Make Your Own – Face Cream

Good evening fellow readers, forgive my absence but I FOUND A JOB so now I have a little less time to plan my blog posts as well as way less energies to concentrate. But here I am now, with a shiny recipe on how to make your own face cream.

Disclaimer: I have dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin (yay). It’s always been super difficult for me to find a good face cream because all the anti-acne creams tend to make your skin even drier, and all the creams for dry skin don’t do anything for your pimples. So I did some research and designed this cream specifically for my skin type. Therefore it might not work for you!

Disclaimer #2: This recipe is 100% made up by me. I picked the ingredients and tried to mix them together. I am not a doctor nor a dermatologist so you’re more than welcome to try this at home but don’t blame me if something goes wrong.

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  • Coconut oil (optional)
    I thought I’d use coconut oil as a base, but I wouldn’t if I could go back. I already use coconut oil to wash my face and it leaves my skin very moisturised, so I don’t really feel the need to add more oil when I apply my face cream. Plus coconut oil makes the cream excessively oily, considering the second ingredient is shea butter. Don’t get me wrong: I still think it works great, however next time I make this cream I probably won’t use coconut oil.

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  • Raw shea butter
    It’s probably a better idea to use this as a base instead. Shea butter is a great moisturised for dry skin, it has a very thick texture and it absorbs quickly. I’ve used shea butter-based creams before and I really love the consistency and the smell.
    Buy it here.

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  • Jojoba oil
    Jojoba oil is known for its moisturising properties (on skin, hair, everything! I use it in my homemade shampoo as well), and it’s gentle on sensitive skin.
    Buy it here.

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  • Castor oil
    A naturally astringent, castor oil helps pull impurities from the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and it acts as a barrier against the outside world’s harsh conditions, something you really want if you live in a place where you have nothing in between the sun and your face (hello New Zealand). I’m not sure about SPF, but it’s good to know you have some sort of sunscreen in your daily moisturiser.
    Careful: castor oil is very thick so you’ll only need a small amount. (Also, it smells like death).
    Buy it here.

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  • Vitamin E
    It’s never too early to start fighting those wrinkles. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which means it helps preventing tissue aging. Whoo!
    Buy it here.

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  • Witch hazel
    You’ll find witch hazel in a lot of face toners because of its soothing properties. My skin gets irritated easily and witch hazel is supposedly great for nourishing dry skin, as well as working as an anti-acne and fighting signs of aging.
    Buy it here.

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  • Zinc oxide
    Zinc oxide adds a little bit of sunscreen and helps fighting acne, too. It comes as a grainy powder but it is solubile so it will dissolve as lomg as you make sure you mix it in properly.
    Buy it here.

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Because I live in the middle of nowhere I had to buy all these ingredients online. I used iHerb (USA based) and GoNative (NZ based).
GoNative gives you the option to add a comment before placing your order, so I asked them to please use as little padding and packaging as possible, and to draw a unicorn on the box. They are now my favourite shop.

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iHerb was excellent in terms of delivery (it took less than 10 days to deliver from the States to New Zealand – trust me, that’s good), however I couldn’t find a way to ask them to minimise the packaging, so everything came in the usual styrofoam padding.

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The whole point of making your own face cream, beside knowing exactly what’s in it and customising it to meet your specific needs, is obviously to stop buying creams and body products that come in a plastic container. So when it came to purchasing the ingredients, I opted for the products that came in a glass container rather than a plastic bottle whenever I could (only coconut oil, castor oil, witch hazel are in glass, unfortunately).
The good news is that I’m pretty sure I can make multiple products out of the same ingredients, which overall are going to last me longer than a regular face cream. Also, I’m going to reuse the containers, and when it’s time to buy them again I’ll either reconsider the packaging, see if I can refill them rather than re-buy them, or I’ll just buy them in glass jars next time I’m in London (there’s much more variety there).

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Zero Waste challenge – Week 1

As you guys probably know by now, I do love a challenge. What I like even more is getting other people involved, especially when I think it’s for a good cause.
Waste minimisation has been my top priority in the past months, so Giac and I are currently challenging ourselves to live Zero Waste for two weeks.

