Going zero waste can be tough, especially in the bathroom. Here’s the top low impact, easily recyclable items I truly stick to in my bath, beauty, and skincare routines…
What Does “Zero Waste” Mean?
Zero waste is a movement that focuses on eliminating all landfill waste from your life. It’s a hard ask – and one that very few manage. If you’re looking for the leaders of the zero waste movement, check out Bea Johnson, Gitte Mary, and Lauren Singer.
It’s been three years since I read Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home, and despite all the great information Bea provides, swapping out the plastic-laden bathroom items has been a gradual process.
Both in my writing, and in my life, I like to combine sustainability with convenience. We can’t all be perfect – and the effort needed to reach perfection could go towards something better, like urging our politicians to prioritise the environment, or boycotting dirty businesses.
But I feel like my zero waste bathroom swaps are worth revisiting now, after getting settled with a very minimal routine that combines sustainable items with that clean, perfume-y glow I get from cleansing, bathing, and generally looking after myself!
My 12 Easy-Peasy Bathroom Swaps
When it came to writing this post, I actually found it difficult to list everything I’ve swapped, because they’re all so natural to me now!
Here are the hero products that make it easy to reduce my impact in the bathroom:
To kick off in an orderly fashion, I’ll start with the first thing I do in the morning: cleanse my face. I switched my cleanser to M.O.A.’s The Green Balm* a little while ago, and I truly love it. The full pack includes the balm and a wash cloth so you can have a hot cloth cleanse – and oh boy it’s so soothing.
The Green Balm comes in a little green glass pot and metal lid, and if you get it with the cloth too, it’s in a cardboard tube. I tend to get mine from Cult Beauty*, an online beauty store that sells a number of sustainable beauty brands.
2. Makeup Wipes
Next up: makeup wipes. There was a definite sense of panic when it was announced that non-biodegradable makeup wipes will soon be banned, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they’re an integral part of most women’s makeup routine.
Personally, I like to swipe of my eye-makeup, and then cleanse my face using the aforementioned hot cloth method. Each night, I shake up and use Dr. Hauschka’s Eye Makeup Remover* dabbed onto a Washable Cotton Pad*, which takes off my makeup quickly and easily.
I like to store all my pads on the countertop in a beautiful Recycled Glass Storage Jar, kindly gifted by QÄSA QÄSA. The jar is made from the bottom of a wine bottle, and topped off with a heavy wooden stopper, all made by artisans in Malawi.
Oh and did I mention? All the above products come in cardboard packaging too!
3. Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Dental hygiene makes for an easy swap – get a bamboo toothbrush* and clay toothpaste*!
My current toothbrush is from Acala, a small zero-waste beauty brand that guarantees everything comes without plastic, and also focuses on low impact trends such as waterless beauty.
I’ve gone over natural deodorants a few times before, but I’m currently working my way through Pure Chimp’s banana deodorant. I really can’t get enough of the smell of this deodorant. The banana extract in it makes it smell like a mix between bubblegum and those foam banana sweets, and it really does keep me smelling nice all day long.
One thing I would say is try to find a deodorant that has a combination of shea butter and antibacterial ingredients such as arrowroot powder or tea-tree oil. This one does, so it works well, but it is also a little drying on my skin.
5. Shampoo & Conditioner
For shampoo and conditioner, you have to go for shampoo bars. I’ve used a few types over the years, my favourite shampoo bars have to be from Ethique, although they’re quite difficult to get hold of in the UK.
A similar UK-based brand is Beauty Kubes*, or if you’re in a pinch and want to shop on the high street, try Lush’s Shampoo Bars – they may not be the most natural, but they’re certainly zero waste.
Probably the easiest swap on the list, a good soap can double as a shower gel, and last as long as a plastic bottle without the waste. My favourites have to be from natural beauty brand Madara*, and I’m now happy to report that they have removed palm oil from their range too!
My latest zero waste swap is my razor. I’m currently getting to grips with a long-handed Merkur Safety Razor, gifted by The English Shaving Company. I’ve been using this video guide on how to shave with a safety razor, and so far, so good! I’m still going slow, and making sure my pores are open and skin buffed before shaving, so I’ll be sure to post an update when I’ve had it for a few months, and properly got acquainted with it!
8. Body Scrub
Talking of skin buffing… I have two options for zero waste body scrubbing! Every other wash, I’ll grab my scrubby gloves*, using them alongside my bar of soap. If you prefer an actual scrub, try out this DIY coffee grinds scrub recipe – it smells amazing!
9. Bath Products
While I tend to shower, I do like a long relaxing bath every once in a while too! I have two zero waste swaps when it comes to the bath – the first is my M.O.A. Bath Potion, another glass-and-metal combo that smells out of this world.
The other is my bath salts: I like to buy a huge 5kg bag of Westlab Bath Salts*, and keep a glass jar full in the bathroom cabinet. While the bag itself may be plastic, the bulk size definitely reduces its impact.
10. Period Products
When it comes to my period, I’m an unashamed menstrual cup user. My Mooncup has been one of my favourite switches, and on my heavier days, I may wear washable period pads or WUKA period pants* (gifted). I’m currently on the hunt for ethically-made period pants, so if you know of any, please DM me!
11. Toilet Paper
For toilet paper, I’ve been a bit of a slow-uptaker. My reasoning is that FSC-approved toilet paper is some of the most sustainable out there, and it’s found it almost every supermarket. In fact, it tends to be better than recycled toilet paper too, as it takes a lot of bleach to get paper that white again.
However, I have recently dabbled with Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, which is stocked in our local zero waste shop and comes wrapped in paper rather than plastic. It’s pricey, but if being zero waste is important, it’s a good option.
12. Room Spray
And finally: room spray! I think of room spray as a bit of a luxury, and it’s something I’ll use when I’m preparing a bath, or later on in the evening in my bedroom. My current favourite is Made By Coopers Happy Atmosphere Mist, which I was recently gifted to try. Coming in a cardboard tube and frosted glass bottle, the spray makes me happy before it’s even out the bottle! (P.S. Get 20% off at Made By Coopers using the code BESMA20).
I don’t know if you are still looking but She Thinx has an amazing period range! their strongest panty model holds 2 tampons worth of blood last time i checked, and i think they mad them even stronger! I have a heavy flow and these work 90% of the time, and they make tampons too which you can use on really heavy days. I actually think they even make menstrual cups now.
Hi Agata, thanks for the info! I’ve not tried Thinx before, but it’s great to hear even more options are available (and especially ones that really perform well).