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
  • Toner
  • Moisturiser
  • Exfoliator
  • Mask
  • 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

Coconut oil facial moisturiser

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

Face washer for exfoliating

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

Make up

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

removing makeup with coconut oil and a bamboo washer

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

Homemade 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.

18 thoughts

  1. Good info. Heavens, razors! That is a whole new kettle of fish. I use razor blades for slashing the bread and could not believe it when I went to buy some. Impossible at any of the supermarkets. They all sell only plastic disposable units, some had some metallic components but they were all disposable and VERY expensive. I ended up having to buy them online, came from China so I bought 20 packets in one hit. I believe hairdressing supply shops do sell them and also cut throat razors but many of those too are disposable and it was a long way to go to get to one for me. I’ve used only soap and water for years for washing and hair with a conditioning rinse. Don’t think I look too haggard compared to others that spend $$$$’s and dollars. Make up wound down as eyesight fails and I can’t see to use it! End up looking like Dame Edna!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maree I know exactly what you are talking about with the failing eyesight and makeup, Lol. Have to take glasses off to put it on but can’t see well enough when I do. I found an all metal razor at the shaving shop in Fountain Gate but I didn’t buy it because I still have one that I am going to make last as long as possible. It came with blades so hopefully replacements can be easily found in that shop too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like this post – at 28, I use very little makeup (mascara and an eyeshadow, pretty much, which admittedly do come in packaging), and have basically no skincare routine. Oh, I also have terribly fine and pale eyelashes, and use a HB pencil to fill them in (all the eyebrow pencil look too warm for my ashy colouring, and the grey works well even though my hair is brown.

    After I had my first daughter, my skin started to dry out so I began using exfoliators and the like, and after my second daughter, it got even worse. I even got a sort of eczema on my cheek and it looked like I had a rash. I tried a super-expensive product from a dermatologist, then went to the oil cleansing method, but finally went back to what I’d used as a teen – very warm water on a clean washcloth.

    Since using that method for the last two months, my skin has cleared up heaps. I don’t use moisturiser, cleanser, or any product at all on my skin. The dryness is slowly abating, and my skin looks better than it has in ages! So just a suggestion if you want to reduce your routine even more 🙂

    I want to say, though, I’m really inspired by your no-waste actions, and while our family has LOTS of waste, it’s a major goal of mine in 2016 to reduce that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! It sounds so similar to the women in my family (I have 3 sisters). We seem to think we need this stuff to fix our skin when most often we just need to leave it alone. I only use the face bar every second or third day, but I have been thinking about not using it at all because I was thinking about how my kids, and myself as a child never used anything but a wet washer. As a teen I started thinking about a ‘beauty’ routine even though my skin was fine. It wasn’t until later that my skin started getting pimply and dry, red patches. I’m really glad to hear you’ll be focusing more on waste in 2016. Keep in touch with how you are going. Tammy


      1. Just realised I wrote “eyelashes” not “eyebrows”!

        But yes, I feel exactly what you’ve said – I grew up seeing all these articles telling you how to cleanse, tone and moisturise, do a mask twice a week, and exfoliate – and that it was *needed*. Then all the makeup on top of that.

        My godmother, who is in her mid-sixties, has amazing, beautiful skin and doesn’t look her age – her only skin routine is water and a facewasher, and she only wears lipstick, nothing else. She looks stunning!

        I just hope my girls can see past all the advertising, and hopefully newer generations will have less pressure to go with the crowd, and more incentive to think through their choices.

        Will definitely keep updated 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Tammy. I am truly inspired by your blog and all these ideas. Like you I have always wanted to better and it is so nice to discover there are more like me. Your ideas will really help me make changes here at home in Gippsland. Just wondering about hair care and shampoo? Share your discoveries beautiful people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mari! I will do a full post on this soon (I have such a back log of writing to do). But in short I’m currently using a Barany Naturals Shampoo bar. It’s handmade in Warragul.


  4. Hi Tammy!
    I wanted to share a few ways we stay environmentally friendly in our home. ( besides your R’s )
    Bulk buy : We go to Dandenong. There are sooo many places where you can buy in loose bulk, which will save you on costs all around. From nuts to flour to veg and fruit. This place has it all!
    Manny’s market is also a good place and there is also a place in Sale that is like a food co op too.

    Making your own facecare is awesome and a place I found online ( yes you will get packaging but in the end it’s all reusable ) is New Directions. This is a mecca of ingredients for all things beauty!

    As I am a coloured hair gal, I don’t wash my hair unless I need to. I have found rosemary water ( boil up some rosemary and leave to steep and bottle ) as a conditioner for dark hair is great. Also using coconut oil to oil pull is great too, as is using it as a base to make exfoliant.
    The ways to save money ( yes sometimes the outlay is expensive ) and help the environment are endless!

    Love reading your stuff! Keep up the GREAT work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kristin!
      I went to the Dandy market not long after we started reducing plastic but over time I’ve found enough bulk bits and pieces within 30 mins of where I live to get by. Granted I can’t get everything all at once but I tie the trips in with other things I do. I’ve been thinking of checking out a ‘real’ bulk store next time I go to the city. Was it the market you went to in Dandy or some other store? I checked out Manny’s market when i was in Morwell for a meeting and got a couple of things.
      I haven’t heard of Rosemary water as a conditioner. I might give that a go. Coconut oil is certainly versatile. I haven’t tried oil pulling because I heard it’s a bit gross and I don’t think I’d have the patience to do it for 20mins.
      I totally agree about saving money and saving the environment. I quite enjoy being frugal and I think we all need to slow down a little. An extra five minutes to make something yourself isn’t going to kill you.
      Really appreciate hearing your experiences, thank you!
      Tammy xx


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