Minimalist Nighttime Skincare Routine with Differin

Last week, I talked about my minimalist morning skincare routine so, this week, we’re getting into what I use at night. Again, we’re dealing mostly with plastic packaging (except for one metal tube + facial oil in a glass bottle) BUT, overall, a lot fewer products that I have to deal with recycling in general. Also, 4 of the 6 products below are used in my morning routine as well.

1. Origins Cleansing Oil 2. La Roche Posay Gentle Cleanser 3. Drunk Elephant Lala Whipped Cream

Oil Cleanse: I bought this with a Macy’s gift card when I had no idea what else to buy. And, you know what? I love it. It smells delightful and is both gentle and moisturizing. Great at helping take off my sunscreen.
Eco Pros: No parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, mineral oil, DEA, petrolatum, paraffin, polyethylene beads, formaldehyde & animal ingredients. Origins also supports reforestation projects around the world and are working to have net zero carbon emissions by 2020.
Eco Cons: Plastic bottle (recyclable).

Second Cleanse: This is a super gentle cleanser that is suitable for both me and my husband. This is the one product that we share so the big bottle works out well.
Eco Pros: Huge bottle that takes a long, long time to go through. Paraben and fragrance free.
Eco Cons: Plastic bottle (recyclable).


*An effective double cleanse allows me to keep a makeup remover and toner out of my product rotation.*

Moisturize: This is new to the mix but so far, so good! Definitely meant for dry skin like mine. It’s hella expensive which is why I’ll only continue to repurchase with Sephora gift cards.
Eco Pros: Vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free. Fragrance free.
Eco Cons: Plastic container.

4. Differin 5. Embryolisse 6. Herbivore Phoenix Oil

Treat: Ah. My magical Differin. Differin is a prescription strength retinoid that is now OTC. While it’s primarily used to treat acne, derms also say that it can help with anti aging and skin texture/pigmentation issues. I use it for all three… the occasional acne on my cheeks, sunspots on my nose (it’s been GREAT for this), and a preventative for wrinkles. This itty bitty $12 tube lasts over a month (ideally it should be used daily with a pea size amount over the entire face) and allows me to pare down the rest of my routine to the bare essentials. While it gives your skin the “glow from within” look, it also causes dryness (especially if your skin is already dry like mine)… hence the sandwiching between moisturizers.
Eco Pros: Allows me to have less products overall.
Eco Cons: Have to TerraCycle the tube.


Moisturize More: I picked this up in France last year and didn’t quite know what to do with it. After starting Differin, this became a wonderful spot moisturizer for Differin dryness AND a great moisturizing mask. This could also work as a moisturizer during the winter. Multitasking for the win.
Eco Pros: In a metal tube (but I still TerraCycle this).
Eco Cons: Not exactly “natural”.

Seal It In: I tried the mini pack of all three Herbivore facial oils and I this one is my favorite. The scent is a bit more subtle than Lapis and Orchid and I find that it sinks in quickly. Overall, it gives a lovely, glowy look to the skin and seals all the moisture in.
Eco Pros: Glass bottle. No synthetic ingredients, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, chemicals, fillers, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum. Herbivore frequently donates a portion of certain products to causes like the ACLU.
Eco Cons: Must TerraCycle dropper.

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Minimalist Morning Skincare Routine

A mindful morning routine doesn’t just have to apply to what you do. Minimalism and mindfulness can also take place in your skincare routine. I’ve mentioned before that skincare is one of my “luxury items” — however, lately, that’s been changing. While most of my skincare isn’t plastic free — there are overall a lot fewer products that need to be recycled or TerraCycled. In addition, I stay mindful of the ingredients in each product. Ultimately my goal is for my products to be simple, effective, and with a hint of luxe — because, why not?

1. Origins Cleansing Oil 2. La Roche Posay Gentle Cleanser 3. Versed Vitamin C Powder

Oil Cleanse: I bought this with a Macy’s gift card when I had no idea what else to buy. And, you know what? I love it. It smells delightful and is both gentle and moisturizing. Great at helping take off my sunscreen.
Eco Pros: No parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, mineral oil, DEA, petrolatum, paraffin, polyethylene beads, formaldehyde & animal ingredients. Origins also supports reforestation projects around the world and are working to have net zero carbon emissions by 2020.
Eco Cons: Plastic bottle (recyclable).

Second Cleanse: This is a super gentle cleanser that is suitable for both me and my husband. This is the one product that we share so the big bottle works out well. The only reason I double cleanse in the morning is because I put SPF on as soon as I wake up to walk the dogs and then get a bit of a sweat on with a workout.
Eco Pros: Huge bottle that takes a long, long time to go through. One less thing in the bathroom since my husband and I share. Paraben and fragrance free.
Eco Cons: Plastic bottle (recyclable).


