Through drastic lifestyle changes, the Bay Area's Johnson family managed to reduce their annual trash output to literally a handful. Packaged foods? Gone. Unnecessary expenses? Cut. And a full beauty routine? Completely streamlined, thanks to ingenuity from the lady of the house, Béa Johnson. The world first took note of the family's revolutionary lifestyle change through a breakthrough feature in Sunset Magazine, where Béa mentioned only using four beauty products: face powder, eye cream, mascara, and eye liner. She's since changed it up with a few additions and subtractions, but her beauty philosophy remains the same—eliminate extra wrapping. "I think there is too much unnecessary packaging out there, and I try to keep my home as waste-free as possible—why shouldn't that include my beauty routine?" Béa told Beautylish. Breaking free from product overload may sound like an idyllic thought, but she is whole-heartedly putting her principles to practice. From DIY hairspray to evening wear, learn about Béa's full routine below.
Béa's beauty routine starts in the bulk section, where buys all of her bath and body products: shampoo, conditioner, french clay, baking soda, cocoa powder, and sormeh (an all-natural burnt butter that's an equivalent to middle eastern kohl powder). She compromises by purchasing a few essentials she can't otherwise recreate: mascara, tinted moisturizer with SPF, and a bronzer brush, whose handle is made from bamboo. She only buys MAC mascara and recycles old tubes through their Back 2 Mac program.
Skin care is just as easy. First cleansing with lavender soap and gently exfoliating with a towel, Béa applies an SPF tinted moisturizer as a base and defines her lash line with sormeh. She coats her lashes with mascara, applies cocoa powder on her cheeks with her bamboo brush, rubs homemade balm on her lips, cuticles, and through the ends of her hair as she's running out the door. At night, the regimen is the same the minus the makeup—soap, and lots of beauty rest.
"I still love to go out and enhance my look for the evening," explains Béa when she wants a stronger look. "I like to intensify my makeup and increase the drama." To prepare her skin for special events, she exfoliates her face with baking soda and mixes a custom clay mask with French green clay found at health food stores. She layers more tinted moisturizer for coverage, intensifies her lower lash line, and tints her lips with a bright beet lip stain.
The ultra-minimal routine may seem effortless, but the road to an eco-friendly routine proves difficult. "The most challenging part of the process is finding products that work for my lifestyle without compromising my aesthetic," explains Béa, "I remember trying the 'no poo' option, and ditched my regular shampoo for a baking soda and vinegar rinse. My husband wasn't pleased—he wasn't keen on kissing 'salad dressing', so I quickly dropped the vinegar. After six months of no shampoo, I realize that I went too far—I was adopting unsustainable alternatives that I couldn't realistically keep up. So I let go of the extremes, and I now buy my hair care in bulk with my own bottles."
Béa's husband Scott keeps a simple grooming routine himself, using a double-edge razor and drying the blade after each use to extend its wear, "a 10-pack of blades will last five years if you take care of the blade," adds Béa. In lieu of shaving cream, Scott instead opts for a rich soap without aftershave, and both Béa and Scott share an alum stone as deodorant. "His only beauty vice are his contacts. He wears lenses and uses contact lens solution. The plastic bit surrounding the cap gets added to our yearly trash tally. It's a necessary evil."
Want to adopt greener policies on your own? Remember Béa's tips:
1. Refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle.
"I refuse all freebies, including the free lipstick from MAC's Back 2 MAC Program. I reduce the amount and frequency of products I own, I reuse by shopping for bulk items with reusable glass bottles, and I recycle everything when possible. I even compost lemon peels that I use for DIY hair and nail treatments!"
2. Join the DIY club.
"I make a fantastic nail buffing cream from homemade kaolin clay and olive oil, and make my own hair spray from lemon, water, and hard alcohol—I don't use this too often otherwise it would dry out my hair too much. I create my very own ruby red lip tint from a mix of beet juice and hard alcohol, and even formulate my own tooth powder with baking soda and stevia."
3. Get resourceful.
"Multipurpose items are my savior. My homemade balm works on lips, nails, hair, and body. My sormeh kohl works as eye shadow and liner. My cocoa powder is bronzer, blush, and hot chocolate! You really trim the excess in your life when you find products that work double-time for you."
After reading about Béa's drastically overhauled routine, could you survive without some of your beauty staples?