Zero Waste Recipes for the Ultimate at-home Facial Spa!

Picture yourself lazying on the couch in your pjs, munching on junk, watching your favorite movie with a face mask on. There’s something so soothing and self-indulgent about an at-home facial that I just had to share my favorite recipes. As a bonus, all face-care DIYs are also zero-waste & they save a ton of money in the long run!

Note: As with all beauty-related products, please perform a swatch test behind your ear to check for sensitivities or allergies. All Zero-Waste facial spa recipe cards are available on @mnmlgrlblog on Instagram stories.

Step 1 - Cleanse

Every spa facial must begin with cleansing! Thoroughly cleanse your face using a cleanser suitable to your skin type. For me, a cleanser should effectively cleanse my face & remove makeup simultaneously. Here are the two of my favorite cleansing recipes which I use alternatively based on the weather and how my skin feels. For the sake of reference, I have combination skin with a tendency to get whiteheads & blackheads on the nose. Both cleansers are gentle and calming while effectively removing makeup.

The ingredients of the Soothing Whipped Cleansing Balm are perfect for those who have dry, flaky skin like mine. The Coconut Oil deeply cleanses oil, dirt and makeup while the Kokum Butter calms skin down because of its softening and soothing properties. The sweet almond oil provides extra nourishment and smells like a dash of heaven!

The Gentle Detergent-Free Foaming cleanser is just that, gentle! The main ingredient of this foaming cleanser - Aritha (soap nuts) is a detergent free, natural alternative to soap which gives a delicate froth with foamed. Lavender essential oil has balancing, calming and relaxing properties while the honey cleanses while still locking in the moisture. Make sure you dilute this solution with water when you store it in the foaming jar because that is what will give you the cleansing foam!

Here are some DIY recipes for face cleansers that I’ve tried & loved.

I love this rice milk cleanser because it is full of moisturizing & nourishing properties, perfect as an everyday cleanser for dry skin. This recipe doubles up as a sensitive skin cleanser and a makeup remover! If' you're feeling adventurous, here are 5 natural face wash DIYs you can make from ingredients you have around your home for every skin type!

Step 2 - Steam

Steaming my face is likely my favorite part of the facial! The heat relaxes my face, opens my pores for deep cleansing, and prepping it for exfoliation! There’s a couple of ways I do this – I stick my face above the hot water to catch the steam or (my favorite) dip & wring out a towel in the water and cover your face with it.

Chamomile tea steam. Chamomile flowers (dried or as a loose leaf tea) is very calming and restorative for the skin, especially if is prone to flareups. You basically steam your face with the tea. The fragrance of chamomile is so relaxing & yummy!!! You can steam your face with a concoction of your favorite herbs & flowers. Sprinkle some roses, jasmine, lavender, green tea, tea tree oil, lemon or orange peels etc for a natural, purifying steam!

Step 3 - Exfoliate

I prefer to exfoliate right after steaming my face because it gets rid of dry & rough skin (around my nose) & eliminates whiteheads & blackheads. I use a mix of both mechanical & natural-chemical exfoliants. I’m sharing two of my favorite exfoliating recipes below. Hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

Oatmeal makes a perfect main ingredient for the Oatmeal Honey Breakfast scrub because it exfoliates gently without stripping the skin of its natural oils. The humectant qualities of honey ensure that your skin will stay supple and the yogurt lifts away dead skin with its gentle enzymes leaving skin soft and bright.

The Cooling Anti-acne Sandalwood Scrub is perfect for combination skin or for areas where you may have whiteheads & blackheads. The red sandalwood paste (make traditional by rubbing sandalwood stick on mortar or mix sandalwood powder with water) has anti-inflammatory & anti-acne making properties which calm already irritated skin. The natural scubbiness of rice powder makes it a natural exfoliant while still retaining its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

My All-day Errday Yogurt Scrub is my favorite scrub and costs next to nothing! Our Dadi Ma's have used this scrub on us when we didn't know any better and our skin was amazing back then! Adapt it anyway you want but I stick to the basics with this one. I like how gentle and cleansing besan (chickpea flour) is. Yogurt and rice flour also calm irritated, red skin with natural enzymes and act as a natural chemical exfoliant.

Here are a few more scrub recipes you might like. For days when you want to feel yummy & delicious try making this almond & honey face scrub! For a quick pick me up on a warm day, use this mint facial sugar exfoliant! And then there is the cleansing glow scrub like the one here.

Step 4 - Massage

Massage with moisturizer of choice: This is perhaps the most important step of the facial. Massage your entire face in light, upward strokes starting from neck moving all the way up to the forehead. Take your time with each area of your face being extra gentle near the delicate eye area. Use the moisturizer best suited for your skin type or stick to a blend of your favorite facial oils. Below are a few of my all time favorite handcrafted moisturizers & facial oils!

I called this massage oil the Soft Bunny Baby Face Oil blend because it has carrot seed oil haha! The carrot seed oil is full of antioxidants & known to help muscle elasticity, the rosehip oil is full of skin-nourishing vitamins & is a potent anti-ageing oil. Argan oil/ Avocado oil are both moisturizing and make excellent carrier oils. Pick the one that is available.

