Create Less Trash With Zero Waste Skin Care 

Do you worry about how much waste your beauty routine creates? Conventional skin care tends to promote the use of lots of products.

But can you have a sustainable skin care routine?

Lucky for you I am a licensed holistic esthetician and I know a lot about skin care. I have been an esthetician since 2012 and in the spa wellness industry since 2004.  I also know a lot about how to be more sustainable.

Here is your guide to having an earth-friendly skin care routine that cuts down on waste. 

This post may contain affiliate links, which is at no cost to you. Disclosure.

8 Skin Care Tips To Create Less Waste

Sustainable skin care starts with using fewer products. This helps cut down on waste. The less disposable products you use the less you will have to recycle or throw away. Below are 8 ways you can take care of your skin that isn’t dependent on using lots of beauty products. These are inspired by my 25 Professional Skin Care Tips on my skin care blog. 

1. Use Plant-Based Carrier Oils 

Facial oils are high in fat and have therapeutic properties to moisturize the skin or to treat problem areas.

In addition to their fatty acids, skin care oils also contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that benefit the skin. They are extremely beneficial and are a natural way to deliver fatty acids and nutrients to your skin without clogging your pores.

When your skin is dry, it is lacking oil. I say, copy nature. If your skin naturally produces sebum (a waxy, oily substance) to moisturize itself, then using plant-based carrier oils is best for balanced skin.

Oils typically are made with natural plant-based ingredients. Look for eco-friendly companies that bottle in recyclable glass containers. 

I find natural oils at The Detox Market and Credo Beauty.

2. Only Cleanse Once A Day

I am sure you have heard that you should cleanse once or twice a day. But as a skin care expert, I am here to tell you that you should only cleanse your skin once a day.

Not only is it good for the environment but it is good for your skin. 

Cleansing your skin too much can actually cause more damage. Why? Because your skin produces sebum, a waxy, oily substance to moisturize itself. When you wash your face with a cleanser it can strip the protective oils from your skin. 

This isn’t ideal because your skin needs sebum as a protective barrier. It also works as a natural moisturizer.

If this protective barrier is disrupted or removed, skin becomes more permeable to microorganisms (such as bacteria), harsh chemicals, and pollutants. Also, your skin can become too dry because it’s natural lubricant is stripped off.

When your skin gets too dry it will pump out more sebum to try to moisturize itself, so you will then feel greasy. When you over-cleanse, you create a battle. It is fighting not to be too dry or too oily. Which is never fun. 

In the morning rinse your skin with water and skip the cleanser. The best time to cleanse your face is in the evening. Wash off any dirt, grime, and makeup.

Cleansing once a day (or even every other if you don’t wear makeup) helps keep your skin balanced but it also helps you use less product. When you use less product you won’t have to buy as many products that you’ll end up having to recycle or throw in the trash. You can cut down on waste by cleansing only once a day. 

3. Exfoliate Sparingly

I have many clients that deal with redness, irritation, flaky, dry, or over greasy skin. And a common problem? Over exfoliation. 

Over-exfoliation causes your skin to be too dry and to weaken. This can cause your skin to peel and produce excess oil as a way to protect itself. Also, when the skin is weakened and stressed it can not defend itself against bacteria and inflammation. 

So, how often should you exfoliate?

It depends on your skin type. If you have combination to oily skin, exfoliate 2 to 3 times a week with either a physical facial scrub or chemical enzyme. If you have dry skin, 1 to 3 times a week. And if you have balanced skin then you can exfoliate once a week or even once every other week.

Exfoliate sparingly and keep in mind that there is absolutely no reason to exfoliate every day. Not even with a gentle exfoliating cleanser. Doing so can cause dryness and damage your skin. 

Also, be sure to avoid products with exfoliating microbeads which are causing damage to the environment. 

4. Destress

From working with my clients, I truly believe that stress is the main reason for the majority of skin problems. Most skin imbalances are hormonal which can cause breakouts, irritation, and uneven skin tone. 

Stress makes your body produce hormones like cortisol, and cortisol causes your oil glands to pump out more oil. This chemical response makes your skin more sensitive, reactive, and prone to breakouts and skin problems. 

Focusing on reducing stress is way more beneficial for helping hormonal breakouts than any topical blemish cream. The problem with topical products is that they are focused on drying up the excess oil your skin is producing. Ok, that’s fine, but if you don’t nip the overproduction of oil in the bud than it will be a battle you will be fighting for a long time.

To help stop the oil from taking over your skin, you need to focus on keeping your stress hormones in check.

