Conscious beauty, DIY recipes & alternatives

For the past couple of years, I’ve finally found skincare products that work for me. The bad news is, the majority of them are still packaged in plastic. Did you know that the majority of packaging waste comes from our beauty products? Not only that, most skin and beauty products contain harmful and toxic ingredients that are not only bad for your skin but also the environment. Double yikes!  300 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated each year from the cosmetic and consumer goods industry with their packaging. 

There is no one brand that fully eliminates the use of plastic. But why? Because it’s cheap. And the ones that are eco-conscious are a bit more expensive and not as accessible as their cheaper counterparts. 

We all want to look our best, but it can be challenging when on a budget. Switching to a more eco-friendly is hard for me as well, especially when I’m already dealing with sensitive skin where DIY recipes just don’t work for me. 

Most of my beauty products are still packaged in plastic, but I’ve managed to cut down and curate the products that work for me. Most of them are in glass or reusable containers when I travel, so I try to repurpose what I can. 

I started using reusable cotton rounds when I realized how many cotton pads I’ve thrown out whenever I use micellar water to cleanse my face. So when a friend gifted me reusable bamboo cotton rounds, I was ecstatic. I can use them as I would disposable rounds and then only need to wash them by hand and hang them dry. It’s such a small step, but when you realize how many single-use items you throw out, it puts things in perspective.

If anyone is looking for reusable cotton rounds, you can check out your local zero-waste stores like The Apothecary in Inglewood or Canary, or you can check out chains like Shoppers as well.

Some of our amazing Plastic-Free YYC team members also shared how they switched up towards a more conscious and waste-free beauty.

For our Project and Fundraising Coordinator, Mackenzie, switching to zero waste is definitely a journey.  

“As I finish products that I already have, I replace them with low or zero waste options whenever possible. It can take time, but the little changes add up. One recent change I made was to start using the Tewín’xw Cranberry Facial Bar by Sḵwálwen Botanicals.”

Sḵwálwen Botanicals is an Indigenous business from Squamish, BC creating plant-based skincare inspired by, and grounded in, Indigenous plant knowledge. They use wild plant ingredients that they harvest in a sustainable and respectful manner.

Sḵwálwen (skwall-win) translates to “heart” or “essence of being” in the Squamish language. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, they incorporate wild harvested plants and organic, high quality ingredients. Their wild plant ingredients are harvested in a sustainable and respectful way and each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from.

“Tewín’xw” (pronounced too-ay-nooh), is the Squamish word for berry, and its ingredients include wild harvested rosehip and cranberry powder, French pink clay, aloe leaf powder and rosehip oil. I’ve loved using this facial bar and would definitely recommend it!

Neha, our Community Engagement Representative shares her DIY face tint/BB cream. 

DIY face tint/BB cream:

  • 2-5 tsp. of your foundation. You can add more as you need.
  • 3-4 tsp. of regular face cream or aloe vera. (Aloe vera helps treat pimple scars. You can also use coconut cream or shea butter as an alternative.)
  • 1 tsp. Suncream
  • 2-4 drops of tea tree oil* (This is optional. You can use tea tree oil for acne)

Mix in a container.

Vaneska, our Zero Waste Meetup Lead also shared her DIY shampoo recipe.

“I have always been conscious that plastics can’t always get recycled, and their recyclability is volatile. Sometimes it can get recycled and sometimes it can’t. Since most personal care products come in plastic, I decided to find a solution to get these products completely plastic-free. I found myself a DIY book (Green Calgary’s) and a store that sells all ingredients in bulk (Apothecary) and took it all to my kitchen where all the mixing magic happens.

Ps: Once I changed my shampoo to a DIY shampoo, I noticed dandruff. So now before every wash, I rinse the top of my hair with Anti-dandruff rinse. My hair is oily and if your hair is not, then you could use it after shampooing to give it extra hydration.”

Anti-dandruff rinse:

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil

Mix it all in and let it in for 30 minutes. Store in any container. You can reuse your old shampoo bottles! Whatever works for you. I use an old glass sesame oil container, that way is easier to splash some of the mixture on the top of my head.

Shake well before using. Rinse it right away or leave it a little bit longer for extra hydration.

Coconut Shampoo:

  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup liquid castile soap
  • ½ tsp vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops of your favourite essential oil

Add ½ tsp of olive or almond oil if your hair is too dry. 

Mix it all. 

Store in any container that will work for you in the shower.

Shake well before using. 

Conditioner (Vinegar rinse) –  I made some modifications to the original recipe because I was using what I had at home.

  • 2 ½ cups of hot water
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of lavender

Mix it all

Store in whatever container that will work for you while in the shower – I use an old glass jar with a small opening.

Shake well before using

Rinse right away, for extra hydration leave it a little longer.

It’s not easy being green because I’m still navigating how to transition into a sustainable lifestyle. There is still a long way to go in making sure that greener products become accessible and affordable, but for now, we do what we can.