Low-waste skincare routine ideas from real people

When you’re busy or tired it can be hard to think about how to build a low-waste skincare routine into your day. So we asked a few people who already have low-waste or zero-waste skincare regimes to share them with us for inspiration. From “a splash of soap and water” to a fully homemade set of products, there is something to suit us all. 

Before we get started – a little disclaimer from us. Ailuna is in no way affiliated or connecting with any of the brands mentioned, apart from the ones we stock in our own shop. The recommendations given are purely based on personal experiences from each of our contributors. Speaking of contributors – thanks so much to everyone below who shared their low-waste skincare routines with us. It’s been fascinating finding out about everyone’s different regimes.

low-waste skincare routine ideas

8 minutes to read

Nancy’s low-waste skincare routine

I’m a sustainability consultant, so I’m always looking for ways to reduce my own impact to practice what I preach! I’ve spent the last year to 18 months trying to swap out my beauty products for plastic-free and more natural products. All of the below are small businesses rather than big corporates and I really love that.
I had bad acne as a teenager, so changing skin products is always terrifying for me. But I can safely say, these swaps have had such a positive impact on my skin and I would never go back!
low-waste skincare routine ideas pinterest pin
  • Upcircle Beauty: Their serum is an absolute favourite as is their face scrub. All of their products have been made from upcycled waste (like coffee grounds) and I love the concept. Plus their packaging is very conscious to, for example, with the serum you can order a dropper on your first one (which does have plastic) but can swap to an aluminium cap after that and just keep and reuse your original dropper.
  • Heavenly Organics: I use their body butter which is just amazing and comes in a glass jar with an aluminium lid. It’s amazing as it’s so concentrated that it lasts for ages. Apparently most of the standard products we use are so watered down and so appear cheaper but I’ve found they don’t last as long.
  • White Rabbit Skincare: Another small business and also plastic-free and natural. I use their eye cream which is just lovely. These guys are a little more pricey but I do really like them. 
  • The Coconut Bee: I absolutely love this Cornish company. Their life balm and hair oil are firm favourites! Again, all natural and plastic free. I have incredibly curly hair and hair products have been the hardest swaps for me. The life balm is great for everything from dry lips to bug bites and again, lasts forever!
  • Bristol Made: I’ve only just discovered this company  but have been experimenting with face oils for cleansing and they are great. In particular, their toner and cleanser in one has been fab and great for my skin, even though it tends to be on the oily side. Again, it comes in a glass bottle with an aluminium lid so is fully recyclable.
low-waste skincare cleansing oil from Bristol Made

Bristol Made oil cleanser

Ruth’s “less is best” low-waste skincare routine

I use witch hazel in a glass bottle about twice a week as a cleanser and toner. I was using it on cotton wool (which is made from shorter cotton fibres and is a byproduct of the cotton industry) but switched to washable pads when it ran out. 

I also ran out of moisturiser recently and stopped using it! I realise now that maybe my skin was drying as a reaction to the moisturiser I had been putting on it. This sounds counterintuitive but sometimes I find excess products do more harm than good on my skin.

I use Neals Yard honey and orange face scrub about once a week. For dry skin on my legs and feet I use Lavera Sensitive cream in a tin, and homemade calendula balm.

Sarah’s plastic-free skincare regime

I try to incorporate new sustainable rituals into my days as I learn. I find it can be overwhelming trying to change everything all at once so I prefer to adopt the “progress over perfection” approach. I run my own business as a brand mentor, so my days are busy and my time for full-on routines is short so the products I use have to be simple as well as effective.


My low-waste night time facial skincare routine looks like this:

I use reusable face wipes and the tea tree facial oil cleanser from Earth Beauty. It removes makeup and cleans my face without stripping the natural oils from my skin. I have slightly oily skin and I find that using an oil cleanser like this helps it, rather than making it worst which I think is what people think when you put oil on oil. Using a fresh reusable wipe dipped in hot water I remove any excess oil cleanser. I do this at night as the oil takes care of my skin while I sleep. This means I always wake up to lovely soft, clean skin.
The cleanser is made locally to me so I can pick it up at the local vegan and eco markets or online. The reusable wipes are also made nearby in Kings Heath Birmingham by Vesta Living and can be bought online. This is a social enterprise helping upskill and employ local women in the community, so it’s great to feel like I’m contributing to something bigger.
Vesta Living reusable cotton face wipes in a wooden box

Vesta Living reusable cotton face wipes

Gemma’s low-cost natural skincare routine

I’m all about using natural and low-cost products on my skin and it works great for me. I wash my face with a face soap bar from Westwood Naturals. I love it because it’s totally natural and is made locally to me in Bristol.

I use coconut oil as a moisturiser. I don’t find it too oily so I use it morning and night. The coconut oil I use is from Lucy Bee – it’s great because it’s responsibly sourced, which means the coconuts used aren’t picked by monkeys, as is the case with some coconut oil on the market. 

Raw shea butter is great as a moisturiser. I’ve used it for ages and it has the added bonus of having a natural SPF in it (about 6-10). It does tend to smell a bit as it ages so my partner isn’t too keen on it, but it really doesn’t bother me!

raw shea butter

In the past, I have used coffee grounds as a scrub. I just mixed them with a little bit of coconut oil and it was lovely. Another great scrub is loose-leaf mint tea with sugar or salt and oil. It smells amazing and leaves my skin really soft.

Abbey’s natural skincare routine

A couple of years ago I made a decision to attempt to be zero-waste in the bathroom which led to me making lots of switches in terms of products.

I don’t have the most complicated beauty routine, but it suits me just fine and keeps me clean and fresh every day in my work as an Integrative Therapist. I use natural soap like Auromere along with a sea sponge or face washer to clean my face and exfoliate. I follow this up with Hyaluronic Acid from The Ordinary topped with a combination of oils that I blend up myself (rosehip, carrot and hemp), which I buy in glass packaging.

I also moved to making my own deodorant (some batches are more successful than others) out of Shea butter, arrowroot, coconut oil and essential oils and I wash my hair with shampoo bars from Funky Soap, which I love.

Helene’s simple but effective skincare routine

I use Boots cucumber micellar water as a face cleanser every other day. I know it is in a plastic bottle and I want to find another one once this one is used up. But I have had it for a long time and it’s always best to use up what you have rather than buying something else. I should probably use it every day but I don’t use makeup every day so it doesn’t feel necessary. I use a reusable pad from Imsevimse, so no cotton wool waste.

Afterwards, I use plain olive oil as a moisturiser in the summertime. When I need a bit more moisture in winter I go back to a favourite of mine, Decleor Aromessence Neroli which is in a glass jar.

olive oil being poured into a bowl

Rose’s minimalist skincare routine

I don’t have a skincare routine. I spend a lot of time gardening and run my own social enterprise, so occasionally I borrow so of my partner’s face oils and products as a treat to help me relax. She has a much more involved routine than me but as a general rule, I just use water. I don’t wear makeup , which probably helps. I do often get complimented on my skin and occasionally I am asked for ID buying alcohol. I’m in my 30s so I take that as a win!

the lowest-waste skincare routine of them all - water!

The Ailuna Shop

If you are looking for more inspiration or for a particular low-waste skincare product, please check out the Ailuna shop by clicking below.

Share your low-waste skincare routine

We have loved learning how we can be a little less wasteful in the skincare department but we would love to see more! If you have a low-waste or zero-waste skincare routine, please send us a brief description and a photo and we will share on Instagram and Facebook.

Or you can join our Facebook community to see what others are doing. We can’t wait to see you there!

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