The Green Beauty Queen: Mastering Your Zero-Waste Skincare Routine

zero-waste skincare routine bamboo tissue boxes on bathroom sink


Can I level with you for a second? 


When it comes to trying out green beauty products and building your zero-waste skincare routine… well it’s just hard sometimes. 


If you’re anything like me, you spent years of your youth, teen, and even adult life carefully researching and testing different products to find the perfect combination that works for your unique skin


Giving up that perfected routine is tough, and I want to applaud you right now for even reading this blog. 


If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve seen some of the devastating stats around the beauty industry and its impact on the environment. Like the fact that beauty brands create over 120 billion units of plastic packaging every year, nearly all of it destined for a landfill. 1


But I’ve got good news for you:

It’s totally possible to create a zero-waste skincare routine that leaves you with healthy, glowing skin and a sense of pride in your green beauty products. 🌿

The goal of a zero-waste skincare routine is to create zero trash, meaning everything either biodegrades in a compost or can be recycled.


And when you’re walking down the beauty aisle it may be hard to believe, but green beauty products with little to no waste do exist now, and many of them are even healthier for your skin than their big name-brand counterparts.

Step 1: Reduce Your Routine

When it comes to makeup and skincare, nearly everything you find in the store aisles is plastic-clad and non-recyclable. It seems impossible you could ever find products to replace your favorite cleansers, moisturizers, and exfoliants. 

Remember: Less is more.

Image of person putting moisturizer on hand


Luckily when it comes to beauty products less really is more. Part of creating a zero-waste skincare routine is simply reducing how much you use. 


Did you know that women in the US use an average of 12 beauty products per day? 2


Imagine how much simpler your routine would be — and how much waste you would prevent — by simplifying your routine and the various products you use each day. 


I’m not telling you to give up makeup, but by taking it down to the essentials, you’ll already cut your skincare routine waste in half. 


An added benefit is that using less makeup will keep your skin healthier, helping you reduce your skincare products even more. 

Step 2: Find Green Beauty Products

One of the best places to find green beauty products is a package-free store or bulk refillery. If you live in a major city this is a great place to find both plastic-free makeup products and also refillable liquids for zero-waste skincare like foaming cleansers, oils, and moisturizers.


If you’re not in a major city it’s often harder to find a refillery, so you may have to venture online. The best products come in biodegradable packaging like paper or cardboard, but if you can’t find that, opt for glass or metal since plastic never truly decomposes

Also check out these green beauty products:  

Step 3: Reduce Your Removal Routine

Another benefit of reducing your makeup usage is that it won’t require you to call in the full artillery to remove it. 


Luckily makeup removal is one of the easier pieces to shift to zero-waste. To remove stubborn eye makeup you’ll want an oil-based product. We recommend a plant based oil like coconut oil which you can buy in a glass jar at the store, and can usually find at a refillery. A little oil on your washcloth will usually take that eye makeup right off. 


Remember, the goal of zero-waste is to reduce what you are sending to the landfill. 


When you take your trash out at the end of the week, take a look at what’s in there.  


Is your trash can full of disposable makeup remover wipes? Plastic q-tips? Cotton balls? 


Take note, and then see if there are more eco-friendly alternatives available. (Psst: Cloud Paper makes sustainable bamboo facial tissues to help you green your beauty routine.)


Cloud Paper Bamboo Facial Tissues


Keep in mind: It may be tempting to compost paper and cotton items to get closer to a zero-waste skincare routine, but bathroom waste is rarely compostable. 

Here’s a quick guide to whether your bathroom waste is compostable: 

Do compost:
✅ Unsoiled paper products
✅ Natural plant oils like essential oils or coconut oil
✅ Water-based products
✅ Natural fibers like cotton and bamboo (Cloud Paper Swish Cloths and Bamboo Tissues are naturally compostable, but be wary of what they’ve absorbed! See below 👇**)


Don’t compost:
⛔ Bodily fluids
⛔ Cleaning chemicals
⛔ Nail polish remover
⛔ Silicone-based products (Silicone is a synthetic made from natural gas and oil.)

Psst: To find silicone in your products look for words that end in “cone” or “methicone” such as dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone. Other common silicone-based ingredients include cyclohexasiloxane and cyclopentasiloxane.


**Keep in mind that while paper, cotton, and bamboo are typically compostable, they are absorbent materials — so if whatever they’ve absorbed is non-compostable, you’ll need to put the wipe/tissue/pad in the trash too. 


Composting is an excellent way to lower your carbon footprint, but you’ll want to follow basic composting guidelines to ensure you keep it eco-friendly. 

Step 4: Clean Up Your Cleansing Routine

Finally you’ll want to cleanse and hydrate your skin.


Seek out a gentle bar soap, or try using honey — really! Raw honey is gentle on the skin and won’t strip all your natural oils, but it has antibacterial properties that keep the blemishes away. 


Image of bar soap, a clean cleanser alternative


Rehydrate with a bar lotion/serum, or use a refillable essential oil. 

Here are a few of our favorite products for a zero-waste skincare routine:

And that’s it! You’re ready to get started with your zero-waste skincare routine.

Wait! One More Thing Before You Throw Everything Away…

Before you throw out all your plastic beauty products remember that the first steps to zero-waste are to reduce and reuse. 


Use up what you already have before you toss it in the bin and replace it with a green beauty product the next time you’re ready for a refill. 


It may be hard to break away from your brand name favorites, but it can also be exciting to try something new. 


So go ahead and let your beauty shine, you Green Queen. 💚👑