Zero waste week: the best homemade products

We have searched the web for the best recipes to keep your lifestyle as zero waste as possible. Lesson learned from all of these is to keep apple cider vinegar on hand at all times because it comes in handy in the majority of these recipes. It is not about buying new products all the time; it is about reusing one bottle over and over again with natural ingredients that will break down organically.


DIY toiletries are definitely the most simple and accessible recipes for zero waste beginners. All it takes is a bit of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Remember that these recipes are flexible: you can adjust the amount of the base ingredient according to your hair or skin needs. After I started using this DIY shampoo and conditioner, my hair became healthier and thicker. Your hair might smell like apple cider vinegar while in the shower, but it goes away after your hair dries, especially if you throw in an essential oil like rosehip or lavender. Your skin will smell amazing after using honey for your face wash and body wash, like all the best parts of nature.



  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 110 ml water
  1. In one cup, mix the baking soda with the 60 ml of water.
  2. Apply this to your roots and let it sit for one minute.
  3. Then, scrub the mixture into your scalp.
  4. Rinse.
  • If your hair becomes frizzy, try using less baking soda or leaving it on for a shorter period of time. Adding honey may also help.

Via Live About


Dry Shampoo

  • 60 ml cornstarch or cocoa powder for dark hair
  • 1 tsp crushed lavender or another fragrant herb
  1. Sprinkle enough of the mixture to cover all hair.
  2. Make sure you brush the mixture through your hair. 

Via Wellness Mama


  • 2-4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar - the amount will vary depending on your hair. Start with less and move up to 4 tbsp over time. 
  • 450 ml of cool water
  • 1-2 drops lavender oil or rosehip oil (optional)
  1. Mix the apple cider vinegar, water, and essential oil (optional) in a bottle.
  2. After shampooing and rinsing your hair, pour the mixture over your entire scalp, allowing the mixture to run through your hair.
  3. Leave the mixture in for about three minutes.
  4. Rinse - any lingering vinegar smell will leave once the hair is dry. You will find you need to wash your hair fewer times a week. Make sure not to use this rinse every day. 

Via Organic Conversation


  • About 120 ml coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp of baking soda
  • 2 small packets of stevia powder
  • 15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
  • 10 drops myrrh extract (optional)
  1. Melt or slightly soften coconut oil.
  2. Mix in other ingredients and stir well. If using semi-hard coconut oil, use a fork. If not, use a spoon. If you are using completely melted coconut oil, you will need to stir several times while the mixture cools to keep the baking soda incorporated.
  3. Put mixture into a small glass jar.
  4. Let cool completely.
  5. To use: dip a toothbrush in and scrape small amount onto bristles. You could also use a small spoon to put on the toothbrush.

Via Wellness Mama

Body Wash

  • 3 tbsp liquid castile soap
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp oils (I used 1 tbsp each of castor oil and olive oil)
  • 10 drops of essential oil of choice (or more for your preferences)
  1. Carefully mix all ingredients by hand with a spoon in a glass liquid measuring cup. Do not use a blender, whisk or hand mixer as this will create bubbles and make it impossible to get into a container.
  2. Pour into a (preferably glass) container and use in the shower as a body wash. I use with a natural sea sponge for easy use.

Via Wellness Mama

Face Wash

  • 60 grams raw, local honey
  • 60 ml water, coconut water or coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp liquid castile soap
  1. Combine ingredients and pour into a glass bottle. Don’t shake the bottle or you’ll start to foam the soap.
  2. To use, pour a small amount of the honey mixture into the palm of your hand and massage into face and neck.
  3. Add a pinch of baking soda a couple of times a week to gently exfoliate.
  4. Rinse with warm water.

Via Hello Glow


  • Filtered water
  • Raw apple cider vinegar
  • Lavender essential oil (optional)
  • Frankincense essential oil (optional) 
  1. For normal to dry skin, mix 1/3 part vinegar to 2/3 part filtered water. Add a few drops (I add 5-10 drops per 2 oz. of toner mixture) of lavender or frankincense oils.
    1. For oily and acne-prone skin, mix 1/2 part vinegar and 1/2 part filtered water.
  2. Add a few drops (I add 5-10 drops per 50 ml of toner mixture) of lavender or frankincense oils.
  3. Store in a glass bottle at room temperature.
  4. Use toner twice a day – first thing in the morning and right before bed.