*An effective double cleanse allows me to keep a makeup remover and toner out of my product rotation.*

Vitamin C Powder: I love that this Vitamin C is in powder format since Vitamin C is very sensitive to light and air. I also love that I can mix this in with my existing moisturizer instead of having a separate serum with Vitamin C.
Eco Pros: No fragrance added, dye-free, paraben-free, Petroleum-free, Talcum-free, silicone-free, Sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, vegan, formaldehyde-free, nonylphenol ethoxylate free.
Eco Cons: Plastic container (recyclable).

4. Drunk Elephant Lala Whipped Cream 5. Herbivore Phoenix Oil 6. Avene SPF Moisturizer

Moisturize: This is new to the mix but, so far, so good! Definitely meant for dry skin like mine — the texture reminds me of buttercream frosting. It’s hella expensive which is why I’ll only continue to repurchase with Sephora gift cards.
Eco Pros: Vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free. Fragrance free.
Eco Cons: Plastic container.
I don’t think the company is as philanthropic as people think (based on the whole elephant thing).

Seal It In: I tried the mini pack of all three Herbivore facial oils and I this one is my favorite. The scent is a bit more subtle than Lapis and Orchid and I find that it sinks in quickly. Overall, it gives a lovely, glowy look to the skin and seals all the moisture in.
Eco Pros: Glass bottle. No synthetic ingredients, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, chemicals, fillers, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum. Herbivore frequently donates a portion of certain products to causes like the ACLU.
Eco Cons: Must TerraCycle dropper.


SPF: Since I work from home, this doesn’t always happen. But if I’m going out and about for the day, I’ll slather on this bad boy that I picked up in both Paris and London last year. (I stock up whenever I get a chance.)
Eco Pros: Paraben free. No Oxybenzone.
Eco Cons: Plastic tube must be TerraCycled.

There you have it! Next week, I’ll get into my pared down evening routine (mostly thanks to the magic of Differin).

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Finding Joy in the Cold, Dark of Winter

I recently read this article on the “bad season” aka the few months every year (winter, summer, doesn’t matter) where everything just feels BLAH and self care becomes critical. For many people, THIS is the bad season. The part of winter where it’s been dark and cold and rainy/snowy for weeks. When the cheer of the holiday season has worn off. When we can’t be bothered to care about our yearly goals and resolutions. I personally have two bad seasons — one, right now, for 2 months or so and another in June-July when the heat is heavy and oppressive and I have to shower 3 times a day to feel clean. (We’ll dig in to the summer blues later this year. )

Right now, let’s discuss self care for the winter months. For me, the post-holiday-winter “bad season” manifests as lethargy, overeating, and general wallowing. But over the past few years, I’ve found ways to really lean into this time of year and make the best of it.

(First off, before we get in to the more lighthearted stuff — if you think you have depression or seasonal affective disorder, talk to your doctor or therapist. After getting diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder a few years ago and starting medication, my seasonal mood dips also drastically decreased. Ultimately, if what you feel is beyond a “bad season” thing — get help.)


Here are my tips:

Daily outdoor walks. I have 3 dogs making this a bit of non-negotiable. But even if you don’t have a furry companion, get outside every day (weather permitting). Bonus points if your walk takes you along a path with nature. Every morning, my husband and I bundle up and take our dogs on a 2 mile walk through our neighborhood and the adjacent nature preserve. I like to think of this as similar to the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” (which is supposed to do wonders for your health). If you are able, really try and get out in nature… even if it’s just walking under a few trees.

A 10 minute workout. If you’re already feeling lethargic, don’t try and get crazy and do a one hour HIIT session. Just try and do 10 minutes of activity everyday. I have a playlist with 10 minute floor workouts that I pull up every morning.

Aromatherapy. Procure a diffuser and experiment with different essential oil blends that fit in with the season. I love using blends with pine, bergamot, peppermint, and cinnamon this time of year.

Tea. Something about the process of making and drinking tea is incredibly comforting (especially when you are doing it the zero waste way with loose leaf tea). It’s a mindfulness practice in itself. Make yourself a cup, sit quietly, breathe in the steam, enjoy.

Socks. Cold feet suck. They make you not want to get up and do anything. Just wear the socks. Preferably the warmest ones you can find. I haven’t been sock-less in months now. As a whole, wear warm, cozy, and comfortable things.

Twinkle lights. These are not just for Christmas. I put up twinkle lights on my tv stand in November and don’t take them down until April. They make me happy and add a hint of magic to the everyday. So string up a strand in a visible spot in your home. Turn it on as soon as it gets dark out.

Puzzles. Find yourself some good 1,000 piece puzzles (Half Price Books usually has a bunch of pre-loved ones) and always have one going (ours is on the dining table). Any time you are feeling bored or uninspired, give yourself a goal of fitting 5 more pieces in. Whenever I do this, I inevitably end up spending at least an hour trying to get “just one more piece.” Bonus: it’s a bit of a brain workout.

