My Zero Waste Skin Care Routine While in College

Lately, I have been watching YouTube videos of various masks- you know the kind- gold foil, charcoal mud mask, seaweed wraps and such. Well, they looked like so much fun that I decided I would get one and try it out for myself, mix it up a bit! Yeah… that lasted five whole minutes until I found myself browsing in the cosmetics aisle a frown etched on my face as I notice 1) how much stupid packaging comes for just one product, 2) how many long scary words and other crap in the ingredients, and 3) how costly these items can be! After picking one up, reading, investigating (via google) what these chemicals are and if they were good to put on my skin, I would sigh, place it back on the shelf and pick up another one hoping to find a unicorn...until I finally came to terms and walked out empty handed in defeat.

When I was a wee little laddie I had the usual teenie bopper acne. I would scrub, wipe, pick, peal, and dowse my skin in harsh irritants in the hopes that I would wake up with clean and polished skin. Thank goodness in my high school years I found out about Zero-Waste living, with that came learning how to take care of my skin using clean natural ingredients. Today being a busy college gal I have a relatively minimalistic skin care routine that has worked for me over the past three years.

zero waste skin care

*** NOTE- everyone's skin is different so keep in mind what works for me may not work for you- take what resonates and leave the rest!



I start off by rinsing my face with cold water then using a washcloth, dab a bit of witch hazel wiping in circular motions around my face. If my skin feels a bit dull, I will use an ice cube to wake up and refresh my skin a bit. Depending on how my skin is feeling I either use an essential oil face cream or coconut oil. I use Avasol mineral sunscreen which comes in cardboard packaging that can be composted, is SPF 30, and is mixed with pigment so it evens out my skin! then mist face with Experience Helichrysum’s Moisturizing Body Spray by Old West Soap Co I am in love with this body mist, especially nice during the hot summer plus Old West Soap Co. is an amazing company that refills their containers! 

body mist

zero waste sunscreen


At this point I do dry brushing starting at my feet and work my way up to my neck if you haven't heard of dry brushing I highly recommend reading about the benefits, from my personal experience I find that it makes my skin smoother and have read that it is wonderful for circulation and lymphatic health! If I have time I will rinse off with a quick cold shower- if not I take a clean washcloth with cold water and wipe down (got to get all that dead skin off!) after wiping down I use coconut oil from head to toe- if I'm feeling fancy I might add a nice smelling essential oil.



After a long day, I'll wipe my face with cold water to remove the sunscreen and any light makeup I might have put on, I also might use witch hazel to get any lingering dirt off my skin. My face wash of choice is pure raw organic honey! After experimenting with SO many different face washes I decided on honey because:

  1. Its antibacterial/ antimicrobial properties.
  2. It maintains skin’s natural moisture levels which will keep your skin smoother for longer.
  3. Only one ingredient versus countless in some expensive fancy skin wash.
  4. I buy mine from a local farmer, so I am supporting people I want to see succeed.
  5. It's just simple and dual purpose.
  6. It comes in a glass jar that when empty I reuse as a water cup or food storage.

I wet my face and apply a small amount of honey using my fingers to spread it around my face. Then after 5-10 minutes I wash it off with cold water, mist my face with sea salt spray and moisturize with coconut, avocado or if my skin is REALLY needing some love olive oil.



At night I will just moisturize again before bed with coconut oil (I have dry skin if you haven't noticed)

Face Masks & Scrubs

Once a week: I exfoliate & use a simple DIY face mask, alternating between different kinds, recipes below!

Coffee Exfoliating Scrub

1 tsp of oil or honey

2 tsp used coffee grounds  

Mix well and apply to wet face, leave for five minutes before washing off in circular motions

Green tea mask

1 used green tea bag

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp honey

Cut tea bag open and empty contents into a small bowl.Mix together honey and baking soda, apply to damp face, let sit for 10 minutes before washing off in a circular motion.

Mud Mask

1 tsp Bentonite Clay

Water or milk

Mix into a paste, apply to moist skin, leave on until hardened then rinse with water. Pat dry.

Lastly just wanted to remind that healthy skin starts with keeping hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and managing your stress.That's all I have for you! Hope my routine can show that skin care doesn't have to be fancy or crazy expensive! Let me see what you use for your zero-waste skincare! As always, best wishes!