Zero Waste Skin Care

I wanna start out by being upfront with you guys. Until I few months ago I hadn’t really taken care of my skin. Sure, I used to wash my face in the shower, but that’s as far as my skin care routine went. I didn’t even bother to take my makeup off at night. Which is funny, because when I was ten I was obsessed with washing my face and preventing wrinkles. But cut to more than a decade later, and my skin care had fallen by the wayside.

Then a few months ago I mentioned to a coworker that I was looking for a new bar of soap because the one I had been using was drying out my face. In response she brought me Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. This book has recipes for everything, including a cleanser, toner, and lotion all made specifically for your face.

After that conversation I decided to start taking better care of my skin and I’ve been slowly developing this routine over the last few months:

Wanna see this in video form? Click here.



In the morning I like to keep it simple. I know a lot of people cleanse their face in the morning, but I can’t be bothered. So instead I just slather on the sunscreen and head out the door.  Or if I’m not going to work I may put on some make-up, but the sunscreen happens more often.


I’m currently using a homemade sunscreen (which is basically just my lotion recipe mixed with some zinc oxide and coco powder), an Avasol surfer stick, or Badger Tinted Sunscreen (which comes in plastic so I will not be buying a new one when this one runs out). Out of these three the Avasol is my fave, but since it’s in stick form I only use it for my face and shoulders.

I’ve been working outside a lot this summer, so I usually throw on a sunhat for some extra sun protection.



Afternoons are all about moisturizing. If I’ve been out in the sun all morning, it’s nice to show my hands some love with this lotion, which is really more like a heavy-duty balm. I also do dishes and other household chores in the afternoons I’m not working, which leaves my hands feeling dry, so I keep this stuff nearby. But be warned, it’s easy to use too much. Just remember, a little dab will do ya.

I also use a mixture of sunflower oil and beeswax as lip balm throughout the day.


Most of my skincare routine happens right around bedtime.


If I’m wearing makeup I remove it using coconut oil and either a knitted cotton round or a piece of cotton fabric from an old T-shirt. Then I jump in the shower, where I use a regular ‘ole bar of soap to wash my body.


For my face, neck, and chest I choose to use cleaning grains, which are a mixture of clay, oats, almonds, lavender, and rose petals all ground up together. (This is one of the recipes I I got from Rosemary Gladstar’s book.) I store these grains right outside my shower in a sugar shaker (not pictured). This makes it easy for me to reach out of the shower, pour about a teaspoon of the cleaning grains into my hand, and then replace the shaker without wetting the entire jar of grains.

To use these cleaning grains: simply wet them in the palm of your hand, rub onto your skin, then rinse away.


Once I’m out of the shower, I use an astringent, also known as a toner, on my face. I made two types (both from Gladstar’s book) and I use a cotton round to apply one of the solutions to my skin. One uses alcohol, which I’ve read random places online you shouldn’t use on your face, but whatevs, and the other uses a vinegar and rose water base.

To make these as easy as possible to store and use, I keep a small amount of the liquid in pill bottles in our bathroom cabinet for easy access, and I leave the rest in a glass jar in my pantry.


The final step in my skin care routine is to moisturize. Instead of using my hand balm (which I tend to use more in the winter), I’ve been using Rosemary’s Perfect Skin Cream. It’s a mixture of distilled water, Aloe Vera gel, essential oil (I chose lemongrass and it’s heavenly), almond oil, coconut oil, lanolin, and beeswax.

I made my own Aloe Vera gel from an aloe plant I have in my apartment and preserved it using Ascorbic Acid, aka Vitamin C. It’s lasted over 2 months, and I will update this if it goes bad before I can use it all  (Gladstar gives this cream a three month shelf life). Unfortunately for you and for me, I lost the piece of paper where I wrote down the proportion of Vitamin C to Aloe gel that I used, so I’ll just have to hope for this same result next time I make it.

I rarely have the energy to moisture my entire body, so I usually only do that if I shave. But most nights I stick to my face, and any skin that got a lot of sun that day or feels dry.


I also throw on some homemade deodorant after I’ve moisturized, which is made from coconut oil, coco butter, olive oil, beeswax, cornstarch, and baking soda.

And that’s it. Looking at it all now it seems so simple to maintain this routine, but one of the reasons I never took care of my skin before was because it seemed time intensive and complicated. Not counting in the time it takes to make these products (which last months) this routine takes me all of 10 minutes to do throughout the day.


3 thoughts on “Zero Waste Skin Care

  1. If you are interested-instead of the almond oil you could try jojoba. It has the closet molecular structure to that of human sebum which is why it’s used as a base in so many skin products.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s