The beauty and personal hygiene industries generate tons of waste every year, having created a problem that the world has to deal with for years to come. However, there have been steps to reduce plastic use in packaging. From brands that harness only environmentally friendly materials to products that use strictly biodegradable materials for packaging, the industry is slowly addressing the need to reduce single plastic use. After all, there are about 120 billion units of packaging produced every year for the global cosmetics industry alone, as per Glamour. Most of these end up in landfills and the ocean, killing fish and damaging coral reefs and other marine homes. As consumers, we contribute to this plastic waste problem. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re looking to decrease your environmental impact, you’ve probably wondered how to switch to eco-friendly bath and beauty products. After all, most of the items in our bathrooms and in our makeup bags are packaged in some sort of plastic or non-recyclable materials that are harmful to the environment. So how do you switch to eco-friendly bath and beauty products?
1. Rethink the way you consume liquid soaps or body washes.
Most body washes in the market today come in plastic bottles with a dispenser on it. These plastic bottles are single use, unless you choose to refill them with homemade bath soap. There are several ways you can address this. Either go for bar soaps that come in paper and plastic-free packaging or go for liquid soaps that come in glass bottles that can be recyclable.
2. Go big and buy in bulk.
According to Harpers Bazaar UK, shopping for “supersized” beauty products has become a new trend because it has several benefits. For one, it uses less packaging and reduced regular shipping costs. It also comes out cheaper to purchase items in bulk when you compute the price per ounce.
3. Look out for plastic free alternatives.
There are several bath and beauty products that contain plastic, aside from its packaging and those are earbuds, toothbrushes, and dental floss. Most of us can remember that heartbreaking photograph of a seahorse holding an earbud that ended up in the ocean. According to Sustainability Victoria, about 1.5 billion single-use plastic cotton buds are produced every day and most of them end up in the ocean as this product cannot be recycled. The solution is to switch to cotton buds that are made with paper or bamboo stems, as these are biodegradable materials. The same can be said for toothbrushes, as the market is now filled with more eco-friendly options such as wooden toothbrushes. There is also an alternative to dental floss, the generic version of which is made of nylon, which isn’t biodegradable. There are dental floss that are now made with silk and other biodegradable materials.
4. Do your own research on eco-friendly alternatives to beauty and bath essentials.
Did you know that in the U.K., there has been an uptick in the interest surrounding eco-friendlier hygiene staples such as reusable makeup pads, sustainable razors, biodegradable wipes, shampoo bars, and reusable sanitary pads? In fact, those topics are the top five most popular Google search topics in the last two years, according to research from Drench (via CountryLiving). It gives us insight on how consumers are finding their own ways to educate themselves on the environmental impact of the things they purchase and discard. Doing your own research is a good habit that will instill values of resourcefulness amongst us. It also helps us make better, more informed choices when it comes to our purchases.
5. Read the label.
One of the simplest things we can do as consumers is to educate ourselves on what we purchase and what we put on or in our bodies. In the same vein as the previous bullet, it is smart to read the label on products that we use. Check out the ingredients list and look out for labels that claim to be cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. A number of beauty products today use ingredients that are biodegradable and safe to be discarded down our drains, which eventually end up in our oceans. Again, be mindful of packaging and see if there are any notes on the label on how to recycle or dispose of the packaging.
