What is zero waste? What do you consider waste?

Definitions vary, but in general, zero waste doesn’t really mean “zero.” It goes beyond what we send to landfill, including recycling, energy, water, and food waste. Typically, zero waste is an industrial term for a consumer movement encouraging manufacturers to eliminate single use items and non-biodegradable materials. The aim is to push towards a circular economy and increase demand for package-free products or reclaimable packaging. People blog and post about it to heighten awareness about unsustainable consumption and affect change.

– Ariana, Paris To Go.

A skincare routine

This is not a routine where I preach about doing nothing for the sake of the trash produced. We have to take care of ourselves. This post is not written from a view point that humans only need the food and nothing else. On the contrary, its a routine that tropically nourishes the skin while being responsible about the packaging waste being generated. It tries to avoid plastic like I am allergic to it. It’s a routine that tries to demarcate between need/want/greed for the individual in question – me.

Who ?

I have normal skin with no medical concerns. My skin is alright. Its doesn’t glow in the dark or is dewey like a ripe fruit. But it’s healthy. I have pigmentation near my mouth that I try to treat but its not a major concern. My intention with skincare ( in the order of priority ) :

  1. Good hygiene.
  2. Nourish it from the outside for good health.
  3. Keep hyper pigmentation at bay.
  4. Don’t trash the planet.

Zero-Waste Vs Low-waste 

My way of looking at the trash I generate when it comes to skin care  : Forego some, Make some, Buy some. I optimize between skin concerns, cost and trash being produced. Things I can whip up in my kitchen are not always better than the products made by experts who spend a lifetime learning the science of how the molecules react. If I believed that, I would have been in a different profession. Choose the few products wisely. These are my picks.

face Bar Soap Zero Waste

Cleanse

Bar soap.

face Scrub Zero Waste

Exfoliate

Gram flour + oats.

I exfoliate every other day because it is gentle enough.

Wash pillow cases every week. Wipe down my electronics once a week. Drink lots of white tea/water. Eat foods that aide with detoxing – a serving of raw food per day, apple cider vinegar, herbs like parsley/cilantro, … Exercise.

face toner Zero Waste

Tone

I make a pot of ginger-turmeric-white tea every night to drink after dinner. I collect the left overs and store them in a glass spray bottle. Use as a toner/wake up spray.

face sunscreen Zero Waste

AM : Protect

Sunscreen. Fantastic product. Comes in glass packaging with some plastic bits. I have a baby bottle for my purse.

face serum Zero Waste

PM : Treatment

Sk2, my dearest. ( It really irks me that I don’t know why it works. ) It treats my hyper-pigmentation. I use it every other day, in the night.  I let my skin be bare on rest of the days. It is packaged in a glass bottle with some plastic bits.

( Its terribly expensive and I wish I didn’t need it. I buy one bottle per year during 20% off Thanksgiving sales every year and I try to get it to last. )

face mask Zero Waste

Mask

Turmeric + honey

Twice a week.

Zero Waste facial

At home facial

With self care, I have realized  a few things over the years.

Its not about treating myself to expensive stuff that my brain says I cant indulge in.

I see it as an opportunity to put in the time to pamper myself.

I do this once a month.

Wash the face with a gentle soap.

Apply a gram flour mask. 15 minutes. Scrub and rinse it off with water. Wipe with a towel.

Put some tea in boiling water over the stove. Use a towel to make a tent above the head and steam the face at a safe distance. Wipe with a towel.

Turn on Lisa Eldridge’s facial massage video. Use May Lindstrom’s face oil and do what she does.  Wash with water. Wipe with a towel.

Turmeric honey mask. 10 minutes. Wash with water.

Tone. Moisturize.

Vola, facial done ! I want to do this every week, but life has other plans …

Zero Waste body routine

Body :

Body brush. Best return for 5$ spent at Body Shop a few years ago. I can see the dead skin cells fly off the body when I brush. It feels invigorating after I am done.

Soap

I dislike clutter in my shower. I have one soap bar and one shampoo bar in there.

Moisturizer

I use the almond oil from Loccitane. After a long hike or an intense workout, I give myself a mini massage with coconut oil from my kitchen, before I jump into the shower. Helps with the recovery of sore muscles. If my skin feels very dry, I apply olive oil. It can stain the clothes. Wipe off the excess with a towel.

Zero Waste body scrub

Scrub

Once a week. Collect the used coffee grains from morning coffee making, gram four & green tea, … Mix and scrub. In the winter, add some oil to the scrub.

Shave

I have been using an electric epilator for a decade now. I use it once a month. It gives me ingrown hair if I don’t exfoliate and moisturize properly. I use the scrub, a day before and the day after the shave. If I do, it rewards me with smooth legs and a zero waste shaving routine. I have a safety razor for the under arms. I use olive oil from my kitchen as my shaving cream.

Summary :

Buy Some – sk-II , sunscreen, oil, bar soap

Make some – toner, scrub, exfoliator, mask, shaving cream

Forego some – I used to buy a lot of products packaged in plastic bottles. Now, I can’t even remember what and why. Between my buy and make categories, I think I have all my needs covered. There is never a day where I wish for more products. So I assume : I didn’t forego anything. This is as luxurious and wonderful as it can get for me.

P.S : When we have house guests, they have to adjust to what I got in the house. My husband complains a little. I write it off as ‘its not the end of the world. A lil discomfort is good from time to time.’ Like how we get used to conveniences, we get used to inconveniences pretty quickly too.


A year at this routine and its been good so far. I am rather encouraged by this movement. There are many products out  there & there is a high chance of finding something that isn’t packaged in plastic. Beyond the packaging, there are easy DIY recipes out there. We can find a balance between buy / make / forego. I hope you give it a try too and have lots of success phasing out some plastic from your routine.