Via Don't Mess With Mama


  • 120 grams shea butter
  • 2 tbsp nourishing oil such as jojoba, avocado, apricot, sweet almond oil, or grape-seed oil. This can even be coconut or olive oil. Almond oil is my recommendation since it feels the best on the skin for most people.
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)
  • 3 drops carrot seed essential oil (optional)
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)
  1. In a double boiler (a glass bowl over a pot filled 1/4 the way full with water), over medium-low heat, melt the shea butter. Add in the nourishing skin oil. Turn off the heat.
  2. Pour into a bowl. Place in the fridge or freezer and allow to cool and return to a solid (not hard) form. This takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on location.
  3. Once opaque and slightly firm, remove the bowl from the freezer. Add in the essential oils. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip the mixture. You can also use a whisk or fork versus a mixer. This takes just a few seconds. Don't over-whip. Scoop into a jar and store at room temperature. Apply to both body and face as desired.

Via Live Simply


DIY cosmetics are no joke. They require more obscure ingredients, and the recipes require much more time to get the colours just how you want them. There is more trial and error, but each recipe is still doable. Most of the ingredients can be found at any health food store like Whole Foods or Holland & Barrett. If neither store carries what you need, check Amazon. Be prepared for the time it takes to search for ingredients and to make plenty of mistakes in your first few attempts. It will be worth it when feeling empowered by the fact that you made your perfect pallet and that you have complete control on how it is packaged and made.


  • 1/4 tsp activated charcoal 
  • 1/4 tsp bentonite clay
  • 1/8 tsp (about 4 drops) vegetable glycerine
  • 1/4 tsp (plus more if needed) aloe vera gel
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  1. Mix all ingredients in a very small bowl until completely smooth.
  2. Add more aloe vera gel if needed to get a smooth consistency.
  3. Carefully scoop into a medicine dropper with a spatula and slowly squirt into the mascara container (or jar).
  4. Alternately, you can add the ingredients directly to the mascara tube and mix with the mascara brush, though it takes a while of mixing to get the ingredients smooth inside the tube.

To Use:

Use as you would regular mascara.

To Remove:

Use a washcloth with warm water or use olive oil as a natural eye makeup remover.

Bonus tip: dust lashes with arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch first to thicken and lengthen even more. This works with a lash curler but I’ve found it is better to curl first so they don’t clump.

Via Wellness Mama


  • 1/2 tsp of activated charcoal
  • Distilled Water
  1. Add ½ tsp of activated charcoal to a small bowl and add several drops of distilled water.
  2. Mix this together to make a paste. It may have a few lumps, but they will work themselves out.

To Use:

  1. Remove a small amount with a clean utensil and place on a glass saucer.
  2. Take a very narrow brush and dab it in the mixture.
  3. Apply to the upper and lower lid close to the lashes.
  4. For best results create your line using many small strokes instead of one long stroke.
  5. Be sure to clean your brush well each time you use it and let it dry completely.

To Remove: 

Using a cotton ball with some coconut oil on it, sweep gently across the eyelid. Repeat several times if necessary and wipe off any excess coconut oil.

Via DIY Natural


  • 2 tsp of argan oil or jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp of shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp emulsifying wax
  • 1 tbsp aloe gel
  • 1 tsp witch hazel
  • 1-4 tsp non-nano zinc oxide
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1//2-1 tsp mica powder of choice
  • 1/2 tsp clay of choice (if using)
  • OR 2-3 tsp of all-natural mineral powder in colour of choice
  1. If making the simple version, just mix the organic lotion and mineral powder to get the desired colour and consistency.

For the complete DIY:

  1. Melt the shea butter, argan oil and emulsifying wax in a double boiler until completely melted.
  2. Add the aloe and witch hazel and whisk until completely incorporated and smooth.
  3. Turn heat off.
  4. Slowly, start adding colours. Start with zinc and clays until desired coverage is reached. It will still be too pale at this point.
  5. Add mica powders and cocoa powder a tiny pinch at a time until desired colour is reached.
  6. Dip the tip of a spoon into the mixture and let cool for a few seconds. Test the colour and coverage on your forehead to make sure you’ve achieved the right tone for your skin.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the desired container and let cool.

