Zero waste beauty routine sounds like a catchy lifestyle blog post title these days. And in the beginning, it might not seem to be connected to the traveling world. But in fact, during travel, we also care about ourselves every day, and most of our ritual stays the same as at home.
I am not a fashion-beauty blogger, but nevertheless, I have got a few self-care tips to share. And I believe some of you might find this post extremely useful and inspiring.
Sustainable lifestyle and reducing everyday waste will be a must soon. So today I am going to show you my best hacks. Most of them I have been using since February 2018, so it was enough time for me to find some right products and ingredients.
Read more: My zero waste travel toiletry bag checklist.
If it comes to beauty rituals, my main motto is “the simpler the better”. I think simplicity is the key to a fuller life. Plus, it works best if it comes to beauty.
Why? Let me explain it below.
Table of contents:
My self-care background
Each person is different. And each skin type requires different care. So, in the beginning, I will tell you a bit facts about myself so you can compare it to your own conditions to check out if my zero waste beauty routine could work for you as well.
First of all, I have never had any grave skin issues. I did not fight with skin rashes or acne, so it was always pretty simple for me to care about my skin. From time to time it is only dried a bit, but this is probably caused by my hypothyroidism.
Similar for hair. In general, it looks nice, besides the issue of hair loss. Which mostly is caused by thyroid work.
When it comes to using cosmetics before turning zero waste (or at least less waste) I was doing it moderately. I was using popular cleaning lotions from a drugstore and was doing basic neutral makeup (mascara and face primer from time to time).
While I was using standard shampoos and hair conditioners, I figured out that only some brands worked well for my hair. The rest was causing itching of the head and allergic reaction on my head skin.
So if it comes to my daily beauty routine before I truly started to care about my health and the environment, it was pretty standard and straight forward. I was simply doing what everyone was doing, and what adverts and big brands told me to do.
But now I am so happy that I changed my way of thinking.
My zero waste beauty routine
Since I started to implement zero waste tricks into my everyday life, the first major change was actually not physical, but mental. Popular cosmetics are filled with chemistry, which usually has nothing to our health. Its only advantage is a nicer look of the final product and its lower price. Unfortunately, some of those chemical ingredients might cause allergic reactions, like I had while washing my hair with ordinary shampoo.
Turning zero waste in my bathroom did not give healthy results to my body from the first day. It all requires time. But from that very first day I felt that I was doing something really good for me and for the rest of the world. Reducing the bathroom waste, like cotton swabs, sanitary pads, makeup remover pads, and lowering the impact of the chemical ingredients in my water waste worked pretty well for my self-satisfaction.
You might say that those decisions do not change anything for the entire world. But if only some of my methods will make you wanna try them, and if you will make your friends follow them as well, the group of the conscious and caring people will grow each day. And this is what we fight for.
But now take a look on my tested zero waste beauty routine tricks!
Zero waste body care
I am used to taking a shower each morning. To wash the whole body I use natural soap bars. My very favorite is Aleppo soap which did not change its composition for hundreds of years. It contains only four ingredients: olive oil, laurel berry oil, water, and lye. The concentration of laurel oil determines the quality and price of soap.
When I started my adventure with Aleppo soap, I purchased the bar of 40% laurel oil concentration. That was strong stuff.
Aleppo soap, thanks to the simple composition and laurel oil features, works as a perfect cleanser with antiseptic effect, ideal for daily skin care. And you can literally feel it while washing your skin because of high laurel oil’s concentration.
Currently, I use 20% or 5% laurel oil concentration. It’s not that strong but it works perfectly for my skin.
In my opinion, none of the popular firming lotions give any effect in the cellulite fight. But I know live proofs that water and movement do. That’s why I end up every shower with cold water.
I decrease the temperature step by step until it gets cold enough. It perfectly works not only for skin condition and hardening but also for blood circulation, which helps you stay healthy.
