Year for the Planet Week 22: Zero Waste Beauty and Edible Skin Care

Before you can fix the world, you have to fix yourself. Year for a Planet is a personal challenge to be a better human for the planet for a whole year. This year, 2017, is where I deal with my food choices.


My quest for sustainable eating habits has led me to using more and more products for my skin. This is inevitable for two reasons: 1) I believe that what we put on our skin should be as natural as possible, and 2) Skin care is something I pay close attention to. Some people obsess about makeup, hair, or clothing, but in my case I like I take care of the largest organ of the body.

Eating unprocessed nutritious food and having a regular exercise regimen are two-thirds of having great skin. The final third is how we protect and repair it from the daily onslaught of UV damage and stress. While there are many skin care products out there, I know the plastic waste can really add up, not to mention even hurt our skin because of some toxic chemicals if labels are left unread.

Here are the things in my kitchen that I use in my daily and nightly regimen.

1. Raw honey

I like buying this brand of local honey that uses recycled liquor glass bottles. Because I have a large bottle at home, it’s easy for me to dispense a small amount in a travel container if I’m going away for a few days. Raw honey is naturally antibacterial because of the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide, so I use this as a face wash. This antimicrobial property also promotes healing of acne scars and wounds, so when I have time, I would massage my face with it. I’ve given honey facial massages to many friends to help them de-stress and it’s oddly one of the joys of my life.

2. Lemon 

My skin is very pale, so any trace of scarring and discoloration is immediately apparent. I use lemon juice, which is naturally acidic, on any pimples and as a general face toner after I work out so that I ensure I don’t get any more.

3. Coffee

Part of my zero-waste coffee habit led me to using waste coffee grounds as a coffee scrub as I wrote about a few weeks ago. Caffeine acts as a stimulant, so using this two to three times a week on my body has made me feel like I just got exfoliated in a spa. I’m giving it the rest of the year to see how effective it is on cellulite—ladies, I shall report back to you.

4. Turmeric

A brightening agent, turmeric has also gone from my sweet potato dinners and onto my face. It’s best to use when you’ve had a day or night of eating and drinking too much, as turmeric is anti-inflammatory and can tame potential skin care disasters.

5. Ice 

It’s not really food, I know, but hurray for this Russian beauty secret of icing your face in the morning. I take out an ice cube from the freezer, wash it with water (this is important so you can dull any sharp parts, as I learned the hard way!), and run it all over my face until it all melts. This makes my face less puffy and also wakes me up as it’s really hard for me to get up in the morning.

There are many skin care brands that use these natural ingredients in some of their products, but I like making my DIY versions as it’s easier, a lot cheaper, and has the same effect. What gives you great skin is consistency, not how expensive a product is. And besides, I’m already eating them, so there are less stores to shop in and less waste produced.

The best thing about taking control of my eating habits and my skin care ritual is that I feel less susceptible to advertising for the latest food and beauty trends, which I feel hits us the most during times of stress and uncertainty. Remember, people, these ads kick us when we’re down, so never underestimate these little habits—their benefits accumulate over time!


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