Aiming for zero waste: cosmetics

I’m once again investigating my cosmetics, this time to evaluate how I can reduce the waste I produce. I don’t want to make myself do anything hugely time-consuming or expensive as I don’t think that’s the most productive way to show that ethical consumerism is easy and accessible to everyone.


  • makeup remover
    • I can use coconut oil from a glass jar instead
  • cleanser/ micellar water/ toner
    • Wash face using a bar cleanser (e.g. from Lush) and cotton flannel. Cheaper option: plain bar soap (not so good for skin though!) Maybe make some from soap + glycerin (+ ground oats? coconut oil?)
    • Tone using witch hazel from a glass bottle
  • single-use cotton pads
    • Make cotton rounds from old socks!
  • acne products
    • Unavoidable at present; I am unwilling to compromise on getting rid of my acne
  • moisturiser
    • In the future I would consider making my own moisturiser from glycerin (purchasable in glass bottles) and shea butter/ cocoa butter


  • deodorant
    • I am currently experimenting with making my own out of: sodium bicarbonate, shea butter, arrowroot powder, cornflour, coconut oil
  • body wash
    • Solid body wash bars (e.g. from Lush) or just bar soap. Or make my own from bar soap + glycerin
  • body butter
    • Investigate home-made moisturisers e.g. made from shea butter & cocoa butter
  • hand cream
    • same as above


  • shampoo
    • buy solid shampoo from Lush. Cheaper option…?? 
  •  conditioner
    • Look into how i can make my own using glycerin + shea butter + oils
  • leave-in conditioner
    • same as above
  • deep conditioner & treatments
    • I add a mix of oils I made (coconut; olive; jojoba) to regular conditioner to make it a deep conditioner/ treatment. The coconut and olive come in glass but the jojoba didn’t so next time I buy it I will try to find it in a glass bottle.
  • gel
    • Once I can buy flaxseed without packaging I will try to make my own but until then I will continue to buy 500ml for 80p from Wilko’s and recycle the tub.


  • toothbrush
    • I had been set on buying bamboo brushes that I saw in Holland & Barrett but this article has me wondering whether it is better to have a recycled plastic toothbrush with detachable heads or not? It would have to be delivered – is that worse than a disposable but biodegradable bamboo one?!
  • toothpaste
    • I would definitely like to buy some denttabs when they come back in stock, however they would also have to be delivered. Lush dental tabs don’t contain fluoride and I’m not really willing to risk my dental health. 

Hair removal

  • cream – tubes and applicators
    • I’ll have to just stop being lazy and not buy them anymore!
  • shaving foam
    • I often just use my shower gel.
  • disposable razor heads
    • This is a difficult one because I could buy a steel razor for which I can buy steel blades. However that would mean my current plastic one would be thrown away in the meantime… is it better to buy the steel one now so that fewer plastic heads will end up in landfill, seeing as the whole razor will end up in landfill at some point?? I suppose so…

Things to consider:

  • Are all my sourced ingredients (coconut oil/ shea butter/ cocoa butter) sustainable? 
  • Are there alternatives that don’t need to be imported and delivered?
  • Are they ethically sourced?
  • Can I get them without plastic packaging?


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