Natural body scrub
From time to time everyone loves to pamper under the shower. For this occasion, I like to prepare a simple and natural body scrub.
All you need is olive oil and sugar. You can prepare it before in a bowl, rub on the skin under the shower, and rinse with water. This simple method will smooth your skin and make it soft and nourished.
Zero waste hair care
I make use of a similarly simple method to maintain my hair. I use Aleppo soap bar as well as the shampoo alternative. When I started to experiment with my zero waste beauty routine I tried also other shampoo bars from local soap manufacturers, but in the end, I noticed that olive based bars worked the best for my hair type. So once again, everyone is different, and you need to try a few different ingredients before you will find your perfect one.
The only disadvantage of Aleppo soap bar for hair is that it is a bit uncomfortable to rinse it with water. But it is all about the practice. But besides this one downside, I love using Aleppo for my hair.
Aleppo soap bar and other cosmetics are also on my great list of best sustainable gift ideas for traveling women. Check it out here!
Soaps are usually alkaline. But human skin requires more acidic conditions. So for the head skin and hair, you can well use… apple vinegar.
I have been using it for a few weeks now and it works wonderfully. Vinegar helps your head skin to avoid drying out and to close your hair scales. Rinsing hair with an apple vinegar will make your hair soft in touch immediately! I was surprised by how simple and effective this method was from the first application.
All you need to do is to mix one tablespoon of apple vinegar with one glass of water and rinse your washed hair with this mixture. I am used to preparing it in advance and store the volume for 2 or 3 washes in a glass bottle under the shower.
Now you might ask a question “but what about the smell?”. Yeah, vinegar is not the nicest one, but apple version is not that strong. Moreover, the smell evaporates from the hair in a few minutes. So trust me, it is much better than you think. And after a short while, you can smell nothing.
Nourishing and massage
Recently I started to experiment with natural oils for the head skin. First choice: coconut oil. It has nourishing features and is commonly used by many cultures, so I am also gonna try to take advantage of it. Fingers crossed it will help me a bit with hair loss.
In fact, to using oils for my head I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers. Below you can check out one of her great Instagram comics!
Each evening I apply a few drops of coconut oil to the skin of the head and make a few minutes of skin massage. More or less like Uma from The Uma Show (watch below!). Evening massage routine will stimulate your skin to be active which helps to keep the hair follicles in good condition. And this is essential for reducing hair loss. I let the hair to take advantage of the oil for the whole night long, and wash it in the morning.
No Poo experiment
At the beginning of 2019, I have been trying the No Poo method to maintain my hair. Its main foundation is to not use any shampoo at all.
The purpose of this method is to rebuild the natural head condition where the hair is covered by a thin layer of sebum produced by the skin. It helps to keep the hair in the best condition with no need for artificial ingredients to make it healthy. By using popular shampoos and conditioners we got used to washing off the sebum from our heads. That’s why the hair gets greasy on the second day after washing. It simply tries to rebuild the sebum layer.
First weeks of living the No Poo method are the worst. The skin produces a huge amount of sebum to recreate its natural environment. But after that, the hair starts to look pretty cool. On Youtube, there is plenty of videos of happy people living with this method for years.
There are a few solutions to reduce a bit the sebum amount to feel more comfortable. I chose to use water only, so I was washing my head every second day only with water. And actually, after a few weeks, my hair looked not so bad.
I was trying No Poo method for two months. Probably it was not enough to see the final result, but it was then when I decided to use the coconut oil for my head skin massage, so I needed to wash it every morning. Because applying coconut oil look much worse than the natural greasy hair. But I might give a chance to No Poo method once again in the future, so keep following!
No Poo method tip: since I have been using a 4-ingredient Aleppo soap bar for a year before trying No Poo method, my hair had enough time to take a rest and detox from popular hair cosmetics. I suppose this made my ‘No Poo Transformation’ easier, so my hair didn’t look that horrible that you can see in Google Graphics. In fact, it looked like I overdosed on hair gel (like the haircuts that used to be fashionable in the 90s, remember?). So, a step-by-step method works really great.