Finding joy and self care in the cold, dark winter pinterest pin image.
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Winter Zero Waste Swaps

Brrrrrr… we’re in the thick of winter and it’s cold even here in Dallas. While you’re cozying up at home and getting your hygge on, here are a few things you can do to make sure you aren’t putting too much of a burden on the environment.

Sweaters: This is the time of year when I live in thick, oversized sweaters. And my number one place for finding them? The thrift store. I’ve said it before and will say it again. While secondhand t-shirts can sometimes feel worn out or faded… I’ve had a lot of luck finding excellent quality sweaters for under $5. This past weekend, I picked up the softest Loft sweater for a whopping $4. So before you decide to order that amazing sweater online, hit up the thrift store or Poshmark or ThredUp to find a piece that’s already out in the world.

Socks: Despite being a generally warm person, my feet are always freezing in the winter time. During the winter, I almost exclusively wear wool hiking socks. While most socks usually have some elastic and/or nylon in them for stretch (and, therefore, not compostable); I’ve found that I’ve never had to toss a pair of my wool hiking socks due to the extreme durability of them. My oldest pair is about 5 years old and has absolutely zero holes. I wear them with boots and around the house (in place of slippers) and then use them while hiking the rest of the year. This is one of those “buy quality over quantity” situations that lead to overall less waste.

Books: With all the indoor time the winter season offers (plus all the New Year’s resolutions to read more), a lot of people take to reading this time of year. Get your books from the library as much as possible! There is seldom a book I haven’t been able to request from our local library (both ebooks and physical ones). Or do a book swap with friends. Or borrow. At the very least, try and find the book used (Amazon is great for this if you look at the used options listed or “More Buying Choices”).

Soups: If you’re cooking up soups to warm up this winter, there are a few easy swaps you can make to produce the least amount of waste. First, make your own veggie or chicken stock using food waste. At the very least, find broth in cans (I’ve definitely seen these at Sam’s and Costco) since aluminum cans are widely considered one of the best items to recycle. Get any and all veggies without any packaging or bags (but you knew that already, right?). Buy lentils from the bulk section.

Moisturizers: Dry skin? Yeah, me too. Ditch the lotions in plastic containers with pumps and switch over to a bar lotion (like this one from Lush) or coconut oil bought in bulk or in a glass jar.

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The Less is Meera Holiday Gift Guide

First off — as much as I love minimalism and zero/low waste… I’m not going to tell you to forego gift giving. This is the one time of year that I enjoy giving (and receiving!) mindful gifts. But that’s the key word… mindful. Don’t go overboard with items and focus on high-quality items people will use, use up, or, at the very least, be able to keep for a very long time. Find items by small businesses on Etsy, items created sustainably/ethically/with recycled materials, and items that can nudge someone towards creating less waste. And don’t forget about experiences (concerts and sports) and non physical items (subscriptions). Happy holidays and happy (mindful) gift giving!

For the book/movie/music lover
Kindle Paperwhite
Audible subscription
Netflix, Hulu, or HBO subscription (given with bulk popcorn kernels and an earthenware popcorn bowl)
Cinemark Annual Cup and Tub Refill (given with a Cinemark gift card and stainless steel straw)
Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Headphones

For the foodie/chef/eater
Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen
Plaid cloth napkins or these adorable candy cane striped ones!
Rose gold stainless steel straws
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Bee’s Wrap Reusable Food Wraps
Bodum Glass Tea Pot (given with a favorite loose leaf tea bought in bulk)

For the homebody/lover of cozy
Homebody by Joanna Gaines
milk + honey Home Fragrance
The Hygge Game
Recover Upcycled Socks (maybe given with the game above!)
Beeswax Candle Making Kit (perhaps with thrifted brass candlestick holders; I always see a ton of these at every thrift store I go to)
Holiday Tin Candle (I love the milk and cookies one! And the remaining tin is adorable for reuse.)
Five Year Keepsake Journals

For the beauty/skincare/bath lover
Lush Joy to the World Gift Set
Kristin Ess Silk Pillowcase Gift Set
Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
bkr Water Bottle (because what’s better for your skin than water?)
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

For the world traveler
The Away Carry-On (my hands down favorite suitcase that I’m sure will last a lifetime)
Travel Adapter
Leather Travel Wallet
Everlane ReNew Fleece Sweatshirt (for him and her; great for cold flights!)
Airbnb gift card
Rifle Paper Co. Wanderlust Keds (I always travel with Keds! And these are adorable for the travel lover.)

For your four legged friends
West Paw Dog Toys
Bulk dog treats
DIY t-shirt dog toy
Recycled rope leash
A trip to the dog park or some place new!

For your two legged little ones
Hearth and Hand Modern Farmhouse Gifting Collection (love this wooden map puzzle!)
Membership to your local zoo, science museum, etc.
Candy Cane Stripe Jammies

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