Zero Waste Skin Care

Minimal Low Waste Skin Care

More often than not, if you have mostly trouble-free skin, a simple routine with minimal products is enough for a glowing complexion. I have been fortunate enough to have mostly unproblematic skin my entire life; aside from a bout of cystic acne in my twenties, I’ve had very little to complain about. A minimal skin care routine works for me, it might not for you.

I stripped back my skin care products a while ago, it keeps my bathroom less cluttered and makes travel easier. That’s not to say I no longer enjoy trying new products because I absolutely do. When you enjoy skin care, it’s very easy to get swept up in the excitement of new things to try. As I try to reduce my waste and be mindful of what I bring into my home, I’m being more cautious about what I test out.

My minimal routine is quick and effective. I spend very little time on daily skin care yet my skin looks great; it’s a combination wearing less makeup and using effective products. There are a few skincare products I enjoy making at home but I mostly rely on other low waste options. Here are my recipes for a DIY toner, cleanser, bath salts, and pillow spray.

Coconut Oil

I’ve been using coconut oil as part of my skin care routine for years. I always have a pot of it on my bathroom shelf for removing makeup, moisturising my body, and using as a hair mask. Coconut oil is an ideal cleanser for all skin types because it’s gentle yet effective; removing makeup without stripping your face of natural oils.

Coconut oil contains Vitamin E and fatty acids with antiviral and anti fungal benefits; it can help to soothe skin complaints, sunburn, and psoriasis. The oil can help strengthen skin tissue and eliminate dead skin cells, while leaving your skin clean and moisturised.

I buy a large jar for the kitchen to cook with and decant what I need into a smaller one for the bathroom. The jar can then be repurposed for use in the pantry as storage.

Sweet Almond Oil

A few years ago, I used to use sweet almond oil regularly in my skin care routine. With the influx of beauty products, I had forgotten what a great multipurpose product it is. A 50ml bottle can last up to a year - a little goes a long way!

Sweet almond oil is a mild, hypoallergenic oil rich in Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium, and zinc, plus other minerals and vitamins, making it perfect for use on our skin and hair. Daily application can help protect against oxidative stress and UV radiation damage, keeping skin soft and supple.

I use almond oil mainly on my face and neck as a moisturiser for both mornings and evenings. Mixed with a little coconut oil, it makes the best body moisturiser! It’s fantastic on sensitive skin, helping to reduce inflammation and redness, and can help lighten dark circles. Mixed with a little sugar, almond oil makes a great body scrub too.


I don't use this often but sometimes my skin needs a little pick-me-up and toners are perfect for that; they're refreshing and invigorating especially on hot summer evenings when your skin has been parched by the sun. I'm currently using the Honest Floral Toner with rose and neroli. It has a gentle, natural formula that helps to remove the last traces of cleanser, hydrates the skin, and preps it for moisturising. When I've finished this bottle I'll be switching to a homemade toner - would you like an updated recipe?


Ever since I first discovered this product I haven’t been without a tube of it in my bag. It has lots of different uses from taking care of skin irritations, small wounds, and abrasions, to burns and general soothing and healing of the skin. It has a formula with ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, protective, and healing. The packaging is a metal tube with plastic lid and one 40g tube typically lasts me about a year.

I mostly use it as a lip balm as it’s the only one I’ve found that really soothes and repairs chapped lips. I’ve also used it on burns, scrapes, and dry skin, and it works incredibly fast. It’s effectiveness and usefulness makes it an essential part of my routine.

Sun Protection

Sun protection is an absolute must for everyone. There's very little choice when it comes to low waste vegan-friendly sunscreen. LUSH offers three products: Sesame Suntan Lotion, Powdered Sunshine, and The Sunblock but nothing over SPF 30. I’m currently using the Tropic Mineral Sun Protection, it’s not low waste but it is vegan-friendly and SPF 50. Some things, like health and safety, are more important than the waste they might cause.

Washable Cotton Pads

These are an essential for anyone who wears makeup and wants a low waste bathroom. Washable cotton pads eliminate the need for disposable cotton balls, which almost always come wrapped in plastic. They can be used for cleansing and toning, or to soothe by soaking them in warm or cool water. They wash well and haven’t stained - even when I used them to remove a green face mask!

For removal of light makeup, you can hand wash using soap and rinse after each use, which makes one pad useable for a couple of days before it needs to be washed in a machine. They can be washed with your usual laundry (light colours only) and come out perfectly clean and plump every time.

These Love The Planet washable cleansing pads are made from 100% cotton off-cuts of towel manufacture and come in a net storage bag.

What does your skin care routine look like?

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Minimal Low Waste Skin Care