Skin face care
Everyone says that face skin is ultra delicate and requires some special treatment. But I think, if you do not have any skin issues (and if yes, you’d better go to a dermatologist), you do not require any fancy mixtures to care about it on a daily basis.
To wash my face I use the Aleppo soap bar, and then rinse it with cold water. Aleppo soap is often recommended in a fight against face acne thanks to its antiseptical features. And cold water makes wonders for skin lifting.
If you can described your face skin as normal, you can simply use the soap of 5-20% laurel oil concentration. But if you have some skin poblem, you can choose highest concentration – 40%.
Refreshing and nourishing
After washing the skin, I apply hydrosol. Also known as floral water, it is a pure product of herbal distillation. Hydrosols are more gentle than the essential oil but are also filled up with nourishing ingredients. A few drops each morning refreshes the skin and acts as a face tonic. Currently I use green tea hydrosol, but you can experiment with your favorite plants. Hydrosols are more and more popular so you can find them in popular drugstores, often in glass bottles.
Usually, I use hydrosol only at home, since I love to travel light, and the hydrosol mixture is usually packed in a glass bottle. So it’s kind of home luxury ritual.
Once the hydrosol is sunk, I use a few drops of natural oil to nourish my skin (literally a few, sometimes 8 drops is enough). You can use it instead of face cream, it works so well. I recommend sweet almond or macadamia oil for the beginning. One small bottle rests for many months, it is that effective. Thanks to using natural oils, the skin is well-nourished, soft, and looks marvelous.
Zero waste makeup
Years ago I already learned how to love myself as I am. That, of course, includes my natural look. Immodestly, I think I look good enough to not force myself to use any makeup on a daily basis.
Sure, I was doing it before, as I said earlier. Actually, I really stopped making daily makeup when I moved for two months to the Caribbean. In the hot sun, and everyday ocean baths, it was simply impractical.
So today I do not make any makeup. I believe it’s better for my skin, and more importantly – it makes me free in a kind of way. Giving up on everyday makeup relieves me from stress about forget to put my mascara on before leaving home.
I appreciate this natural look, and there are many other things that make people look beautiful. And trust me, no one will even notice, when from time to time you will not make your eyes. So in fact, reducing your makeup accessories is the easiest way to better zero waste beauty routine.
Make up removal
Even if I don’t have any makeup products for you today, I still have some makeup removal tips to share. Before letting go on mascara, I used to still use it when I refused popular makeup removals.
First of all, change your single-use cotton pads to reusable ones! White pads made of organic cotton can be washed after each use and last with you for a long time.
Secondly, instead of makeup removal lotion, you can well use… your natural oil. Sweet almonds oil as makeup remover worked perfectly for me! All you need to do is to rinse your makeup with fresh warm water so the makeup products will soften than gently rub the oil with your fingers. After this, wash it with water and your reusable cotton pad. Simple as it is!
Why this method works? The answer is OCM (Oil Cleansing Method) and some facts from the chemistry lessons. According to the rule, oil dissolves oil, the natural oil cleans the other oils that assembled on your skin throughout the day: dirt, sweat, and makeup products. So try it on your own to get the proof!
Since I turned zero waste, I refused to use single-use plastic shavers. I switched them to a classy, solid stainless steel razor which was a perfect way to reduce my bathroom waste.
The only replaceable element now is a razor blade, which is obviously made of steel, making it easy to recycle. I am super happy with my razor – Edwin Jagger, which I received as a gift. But it is a typical model made for man’s jaw so it does not work perfectly for women. If you would like to use it to shave your legs, armpit, or bikini, I would better give you some advice.
First of all, notice if the handle is non-slippery. My razor has straight rows on the handle, which makes it a bit slippery while I use it under the shower.
