The ultimate guide to a zero-waste self-care routine

DIY beauty products recipes included

Posted by Breaking Thirty on April 01, 2019

That magical time of the weekend when you feel you deserve an hour or so in the bathroom for a self-care session has finally arrived.


It’s Saturday afternoon, somewhere around 5pm. By now I’ve done so many chores that I wonder how come people call it weekend. I have done the laundry. Three of them for the record, plus I hand-washed some delicate blouses. I cleaned the apartment because it was your turn. I went for plastic-free grocery shopping to buy a plastic-free shampoo bar, a plastic-free soap bar… and some expensive useless grains I can’t even remember how they are called. I batch-cooked four portions of lentils stew, which I’ll have to eat four days in a row in the upcoming week because students’ apartments are not equipped with large freezers. I meditated and did my four-minute-morning-workout like all the other regular weekdays. I even wrote the newsletter for the next Breaking Thirty’s blog post. There’s no excuses, now it’s time to relax!

What I am about to share is not the usual self-care routine. Nope. I’m a human being with OCD and a tendency for self-destruction that is stronger than the tendency to put on weight around my hips. Thus, what I’m going to share is how to have an home-made and zero-waste self-care routine. Basically, before enjoying the self-care routine, you must make all the beauty products yourself. This not only adds a non-negligible challenge, but it comes with the additional bonus that only natural ingredients are used. Good for the environment, good for my skin, and good for my obsessed personality!


Hair-mask. Have you ever heard about pre-shampoo hair masks? I didn’t before searching on Google what coconut oil can serve for. Well, they said that coconut oil can be a great nourishing mask for your hair before washing it with shampoo. You have to let it sit for at least twenty minutes. Ok, let’s do that! I distribute a handful of coconut oil all over my hair and brush it. The greasy feeling is horrible, but I overcome it. After making sure my entire head is covered with coconut oil, I hold my hair with a claw clip, wash my hands, set the timer for twenty minutes and move into the kitchen.

Face mask. I pull out of my pantry a little jar containing white clay. I bought it last summer during my holidays in Nice together with grated Marseille soap to make clothes detergent. I still don’t know how it went through the security check at the airport without any issue. Anyway. I pour a tablespoon of white clay into a cup and stir it together with a tablespoon of water. I spread the mixture all over my face and wait for ten minutes.


Scrub. While I let the face mask sit (while I let the hair mask sit), I make my own body scrub. I follow a recipe I learnt from a friend of mine. I take the coffee grounds from the moka and mix them together with a table spoon of coconut oil and a pinch of cinnamon into a cup. Ouch, those coffee grounds from the one-person moka are not enough. So I brew another coffee, drink the coffee and use the coffee grounds for the scrub. Who cares if it’s 5:30pm and this coffee likely won’t make me sleep tonight!

Shower. It’s time to rinse my face and appreciate how bright and purified my skin looks like now. I bring into the bathtub the scrub, the soap bar, the shampoo bar, and the hair conditioner. Unfortunately, the hair conditioner comes in a plastic bottle. I couldn’t find a plastic-free alternative so far and I’m too selfish to give up manageable and soft hair. Sorry Planet! Ok, let’s move on. It’s time to finally take a shower.

Hair wash. I rinse my hair and remove the coconut oil. Sadly, my hair feels greasy rather than nourished… Don’t worry, Giulia. That’s ok. It’s not that coconut oil mask was a dumb idea. I just need to wash it thoroughly with shampoo. I grab my shampoo bar and wash it. Wait, now my hair feels arid like when the deserts miss the rain! What’s going on?! Ok, ok, ok. Take a deep breath. Don’t panic, Giulia. It’s not that you messed up with your hair. It’s just the contrast between greasiness and normality feels as if your hair was dry. But it’s not! With so much hope inside me, I go on with the hair conditioner, spread it all over my hair and let it sit for few minutes.


Body wash. I grab a handful of scrub and start rubbing my body. Wow, I wasn’t expecting this to be so… scratchy. I gotta pay attention here when I’m working my way in the inner-upper thigh not to irreparably mutilate myself and… you know what I mean. I make sure my entire body is covered with this weird black mud, which smells like tiramisù. The only thing I don’t scrub is under my feet because I’m afraid to slip, drop, hit my head somewhere and die. I rinse again, grab the soap bar and wash my body. Gosh, this 100% natural, package-free Aleppo soap bar smells of… smoked ham! My skin smells of speck and tiramisù right now, that’s beyond disgusting. Ok, ok, ok. Don’t worry, Giulia, don’t worry. It is actually not a problem that you smell like an Italian street-food kiosk. And you know why? Because you’re going nowhere tonight. And you know why you’re going nowhere tonight? Because you don’t have a life! Oh, it’s true. I feel relieved now that I remember I can stink without any consequences. I finally rinse my whole body plus hair for the last time and get out of the bathtub.

Body lotion. After drying my skin, I moisturise it with… coconut oil! A lot of it. I get dressed with some baggy house clothes and blow dry my hair. My hair has never been so dry, frizzy and damaged. I go back to the bathroom, grab the shampoo bar and… realise that the bathtub is full of… shitty mud. This coconut oil is really that sticky! I still have my shampoo bar in my hand, I throw it into the trash, I get out my claning equipment and clean the bathtub for the second time today.

And there you have it: the steps to a plastic-free natural self-care routine. So simple, yet so frustrating!

Quote Lemott

Now I’d love to hear from you. What do you do after a week or a day of hard work to pamper yourself? Have you ever experienced self-care routines that are actually driving you crazy instead of relaxing you? I’m eager to know. Let me know in the comments below.

Italian version

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