Deciding to live a minimal-waste lifestyle is a big step and it can seem a little overwhelming at first. But fret not! You don’t need to throw out everything you own and start with a clean slate. Small changes can make a big difference overtime and if you make intentional purchases whenever its time to restock eventually you’ll have a plastic-free living space.
For me, the bathroom was the most daunting transition. Like most people I had created a beauty and body care routine that included products that I returned to time after time, and the thought of finding replacements was difficult. I still have a long way to go in order to have a zero-waste bathroom but I’m a lot closer that I was a year ago, and the items that I use are my new favorites.
Finding minimal-waste bathroom swaps that work for me involved a lot of initial trial and error. Keep in mind that not every product is a winner, and that what I use might not be the best fit for you and your body. Don’t give up though, and trust me when I say that it was so worth it to find the perfect match after experimenting with products that weren’t right for me.
Here are some products that I found during my zero-waste journey and some steps that you can take to have a more sustainable bath and body routine.
If you’re on the fence about mixing up your bathroom routine then try starting with these items!
- Solid soap for the win. As weird as it sounds, buying solid soap is so much fun! Most grocery stores carry solid hand soaps in their health and wellness sections, and I could honestly spend hours smelling all of them and ohhing and ahhing over the pretty colors and designs. You might even be able to find soap at your local farmers market. In my experience solid soap lasts a lot longer than liquid soap and depending on the kind you buy it might also exfoliate your skin in addition to cleaning it!
- Treat your tush. Recycled toilet paper is only a couple bucks more expansive than regular toilet paper, but it’s worth the up-sell.
- Who knows what kind of chemicals are coated on your shower curtain liner. Don’t risk the toxins, buy a fabric shower curtain and curtain liner instead!
- Bamboo toothbrushes. Need I say more? You can find my favorites here, here, and here!
- Take it a step farther: zero-waste toothpaste. Your fancy new bamboo toothbrush will be pretty lonely without some zero-waste toothpaste to go with it. Lush sells powder toothpaste and toothpaste tabs for an on-the-go clean. You can read about their different products here. WooBamboo sells natural toothpastes with recyclable packaging (you can find their stuff in the new Greenwise Market in Tallahassee!) and they come in the best flavors: mint, marshmallow, berry bubble, and fricken cinnamon roll! If you’re feeling ambitious you can even try making your own zero-waste toothpaste.
- Keep it clean with natural loofahs and shower brushes. You can find these products on Amazon or Etsy!
- Fight knotty hair with wooden brushes and combs. If you’re like me then you’re probably tired of constantly breaking plastic combs. This set on Amazon has everything you need!
Once you’ve taken all of those baby steps you can try some bolder swaps.
For some reason safety razors scare the heck out of me, but once I run out of my current razors I’m going to bite the bullet and make the switch. If you’re scared like me but also want to ditch wasteful plastic razors then look into shaving with a pumice stone. The entire process might take a little longer but it is a pain-free alternative for hair removal.
By far the most difficult thing for me when reviving my bathroom was finding the perfect zero-waste shampoo and conditioner. Lush sells shampoo and conditioner bars, and while the solid shampoo was well worth the investment their conditioner bars did nothing to get rid of the tangles in my hair. I’ve heard good things about their liquid hair products (which come in recyclable containers!) but haven’t tried them out yet.
I was getting frustrated with the lack of quality plastic-free haircare, and then I discovered Redbudsuds. Their four-in-one shower bar cleans your hair and body while also getting rid of tangles, and is perfect to use at home or while in the great outdoors.
Since my hair is particularly unruly, I get the best results when I use a hair detangler in addition to shampoo and conditioner. I’ve had my eye on this brand for a while and am excited to try it out once I use up all of my current detangler.
If solid hair care isn’t your thing then try and buy your shampoo and conditioner in the largest quantity that you can in order to minimize your contribution to landfills.
Show your body some love by buying products with natural ingredients; it’s good for you and for the environment! Here are some products that I love:
- Appreciate your pits. Most conventional deodorants are full of harmful chemicals like aluminum and parabens. I made the switch to natural deodorant about a year ago and I absolutely love it, but I’ve discovered that after using one brand for a while my body seems to build up a tolerance to it, as weird as that sounds. In order to make sure the deodorant I use is as effective as possible I try to mix it up with different brands every time I use up a container. I currently switch between the following amazing brands: Yomibee is a Tallahassee-based company that makes natural zero-waste deodorant that smells amazing and lasts for months at a time; Fat and the Moon makes a deodorant cream that kicks butt; Skin Foodie sells a probiotic deodorant cream that smells amazing.
- These products saved my skin. Lush’s face products have worked a miracle on my skin, and I have been a loyal consumer since high school. They are literally the only things that I wash my face with. I use this solid facial soap and then spritz my face with this toner water, and thats it. It’s straight up magical.
- Upgrade your bath. Sam Wish sells organic bath and body products on Etsy. Her oil blends, bath soaks, and shower scrubs are so luxurious.
- Ladies, it’s time to buy a menstrual cup. Trust me on this one, it will be the best decision of your life. If you won’t listen to me then listen to these awesome ladies: Lee Tilghman talks all about menstrual cups on her blog, and Ingrid Nilsen has a lot of videos that deal with periods. If you still aren’t sold on the idea then consider buying 100% organic cotton tampons and pads from Sustain Natural.
My beauty products were the last thing I changed, and I’m still working on using up all of my old makeup before replacing them with natural alternatives. I haven’t tried all of these products yet so I can’t give a full review, but here are some things that I’ve had my eye on for a while.
- Natural makeup. Fat and the Moon sells lip taints, eye shadows, and balms that come in plastic-free tins. Moonrise Creek has natural mascara and powder foundation, blush, and bronzer. Lush also has a line of makeup products!
- Smell fresh. Lush makes solid perfumes that come in recyclable tins (you can bring most of their containers back to the store and get free gifts in return!). Sam Wish has beautiful perfume rollers with handmade oil blends, and if you want to try making your own zero-waste essential oil perfume then here are some recipes!
- Fix yo face. Cocokind sells “clean and conscious skincare using superfoods.” I recently bought their MyMatcha moisturizing stick for under my eyes and I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to try their natural highlighters and turmeric spot treatment stick.
- Take it all off. Finding a natural makeup remover was a real struggle, and I still occasionally default to buying makeup wipes (what can I say, nobody’s perfect). I’ve tried pairing reusable cotton rounds with micellar water or coconut oil, and while it got the job done in the end I wasn’t a huge fan of it. My mom bought me a Jane Iredale makeup remover mitt for Christmas a few years ago and it works wonders for taking off tough mascara and foundation. I highly recommend it!
I hope these swaps work for you and this post makes it a little less daunting for you to mix up your bathroom routine.
Remember, it might take a while to find what works best for you but the effort is so worth it!
Was this helpful? Have feedback for me? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos in this post were taken by me.