Simple beauty : my plastic-free beauty routine
One of the rooms I struggled the most to simplify and declutter when I first got in to zero waste was the bathroom and with it my beauty routine. It was probably the biggest hurtles to overcome since as a teenager and then young woman, I grew up with precise instructions on how a beauty routine should look like.
I struggled for years with skin issues and hair loss due to my thyroid autoimmune disease. I naturally have very thing hair and a very pale complexion prone to redness and very ( very!) delicate and so, oily. I had all my ducks in a row when it came to beauty or so I thought . In the shower was shampoo first, then conditioner and a mask once a week to hydrate and volumize. Then outside the shower there was the leave in conditioner for the split ends end the heat protector. On my face I have for years used a clenser, toner, morning and night cream, weekly face masks - sometimes one after the other- then patches to remove the blackheads and so. much . more . crap .
When I got in to zero waste, a part from the renown decluttering, I have started to notice and embrace another face of zero waste : simplicity.
I went through each bottle of soap, cream and detergent with the goal to finish them all to then replace them with a package free/zero waste alternative and I remeber thinking “ why was I so worried to finsh the body lotion ( I had 3 bottles) if even by applying it once a day for a month I am still halfway through?” and then I had to go through my body oils….this is when I realized I was overbuying.
When the time came to replace a product with its zero-waste alternative I decided to evaluate very carefully every single product and I rounded it down to what you see below. My true essentials.
So here is my zero waste and plastic free beauty routine
Not everything I own is covered by this post. You have to add the contact lenses and their liquid and my make up ( 1 x mascara, 1 x brow pencil, 1xkajhal , 3x lipsticks, 1xbronzer and a pallet with 6 eyehsadows + 3 brushes). I rarely wear any makeup , mascara and brow pencil are the only two things I can’t live without. Last time I shopped for make up was 1.5 years ago. So you can’t really say that make up is part of my routine.
SIMPLE (#plasticfree) BEAUTY ROUTINE
From top left:
RAW HONEY: this is the most powerful, gentle and effective facewash you can get. Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it nurtures the skin. I used it in the past to heal cuts on my cracked knuckles when I did boxe but I honestly never thought of using it as clenser until I saw the Lady Like video on BuzzFeed on zero-waste beauty routines with the adorable Auri.
Honey has a very low pH so a lot of bacterias cannot survive in it, it’s pH is about a 3.5 on average and majority of bacteria prefer to leave on a pH of approx. 7 . So, if you are struggling with acne or your skin is prone to break out honey will be your best friend . Don’t rush to the supermarket to grab any jar of honey. You want the best, less processed quality you can get. Raw if possible.
ROSEHIP OIL: Any oil will do based on your skin type. Unlike rose oil, which is extracted from rose petals, rosehip oil is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant. I am almost 30 and I chose this oil because is rich in vitamin A and C. Vitamin A, or retinol, encourages skin cell turnover. Vitamin C also aids in cell regeneration, boosting overall radiance. Both help in reduce dullness and give you glowing skin. I bough a 200mL bottle of pure oil and it will probably last me for years. I also use it as makeup remover together with a cotton face round I crochet myself.
SUNSCREEN: There aren’t many zero-waste sunscreen in reusable containers. This one is from Sun and Earth (made in Byron Bay, off course) has a 30+ SPF and only 4 ingredients. There are two kinds of sunscreen : those that make a chemical barrier (most common) and those that create a phisical barrier (mine). Living in Australia sunscreen is pivotal. Create a physical barrier means that the consistency is thicker and is something you’ll need to get used to. Now I don’t really notice anymore the trick is to apply it on your moisturizer or face oil to make it easier to spread. It is also tinted ( with cocoa , yummy) so it helps to achieve that healthy glow I always look for.