I created the Golden Ghee massaging blend when I needed deep moisturization. These are common kitchen ingredients I've seen the women in my family using and they had glowy skin well into their 80s & 90s! I can't even begin to sing praises of this multi-purpose oil/fat. There are quite easily over a 100 benefits of Ghee! Ensure that the ghee is pure (preferably homemade Ghee). Everyone knows the power of turmeric nowadays, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and used in many medicinal preparations. Coconut Oil is a well-known emollient with moisturizing properties. Rub the massaging blend in circular motion and wash off with tepid water. This moisturizer is perfect for dry, winter months or if you have dry, flaky skin. The Golden Ghee massaging blend is rich in vitamins & skin-nourishing milk-proteins which help strengthen the facial skin. Ghee also solves a lot of my white head problems. Make fresh everytime!

I found these two recipes for day serum & night serum but honestly I believe they can be used at any time based on your skin needs. This coconut oil free recipe for a silky moisturizing lotion is good for beginners. If you have all the ingredients (its a lot!), this DIY is better than a lot of store-bought moisturizers (I gave mine away as gifts)! This whipped moisturizer is surprisingly simple for how fancy it ends up looking in the it needs very few ingredients!

Step 5 - Face Mask

Wipe off excess moisturizer/massaging oils using a clean, soft-cotton hanky and follow up with an indulgent face mask! I always reach out for face masks when I want to indulge in an evening of pampering & self-care! I put on my favorite movies, surround myself with pillows, turn up the AC to cold (I live in Mumbai-27degrees is cold, lol!) & huddle under the covers. Like cleansers & moisturizers, face masks tend to come in a ton of variants based on skin type, the ingredients, how they are applied, the effect it has on skin etc. I prefer the muddy, creamy variants, but there are many peel off, sheet mask type of masks too. Try them all!

The SST face mask: (Sasta. Sundar. Tikau)

Multani mitti is a miracle ingredient. It pulls out excess oil while making my skin softer and smoother! There really is nothing else that brings a glow to my face like this face pack! Seriously, not one! If I had to make a choice, I would buy just multani mitti & few other herbs & call it a day. Sasta. Sundar. Tikau. Save your pennies folks. Invest instead!

If I'm honest, there are way too many masks you can make with the ingredients in your kitchen. Mix-&-match your favorite ingredients – besan, rice powder, sandalwood powder, yogurt, lemon, orange, multani mitti, roses, neem, etc etc etc. However, sometimes the joy is also in the process of making the mask from ingredients you would otherwise not use on the regular.

For days like that, here is a list of dermatologist approved face mask recipes you can make at home. If you're feeling fancy, try these recipes too!

Step 6 - Tone

Wash thoroughly with plain water and follow up with toner and astringent if needed. Usually I’m too lazy to tone my skin but here are some low-waste toners I’ve used & loved!

My absolute favorite DIY toner is the Cooling Anti-Redness Toning Water which was handed down to me from my Nani & actually it is a recipe for flavoured water with medicinal benefits. Back in the day when there was no chemical or electronic filter, my grandparents used to boil water with herbs. These herbs would give a hint of flavour and were tailored to the needs of the season. The cooling flavoured water doubled up as my toner!

Here are three other DIY facial toner recipes I’ve tried & liked. I love all things honey, its moisturizing and calming properties lend themselves well to this toner recipe. This recipe will suit people with normal to oily skin because of its astringent properties. For balancing skins pH & for strengthening it, try this fun hibiscus-vitamin C toner mist!

Step 7 - Moisturizing

Moisturizing after toning locks in the moisture & ensures that your skin stays supple & silky! I prefer to stick to a non-comedogenic moisturizer but you can skip the fanfare & make something of your own. Here is my favorite recipe.

I can't promise that the Rosy Anti-aging Aloe Whip will reverse your age, because no cream can honestly claim to do that anyway…but it feels like a dream on the skin!

Sometimes the easiest solution is the simplest. Pick your favorite hydrating facial oil and apply as moisturizer.

Step 8 - Lip Balm

The final step of my facial spa is a lip balm. I prefer using an all-natural lip balm because I tend to eat my lipstick/lip balm in a few hours. So, it is essential that my lip balm be completely natural & preferably edible too! Here are some of my favorites.

The Peppermint & Orange Lip Balm intensely moisturizes but doesn’t make my lips feel coated. It truly is very decadent & yummy smelling!

Three other DIY lip balm inspirations: This DIY lip-balm recipe will not only make your lips soft & kissable, but make your vanity look insta-worthy as well! Go through this basic recipe which can be easily adapted to any color & flavor of your choice and is perfect for beginners! To heal dry, chapped & sensitive lips, you might give this recipe a shot, which was designed specifically for her child who has sensitive skin.

You might have noticed that I tried using ingredients common to the Indian household or things that can be easily bought at the local kirana or chemist store. Few ingredients are common across recipes and can be used interchangeably. Give these zero-waste facial spa recipes a try and tell me how it goes.

Share these recipes with your favorite girls (or guy-friends) so you too can have a zero-waste at home facial spa day!

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