My Top 5 Tips for Zero Waste (and Minimal) Beauty

Now, I'm not an expert in beauty by any means. In fact, I would say I do the bare minimum at all times. However, I have struggled a lot with finding a beauty regime that I am pleased with, without spending inordinate amounts of cash, poisoning the water flow or adding yet more plastic into the system. So, I hope these tips will help, and I also link to a few people who know a lot more than me, so you may want to check them out.

1. Tip 1: Use oil. For everything.

Now, this might sound ridiculous, but oil is a very versatile product. It particularly helps in cleansing and moisturising. I use a 100% organic, ethically sourced argan oil from, which comes in a glass bottle, as both my cleanser and conditioner. I went through so many cleansers before I settled on this, but this leaves my skin super smooth and unclogs my pores. It also smooths my hair and helps the psoriasis on my scalp no end (tip 2 will also cover psoriasis). The way I use it as a cleanser is this:

Put three drops of argan oil in your palm

Add a pinch of brown sugar

Mix with a little warm water

Rub all over face

Repeat 2-3 times a week

Voila! The perfect cleanser. I'm lazy, so I do this as my last step in the shower rather than as a separate cleanse and splash a little cold water on afterwards.

For conditioner I use it once a week, put around 5 drops in my palm, mix with a little warm water, smooth it through my hair and leave it in.

For more about oil, head to @bottegazerowaste website She has a whole post on simplifying your beauty routine with an oil cleanser here.

Me in my studio, attempting to show you what my skin looks like after using an oil cleanser for several weeks
Me in my studio, attempting to show you what my skin looks like after using an oil cleanser for several weeks

2. Tip 2: Simplify your hair care routine with a waste-free alternative.

I went 'no poo' for a while. 'No poo' is a system that says we do not need anything to wash our hair with, just water. This appealed to me because my psoriasis was so bad at the time I needed to do something, and so many people had said it helped. Needless to say I managed three months and it was the most complicated nightmare imaginable. My hair just kept producing this white, waxy substance that just got worse and worse, and would only go away with a cold water egg and vinegar mix I found in the book Happy Hair by Lucy Aitken Read. It did not work for me. I then tried several shampoo bars, which left my hair dry and sticky. Finally, after watching another Kate Arnell episode on her channel EcoBoost, I came across Beauty Kubes.

Beauty Kubes are the best thing ever. They're completely waste free, cruelty free and beautifully scented. I use 2 kubes once a week and that's enough (the theory is that after you go 'no poo', your hair loses its reliance on the chemicals we normally cover it in, and that means your hair stays cleaner for longer).

It has also had the added effect of calming my psoriasis right down. Give them a try if you're after a waste-free, ethical shampoo method.

3. Tip 3: Looking for waste-free, cruelty free make-up? Look no further.

The best website I found for this is My top tip then is this: if you're looking for ehtical make-up and you're not sure where to start, head here. Once there, search for the make-up item you need and it's probably there somewhere. The whole store has a 100% commitment to sustainability, so you needn't worry about that either.

Also a brilliant resource is @beautybytahira. A lady who creates the most beautiful make-up looks with entirely ethical sources. So, if you're super into your make-up, start here.

4. Tip 4: Deodorant

Oh my gosh, finding a decent deodorant has been the bane of my life. However, after trying many a cardboard stick, I have finally settled on The Natural Deodorant Company's Active Deodorant Balm. I love it because it works. I don't love it because it makes a mess when I put it on and you can't use it directly after shaving, which is when I would normally use it, so you have to plan ahead. In general, it's not the perfect solution for me, but it does work, unlike many of the others, so I'm happy.

I've also heard people swear by baking soda. I haven't tried this myself yet, but a lot of people have told me it works. If you can find one produced in a paper bag, this might be the method for you.

5. Tip 5: Simplify, simplify, simplify.

This is always the best route for the most environmentally friendly outcome: use less. However, it also has other benefits. By simplifying your routine, you could save money, save space, save time, save the planet . . . etc. No small feat. All it requires is for you to be honest with yourself. What do you really need? I mean really need? How small can you get that list?

As always, I hope this has helped! Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments or come follow me on instagram @howellillustration.

Nicola x

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