The first week, which ends today, was all about using anything we already had that came with a packaging, assessing the amount of waste we produce on average in seven days, considering exceptions and compromises, while also refusing to buy anything that comes in plastic and trying to limit any packaging to recyclable materials at the same time.

The second week –assuming that at this point we have used up anything we had already purchased- is going to be about refusing and reducing even more, hopefully avoiding anything that comes in packaging at all, as well as assessing side effects such as whether we are saving money or we are eating better etc.

This is a review of the first week.

First of all let me tell you, this has been much easier than expected. Giac and I are already very aware of the rubbish we produce and we’ve been on a journey to minimise it since we moved to New Zealand. So we were already having a head start.
However there are things we are still struggling with (as in, items we find it hard to refuse or we haven’t found an alternative to yet).

This is all the rubbish we created in the past seven days, divided in recyclable (on the right) and not recyclable (on the left). I haven’t included all the compost, but just imagine a mountain of banana peels and tea bags as tall as you.

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Recyclable: pasta packaging, tin, paper scraps (tea box, notes etc), soy milk carton, flour packaging, paper napkin, toilet paper rolls (let’s ignore the fact that we used five rolls in seven days).
Not recyclable: makeup wipes, floss, receipts, fruit stickers, various plastic packaging, chocolate packaging, oatmeal packaging, canola spread container, contact lenses + container, chewing gums, various plasticky labels.

This is the result of a combination of consuming goods we had already and refusing to buy as many packaged items as possible.
In order to keep out mental sanity we decided not to go cold turkey and give up all packaging altogether. We decided to refuse as much as possible while still buying things that we think we need and we haven’t found an alternative to yet.
Below is a list of things we managed to refuse, things we compromised, and some final thoughts.

Things we refused

  • Spinach
    I do love a green smoothie. I always put spinach in my smoothies, however when I wanted to make myself one on a Friday, I realised I didn’t have any spinach and I couldn’t just go to the supermarket and buy it because spinach comes in a plastic bag. So I had to wait for the farmers market on Sunday to buy some in bulk. Zero Waste is all about being organised!
  • Sugar in coffee
    We’ve been to Starbucks a couple of times in the past week, and normally we’d both grab a sugar to go with it. Now we are either bringing our own sugar from home in a small container, or we simply go without.
  • Painting my nails
    I rarely do it, but sometimes I enjoy nail polish. However, removing it means using a cotton pad (landfill) and nail polish remover (toxic), so my solution was simply not painting my nails. I’m sure I’ll get over it.
  • Art supplies
    I didn’t need to buy any, but I did go visit my favourite art shop the other day, only to sadly notice how pretty much everything is wrapped in plastic. Will need to find an alternative to that.
  • Bread
    The bread we normally buy comes in a paper bag with a plastic insert. I haven’t got round to make my own bread yet, but for now we resorted to buying loose rolls instead, which also turned out to be cheaper.

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  • Incense
    My inner hippie loves some incense. I burn it pretty much daily. That’s why I ran out of it and I’ve been looking for some packaging-free sticks. The ones I found were not really my favourites so I haven’t bought any yet. I really like coconut and nag champa but they come in paper + plastic. Will see if I want to go with the less preferable flavours but in the meantime more research is needed!
  • Chocolate
    Giac is addicted to Cadbury chocolate. The packaging, however, goes straight to the landfill. As an alternative I’ve been baking like crazy to make sure he gets a daily supply of cookies instead.

Things we compromised

  • Pasta
    Unfortunately, pasta in bulk is not really a thing yet. I’m more of a rice person and could happily live without pasta (despite being Italian), but Giac has pasta pretty much every day. So we did buy it, after making sure we found a brand that has recyclable packaging.
  • Soy milk
    Haven’t got round to make my own milk yet. I will try for sure in the future, but for now I’m taking it one step and a time and still buying soy milk, as long as it comes in a recyclable packaging.
  • Condoms
    Probably TMI here, but lots of contraceptives are wasteful. I’ve been considering switching to Daysy, but haven’t made up my mind yet. This probably requires a separate blog post as it’s quite a broad subject, but in the meantime any suggestions in this field would be more than welcome!

