Our bath and beauty routines are often filled with single-use plastics that do not biodegrade, but plastic-free alternatives are available. Try to make your routine as waste-free as possible by choosing products that come in recyclable or refillable packaging, and that use organic and cruelty-free ingredients.
Soaps and scrubs
Let’s start with soaps. The easiest way to avoid waste when purchasing soap would be to switch from liquid soap to a natural bar soap. Find one that is wrapped in recycled paper, or better yet, find a nude option that isn’t wrapped in anything at all. If, for some reason, you really can’t do without liquid soap, then make your own and refill the same container over and over again!
Search online for a recipe that has your favorite scents and ingredients and experiment with DIY soap! Don’t have time to make your own liquid soap or are really hung up on a particular brand? Buy in bulk! Buy bigger containers and then transfer the soap to smaller, refillable containers that can easily fit on your sink.
Also, plastic microbeads are some of the most harmful forms of plastic pollution in our everyday life and our oceans, so when choosing products, for example scrubs, check the ingredients and opt for a sugar based one.
The evolution of toothbrushes in fact has meant that they are made using multiple types of materials (nylon bristles, a metal staple that holds the bristles in place, and plastic or rubber handles) and all these materials need to be separated before they can be processed. Ultimately this means that whenever you try to recycle your toothbrush with the rest of your plastics, it may well be sorted out and sent to a landfill for lack of special machinery.
The answer? Switch to a toothbrush made of bamboo, an extremely sustainable natural material!
Just like toothbrushes, plastic toothpaste tubes are also complicated items to recycled and process, so either switch to an aluminum tube, or, for a lower waste version, you try tooth tablets, or pastes and powders. In alternative, you could again tray your hand at a DIY baking soda toothpaste.
Apart from toothbrushes, other items that can be swapped with bamboo alternatives are cotton buds, hairbrushes, and sponges (which can be substituted by antibacterial bamboo body brush or loofahs).
Last, but certainly not least when it comes to waste-free dental care, switch to silk dental floss. Spend an afternoon at a beach cleanup and you’ll likely encounter tens and hundreds of handheld, single-use flossers. Cut down on waste by choosing floss that comes in a refillable glass container with a stainless steel cap.
Ditch the plastic bottle and switch to a bar! Now more than ever there are so many eco-friendly options for both shampoos and conditioners that you’re sure to find a soap bar you love and that fits your haircare needs! If again, you don’t feel comfortable making the switch to bar soaps, look into brands that offer refills schemes or that sell their products in glass or aluminum containers.
As for your hairbrush, when you find yourself looking for a new one, choose one made of bamboo.
A plastic-free bath and beauty routine isn’t complete without investing in a stainless steel razor. Plastic razors will serve you for just a little while and then spend a lifetime in a landfill, but stainless steel razors will save you money down the line, will last for years and years, and you can rest easy knowing that it is made of the only material that has a closed recyclable loop.
It might seem slightly intimidating at first, but use with care as you would any safety razor.
Take a look at your makeup bag and count how many pieces of plastic you have in there (eyeliner pen, lipstick tube, brushes etc). The likelihood that every single items contains some form of plastic is very high. Sadly this part of the beauty industry is not moving as fast as we would like to more sustainable and waste-free options. Especially when it comes to packaging.
Do your research and find environmentally-safe products that come in glass, tin or paperboard containers and that serve more than one purpose, so that you can physically cut down on the number of products you need (for example pencils that work for both eyes and brows, or a mascara that doubles as an eyeliner). Also, look for products that have refillable options.
Bamboo applicators are alternatives to plastic ones, and reusable wipes are essential to cut down on the single-use waste of makeup remover cotton rounds.
The easiest way to cut down on waste when it comes to your daily beauty routine is:
Simplify your makeup routine, cutting the need for so many different products.
Purchase nude items or items packaged in bamboo, glass, metal or recycled paper.
Look for refillable options.
Replace old brushes with wooden ones.
Make your own.
If you’re curious for more home tips, check out our guide to a plastic-free kitchen essentials as well!