5. Beauty From The Inside Out 

Who really wants millions of skin care products and an insane hundred step skin care routine? Especially if you are wanting to create less waste. Take care of your skin from the inside out, yo! 

Create less trash and take care of your skin by simply drinking water and eating healthy foods. 

Water helps keep your skin plump and hydrated. Your body literally can’t move or work without water so be sure to have plenty throughout the day.

Proper nutrition is vital for healthy skin. You are what you eat. If you eat junk food or any food lacking nutritional value, your appearance will reflect your unhealthy choices with problematic skin. Cleaning up your diet can work wonders on improving your skin health.

Eating a diet of foods high in complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, high in fiber, and moderate in lean protein. Include several servings of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

When you focus on drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet you won’t have to rely on using lots of skin care products to correct skin care issues because your skin will be more balanced and happy. 

6. Get The Right Vitamins

Make sure you get enough vitamins to keep your skin looking healthy. A variety of vitamins and antioxidants will help improve the health and quality of your skin.

Be sure to get plenty of vitamins in your diet. Find fruits and veggies that you can implement into your diet to get plenty of skin-healthy foods. 

A few of the most important vitamins for skin are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

By getting the right vitamins, your skin will be more balanced and healthy and the less you will have to depend on beauty products.

7. Make Time For Self-Care

Reducing stress should be one of your main goals and finding self-care habits to help you have amazing skin.

Self-care is vital for having healthy skin. Make time to relax, rejuvenate, and rest. Self-care helps relieve stress and lowers your blood pressure and helps you have vibrant skin. Which we learned above that keeping stress lowered helps keep your skin healthy and balanced. 

When you practice relaxation and self-care stress levels are returned to their normal state and you have more peace in your body and mind. This means your skin will be more balanced and happy too. 

When your skin is more balanced, you won’t be as prone to acne breakouts, irritations, or uneven skin tone. Focusing on relaxation throughout your day will encourage glowing, healthy skin.

Find ways to relax during the day. Find what works for you to slow down during times of stress to bring your body into a peaceful balance.

8. Less Is More

Don’t feel like you need to do lots of steps in your skin care routine. I have actually found that less is more when taking care of your skin. 

I don’t really think 10+ step skin care routine is necessary. In fact, it can be damaging if you are using products that aren’t great for your skin type or conditions.

You may even have gone out and bought lots of flashy beauty products that promise to work age-defying magic to only sit in a drawer for months and months never to be used. Or only used once or twice before you realize that it ain’t gonna do what it says it will. 

Only buy what you need and skip stocking up on products that won’t need. Remember the Rs of going zero waste and refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

Plastic Free Skin Care 

Ok, it may be hard to be completely plastic-free but here are ways to get close to it.

Beauty Wipes- Ditch wipes that contain plastic and use ones that are made with organic cotton that are biodegradable and compostable. Also, look for reusable, washable wipes to take off makeup and to cleanse your skin. 

Bar Soap- Look for package-free, body, hand and facial bar soaps. Find it loose or in recyclable packaging. 

Lotions- Skip drying lotions that are bottled in plastic. Use carrier oils. Culinary oils make great body moisturizer. I use these on myself and my clients: almond, avocado, olive, safflower, and sunflower. 

Sustainable Skin Care Routine

To have healthy skin, follow the 8 tips and follow this simple skin care routine. It makes it seem really basic and too simple, but despite what the beauty industry wants you to believe, you don’t have to do a lot to have good skin. I promise. 


  • Rinse with water
  • Apply a face oil to damp skin, which seals in water for hydration and moisturizes the skin. 
  • If going to spend time in the sun, apply an SPF



  • Exfoliate
  • Mask with a homemade face mask
  • Apply any treatment serums, masks, acids, and enzymes to help treat specific issues

You only need five or six products at most:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Moisturizer
  3. SPF
  4. Exfoliator
  5. Homemade face mask
  6. Treatment products

But, some of these can be multi-use and cut down even more. You can use the same plant-based oil for a cleanser and moisturizer. Your SPF can be in your makeup if you wear it. Homemade face masks and treatment products are totally optional and only needed if you have specific problems you are trying to correct. 

Conclusion For Clean and Natural Skin Care

If you are going more zero waste, you don’t have to sacrifice taking care of your skin. Just because you cut down on the number of products you buy and use doesn’t mean you have to have unhealthy skin. 

Follow these tips for clean, natural and sustainable skin care. 

How To Create Less Waste With An Eco-Friendly Beauty Routine

What do you do to follow sustainable skin care? Share in the comments. 

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