Secondly, its center of gravity is moved toward the razor, which makes it additionally uncomfortable to use when you keep it upside down (while shaving the legs for instance). I would prefer if it would be heavier on the handle.
With those small bits of advice, you would be able to choose your ideal stainless steel razor. Which will definitely be a great investment into your environment-friendly beauty routine.
Dentists recommend changing toothbrush every few months. So we can consider buying plastic ones as nonresponsible since they usually end up in the landfill. But today we have got a few great alternatives for them.
Bamboo brushes get more and more popularity. I have been using them for a long time now and I am super happy with them. On the market, you can find the natural toothbrushes where even bristle is made of natural fibers mixed with biodegradable plastics. So in suitable segregation process, their environmental impact will be reduced.
If it comes to toothpaste, there are a few natural recipes to make your own product at home. I tried it and it worked really well. Here is the quick recipe that I was using:
- coconut oil
- baking soda
- activated carbon
- mint essential oil
You mix 1 spoon of coconut oil with 1 spoon of baking soda and add some activated carbon (you can purchase it in a drugstore in the form of powder or tablets), then mix it all together until it creates a smooth paste. At the end add ~10 drops of essential oil (mint or any other refreshing scent). Coconut oil changes its consistency to liquid while mixing it so you can store your toothpaste into the fridge.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has the ability to fight the bacteria cumulating in the mouth. This oil was even used by native people in many exotic cultures to help keep their teeth healthy.
Baking soda, actually, is a common ingredient of popular kinds of toothpaste. It has great cleaning abilities, and it’s totally safe to use. Its effaceable features are perfect to remove any tooth coating. But because of that, you should play with its amount in your handmade toothpaste so you will not damage your dental plaque after time.
The only disadvantage of this homemade toothpaste is its consistency. Since the coconut oil changes it with the temperature fluctuations, I found it out uncomfortable to use during travel, especially to the warmer places. While being on the sailing trip in Montenegro, my toothpaste totally melted away.
Nowadays, I purchase the toothpaste made of mostly natural ingredients but packed in an aluminum tube. This packaging material is more likely to recycle.
But on the market, you can also find other types of dental products. For instance, tooth washing tablets each month gain more on the popularity. It is definitely a thing worth trying.
Zero waste periods
You may believe it or not, but on the market, there are so many pads’ alternatives these time, that you do not need to use disposables anymore! Using them is one of the greatest change in your zero waste beauty routine.
My very favorite is a menstrual cup. This clever object, made from flexible silicone, works similarly to a tampon. But the best thing is that it does not leak even with one single drop. You can empty it up to 12 hours, wash, and use again! After the period’s end, you only sterilize it and put into a small cotton pouch where it waits for the next month.
Personally, I use OrganiCup since summer 2018 and I am super happy with it. It means I didn’t purchase or throw out any single pad or tampon for the last year. Can you imagine all of this hypothetical waste?
The menstrual cup from OrganiCup is made of medical silicone, so it is safe to use. And I am pretty sure it will be with me for at least a few years more.
Reusable pads and underwear
Since I discovered the menstrual cup, I have found already everything I needed for my periods. But I am aware that not every woman is used to using tampons so you might prefer other options.
On the market these days, you can easily find reusable pads. According to girls from zero waste Facebook groups, that I belong too, they also do a pretty nice job.
Reusable pads are made of cotton fabrics and contain both soft and absorbent layer thanks do which they do not leak. Since they are more and more popular, you can find them in many different shapes, sizes, and colors which make them easier for personal use.
I also found another interesting option which is reusable period underwear. This kind of panties works similar to reusable pads, cause the material absorbs the blood in a very special way thanks to special material technology. It should leave you without leaking or smell. After use, you simply exactly wash everything.
Yes, even deodorants have their alternatives in the zero waste world. And using some of them might be much simpler than you thought.
Did you hear about alum? Potassium alum is a natural mineral which was used years ago by men as a remedy mitigating after shaving cuts thanks to its antiseptic features.
