Cosmetic minimalism and low waste

[Versione italiana]

Remember my “low waste bathroom“ from some time ago? I was very proud of that picture, since it took me months of getting rid of old products and testing new formulations before I could get there.

However, in the months that followed I encountered a more or less unexpected problem: time. As you have seen from my disappearance from every channel – including this blog – after I started my new job my free time became almost zero and with it, also my will to spend entire afternoons making cosmetics. On the top of that, I became a bit suspicious concerning the microbiological stability of self made cosmetics containing water. All this brought me to the need for a more minimalistic cosmetic routine, which would allow me to spend only little time making stuff and at the same time having less and less packaging around.

So, here is how my (and my husband’s) bathroom closets look like today.

So, let’s see what is all this stuff and how to make it.

Face products

Makeup remover

You may remember my emulsion-based formula for the makeup remover. That was when I still had time for it. Now my makeup remover is an incredibly basic thing: it’s simply a biphasic 50% water 50% oil product, that you shake right before using it. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Just remember to use a preservative anyway to avoid stuff to grow in the water.

Face cleanser

I use two different products in the morning and in the evening – but that’s not really necessary. It’s just that I still have a lot of solid face cleanser that I made in the past.

  • Morning: self made solid face cleanser (formulation here)
  • Evening: Aleppo soap

For my husband it’s a bit too complicated to have two different soaps – he barely remembers to use a cleanser both in the morning and in the evening in the first place – therefore he only uses the solid face cleanser.


I used to make my own gel-toner with a lot of hydrating functional ingredients. Now I simply use Hamamelis water (to which I nevertheless add a preservative – is it so evident that I’m a bit obsessed with this thing?)

Face oil (evening)

After the toner, in the evening I use a few drops of hemp oil. Just that. And actually, I use the same hemp oil also as a leave-in on my hair (but more on that later).

My husband does not like the smell of hemp oil, therefore in his little bottle of face oil I put argan oil.

Hyaluron (morning)

In the morning, I prefer to use a simple gel. But since I don’t want to spend time making formulations, I simply use a drop of 1% sodium hyaluronate.


Here is the big change compared to one year ago: I am not making emulsions anymore. That is, I use products on the market as face cream. I am still testing some creams to see which ones I like the most, and so far I can say I like those by Eterea (for example the “Prodigious Helix” line). In this moment I am using “Melograna” by La Saponaria, which is also very good.

My husband also likes the creams by Eterea. In this moment he is also using one by La Saponaria.


The lipbalm is one of the things I keep making on my own, because it’s quick and it’s fun. Currently I am using one that I made recently with menthol and camphor, because I like the feeling of these two ingredients (you know the blue Blistex one, no?)

Here is the formula:

Cocoa butter19
Castor oil60
Peppermint aroma (for lipsticks)0.1

*The “Barriereschutzbasis” is a preparation including ceramides, vitamin C palmitate, gamma oryzanol and phytosteryl macadamiate by Heike Käser. I spoke about it here.

Body products

Whipped body butter

Yes, that’s him. I abandoned any kind of emulsions and I only used a whipped body butter after the shower. It’s very simple to make and only requires ingredients that I can find with alternative packaging (I found a marvelous German online shop that sells oils and butters useful in cosmetics and in glass or biodegradable packaging).

The shop is this one by the way.

The formulation I use for the whipped body butter is here.


While my husband is a bit hostile towards solid stuff for the body and hair, I am happy with using a simple soap for the shower. I spoke about the chemistry of soaps here and you can find some formulas here.

Arnica and camphor balm – for old and bad runners like me

In addition to the whipped body butter, sometimes I need to use a balm for my tired muscles (I like to go for a run but sometimes my legs are of a different opinion).

Here is the formula I tested – for the future, I plan to include devil’s claw oil, too (the oil is in preparation)

Cocoa butter5
Shea butter10
Coconut oil7
Arnica oil25
Almond oil10
Sunflower seed oil15
Camphor 8

Hair products


I tend to wash my hair roughly twice during the week and once during the weekend, basically every time I go for a run. However, I wash the hair basically just because of sports, not because the hair is greasy or anything. I just need to lightly wash the hair after the workout.

For this reason, I use two types of shampoo:

  • During the week, I use a herb-based shampoo, that is, shikakai powder. I dilute roughly one table spoon in 500 ml water and I use it as if it was a very diluted shampoo under the shower.
  • On weekends, I wash my hair with either a liquid shampoo (which I dilute in water because I find it easier to apply the shampoo when it’s diluted), or one of my solid shampoos.


I rarely use a conditioner, but if I do, it’s only on weekends after the “normal” shampoo. Typically I use one of my solid conditioners. Sometimes I do a hair mask, if I have one.

Hands and nails

Hand cream

As said at the beginning of this article, I do not make emulsions anymore. This includes hand creams. If I find a handcream packed in glass or in aluminum I simply buy it (for example, La Saponaria makes hand creams in aluminum jars). In the evening, before going to bed, I recently started to use cold creams, those sort-of-emulsions made with only beeswax, oils and a little amount of water. I found out that although they contain a huge amount of oils, cold creams are not so greasy on the hands.

This is the last one I made:

Water phase%
Xylitol or any other hydrating sugar (honey is also fine) 7
Oil phase%
Oil (e.g. Safflower, Sunflower, Jojoba…)40
Shea butter or coconut oil26

The procedure is similar to that of an emulsion but somehow simpler: you just need to heat up the two phases, then add the water phase to the oil phase slowly while stirring. Then the fun begins: you need to keep stirring (with a spoon or a glassrod by hand, not with a mixer) until it cools down. The “cream” starts to form (i.e. to emulsify) only when it cools down.

The consistency can vary from rather fluid/creamy to that of an ointment: it depends on how much beeswax you use and whether you use shea butter or coconut oil. The most recent I made was with coconut oil, and with that little beeswax (7%) it turned out pretty fluid/creamy. I think next time I will use more beeswax and shea butter instead of coconut oil.


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