Yes, my first post of the year is on the sustainable swaps I’ve made in the bathroom and my beauty regime over the last year or so. I’ve already gone cruelty-free on all my health and beauty products but now I’m making more effort to be more sustainable/eco with my choices too. It really is vital at this point to really think about how we individually impact the planet and makes changes within our means to reduce our footprint.
No only do most of these swaps mean cutting out waste, they also mean less impact overall in terms of energy and chemicals… you’ll see what I mean. I also purchase a lot of these on Peace With The Wild (PWTW), as they ship completely plastic free and my town doesn’t have a shop that I can buy these items in, sadly!
Let’s start with some of the easier swaps in oral hygiene. First, switch from plastic to bamboo toothbrushes. Although bamboo brushes aren’t 100% compostable* (the bristles need to be disposed of in regular waste – or your ecobrick if you partake!) they are a lot less plastic waste than regular toothbrushes AND they use less energy to produce. Bamboo is also a sustainable material as it grows quickly and is therefore easy to replace and regrow. Alternatively, you can switch to 100% recyclable heads for your electric toothbrush if you use one.
*EDIT: Just found out that the Truthbrush has which has bristles made of 62% castor oil and 38% nylon, which means less petroleum-based plastic. I’ll be buying from this brand from now on.
Next up, toothpaste. I’ve tried a few plastic free alternatives and have finally settled on a product I like – PWTW Denttabs with flouride. A lot of these toothpaste tabs don’t have flouride in but this is key in preventing tooth decay. These tabs are really easy to use, you just chew them up and brush like normal! I went to the dentist recently and was told there’s nothing wrong with my teeth which just shows that these WORK – I’ve been using them for nearly a year.
I also use mouthwash tablets and biodegradeable dental floss (there are bamboo interdental brushes if this is more your thing) which are both from Georganics and neither of which have any plastic involved.
Let’s talk shower products. As well as hair and body care coming in plastic, it also contains alot of chemicals that aren’t exactly great for the planet. When making the swap to plastic free alternatives I noticed that it also meant eradicating these and switching to natural ingredients – which let’s face it, are likely to be better for your hair and skin anyway. For most of my shower products, I’ve switched to Conchus including shampoo, hair rinse, body scub and soap! I’ve been using this brand for months now and really rate it.
Getting rid of aerosols was another choice I made, mostly because even though the cans are recyclable in reality it’s a difficult process that’s energy consuming. So I opted for (and invested in) some more natural alternatives for hair spray and sea salt spray from Moo Hair and dry shampoo from Lush (plastic packaging is recycled and easily recyclable)! Lush do some great ‘naked’ products for your hair and body too.
I’ve stopped buying cheap hair bands, the ones that break almost instantly, and sourced some 100% biodegradable hair ties that are made from natural rubber. They’re sturdy and haven’t lost their shape at all yet. Admittedly, the little ones in the image below are from Primark but they’re to replace those pesky little teeny elastics that can never be used more than once – goodbye single use plastic! You’ll notice my bamboo hairbrush, which was a gift from my mum at the start of my eco journey!
I’ve made the (some would say brave) switch to a safety razor. It eliminates all single use shaving from my bathroom and, in the long run, is much cheaper! It does take some getting used to and here’s some tips:
- REALLY foam up that soap
- don’t press too hard
- shave at a 45 degree angle
I really rate safety razors as I get a much better shave and have no razor burn or itching like I used to with disposables but everyone will have different experiences, so do your research.
My towels are also now 80% bamboo. It takes less resources to grow bamboo than cotton so when I needed to buy new towels I decided to invest in bamboo ones! You can see the flannel below.
Sanitary products – still a somewhat of a taboo but needs to be discussed! According to Glamour: “It takes a tampon longer to degrade than the lifespan of the women who wears it and the average woman will use over 11,000 disposable, one-time-use menstrual products in her reproductive lifetime.” And this is why I swapped to a menstrual cup and, yes ‘period pants’. The menstural cup won’t be for everyone and it took me a few different brands and sizes to find one that works. MeLuna is the brand I use and it has a handy quiz on their website that helps you find the most likely fit. I genuinly love this switch and here’s why:
“This small, pliable cup is simply folded and then inserted into the vagina like a tampon, where it will then unfold itself and collect the menstrual flow. The menstrual cup should be emptied and rinsed out after a few hours as needed. Your menstrual cup can be used again immediately after cleaning. This monthly hygiene product is easy to use, practical, hygienic, environmentally friendly and offers a completely new feeling. The menstrual cup is always nearby and can be used as soon as you need it, allowing you to go about your day with fewer products and a large dose of independence!”Me Luna website
My beauty products are still are working process and it’s one of the hardest areas to make the switch to sustainable alternatives. I’ve made a start with using reusable cotton rounds, bamboo cotton buds and a zero waste makeup remover – the Camomile Cleansing Balm from the Body Shop. The Body Shop are actually a really sustainable/ethical brand too and although they still have plastic packaging (they have a recycling scheme!) I still buy skincare products because of this.
Disposaple makeup wipes, cotton rounds and plastic cotton buds are a complete nightmare for the environment, so please, if you take anything away from this post: DITCH THESE. Makeup wipes are probably the worst: they don’t remove your makeup very well, they create so much waste and don’t decompose 100 YEARS!! Cotton rounds are better BUT cotton takes a lot of resrouces and land to grow so switching to reusable ones is probably the better choice. Plastic cotton buds end up in the sea which, as I’m sure you know, is harmful to wildlife. I personally opt for bamboo over paper for these because, as I said bamboo uses less resource to grow.
Makeup is the area I have found THE hardest. I’m making steps in the right direction but I’m not quite there yet. I’ve started to buy products in refillable packaging when I need to renew my makeup, such as powder, blush, contour and highlght. My next buy is the Zao mascara which is refillable also. But generally, I’m going to use what I have before I buy anything else, which is important in all areas of living sustainably. I have only bought the products mentioned in this post AS AND WHEN I’ve needed them.
I’ve also made a few other sustainable/eco swaps: deodorant (that works really well for me), lip balm, plasters (they’re made from bamboo!) and suncream! I can vouch for the suncream actually working. I’m super pale and went to Spain for an outdoor wedding in the heat of summer last year, wore this and did not burn!
My toilet roll is also bamboo, yes you read that right! For the same reason I swapped my towels, I swapped my toilet roll. Who Gives A Crap makes recycled toilet roll as well as the bamboo one and although it is pricier than regular toilet roll they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need of them. They also don’t cut down any trees and you get more on a roll than regular toilet paper AND it’s softer. It’s also in pretty packaging… so who can argue with that!
So there we have it, I’m trying my best to live sustainably and I’m definitely making the right steps and I hope this post helps you to do so too. I know it’s not the most informative post I’ve seen but it will point you in the right direction at least and give you ideas on what changes YOU can make. I think my main message is this: don’t buy things you don’t need, do your research, think about what resources the products use & what waste it creates and, most importantly, remember, there is no planet B.