Related: How to Clean Mirrors without Streaks
Switch to Eco-friendly Bath and Beauty Products: The Best Plastic-Free Alternatives According to Users
- Brush With Bamboo Bamboo Toothbrush with Plant-Based Bristles, a set of 4 bamboo toothbrushes made with soft plant-based bristles crafted from a vegetable base that’s made in the U.S. Housed in compostable plant-based packaging. Its unique bristles are made from a base of 62% castor bean oil and are made in the USA, while its handle is made from Certified 100% organic bamboo. Customers rated these brushes 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Promising review: “I have only used this toothbrush for a couple of days, but am totally pleased with it. It is easy to hold and has firm bristles, but not too firm. The thing I like about it the most, and the reason I ordered these toothbrushes in the first place, is because they are totally recyclable.” Ellen D. Pinsky
- LaBoos Best Nature Manual Color Bamboo Toothbrush (4 Pieces), with high-grade soft bristles that protects your gums from scratches and bleeding. It features a smooth brush that is water-resistant so you can brush your teeth just as you would with a plastic toothbrush. it features four beautiful colors on the bottom of the handle so family members can easily distinguish theirs in shared bathrooms. Customers gave this product a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon. Promising review: “I like the different colored bits which are helpful if multiple people in your household have one in the same bathroom so you don’t mix them up. These are a bit thinner than the other bamboo toothbrushes I purchase, but they are still plenty sturdy. The toothbrush head is a little smaller, I think, which makes getting in the tighter spots at the back of the mouth a bit easier. I would purchase these again.” Kmtheonnes
- Greenzla Bamboo Toothbrush (4 Pack) with Travel Toothbrush Case & Charcoal Dental Floss, a complete eco-friendly dental package you can take on the go. It features a pack of 4 charcoal bamboo toothbrushes with springy and durable bristles, charcoal and mint infused dental floss made of eco-friendly bamboo fiber in a glass jar, and a wooden toothbrush case so you can take your kit anywhere you go. This kit has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Promising review: “Nice recyclable toothbrush. The travel case is sturdy and well made. The entire product is recyclable. The dental floss works well. No complaints. Soft bristles.” P. J. Maczonis
- Isshah Biodegradable Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes Pack of 4, which will last one person an entire year thanks to its durability. It features a biodegradable handle with smooth edges, carbon treated bristles, and BPA-free nylon. Comes in biodegradable packaging. This product has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Promising review: “Soft brush that thoroughly cleans. They didn’t hurt my sensitive teeth as compared to the ‘gentle’ brushes I have been buying in the store. Teeth appear whiter also.” hoosier0893
- Native Birds Bamboo Toothbrush with Soft Charcoal Infused Bristles, Set of 4, BPA-free, charcoal-infused toothbrushes that effectively clean teeth but are gentle on the gums and enamel. It features a comfortable round handle with painted ends to easily distinguish yours from your family’s. It comes in recycled paper packaging and made with Moso bamboo wood that is 99% biodegradable and nylon bristles that must be cut and recycled separately. Native Birds has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Promising review: “Aside from the obvious advantages of eco friendly materials, the bristles are very good at cleaning your teeth! I was amazed at how they messaged my gums while giving an excellent clean to my teeth, better dare I say than any toothbrush I’ve ever used. The taper seems to be a perfect fit to get below your gum line. Highly recommend!” 32and
Related: How to Clean a Toothbrush
Switch to Eco-friendly Bath and Beauty Products with These Hygiene Essentials
1. Crate 61 Best Seller Soap 6-Pack Box Set, 100% Vegan Cold Process Bar Soap
Lovingly handmade with certified vegan and cruelty free ingredients, this box of six Crate 61 Best-selling cold pressed soaps is the perfect gift for someone who’s switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Packed in biodegradable paperboard boxes, these unique soaps are made with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and unrefined avocado oil to provide both lather and moisture to the skin. This pack of six includes Avocado Grapefruit , Coconut, Lemongrass, Lavender, Eucamint, and Seaweed Sea Salt variants. This product has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “The texture of the soaps is smooth. My skin does not feel dry nor oily after the shower. The scent is pleasant: not too rich, not too light, and all of them give off a natural essential oil smell which is very soothing. I also like the packaging, the cardboard box is recyclable and more eco-friendly.” Amazon Customer
2. The Humble Co. Natural Bamboo Cotton Swabs/Sticks (600count)
Say goodbye to cotton buds with plastic stems forever with these bamboo cotton swabs from The Humble Co. These are made with bamboo and cotton that are 100% biodegradable and come in packaging made from 100% recycled paper. These cotton buds are professionally developed by dentists, vegan, and cruelty-free certified, featuring a biodegradable sustainably-grown bamboo handle. This product has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “This is a good product – very well made. Highly recommend. And makes me feel good using something without animal cruelty and better for the planet.” Shopper123
