A Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste Living: Zero Waste Beauty By Moji Igun


We can indulge in our favorite beauty and skincare products while still being mindful of the ways in which these industries impact us and the world around us. These two industries love to make things complex to sell more products. With unnecessary ten-step routines, rampant pseudoscience, and ever changing trends, it feels challenging to keep up. It also keeps us disconnected from what really matters to us. I value simplicity and ease so it's important to me to build a beauty routine around those ideals.

First and foremost, inner well-being is the foundation for outer beauty. Unlearning harmful beauty standards is a constant journey, just as zero waste is. Skin texture, acne, and body hair are all normal things that happen to humans. Reminding myself of these facts when I see advertising images of what I should "look" like makes it easier to decide what solutions actually make sense to invest in. Anything we do for the sake of beauty should come down to what makes us feel most confident and at home in our own bodies. 


I notice the difference in my outer appearance when I'm chronically stressed, I get careless with my diet, or I don't make enough space for rest and moving my body. I'm constantly reminding myself to stay hydrated throughout the day. If managing a consistent intake of water feels like a chore, add a slice of lemon for a little something sweet. In addition to eating foods that make me feel good, I incorporate an adaptogenic blend by Peak and Valley into my morning routine. I blend my Peak and Valley powder with my hot cocoa in the morning. Adaptogenic medicines have a long history in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions with benefits including stress regulation, combating fatigue, and improving cognitive function.

All the habits that are focused on internal health are meant to be complement for the products we buy. Because beauty and skincare are so personal, it can be difficult to find products that fulfill every requirement we may have. When I'm evaluating products, my priorities are: 


- ingredients that are locally/ethically sourced 

- packaging that's recyclable, reusable, and/or compostable

- products actually make a noticeable difference for whatever I'm looking to address

Perfect solutions don't exist and sometimes we need to experiment to find what will work best for us, but I always land on products that offer a healthy balance of those criteria. My typical morning routine involves sunscreen and moisturizer. (Yes, even those of us with melanated skin need SPF every. single. day.) Cura offers Anato Ocean Friendly Sunblock which comes in a compostable cardboard tube. 

At night, I'm a sucker for a good serum. I love to slather myself up before bed to the point where I looked like a glazed donut. Check out this hemp seed oil by NOTO if you're looking for a multipurpose product designed to add moisture and nutrients to the skin and hair. Before applying any serum, I'll prep my skin with a toner or a chemical exfoliant which you can apply using a cloth rag or these reusable cotton face cleansing pads from Tonlé. When I'm looking for a little luxury, I love lounging around in clay face mask. Just add water to this Clarifying Face Mask by ILERA Apothecary to draw impurities to the surface of the skin. Enjoying a classic romcom while you wait is not required, but highly recommended. 


For those of you who like to be more playful and enhance your beauty with makeup, I have a couple of recommendations for you. Indigenous-owned Cheekbone Beauty is my go-to for eyeliner pencils. It is part of the core values of the brand to be continuously working to improve their environmental impact. I love to support brands who are clear that they too are a work in progress. Elate Cosmetics also comes highly recommended. I appreciate the cleverness of their makeup palettes which are customizable so you only buy the products you actually need.



Whatever shape your beauty and skincare routine takes, make sure it makes you feel good. We can reject harmful mainstream beauty standards that are designed to make us feel insecure while still making space to take care of ourselves and having fun with the way we present ourselves to the world.