Going Green and Minimalistic in the Bathroom

03/08/2010

I used to be a product junkie, especially when it came to toiletries. I usually had 5 different types of facial products, including a morning cleanser and a night cleanser, toner, make up remove, face scrubber, clay masks and acne masks, etc.

I had all these products for a few reasons:
1) I suffered from acne through my high school, and believed the commercials of “Oxy” and “Clean’n Clear” that my zits can can be zapped if I had the right products.
2) I often bought new products before I was finished with the old stuff, but often threw none of it away until it was way past the expiration date.
3) I fall into the “I-might-need-it-one-day” syndrome.

Now, I’ve cut down on my toiletries significantly.

I’ve tossed my masks. Finished up my various cleansers. I stick to the couple items that really work with my skin. And I also learned to make (some) of my own toiletries.

Cleansers:
I used to use SpectroJel in the mornings, since it was a light cleanser that didn’t dry me out or have harsh chemicals, then I would use a Marcelle foaming cleanser at night which had make up remover, and sometimes I would use an eye make up remover, as well.

Now, I use SpectroJel in the mornings and night.  At night, I first remove make-up with my home-made make up remover which is gentle on my skin and wallet.

Homemade make-up remover recipe:  1 squirt of baby oil, 2 squirts of baby shampoo, 50mL container filled up with water and shake.  Feel free to adjust the proportions to suit your needs.

Masks:
I just threw them out. No use for them, anymore.

Face Scrub:
I usually find face scrubs too harsh on my skin.   I’ve used many different types, and some of the worst ones are those ground seeds (I’m looking at you, St. Ive’s Ground Apricot Seed Face Scrub!).  Often times in the cheaper brands of face scrubs, these scrub pieces can be really sharp and may even cut your face!

Now, I just mix a bit of baking soda in with SpectroJel when I want a bit of a scrub. The baking soda is fine enough to exfoiliate, but not irritate my skin.

Eye creams:
I am in my mid twenties and have started to notice that the skin around my eye tends to get dry easily. Afraid of getting wrinkles, I had started using eye creams in my early twenties. Eye creams are expensive, but they are a bit more moisturizing than normal moisturizers for the face.

I started using Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and it has been working out great. I’ve been doing this for 6 months so far, and there are no break outs and my eyes feel nice and moisturized in the mornings.

Shampoo and Conditioner:

I don’t use any styling products in my hair, and I do not style or colour my hair (though I do blow dry my hair in the winters because I don’t like walking out in the cold with wet hair).  Now, I use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that does not contain parabens or sulfates.

I use very little, and I think a bottle can last me a year, easily.  It took me a while to get used to no suds (and I miss it, sometimes!), but my hair feels a lot healthier and I lose very little hair every time I wash it!

I also use an apple cider vinegar with lavender rinse every week just to remove any build up during the week.

Apple cider vinegar with lavender rinse recipe:  3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 5 – 10 drops of lavender oil, fill up an empty shampoo bottle (300 mL) with water and shake. Note: I added the lavender oil for the scent, I prefer that over just the vinegar rinse.  Feel free to adjust to your preferences!

So these are my tricks for adding a bit of green and minimalism into toiletries. What are some of your suggestions?

UPDATE:
The picture above is NOT a picture of my toiletries, but something I found from Google Image.  I (finally) charged my camera and grabbed my toiletries for a family picture in the bathroom!

Please note I do have other toiletries (such as the baby oil and shampoo for the make up remover), and a Bath and Body Works (that store is evil!) moisturizer impulse buy I am trying to finish.  I’m also missing my acne spot treatment and toner cuz that is in my gym bag.  Sorry about the mix up!


Janet asked about using petro jelly on my face.  I actually don’t use it anywhere other than my eye lids (as an eye cream alternative).  My face is oily so that would be really gross on my face.  I haven’t had any problems and I’ve been using it for the last 6 – 8 months :).

Tyra Banks actually goes a little insane promoting the use of Vaseline for her “eye and anything” cream.  Check it out!


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17 Responses to “Going Green and Minimalistic in the Bathroom”


  1. Hello, I too am trying to cut down on all the personal hygiene products. It’s crazy the number of things you get used to or think you ‘need’ isn’t it? By the way, thanks for sharing your cider vinegar/lavender wash. This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. . .


