My 4 major ZERO waste beauty swaps

After nearly 18 months on this zero waste journey, I’ve come to the conclusion that beauty products present the most challenges.

Finding great products that actually work, in environmentally friendly packaging, that are preferably certified organic, has seen me sample a multitude of different lotions and potions.

It’s also been the area where I’ve sunk the most coin – trying out all those cleansers, moisturisers and lip balms can quickly add up. If a product hasn’t delivered for me though, I still use it until it’s finished to avoid being wasteful (even if that means using a lip balm I haven’t found nourishing enough for dry lips as a hand cream).

Here are my four major non-toxic, zero waste beauty swaps. I’ve included what I used to use every day (before I discovered what’s really in those mainstream beauty products), what I now use in place of them, and also where it sits on the “waste-o-metre”.

Facial cleanser

What I always used: Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion (nasties include: cetrimonium bromide, disodium EDTA… among others)

What I now use: Certified organic extra virgin olive oil

Waste-o-metre: Zero waste – I purchase this in bulk from Source Bulk Foods.

Rubbing cooking oil on your face, I hear you ask?! Okay, stick with me. It took a bit of convincing for me to switch from a formulated cleanser to using extra virgin olive oil as a facial cleanser, but honestly, I’ve never looked back.

I have quite dry skin so I love using oils on my face (I use Rosehip oil as a facial moisturiser), but I understand that if you’re used to a cream it may take some adjustment. The oil does absorbs very quickly though and I wipe away any remnants in the shower with an Exfoliating Organic Muslin Cloth from Pai, so it’s not like the grease follows me out of the shower.

Using olive oil as a cleanser removes make-up, won’t strip your skin of its natural oils and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Apparently actress Chloë Grace Moretz is also a fan of the olive oil cleanser: “I swear my skin is so much clearer because of it,” Moretz told Allure magazine in 2016.

Almond, apricot, avocado, coconut and jojoba oils are other great oils you can use to cleanse your face, but good ‘ol olive oil seems to do the trick for me.

Dry shampoo

What I always used: Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (nasties include: Isobutane, aluminium starch octenylsuccinate, fragrance (parfum)… among others)

What I now use: Tapioca flour

Waste-o-metre: Zero waste – I purchase this in bulk from Source Bulk Foods.

This is a beauty “product” I wish I’d discovered the moment dry shampoo came on my radar back in 2015… I would’ve saved myself so much money and the world wouldn’t have seen quite so many aerosol cans go to landfill (I used to go through a can a month).

Now, I simply tip a small amount of tapioca flour into the palm of my hands, rub them together and then lightly pat the oily parts of my hair. I let it sit for a few minutes and then brush it out. If I’ve had to apply more flour than usual (if it’s been a few days between washes) then I’ll add extra powder, brush my hair and then blast with a hairdryer to eliminate that powdery look.

Body wash

What I always used: Dove Triple Moisturising Body Wash (nasties include: sodium laureth sulfate, BHT, fragrance… among others)

What I now use: Rose & Australian Pink Clay soap (ingredients: Australian extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed coconut oil, spring water, lye, Australian pink clay, sweet almond oil, rose geranium essential oil, dried organic rose)

Waste-o-metre: Zero waste – I purchase these from Source Bulk Foods

These clay soaps are super luxurious and are completely free from packaging. I also buy the lavender and clay soaps for use at our bathroom sinks, as the rose and pink clay soaps are a little darker in colour and can make the sinks a bit messy. This is less of an issue in the shower for some reason.

It’s important to store the soaps where they can dry out between uses, otherwise they can become somewhat slimy and you’ll go through them much quicker.

Face powder

What I always used: L’Oreal True Match Cream Powder (nasties include: talc, dimethicone… among others)

What I now use: Tapioca flour

Waste-o-metre: Zero waste – I purchase this in bulk from Source Bulk Foods.

I use just a teeny, tiny amount of tapioca flour to take the “shine” off my face.

Just dip a wide makeup brush into your pot of flour, tap gently on the side of the pot to shake off the majority of it and dust away.