Via Wellness Mama

Lip Gloss

  • 2 tbsp grated beeswax
  • 3 tbsp shea butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 drops essential oil (we like vanilla!)
  1. Heat up the coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter for 45 seconds until it becomes a liquid.
  2. Gently mix the ingredients together and add a couple of drops of vanilla essential oil (the amount of essential oil and the scent you use is up to you!)

Via Sweety High


  • 1 tsp beeswax pastilles
  • 1 tsp Shea butter or Cocoa Butter
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
Optional Color Add-Ins
  • For Red Hues: 1/8 tsp of beetroot powder or 1 drop of natural red food colouring with no chemical additives. Note: Add these very slowly as a little goes a long way!
  • For Brown/Tan Hues: 1/4 tsp (or more for colour) of organic cocoa powder, a tiny pinch of cinnamon or turmeric to get the shade you want.
  • For Matte texture: 1/4 tsp bentonite clay– I use this with a colour so it doesn’t leave a white tint on my lips.
  • For Scent: A drop of essential oil of choice (optional).
  1. Melt the beeswax, shea butter/cocoa butter and coconut oil in a glass jar without a lid in a small pot of simmering (not boiling) water. It should melt quickly because so little of each ingredient is used.
  2. When melted, remove from heat and add any optional ingredients like colour or scent. To get the hue in the picture above, I used a tiny pinch of beetroot powder (1/8 tsp or less), 1/4 tsp cocoa powder, 1/8 tsp bentonite clay, 1/8 tsp cinnamon and a drop of peppermint essential oil (just because I like the smell). I think I added slightly more cocoa powder after mixing to darken it up slightly but I didn’t measure that one.
  3. Once all ingredients are mixed well but still liquid, use a dropper to pour into the lip chap container. I used the glass dropper from an old tincture bottle. Fill just below the top as it will expand slightly as it cools. Leave to cool for at least half an hour. Store in a cool place or it will soften.

Via Wellness Mama

Cleaning Supplies

Not only are DIY cleaning supplies awesome for cutting back waste, but they also keep harmful chemicals out of our eyes, our noses and away from our hands. These recipes are really simple and almost all of them require the same ingredients. Keep white vinegar around for your countertops and your bathroom floor, keep apple cider vinegar around for your hair and skin and then don’t stress out about the other stuff. Your house will have a vinegary smell by the end of this deep clean but the smell will go away as everything dries.

Bathroom Disinfectant

  • 2 cups warm water distilled for longer-term use or tap water for short-term use
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp castile soap
  • 30 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 20 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 16 oz glass spray bottle
  1. Pour the warm water into the bottle, followed by the baking soda. Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. Add the castile soap and essential oils, gently shaking the bottle to combine.
  2. Use this spray to clean the tub, tile, toilet, sink and even floor (particularly around the toilet). Spray the surface, allow the cleaner to sit for a minute, then wipe with a damp cloth. Rinse the cloth as needed.

Via Live Simply

Toilet Cleaner

  • 64 grams baking soda
  • 230 ml distilled white vinegar
  • ½ tsp tea tree essential oil
  1. Combine vinegar and essential oil in a small spray bottle.
  2. Spray vinegar mixture inside the bowl, and also on the toilet seat, lid, and handle.
  3. Allow cleaner to sit for several minutes.
  4. Sprinkle baking soda inside the toilet bowl and scrub inside of the bowl with a toilet brush.
  5. Use a clean dry cloth to wipe vinegar solution off seat, lid, and handle.

Via DIY Natural

Glass Cleaner

  • 470 ml of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice; I use lemon (optional, but it helps cut the vinegar smell)

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window.

Note:  If you have always used commercial window cleaner in the past, mix a couple of drops of liquid castile soap or liquid dish soap in some of this mixture the first time you clean the windows to remove detergent residue.

Via Wellness Mama

Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tsp fragrance-free dish soap
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  1. In a spray bottle, combine white vinegar and dish soap. Swirl to combine.
  2. Add in essential oils.
  3. Cap and shake well.
  4. Shake before each use.
  5. Shake bottle well before using.
  6. Spray generously in the tub and on the tile.
  7. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes in the tub.
  8. Wipe with a clean rag.
  9. Use daily for best results.

Via DIY Natural

If you want to know more about how to live a zero-waste lifestyle, check out our Instagram page @ellnews, our Twitter @eastlondonlines and follow the hashtag #ELLzerowasteweek.

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