melbourne vegan

Jaclyn McCosker

My Vegan Beauty Routine

My Vegan Beauty Routine

In this post I'll be talking about the products I use in my vegan, minimal-waste bathroom. I'm a big believer in natural and single-ingredient products. Your skin is an organ and you need to treat it as such. I prefer beauty products you can eat and there's a total ban on harmful chemicals and microbeads in my home.

I try to respect my body and its needs and don't buy into commercialist propaganda about what I "need" to be attractive. Have you ever noticed that most men don't cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturise their skin? It's not because our sexes have different skin types, it's because men have never been told they need to do these things to be beautiful. We are taught to strip our bodies of their natural oils with cleansing products, then make up the deficit with more moisturising products.

Unfortunately I've been trapped in the cycle from a young age and continue to damage my skin with medication, so I do keep a lot of products. But if I don't need it, I don't buy it. Using less store-bought products doesn't mean you are less clean. It means your body is healthier, your pollution is less and your carbon footprint is lower!

I also hate the thought of digging up oil and killing marine life by senseless consumption, so I aim to keep my use of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials as minimal as possible. I use zero waste alternatives whenever I can. Due to my extremely dry skin I need extra nourishing products which is proving to make zero waste a little harder for me than some other bloggers, so if you have any suggestions for me please leave them as a comment at the bottom of this post! Products must be super moisture intensive.

Here is my total list of products used:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Coconut oil
  • Bottled shampoo & conditioner
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Clay face mask
  • Leave-in hair mask
  • Rosehip oil
  • Lush toothy tabs
  • Lush bar soap
  • Deodorant

Coffee grounds 

I use leftover coffee grounds from my stovetop espresso maker. I collect them in a reusable jar and ferry it back and forth between the kitchen and the bathroom every few days. This is recycling of the best kind because my exfoliator is effectively free! I use it on my face and body and it's fantastic for bringing a dry complexion back to life. Why pay $20 for a sachet of coffee scrub when you make it in your kitchen every day? You can also mix it with olive oil or coconut oil for a more nourishing scrub, but as my beauty regime already utilises oils I leave out this step.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil and a wash cloth is what I use for both my face and body. The coconut oil comes in small glass jars from Smith & Deli at $6 a pop and I reuse them for storage and drinking. Apply, rinse, repeat. It usually takes until the second cleanse for the cloth to come away clean if I'm wearing makeup. This washes off dirt and makeup without totally stripping my face of its natural sebum and causing an imbalance. Since switching to this more gentle and natural cleanser I'm far less prone to break outs. 

For my body moisturiser after showering I also use coconut oil if I need extra moisture. For a decade I was moisturising once or twice a day, but after switching to coconut oil I moisturise about 75% less as it's so much more hydrating.

Hemp shampoo

I'm currently using Melrose shampoo and conditioner. They're made from hemp and aloe vera water with 80% certified organic ingredients, and are sulphite-free which is important for me. Due to my extremely dry and frizzy hair, so far I have failed in my mission to find zero-waste hair products that work. Shampoo bars left my hair drier, and my scalp is too dry and flaky to get away with the no poo method. But I have found a pretty great vegan brand for now that was in my price range at just $11 a bottle that is more nourishing than damaging. If my scalp is getting flaky I'll add a dash of eucalyptus oil to my shampoo

Clay face mask

Sukin clay face mask is my worst kept secret. I will run down the streets shouting about this stuff. Just apply with damp fingers and wipe off with a wash cloth after 15 minutes and all your angry inflamed hormonal pimples will be small dots, easily covered by foundation. Sukin is a gamechanger in sustainable beauty products. It's made in Melbourne, 100% carbon neutral and totally vegan. Instead of harmful chemicals they use botanical extracts and essential oils and are priced extremely competitively. They're the best in the biz.

Hair mask

In my cupboard I keep Alchemy's Gingko & Jojoba Intensive Moisture Hair Masque. It's a leave-in mask for my dry ends when I just need a little extra moisture. It's not plastic-free but it's Aussie made, cruelty free certified and lasts forever because it's used so sparingly.Toner 

I just slap on some eucalyptus oil with my hands, and it works a treat. This is a great minimal waste option, with just the lid bottle to worry about becoming un-recyclable trash. I target the trouble areas and leave my skin be if it is looking good. In the past I've used fresh lemon juice on hormonal acne and it works incredibly, but is too acidic for daily use so I'd recommend the oil unless it's a pimple emergency!

Rosehip oil

I took a break from Sukin rosehip oil to experiment with other face oils and I came back home. It truly is the best oil for skincare that leaves all other face moisturisers I've tried in my life in the dust. Ignore the amount recommendations on the bottle and apply plenty, I even apply multiple times a day. It leaves your skin supple and younger looking. I live for the stuff. It's an added bonus that it comes in a glass bottle, but I'm yet to find a truly plastic-free or zero-waste way of buying it.


Norsca is the most heavy duty vegan deodorant I've found. I switched to roll-on years ago for the environment because I really think it's the smallest change everyone should make, no matter how apathetic. Once my current supply is out I'll be reverting to homemade - stay tuned for that blogpost! I just thought I'd share this widely available and really effective vegan deodorant.

Toothy tabs

Lush toothy tabs are fluoride free and the packaging is 100% recyclable cardboard. For your first pack the texture may take some getting used to, but I ditched minty toothpastes years ago because I prefer an earthier taste. I also purchased a Weleda concentrated mouthwash. It comes in a small glass bottle and you simply mix a few drops in a glass of water and swish it around your mouth. The concentrated formula means you go through less and create less waste! Bonus points if you use a bamboo toothbrush priced $3-$5 from any health or vegan store. High five for not damaging the planet just to clean your teeth!

Update: Lush are phasing out the cardboard packaging for plastic bottles so DIY tooth powder is coming to the blog soon!

So these are my standard beauty routine products. What are your faves, and do you have any suggestions for zero waste DIYs I should try?

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