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Zero Waste Personal Care Products

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Going zero waste with personal care products can save you both time and money. Before going zero waste, my Amazon Subscribe and Save monthly purchases ranged into the hundreds of dollars. From liquid soaps, to disposable razor cartridges, disposable plastic stick deodorants, dry shampoo in disposable pressurized containers, body wash, and lotions. Sometimes it boggles my mind how much I consumed. My zero waste lifestyle is simpler. There are some items that have higher upfront costs, but overall my consumption has dramatically decreased. Our family of four is down to one trash bag a week. Before I adopted this lifestyle, we threw away one trash bag a day.

Listed below are my favorite zero waste personal care items and DIYs that helped dramatically reduce my waste. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Please share some of your favorites.

Ecocentric Mom box

Zero Waste Personal Care Products

Zero Waste Shaving

Razors

personal care zero waste leafshave razorI love safety razors, but safety razors don’t love me. Before I found the LeafShave, I used a standard safety razor. There’s nothing wrong with a safety razor, but it doesn’t bend. Because of the rigidity, it’s hard on soft spots like underarms.

RELATED CONTENT: HOW TO GO ZERO WASTE WHEN YOU’RE BROKE

Similar to a safety razor, LeafShave uses traditional recyclable metal razor blades, but it splits them into thirds, which provides more flexibility. LeafShave razors are pricey at $79 for the basic package, but it comes with 20 blades. Their refill blades are $9 for 20 blades or $14 for 50. Considering a four-pack of disposable plastic razors averages around $15, $9 for 20 blades is a steal.

zero waste personal care leafshave straight razor

Shave soap bar

Instead of buying shaving cream, shower gel, body wash, or lotion consider a lotion or a shave bar. Amazon has a vegan organic shave soap bar that works like shaving cream.

zero waste shave soap bar
Image source: Amazon

Zero Waste Skincare

Lotion

After careful research, I decided to make my own lotion. Zero wasters love glass, but disposable glass is not necessarily environmentally friendly. Mixed-use recycling (recycling everything in one bin) causes cross-contamination. Glass bottles typically break in transit. Broken glass bottles can be recycled, but broken glass contaminates plastic, paper, aluminum, and cardboard recycling. Because of this, many municipalities have stopped taking glass recycling, requiring citizens to landfill their disposable glass bottles. So purchasing a skincare product in a glass bottle is not necessarily a zero waste win.

personal care zero waste homemade lotion

The best solution I’ve come up with is to make my own skincare products. I purchase the ingredients in large quantities (bulk packaging from Costco or Amazon, not to be confused with bulk bin shopping at Whole Foods or Sprouts). My recipe makes about 16 ounces (453.6 grams) of lotion. See below.

Homemade Lotion

Four tablespoons of Shea Butter
Two tablespoons of Coconut Oil
One tablespoon of Jojoba Oil
One tablespoon of Vitamin E Oil
One tablespoon of Beeswax
Fifteen drops of Essential Oils

Zero Waste Dental Care

Toothpaste

Try as I might I have not been able to find a viable zero waste toothpaste with fluoride. Bite tooth tabs are still fluoride-free. Bite has been working on a fluoride version, but still hasn’t released it yet. I’ve gotten into debates about the benefits of fluoride with fellow zero wasters, including a representative from David’s Natural Toothpaste (who has no plans to add a fluoride version).

colgate toothpaste terracycle recycling program
Image source: Terracycle

There are some zero wasters who think that fluoride is “poison.” However, as an environmentalist I support science. Science is why I believe climate change is real and happening. The benefits of fluoride on human oral health have been well studied. “It is present in trace amounts in all mineralized tissues of the body such as enamel, dentin, and bone.” Fluoride is a mineral and is naturally found in the soil, water, and in our bodies. Too much of any mineral can be dangerous, which is why the minimal amount of fluoride in toothpaste is safe and strengthens tooth enamel. My teeth are also cavity-prone and require fluoride. So the only toothpaste I will consider must have fluoride.

If you’re in the UK or Europe, consider Dent Tabs, as they are a German-based company. If you’re in New Zealand or Australia consider Pop Tabs. I’m in the U.S. so I can’t justify the shipping emissions to avoid plastic.

denttabs dental tablets zero waste toothpaste
Image source: Dent Tabs

Colgate and Tom’s of Maine have partnered with Terracycle to create a recycling program for their oral care products. My husband is not a fan of Tom’s so I purchase Colgate products since they can be sent to Terracycle for free.

