At the start of my plastic free journey I would look around my bathroom in defeat at all the plastic bottles, tubes and tubs. Frustrated, I decided there must be another way, and happily it turns out there are tons of plastic free products that will leave you fresh and clean, without filling the world with more plastic. At first, I was pretty overwhelmed with the different products, company's and different websites, and for the dedicated there were the hundreds of make your own toiletry recipes.
Where on earth do you start? Here are my favourite plastic-free everyday bathroom products to make your bathroom a happier place!
Why on earth I ever though that a soap dispenser was better than a good old-fashioned bar of soap I don’t know. Soap is an easy place to start, chances are you probably used to use a bar of soap until a few years ago. A bar of soap last way longer and works out cheaper than its liquid counterpart. There are plenty of delicious smelling soaps that come wrapped only in tissue paper, and lots on the plastic free trail contain only natural ingredients so benefit the environment and your skin – double WIN.
Soap is a pretty easy one to experiment with, so get out there and see what you like. Our favourite at the moment is dark chocolate and coconut milk soap, yum!
Shower Gel Another easy swap, our favourite shower bar is Charcoal Face and Body Soap. It gets its colour from natural activate charcoal, which is so super porous just one gram has the surface area in excess of 3,000 m2, that’s over half a football field! This makes it great at sucking up dirt and toxins from your skin. (and by dirt we mean smelly BO!) Using charcoal soap on your face can also reduce acne and blackheads too, need I say more?
You’ve probably heard of shampoo bars by now, though like us might have been a bit reserved to try them. I have long blonde hair and initially I didn’t think they would work for me but boy I was wrong. My first shampoo bar was Montalbano by Lush, a citrusy shampoo bar for a serious clean. These shampoo bars lather up and feel just like normal shampoo. Sadly the Lush Bars contain SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) which is basically plastic coating to make your hair feel nice so I moved on to natural shampoos. The natural bars do take a bit of getting used to, but this is basically because we don’t know how our hair actually feels not coated in synthetics. There are lots of great ones out there, my favs:
Coconut and Acia Berry – for damaged or dry hair
Avocado and Lemon - to cleanse blonde hair and bring back it’s brightness
Argan Oil and Oatmilk - mild and gent for sensitive skin or scalps
Shampoo bars last for the equivalent of approximately three bottles of shampoo so actually work out cheaper than my old shampoo. Wallet WIN!
Ok I admit it, I love avocado, so avocado conditioner bars are a no brainer for me, the cocoa butter, argan and avocado oil, it smooths even the driest of hair. You need only the tiniest amount so a bar will last you ages. Top tip, if you feel like you might have put too much on you probably have put too much on!
If your hair is very dry can also use an oil on your hair while it’s still wet, after a shower. I know this sounds counterproductive but it doesn’t make my hair oily, if anything it’s been less oily since I started using it, as if my hair doesn’t feel the need to over produce oil anymore. I use L'Oreal Paris ‘Extraordinary Oil’, but *sigh* the glass bottle does have a plastic pump.
Another easy swap that takes zero time to get used to. Almost 50 million pounds of plastic toothbrushes make it to our landfills every year, and it takes up to 1,000 years to decompose, so there really is no excuse not to swap to bamboo alternatives. Bamboo is brilliantly environmentally friendly because bamboo grows super fast, over 3 feet every single day, and once you’re done pop your toothbrush in the compost to decompose!
Toothpaste was one of those I’ve struggled with the most. I tried making my own, which was quite frankly disgusting. I finally found a natural toothpaste (fluoride, SLS and glycerin free) in a glass jar with a metal lid. The texture took a little getting used to, but now that I’ve swapped I am loathed to borrow a friends regular toothpaste, I don’t know how I ever used it!
It made me sad to throw away all those small plastic floss sticks, but dental hygiene wasn’t something I was willing to give up on so as soon as I saw these cute glass bottles I had to try it. The metal lid has a super cleaver hole to cut the floss so no faffing about. You can get refills too so no need to buy a little bottle each time! Even less waste).
This one is a super easy swap that you’ll wonder why you didn’t make before.
Smelly pits is one topic that comes up again and again in plastic free forums. Luckily for me the first plastic free deodorant I tried really worked and comes in a 100% biodegradable paperboard tube. The natural ingredients bicarbonate of soda, arrowroot powder and coconut oil apparently have anti-bacterial and odour fighting properties, which sure do help my pits smell lovely. Everyone’s body is different, so you could also try crystal deodorants, which I hear great things about.
Biodegradable bamboo cotton buds Enough said.
One of the first things I ditched on my plastic free journey was disposable face wipes, not only do they come in plastic but you use the wipe for all of 30 seconds before binning it, such a waste. So many makeup wipes end up in landfill, or get flushed down the loo - ending up in the ocean or causing giant sewer ‘fatbergs’ (google it).
I now use a cotton wipes to wash my face and cotton rounds for cleansing or to remove makeup. When they are dirty you just put them in the washing machine and reuse. I must have saved so much money doing this as I used to spend £5 on a pack of disposable face wipes,
I hope this helps you make a few changes to your bathroom shopping list. A lot of products I have tried and loved so I haven’t moved on to try other things - there may be (and probably are) lots of other products that are just as amazing. Please let me know if you find something you just can’t live without.
A lot of these swaps not only reduce plastic waste but have a positive impact to the environment in all sorts of ways, no liquid means shampoo and conditioner bars take up less space and can be more economically transported, and because they don't contain liquid they can be made without any nasty chemicals.
p.s a bonus for me is that my soap, shower, shampoo and conditioner bar all don’t count towards my liquid allowance for hand luggage when flying, so I no longer have to cram all my toiletries into one of the silly little clear plastic bags. Travel WIN!