Your face is a powerful public image, so let your face show you care about the environment, local and ethical business, and your health with a zero waste facelift! All those plastic packaged beauty products you bought because the media convinced you that you are inadequate, can go. This post is about nourishing yourself and empowerment. Believe me, you will not turn into a hideous creature when you stop buying those products and switch to zero waste options. For me, changing my lifestyle has improved my health and therefore my skin condition, and because zero waste beauty products are made from natural, simple ingredients, your skin will get a double dose of goodness. Did you know that humans have a knack for quickly assessing other’s health from their faces and that we accurately extrapolate this information to reflect behaviours and character traits! There has been some astonishing results in this field of research. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be spotted as a zero waster simply from your naturally glowing face!
Consider how many beauty products you use, probably all packaged in plastic, which are dedicated to your face:
- Face wash
- Make up (concealer, powder, eye shadow, mascara, blush, liner, lip stick, foundation and more)
- Make up remover solution / wipes
- Lip balm
- Razors and shaving cream
Did I miss anything?
This is how I have moved toward a zero waste face:
I never bother with toner or face masks
Some things just aren’t necessary. However, if I did think it was necessary one day, I would look for some homemade recipes which use ingredients I can easily get package free.
I switched my face wash for a face bar
Yep, this is a bar of soap and I love it. The face bars I have found are made 30 minutes away from me by hand in small batches; they are vegan and all natural. It was an easy switch and I’ve had no problems. In fact, my skin does not dry out as much now so I often go without moisturiser. I am currently using a French clay bar and I have an activated charcoal (detoxifying and balancing for acne prone skin) bar to try. They usually come with a small paper label, but because the makers know I prefer zero packaging they carefully slide the label off to be reused on their next batch. Alternatively, she will leave some aside, unlabelled if she knows I’m coming.
I also tried cleansing my face with yoghurt because when my homemade yoghurt went off, I didn’t want to just throw it in the compost. I remembered reading that you can cleanse skin with yoghurt so I gave it a go. I mixed it with a drop of lavender oil and the result was great. I didn’t need to moisturise, and my skin felt fresh all day.
I switched from a cream moisturiser to coconut oil
When I first started researching plastic free moisturiser everyone seemed to be using oils. I thought “there is no way I’m putting oil all over my face.” I had never thought of oil as a moisturiser, only as a liquid to fry food in. I was convinced my skin would get clogged up and pimply because I’d had problems with breakouts in the past. But then I ran out of moisturiser, my skin was tight and dry, and I didn’t know of any other option, so I gave it a go. I started with a sample of jojoba oil (not really an oil) given to me by the assistant in the health food store. It was great on my skin but I wanted to do better than a product in a glass bottle with a plastic lid so I started using bulk bought coconut oil (olive oil and coconut oil are the only oils I have access to in bulk). I also chose coconut oil because I like simplifying things right down to a few products which do many things (see my homemade deodorant). This practice helps keep household clutter and cleaning more manageable.
I use the coconut oil sparingly about every third day. So far so good. However, I have read that for some people prone to break outs, it makes the problem worse. I think my skin problems were more to do with the harshness of the products I was using (even though they claimed to be gentle), certain medications, stress and a diet that could have been better. I’ll let you know if anything changes, but I reckon it pays to keep an open mind and have a go.
I use a face washer as an exfoliator
I’ve never used exfoliators much because they irritate my skin and almost every exfoliator on the shelves has plastic microbeads in it. As an alternative I could have made one but I thought “what’s the point” when I have perfectly useful face washers that do the same job. Why aren’t we all using these? When was the last time you used one? The feeling of a wringed-out hot washer gently pressed over my entire face after a gentle scrub is bliss. Try it.
I have minimal make up and only wear it on special occasions
I have had the same very basic make up kit for about 12 years! I remember when I bought it because it cost a stupid amount of money for what it is. Back then I momentarily fell into the trap of thinking that a particular projected image would make me look successful and help out my career. This phase didn’t last more than a few weeks though, because I don’t actually like the feel of make up and wearing it didn’t sit well with my values.
The rate at which I wear make up – which depends on how many weddings I get invited to – means my make up kit could last me another 5 years. Some of you will tell me that make up this old can cause skin problems but I keep things clean and use my senses to tell me if something has gone bad. I only use an eyeliner pencil, eye shadow in cardboard tub, blush in cardboard tub, mascara in plastic tube, a bronzer powder in a hard plastic case, and three brushes. In the future, if I decide to replace spent products I will pick a homemade recipe which has ingredients I can get unpackaged or at least plastic free. For example, I could replace the bronzer powder and eye shadow with cacao powder and my blush could be anything natural with a pink tinge.
I don’t use make up remover wipes or solution
To remove make up I have always used soapy water and a face washer. I have also used coconut oil and a soft bamboo wash cloth which works just as well.
I made my own lip balm
I use lip balm every day but I can only find it packaged in plastic so I made my own. There are lots of recipes online but as I said, I like to stick to a few multipurpose ingredients. My lip balm is made from 1 tablespoon of beeswax which I found unpackaged at the Yarragon Craft and Produce Market and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. I melted them together using a double boiler and a wooden skewer to stir. You might have noticed above that I don’t wear lipstick but I do own a couple of sticks which were acquired for a fancy dress occasion. I decided to chop the top off one of these and melt it with the coconut oil and beeswax to give the balm a tint. I also chucked in the remains of an old eyeshadow for a bit of shimmer. I really like the end result which I keep in a small glass jar.
It really hasn’t been hard to make these changes and I love the simplicity of it all. Go ahead and put your best face forward, go zero waste.