Beauty comes from within - not in a plastic tub

Hello everyone, I’m Maria and I’m a London based creative from Sweden. I run my own design studio and I’m a proud DIYer.

Maria Maleh

Spending a tremendous amount of time in front of a computer screen is a big part of my day to day life, so for the past few years, I’ve tried to seek out ways of unwinding and being creative offscreen. I’ve always loved crafts and cooking is a huge passion of mine, so making my own beauty products was a natural progression.

My skin story: from my teenage years to recently, I had acne and it really did affect my self-confidence, I’d go to shops and spend money on anything that was on offer in the hopes it would make my skin better. I barely read what was in the products or where they were from, and did not care at all about the packaging.

I decided I needed to do something different, so I started to read the ingredients, I looked up what was supposed to be good for what, and kept a strict skincare routine. My skin did clear up, it could be the products, but it also could be life! I was just a less stressed person, ate better, and was genuinely happier.

To take this story one step further, I am now very happy with my skin, and I am proud to say that I have started to make my own beauty products. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy things, (waste-free packaging if I can) no one is perfect. All we can do is keep learning and buy better products (responsibly made, waste-free packaging, natural ingredients and cruelty-free).

I started to look into how to make my own products when I realised that it was not always as easy to buy natural plastic-free items. I spent hours on YouTube, read books and did a course in soap making. I wanted to have as little plastic as possible in my bathroom and beauty drawers. The easiest way to do that was to not buy anything new. When things started to run out, I was prepared to purchase waste-free products I’d researched, but I was more excited to make my own things, I love the feeling of using products I made myself, knowing that nothing and no one have been harmed in their making.

My bathroom swaps list looks something like this now…

Items I make myself:

• Soap bars to use both for body, face and hands

• Oil blends for face, body and hair

• Reusable face cotton rounds for makeup removal

• Body butter/salves/balms

Items I buy:

• Plastic-free natural deodorant

• Shampoo and conditioner bars (saves 3 plastic bottles per bar!)

• Period cup and period panties

So, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite DIY plastic-free beauty recipes:

Rose water to use as a refreshing face mist or hydrating toner


• Collect roses petals from a bush (Be careful, I would advise to use gloves)

• Rinse in water a couple of times.

• Boil up in a pot filled with water covering the petals

• Turn off heat and leave to simmer

• Filter through with a sieve

• Pour over into glass bottles or jar

• Store in fridge for max 2 weeks

• Mix out with distilled water to create a face mist

• Use as a face toner with a reusable cotton round

Simple body balm

Beauty products can be simple to make with some things we already have in our food cupboards. Wax and shea butter can be bought in paper packaging or sometimes package free in bulk stores.

• 10g Candelilla Wax (vegan) or beeswax

• 50g shea butter

• 25g olive oil

• 50g coconut oil

Melt everything together in a double boiler, pour into reusable heat resistant tins, leave to cool down.

Reusable cotton rounds:

• Find material at home: Old t-shirt, towel or underwear

• Cut to desired size

• Double up and stitch together (Sewing can be done with a sewing machine or also by hand!)

• Wash with towels or underwear after use

The biggest change in my plastic-free journey has been my mindset and to acknowledge – I do not need to consume in order to be happy or feel pretty.

For more from Maria you can follow her on Instagram here.

If you’ve been inspired by Maria to cut back on single-use plastic, why not join the Plastic Challenge?