supporting living wages, closed-loop wand recycling, sterilizing and reusing stainless steel tubes, and overall a high-quality, truly sustainable experience.
If you can afford Izzy, I recommend it 100%. Take it from the ultimate sustainability skeptic, this stuff is the real deal. And I am very much looking forward to trying their lip butter, too.
✨ What are your thoughts, EcoWarrior? Have you tried Izzy products yet? Are they on your list? I’d love to hear your thoughts, too! Just comment below and share with us 😊
See you again next week!