RELATED CONTENT: BEST ZERO WASTE CLEANING SUPPLIES

If you’d like to sign up for the Terracycle program, register for an account with Terracycle, search through their free programs, and sign up for the waiting list. They will send you an email notification once you’re in the program. Go to your profile and print a shipping label. Collect your toothpaste tubes in a box, tape your shipping label to it, and mail it. It’s that easy.

NYC Play Blocks

Zero Waste Deodorants

Earlier this year I did a post on my favorite zero waste deodorants. Since January, more products have become commercially available. The most reasonably priced deodorants I’ve found are on Etsy. Freewheelin Market on Etsy sells a 3 ounce (88.71 ml) sized deodorant in cardboard packaging for $8 (€7.22). Eight dollars may sound expensive, but it’s $5 (€4.51) less than what I was paying.

personal care zero waste deodorant

I could purchase a 2.6 ounce Suave deodorant in disposable plastic for under $2 (€1.81), but what is the true cost for cheap? When an item is extremely inexpensive, the cost is likely borne elsewhere– low-paid wages, sweatshops, or environmental damage (sometimes all three). I can’t always afford the best option, but occasionally I can. I haven’t had a chance to make my own deodorant, but I found a wonderful recipe listed below.

Homemade Deodorant (Baking Soda-free)

Three tablespoons of Coconut Oil
Two tablespoons of Shea Butter
Three tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth
Two tablespoons of Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
Twenty drops of Essential Oil

Zero Waste Body

Body Soap

The easiest and cheapest zero waste body wash is good old fashioned bar soap. My husband is partial to Grandpa’s Tar Soap, which works well on eczema and other skin conditions. I prefer cold-pressed Amish bar soap with a sisal soap saver.

zero waste bar grandpa pine tar soap
Image source: The Grandpa Soap Co.

Dry Shampoo

Before I went zero waste I would purchase dry shampoo in the aerosol bottle, which was not recyclable. I haven’t found a commercially available low waste dry shampoo, so I make it myself. It’s really simple. I have dark hair, so my dry shampoo consists of one part corn starch and one part cocoa. If you have light hair, just use corn starch. It’s that easy… and yep my dry shampoo is residing in an old spice jar because that’s how I roll.

personal care zero waste dry shampoo

Makeup Removers

I found these wonderful cotton rounds on Etsy from EcoLifeNatural. I highly recommend her shop. She has lots to offer, including cloth diaper inserts, soaps, crocheted hats, and cloth wipes. I use the cotton rounds to cleanse my face and remove makeup.

personal care zero waste reusable cotton rounds

Shampoo

I have very thick curly hair. Shampoo bars don’t work well for me. If you have issues with shampoo bars and you can’t afford $30 for a bottle of shampoo from Plaine Products, what do you do? ⁣My solution has been to use regular shampoo in large gallon containers.

vegan sulfate free shampoo
Image source: Be Beautiful.com

Buying in bulk (aka buying the largest container–not to be confused with bulk bins) can lower your overall packaging waste. A large container of shampoo from BeBeautiful.com for $14.99 (€13.50). It’s vegan and paraben and sulfate-free. It’s in disposable plastic, but it’s in a large gallon container that I assume will last for a while.⁣ Buying in large quantities limits your packaging waste. Here are some sample packaging figures:⁣

1 liquid gallon = 128 ounces (3.875 liters) ⁣
>1 mid-priced shampoo bottle = 25.4 ounces (0.751168 liters)⁣
>1 gallon of shampoo = 5 bottles of shampoo⁣

> 25.4 ounces is 2.5 x 3.5 x 9.2 inches ; 1.1 pounds (0.498952 kg)⁣
>1 gallon is 6 x 6 x 11.6 inches; 8.7 pounds (3.94625 kg)⁣

⁣I was never very good at geometry so I will not attempt to calculate the surface area, but at first glance, if you multiply the 25.4-ounce bottle dimensions times 5, that is a larger number than the dimensions of the 1-gallon bottle. ⁣In addition to the extra bottle packaging, you will save extra bottle tops as well. So if price is an issue for you and you have problems with shampoo bars, this may be a good option! ⁣


It’s important to remember that a zero waste lifestyle is not just about avoiding any and all plastic. We shouldn’t kill the good for the perfect. There is no such thing as zero waste. Even the most ardent zero wasters produce waste. Zero waste is the goal, but rarely the result. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect zero waster.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of zero waste personal care products. If you have any favorites, please share with me in the comments or on Instagram.

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<img src="zero-waste-personal-care-products-swaps.jpg" alt="zero waste shampoo conditioner">


#zerowaste, #lowwaste, #personalcare, #selfcare, #routine, #ecofriendly

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