This year, we're on a mission to take better care of the planet, and ourselves. We're looking to shop more locally, replace wasteful everyday items with more sustainable ones and revamp our self-care routines. That means more visits to Toronto spas, a weekend or two away at one of Ontario's wellness retreats and making more conscious choices about our body care, skincare and overall wellbeing at home. Starting with our shower system, we took the Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit for a test drive.

Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit: What is it

A woman-founded company based in Vancouver, Better Basics aims to create zero-waste everyday essentials. Their lineup of self care and home care products comes in paper packaging or recyclable aluminum tubes, and they use concentrated formulas and refill systems all to reduce plastic waste.

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The Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit combines all of their hair care and skin care items into one cute box perfect for reseting your bathroom routine (or gifting to someone else). The Starter Kit lets you try out their face wash, shampoo and conditioner, along with sustainable items that you've likely seen popping up in ads or at the drugstore but have yet to try for yourself like reusable makeup rounds.

A look inside Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit

Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit: What's inside

With different skin and hair types, we decided to split up our Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit and each try different products.

Clean Cleanser Rose Clay Wash

As someone who struggles with very sensitive skin and adult acne (help), I've only found a small number of products out there that work for me. I took the Clean Cleanser Rose Clay Wash for a test drive. With paper packaging, the cleanser comes as a powder that must be mixed with water. At first, I found it slightly challenging to get the ratio of powder and water right, but after a couple of tries, I mastered the technique of mixing the cleanser in my palm. 

Once applied, the Clean Cleanser Rose Clay Wash is light, foamy and feels great on my skin. It's incredibly gentle and doesn't give me a rash or a breakout, which is no small feat with my skin. Because it's not a harsh cleanser, it's perfect for mornings and those light makeup or no makeup days. When I wear really heavy makeup, I find I need a bit of a stronger cleanser or to supplement my routine with a deep cleaning mask.

Cultivate Shampoo and Cultivate Conditioner

The Cultivate Shampoo and Cultivate Conditioner come in white aluminum tubes with a clean, minimal design and are completely recyclable. The product comes with a key, which you can attach to the end of the tube and wind to dispense and portion the product, squeezing out every last drop. The tubes are only 100 ml (making it eligible for carry-on) but thanks to a concentrated formula, it’s enough for 30 washes — equivalent to a 750 ml bottle.

I definitely couldn’t help squeezing a little more than the “dime-sized” amount they recommend. The concentrated formula of coconut cleanser is activated by water, so make sure you put in some work to really lather it up once it’s on your locks. My fine highlighted hair definitely felt less frizzy when I was done rinsing. I encourage you to run a brush through your tresses before you jump in the shower, though, as I found that the conditioner wasn’t as effective at detangling.

Face Swipes Make-Up Rounds

I’m diligent about my before-bed routine, rarely skipping makeup removal (unless, perhaps, tequila is involved). But the endless cotton pads I use to remove stubborn eye makeup does gnaw at my conscience. So, I was happy to test out Better Basic’s eco-conscious and reusable face swipes. The 10-pack of black bamboo and terry cloth rounds come with their own drawstring cotton mesh washing bag, so you can keep the used rounds together, then throw them in a regular cycle once they’re dirty. If you’re planning to go cold turkey on single-use makeup wipes, I suggest holding a couple back from the laundry — otherwise, when your to-do list stagnates, your routine will go out the window.

After a few uses, I noticed that some of the swipes were stained by foundation marks, but a soak in warm water every couple of days seemed to budge the majority. I love how, unlike single-use options, the material never tears, and I find the overall process a lot smoother and gentler to my delicate skin. Plus, the thickness of the rounds means I can flip them over and use twice in a pinch.

Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit: The verdict

A shipment of something fun provides a much-needed dopamine hit during the grey days of winter. The unnecessary packaging, however, is a surefire way to dampen spirits. Better Basics has created their self care and home care line to reduce the amount of packaging used as well as its environmental impact, so it's a purchase you can feel good about long after the initial instant gratification of putting it in your shopping cart. The products in the Clean Routine Starter Kit are wonderfully gentle on our skin, and leave us feeling good about our self care and the planet.

Better Basics Clean Routine Starter Kit, $105,