CLAY MASK: this is bentonite clay powder I got as a Christmas present from a friend last year. I just mix a teaspoon of with a little tap water and one drop af tea tree oil once a week or less . Also, I use this as main ingredient for my toothpowder (see below)
TOOTHPOWDER: that becomes -paste in winter when hot Queensland temperature decrese enough to let the coconut oil solify enough to hold the bicarb and not let it sink at the bottom. This is done with equal parts bentonite clay and bicardonate of soda to wich I also added 10 drops of peppermint EO. It was difficult to adjust to it but now I would never go back to storebought toothpaste.
DEODORANT STONE: This little stone here is 5 years old and is still as big as my thumb.
Alum stones are made of Potassium Alum that is the only natural alum ( alum is NOT aluminium ) . Alum Stones work as a deodorant ( not anti-perspirant ) by leaving a fine salty, slightly alkaline film on the skin, reducing the ability of axillari microbial flora to biotransform odourless natural secretions from our glands into volatile odorous molecules ( bacterias don’t like low pH)
TIGER BALM: They say Tiger balm can heal (almost) everything.
And they are right. You only need the smallest amount to feel the effects so this little jar will last a loong time ( it’s 3 years old now). Tiger Balm works by tricking nerve endings with cooling and heating sensations, interrupting other signals from muscle pain or itchy insect bites. It is much stronger than most similar products on the market. Vicks contains 8.6 % active ingredients such as synthetic camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol. Tiger Balm contains 60 %, including natural camphor, mint oil, cajuput oil, menthol and clove oil ( clove and camphor have also demonstrated antimicrobial properties).
HOW ABOUT THE SHOWER?
At the top a shampoo bar and a body soap bar, both package free.
Then my loyal Silk Epil from Braun, a epilator I got 5 years now because you know, not all women shave.
Then there is ceramic pot full of pumice stones we collected on the beach to remove dead skin from feet and hands and a jar for vinegar rinse that I use instead of conditioner.
As sponges we use natural loofah that my dad cultivates every year for the all family ( love you daddy!) and I made a rough hemp twine one on crochet.
…AND DON’T FORGET THE MAN OF THE HOUSE
Everyone seems to focus so much on ladies’ needs that forgets about man’s ones. And I am talking about zero waste needs, of course.
Matteo’s beauty routine is basically non existent. All he really cares for is his beard.
He cuts his hair weekly with a vintage hand shaver that belonged to his grandfather and then shaves them off with a safety razor. Normally he growths his bead very long and only cuts it completely twice a year.
These are his essentials : ( no deodorant as you can see because Matteo never used it and never really needed.. he simply does not smell..I am very jealous)
VINTAGE SHAVER: this metal hand-shaver belonged to Matteo’s grandfather. Needless to say, this is also one his most valuable possession. it comes with two combs and can be used to shave and groom Mat’s long beard.
SAFETY RAZOR: Matteo shaves all his hair off once a week or two. Since he is so fond of his nonno’s razor, I bought for his birthday a safety razor so that it could last him a lifetime and then, who knows, perhaps hand it down to the next generations. To shave, he uses the same bar we use as body soap. ( blades come in paper and one last approx 3 months depending on how much you shave..possibly even longer. Since is metal, it can be fully recicled forevah)
NAILCLIP: pretty self explanatory
ARGAN OIL: for his beard, of course, and also as post-shave oil for head and face. Comes solid in a metal tin. This is two years old at least and will most likely last 3 more. ( this is from The Body Shop but I am afraid they don’t do this anymore)
OK, now is really everything we own.
It seems like a long list but is not much. In fact it can all be stored in a beauty case of medium size so that when we go camping or travelling we can carry the all bathroom with us ( ultimate goal will be do the same with all our clothes as well ).
By adopting simplicity in the bathroom I realized that I do not need to spend that much time, money and product to look and feel pretty.
And I never felt as pretty and good with myself as I feel now.
If you are starting your zero-waste journey I have a tip for you: give your body time to adjust. Be kind with yourself and take the change slowly one step at the time.
What part of your beauty routine you struggled ( or think you will) the most to adapt to your transition in to zero-waste?