Where we shopped instead
In order to minimise the amount of packaging, we went to the farmers market on Sunday (nothing new here, we shop at the farmers market on a regular basis already), and for anything other than fruits and veggies (i.e. rice, sugar, spices, seeds) we found this nice place in Newtown called Moshim’s (go check it out if you are in Welly) which has a huge selection of goods in bulk. We brought our own bags and jars, and ta-daaa! Zero Waste shopping.

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I also made my own shampoo, switched to a new face wash, and will try to make my own face cream as soon as the raw ingredients I ordered arrive (recipes coming soon!).

Overall conclusions
Forcing yourself to set aside every piece of rubbish you produce really makes you aware of it, and personally it still feels like we accumulated a lot. Compared to the average household, though, I think we did pretty well.
For me, the best way to transition is not to go Zero Waste overnight but to take it one step at a time. Replace what you need as and when you run out of it (i.e. I still have a couple of face creams that I’m going to use up before I make my own, so I can re-use the containers as well), take your time  to do your research and find sustainable alternatives. Ideally you want to go package-free, but if you can’t try at least to find the same item in a recyclable packaging.
Keep in mind that the point of living Zero Waste is accepting the fact that recycling is not the solution: refusing is (part of) the solution. So an even better approach is to consider whether something you want to buy is something you really need. You’ll find that nine out of ten times you can probably go without.


Zero Waste Essentials

Happy Saturday humans from the internet, and welcome to the last blog post of 2016!

I have recently ordered some Zero Waste essentials online, and although not all of them have arrived yet I thought I’d share them with you because I really want to get the message out there and remind people that this planet is the only one we’ve got (so far), and we simply can’t keep on pretending we don’t have a waste problem. We do. And it’s about time we take action and we do our best to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce on a daily basis.


If you’re interested in Zero Waste these are going to be no news to you, as there are plenty of bloggers and YouTubers out there preaching the importance of minimising, recycling, buying in bulk etc. But hey, I thought I’d offer my little contribution as well.

  • Food containers
    In order to reduce the amount of cling film and foil you use to store your food, make sure you stock up on Tupperwares. Ideally you want them to be metal or glass, as plastic is the material to avoid (a specific post on this will come soon), however even plastic ones will last you for a long time.
    Remember to bring a Tupperware along with you when you go out for a meal, too! So if you want to take away, you already have your own container.



  • Water bottles
    This hasn’t been a problem for me because I LOVE water bottles. I don’t know what it is about them, probably all the fun I have covering them up with stickers, but I can never have enough of them. I have two plastic ones and a metal one at the moment, two of them I’ve had for a couple of years and they are still in perfect conditions.
    Personally, having a water bottle with me at all times helps me drink more and stay hydrated, too. So this is definitely a staple that should be in your bag at all times.



  • Jars
    Duuude! Mason jars are such an imperative when you buy foods in bulk. I use them for rice, lentils, beans, couscous, sugar, seeds, coffee, and all the dry foods you can think about really (although I also use them for olive oil, washing up liquid, body lotion and a bunch of other things). Buying in bulk is the best way to avoid packaging and to save money too, as packaging typically accounts for 15% of the retail price.


  • Tote bags
    Do these even deserve to be mentioned? It just sounds SO obvious to me as I’m used to carry tote bags around everywhere I go. This goes especially for grocery shopping, but it’s good pratcice to make sure you have a tote bag with you at all times, because you never know when you might need to carry an extra something, and you definitely don’t want to reach for a plastic bag.
    In the UK the government put a 5p charge on plastic bags, which reduced the usage of bags by 80%. The same initiative has been denied here in New Zealand which sucks, but that’s not an excuse to refuse to use plastic bags anyway.


  • Dishwash brush
    This is a recent addition to my Zero Waste essentials and I’ve only used it a couple of times so far. I’m not a fun of brushes like this because I thought they wouldn’t clean as deep as a sponge would. However I’m slowly getting used to it and to be honest it’s a different feeling but the brush gets the job done. This one is made of wood, metal, and vegetable fibres for the bristles.