Alum is able to fight bacterias which are responsible for the unpleasant smell. This way, it is ideal as a one-ingredient deodorant. Today, it’s even easy to buy it in popular drugstores.
I use alum on a daily basis and I am pretty happy with the effects. It is also a cheap product, that lasts for a very long time (even up to one year).
A year ago I tried to make my own deodorants with a simple yet popular recipe from the Internet. It was really easy, but in the end, I decided to stick with alum, cause my own homemade deodorant mixtures had some disadvantages.
But I encourage you to try this method too. The recipe is extremely easy:
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 0,5 tablespoon of baking soda
- 0,5 tablespoon of potato flour
- 10-20 drops of favorite essential oil
You mix all the ingredients together until you obtain a smooth paste. Then apply the mixture under your armpit. Simple, yet effective in most cases.
But unfortunately not in mine. The mix of baking soda and essential oils can cause an allergic reaction, and this is what happened to me. When I use those ingredients to clean the house (so multitasking, right?), my hands still look great. But my armpits definitely do not accept this kind of experiments.
Nevertheless, everybody is different. So for you, it might be a great solution. The best option is to check all the possibilities.
Other Zero Waste Beauty Tips
This is how my everyday zero waste beauty routine looks like. It’s pretty simple indeed, yet effective.
In fact, on the street, you are not able to recognize if a person uses ultra magical antiaging cream expensive as hell, or a simple, quite cheap one-ingredient oil from a local drugstore. The effects are pretty much the same.
But to be true, I believe they are even better in case of simple oils. I will let you know in 30 years.
I have got some other zero waste beauty routine tips that will help you live more conscious and responsible.
- Always read the product’s composition list. And do not believe in big “eco”, “bio”, or “natural” signs on the packaging. The law does not determine the use of those words so the “natural” ingredient could be only 1% among other chemicals, not so natural in fact. The composition list should tell you the truth. The more it’s long, the more you should be aware.
- When you are going to try a new product, always give it some time. To give you desired benefits, some ingredients require patience. Don’t use it once, and then throw away cause “it didn’t work”.
- Before you will joyfully throw everything, run, and buy Aleppo soap or apple vinegar, take a deep breath. And go to your bathroom to fairly use all your beauty products until the containers are empty. Do not throw away old products, but use them entirely. Zero waste means not wasting any resources.
- Remember that zero waste lifestyle does not mean fancy “eco” life. You don’t need to chase the products made of rare ingredients from the other corner of the world. If it’s only possible, use the products coming from your region, or those which are easily achievable. Zero waste supposed to be simple and available, not exclusive.
- Think not only about the composition of a product but also about its packaging. I used to buy Aleppo soap only in two shops, cause only there I find it in paper packaging. If something has entirely natural composition but is wrapped in plastic, I’d rather look for other products.
- And for the end, remember that living zero waste is actually… much cheaper than standard life. Many think that living naturally requires buying trendy expensive eco-products, but in fact, it’s the opposite. If you will consider my tips you may gain lots of savings in your pocket which you can reserve for, let’s say, travels!
Zero Waste Beauty Routine – why it’s worth it?
My main motto, if it comes to zero waste beauty routine, is:
“The simpler, the better”
Remember it, and your everyday beauty routine will become much easier and more pleasant. It will also make you feel much lighter and more relaxed. The awareness of doing something good for your health and for the environment will give you tons of satisfaction and motivation.
Do you have your own proven tricks for zero waste beauty routine? Share their secrets with me in the comment section! Or share this post with your friends wanting to try zero waste lifestyle!
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Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. That means that if you click on them or make any purchase via them, I receive a small commission. But don’t worry, this will not cost you anything and in a few cases, you can even receive a special discount! And I will still be able to chase my dreams. So thank you!
Dominika is a founder of Sunday In Wonderland and she recently switched her life to be local independent. She aims to travel the world and admire all of its wonders. She is much focused on sustainable life, self-development and making this world a better place.