Easy Plastic-Free Toiletries to Phase into Your Bathroom Line-up

Just like going vegan, it takes a while to transition to plastic-free behaviours which will last a lifetime. When it comes to our toiletries, it seems to be plastic or plastic. Now we have knowledge about where these plastics end up, the time to start making changes is now. Have a look at the plastic-free toiletries waiting to make their way into your bathroom then fade into the soil when you’re done

Having successfully moved away from plastic-covered vegetables thanks to my no plastic-covered vegetables rule, attention has shifted to other areas. My homemade muesli is now fully plastic-free thanks to the zero-waste shops that are arriving in our cities. This is where you can buy everything from nuts to tempeh by the reusable container and also fill up on pantry oils and cleaning products to boot. Things continue to progress on my toiletry shelf where all beautifying products are steadily being replenished with environmentally-favourable alternatives to plastic.

Why we need plastic-free toiletries

Every year in the UK, almost two billion plastic cotton buds are flushed down the toilet. In North America one billion toothbrushes are sent to landfill. With 91% of global plastics not being recycled, you can be sure that those shampoo and shower gel containers are pilling up somewhere. However, there is a steady shift underway to alternatives including wood, bamboo, coconut and other biodegradable materials. In the UK sales of soap bars are on the rise and more companies than ever are entering the market for the vegan and plastic-free pound.

Here are just some of the plastic-free toiletries that can be switched into the bathroom cabinet next time you need to stock up and freshen up.

Shampoo

Some bottles of shampoo are so big they seem to never end. But as awareness grows on such plastics going to landfill, the belief that shampoo only arrives in a plastic bottle is being challenged. There are now numerous companies offering plastic-free toiletries with natural, oil-rich bars of nourishment for your hair. Lush has recently expanded its range (not all are vegan, sadly) to meet more diverse needs; Lamazuna meanwhile does have an all-vegan selection including earthly-scented numbers and, for those who like their hair chocolatey: a chocolate shampoo bar. Not to be outdone, Finland’s Flow Cosmetics offer an organic selection of soapy bars including the Hemp & Peat iteration for those with a problematic scalp.

One of the Flow Cosmetics shampoo bars saying no to plastic

Toothbrush

This essential cleansing tool only needs to be replaced a couple of times a year (or more if you are doing it right), hence why I thought a plastic toothbrush wasn’t that bad, but knew it wasn’t good either. For some time I was meaning to seek an alternative to plastic toothbrushes so was delighted when I came across the Hydophil collection. I was browsing the zero-waste shop with not an ounce of plastic packaging in sight when I spotted the salubrious brown toothbrush-shaped boxes.

The handle of the brush is made from bamboo while the bristles derive from castor oil to become BPA-free nylon. All in all, these brushes are 96% compostable, fully vegan and sustainably sourced with water-saving techniques. These are a natural choice in moving away from plastic plastic plastic as the default for everything. Try one next time you need to refresh your oral health routine and switch to plastic-free toiletries.

The bamboo-rich Hydro Phil toothbrush

Moisturiser

Before my realisation that the things we recycle rarely make it back to us in a fully-recycled form, I was blissfully lathering my body with hemp cream from The Body Shop. Seduced by the deeply relaxing smell and healing properties for dry skin, I opted to buy the hand cream as it was packaged in metal while the body cream was a round plastic tub (and surely the cream was the same anyway). This was until The Body Shop started putting their hand cream in plastic too, which leads to my new favoured form of skin hydration: a jar coconut oil.

The coconut oil comes in a harmless (as far as I know) glass jar and is, in fact, much cheaper than hemp cream. Not only this, but after two weeks of use, my skin was thirsty no more and dry patches I thought for years were just mine for life started to dissipate. If you phase in this plastic-free toiletry (or steal it from the kitchen) try to get an organic one which certifies the quality of the source and makes your inside feel as succulent as the out.

Cotton buds

Now, here is an easy one: the ear cleansing device that apparently is not really supposed to go that far into your ear, a cotton bud. When I was growing up in Scotland, these were only made from swathes of plastic with a little dab of cotton to jab (or not) into your eardrum. Nowadays we know better and can source these made of wood, bamboo or fully cotton. We can rim the innards of our ears with what is often better quality cotton and the packaging is much more chic than a rotund plastic tub. These do exactly the same thing but require slightly more consciousness when doing your toiletry shop. Hydrophil, again, have their sustainable offering but also check your local chemist or supermarket next time you need to stock up.

Deodorant

Just a few of the many deo bars from Lush and Ben & Anna

Most among us like to smell nice, feel fresh, look good. And I’m sure most of us do. But at what cost to the environment? Years ago I retrained myself to stop thinking of aerosol gas as the preferential stench of a human. I learned to appreciate the soap-like sweetness of deodorant sticks and realised a mild waft was much smoother than a sensorial attack when entering a room. While deo sticks are kinder to the environment in the way that smoking is more unhealthy than driving, for many deodorant is a spray or plastic-covered roll-on. However, now there is a new option on the market worth exploring: the plastic-free deo bar.

Lush offer a variety of solid deodorants to keep your pits fresh while the all-vegan Ben & Anna have a beautifully refreshing line-up of paper-encased solutions for your underarms. Or, jump on the next big trend and make your own. Something to think about in our transition to plastic-free living.

For more ideas on reducing and removing plastics in your home, see these fantastically soapy soaps and also follow the latest museings and more on Twitter and Instagram. 🌲🌱

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