  • Coffee mug
    Who doesn’t love a good coffee on the way to work in the morning? But hundreds of disposable cups end up in the bin every day as a result of that. Get yourself a reusable coffee mug and carry it around with you, so you’ll never be caught off guard on unexpected coffee dates!



The second photo is an amazing glass jar for brewing tea which I want SO MUCH (so Giac if you’re reading this you know what to do).

  • Metal straws
    Every smoothie lover knows that a smoothie tastes better when you drink it with a straw. But straws are terrible for the environment and such a waste! I’m so happy that I got these stainless steel straws in the post just a couple of days ago (they came with a handy brush for cleaning as well). Another little thing to carry around with you, just remember whenever you go out for a drink ask for no straw – and you can use your own.


  • Safety razor
    Ladies and gentlemen, this applies to all of you. A good alternative for ladies to shaving is also epilating, which I’ve been doing since I was in high school. I’m now used to it and it doesn’t hurt, but realistically there are places that an electric device that tears off your hairs one by one should never be close to. So when it comes to razors, make sure you use a metal one: the blade is recyclable, and the handle will last you for a lifetime.


  • Soap bars
    This goes for hand soap bars, shampoo bars and conditioner bars.
    Lush is my favourite place to stock up on shampoo and conditioner bars: they have a huge range for every hair (and nose) type. As for shampoo, my absolute favourite is Sea Senik because it smells like the ocean, and Karma is at second place (I’m definitely Karma team here). The conditioner I’m currently using is called The Plumps and it smells divine.
    Some places sell these bars unpackaged which is great, but I noticed even when they come in a package that’s normally just paper which you can happily recycle.


  • Homemade tooth paste
    I just made this myself yesterday, using only coconut oil and baking soda. Technically you’re also supposed to add peppermint oil or some other essential oil for taste, but I haven’t been able to get any, however the final results still tastes ok. Recipe to be revised, but overall a great alternative to regular toothpaste, as the plastic tube is impossible to recycle.


  • Bambooo toothbrush
    I’ve been using eco bamboo toothbrushes for about a year now. Make sure you get one with compostable bristles though, as some are made of plastic and they miss the whole point. This feels just the same as a regular plastic toothbrush, but it’s compostable, ecofriendly, and looks sleek AF.


  • Coconut oil
    This is just a general staple for anyone who wants to live Zero Waste. Coconut oil has SO MANY uses: face moisturiser, makeup remover, body lotion, cooking oil, in your toothpaste (see above), hair conditioner… It’s just good to have some in your cupboard because trust me, it will come in handy.


  • Cotton buds
    I’d never seen compostable cotton buds until I moved to New Zealand. But then I found a brand called GoBamboo which makes cotton buds made of -you got it- bamboo instead of plastic, which makes them compostable.
    Some Zero Waste people simply ditch cotton buds altogether claiming your pinkie does the job just as well, but I LOVE the feeling of cleaning my ears with cotton buds so I’m stocked to have found compostable ones here in NZ.



  • Menstrual cup
    I’m going to write a whole separate post on this, but ladies! If you’ve never tried a menstrual cup before, you don’t know what you’re missing. You have to try one. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Menstrual cups (also known as Diva cups or Moon cups) are made out of medical grade silicone and they last for years, and when they expire there are several ways you can dispose of them (read more here).


  • Microfiber towels
    When it comes to cleaning, I found that instead of sponges, hand towels or microfiber towels work just as well. I just got myself a bunch and they are great for any surface cleaning -when you’re done, you can just chuck them in the washing and they’ll be good to go again once they are clean.


  • Laundry nuts
    I used to use laundry nuts (or soap nuts) in London, however I still haven’t found them here in New Zealand so I buy laundry detergent in bulk instead. But laundry nuts are great because they are literally nuts, which means you can chuck them in the compost once you’re done with them (three or four of them will last you for up to five washin ups). Your laundry won’t smell the same as with regular laundry detergent -in fact it won’t smell like anything, because these nuts don’t contain any natural or artifical flavours- but it will be just as clean.


And there you have it! I hope this was helpful and it will inspire you to consider Zero Waste and make an effort to reduce the waste we produce every day.
Have a fabulous New Years’s Eve and I will talk to you in 2017!