How to Go Plastic-Free with Face Wash Routines

Written by Rebecca McDowell

Taking care of our skin requires various kinds of packaging. From pumps, to sheets, and plastic bottles, our skincare routines wreak havoc on the environment. 

It’s estimated the global cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging each year.

Consumption isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon either.


The Pacific garbage patch always looms large in the back of our minds. 

It can be overwhelming to think of the big problem and feel helpless. But, each one of us has a role to play and we all make an impact.

We challenged ourselves to reduce our plastic use in one area of our lives: skincare.



A great skincare routine includes face wash, moisturizer, and sunscreen use.

Today, we’re focusing on sustainable face wash options.


If you’re a busy woman and want an easy option to ensure all your makeup comes off in the evening, Ethique’s SuperStar! balm is for you! It removes all of your makeup and hydrates your skin at the same time. Plus, purchasing one of these bars prevents 3 plastic bottles from being used.


If you’re not sure that’s the face wash you want, Ethique has a great face sampler with five of their skin care products. All are plastic-free; even the packaging is compostable. 


One of our favorite products is the Makeup Eraser. It’s a reusable cloth that gets all types of makeup off, including waterproof mascara. With 7.6 billion pounds of makeup wipes thrown away each year, the Makeup Eraser is a great eco-friendly option. And, each one lasts 1,000 washes – that’s equivalent to three to five years per cloth!


GOTS certified organic cotton rounds by ECOROOTS and organic coconut oil makes for quick makeup removal after long days. This is also a great sustainable option when organic cotton is used and the organic coconut oil comes in a glass container. We’ve used this when traveling, too! Just put some coconut oil in a travel size container and pack some cotton rounds. Easy! 


If face bars and makeup cloths aren’t your thing, consider making your own face oil mixture. While this isn’t entirely plastic-free (unless you purchase oils in glass bottles), using larger size bottles and a reusable glass vial to store the mixture contributes to reducing plastic use. 

Face oil washing is a wonderful option for anyone with oily or combination skin.


You’ll need castor oil (the base oil), speciality oils (examples below), and a reusable vial like this one.


You may already have speciality oils in your house such as grapeseed oil, avocado oil, almond oil, or a really nice olive oil. Each one has specific properties for skin health. Feel free to play around with the speciality oils and test them out on your skin.

There isn’t an exact recipe for every person with this mixture. 

If your skin is on the drier side, you may need more castor oil as the base. If you have oily skin, you may need less castor oil. The first few mixes will be trial and error.

We highly recommend jotting down what you test so you know what works. 



Start with ¼ of the vial filled with castor oil and ⅛ of the vial with a speciality oil or a mix of speciality oils. If you’re prone to breakouts, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the mix. Store out of direct sunlight and at room temperature.

At night, pump some of the mixture onto your palms and rub your hands together to warm up the oil. Massage onto your skin for 1-2 minutes. Run warm to hot water over a washcloth, ring out, and place over your face. The steam will help your skin absorb the oils.

After the towel cools down, wipe off your face and you’re good to go!

This routine only needs to be done in the evening. If you have dry skin, use a tiny bit of a speciality oil for moisturizer.

It does take a bit more time compared to the face bars and Makeup Eraser, but this is a fun way to make your own face wash combination and tailor it to your skin’s needs!

Check out Hudabeauty for additional DIY face oil recipes.

Leave a comment below letting us know how you’ll go plastic-free with your skincare routine!

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Rebecca McDowell is a digital strategist and founder of Queen Yourself, a lifestyle brand empowering and inspiring women. She’s a contributing writer for the Sustainable Project and a Climate Leader with the Climate Reality Project. Rebecca is passionate about all things sustainability, especially as it relates to plastic pollution and the oceans. Follow Queen Yourself on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.