  2. That’s great you’ve cut down on the amount of products you use and try to finish the bottle before you buy new ones. Your bathroom probably looks bigger because of it; I know mine does. In the distant past, I had a lot of stuff in the bathroom; now it’s just down to shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and stuff for my contact lenses. I had bad acne problems when I was younger & found that by not wearing makeup helped my skin a lot (but that’s just me; every person’s skin is different).


    • The cutting down is taking a while, but esp. things like moisturizers that I bought on a whim (*shakes my fist at Bath and Body Works) that I don’t want to just toss.

      I had bad acne growing up, too. And I never used any make-up until practically university. Even then, I was scared it would come back. But with a good routine and good quality make-up, I am able to keep it under control 😉

  3. janet Says:

    Hi A. M.

    I really like your beauty routine. I’m an esthetician so I’m always interested in what people use and how it works for them. The only thing I might be a bit concerned about is using petroleum jelly on your face. Mostly because it is made from petro! You are so right about the cheap apricot scrubs. You can’t believe the damage I see from those alone. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts!

    ~janet

  4. sunny Says:

    I like how you got rid of products you just didn’t need. And love that photo of only the essential toiletries. Is that your photo?

  5. lea ann Says:

    After reading your post again, realized I am already a minimalist with toiletries. I used to have really bad acne, but the only product that worked (this is not an infomercial!) is proactiv.

    So I have a proactiv cleanser and renewing lotion (women actually TOUCH my face because they can’t believe how soft my skin is. HAHAHAHA)… okay I need to focus.

    toothbrush/toothpaste/floss + proactive face cleanser and lotion + Organix sulfate-free shampoo (coconut), conditioner and mousse (people now touch my HAIR and can’t believe how soft it is) + body wash + soap.

    that’s it. 10 things.

    I am lucky to not have dry skin – so no need for moisturizer. sunblock when I’m outside.

    Am brand new to your blog but I LOVE IT. Can’t wait to read more posts.


    • That’s great, lea ann! I’ve never tried ProActive when I had acne but it worked for my sister! I would love to par down to only 10 items!

      (*runs off to count the number of items I have in my bathroom)

  6. miss esther Says:

    This is a smart idea. I always feel so much lighter mentally after spring cleaning. I’m also a product junkie!

  7. Heather Says:

    This is a lovely post. It’s exactly what I have been looking for. I need to downsize big time. A good thing is my son’s daycare is having running a charity for Mama’s and their new babies, so I am donating un-opened items to the Mama’s. It’s a win-win situation. : )


    • Thanks, Heather!

      I’m gonna keep downsizing. I know I have some old make up and nail polish that I haven’t used in the last year.

      Maybe that will be this weekend! 🙂

  8. Annie Says:

    Great post! I use Kirks’ Coco Castille soap to clean my face, and am still working on a lotion overstock for moisturizer. I use olive oil for a makeup remover instead of petroleum jelly, but I’ve used that too!

    I stopped using shampoo and conditioner in January(?) of this year. Instead I wash my hair with a small spoon of baking soda mixed in a cup of warm water. No lather but my hair has a lot more body and is softer. While I don’t know how much I spent on shampoos I think the baking soda is cheaper lol! Since switching I found I don’t even need conditioner anymore.

    Since my hair is growing out from a love shave (my cousin had brain surgery) I use hair gel and stuff when I dress up, but mostly I just wear a hat to keep from bothering when I’m around the house. When it gets longer I’ll be able to eliminate that stuff again…

    I do have a small “stash” of cosmetics! I’m not sure about going minimalist on them, but I’m positive I need to… Just not ready to let go of that stuff yet 🙂


    • Lotion overstocks are so evil! Bath and Body works, I will NEVER set foot in again 🙂

      My stash of cosmetics is getting smaller (thankfully!), but it’s taken a while! Why is it so hard to part with things that I barely use?!

      I do use make up on a regular basis though I do try to keep it minimal. I have a super oily t-zone and it looks like I just ran a marathon 😛


  9. […] A couple weeks ago, I decided to do another purge on my bathroom since I felt super invigorated last time I did […]


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