3. Hello Oral Care Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste, 4 Count
With a unique SLS free formula that’s thoughtfully formulated with a calcium mineral blend, Hello Oral Care naturally whitens teeth as you use it. This vegan toothpaste contains farm grown peppermint and tea tree oil and naturally whitening fluoride that naturally and gently prevents cavities, strengthens tooth enamel and freshens breath. This formula does not contain peroxide, dye, SLS, parabens, triclosan, preservatives, and gluten. It is also free of artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors. Hello Oral Care has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “I am so glad to find a natural toothpaste that has fluoride AND actually freshens my breath and leaves my teeth feeling super clean. The texture is different, which is to be expected because it doesn’t contain ingredients that can cause cancer! But I have tried other natural toothpastes that did not leave my mouth ‘minty fresh,’ but this one really does!” Yoshimura
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Ancient Herbal. Modern Thinking. All-Natural and Holistic. #herbalism #mouthwash #modernthinking
4. Dr. H. & Co. Dentist Formulated All Natural Herbal and Holistic Refresh Mouthwash, 4 oz
Unlike most mouthwashes in the market today, the Dr. H. & Co. mouth rinse comes in an eco-friendly glass bottle that’s better for the environment than non-recyclable plastic bottles. It features an all-natural herbal formula that effectively neutralizes bacteria, removes bad breath, and supports healthy gums and teeth. This mouth rinse is carefully handcrafted in small batches from herbal extracts and essential oils such as Aloe Vera, Licorice Root, Holy Basil, Calendula, White Oak Bark, Peppermint Oil, Cinnamon Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Xylitol. This product is vegan and cruelty-free, and does not contain harsh chemicals or artificial flavors or colors. Dr. H. & Co. Dentist Formulated Mouthwash has an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “Incredible product and a much better deal than it looks like. You only need a mini cap full vs a small cup that is used for other mouthwashes so it lasts way longer than you think. You can feel it working right away and I’m already seeing the difference.” David Martinez
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Are you ready to say goodbye to dry shampoo? 💁 St Clements has got your back, with a magical thing we call humectants. Humectants are a group of ingredients that draw water to themselves. Weightless hydration without the oil or waxes. Users with oily hair have said that they are having to wash their hair less with St Clements, woohoo! 🍋🍊 #giveupthebottle #ethiqueworld
5. Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo Bar for Oily Hair, St. Clements
A fresh approach to shampoo bars, Ethique is proudly a zero waste brand that uses biodegradable ingredients and compostable packaging to ensure that their delightful shampoo bars leave no trace except goodness on the hair and skin. Equivalent to 3 bottles of liquid shampoo, the Ethique Shampoo Bar does not only save money, it also saves water! With a formula that is PH balanced and 100% soap free, the St. Clements shampoo bar for oily hair harnesses the power of lime and orange oils to balance oil production, clean your scalp, and freshen up the hair. It also contains humectants to draw moisture to your hair to keep it healthy, so you need not use a conditioner. This product has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Promising review: “I have very oily hair and this soap lets me go two days between washes, three in a pinch. Normally I have to wash hair daily. Does not dry out my hair. Absolutely love it. I have a sensitive scalp and this is very soothing.” Amazon Customer
Special Mention: The Best Menstrual Cup
Did you know that a woman’s period also has an environmental impact? About 20 billion sanitary products are disposed of in North American landfills annually, according to the HBS. Among these non-biodegradable wastes are pads, tampons, and applicators and other feminine hygiene products. In response to this, many are switching to the menstrual cup, a product designed to be inserted into the vagina during menstruation to collect fluid. It is often made of flexible medical grade silicone, latex, or a thermoplastic isomer. Bell shaped and equipped with a stem for easy handling, a menstrual cup helps the earth by doing away with the use of so many pads or tampons throughout just one woman’s lifetime. Our pick for the best beginner menstrual cup in the market today is Lena Menstrual Cup, the most affordable U.S.-made US medical grade silicone and dyes for the user’s utmost safety and protection during her period. It can be worn for up to 12 hours and does not leak, emit orders or sensations, letting you stay active no matter where you go. This product is made in California. Available at Amazon.
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“Started my period last night and I was so worried this morning I’d wake up and my white Muji sheets would be ruined. They weren’t. And today is unlike any period I’ve had before. Not only is it more comfortable and all around healthier feeling, it works 10000000 times better. I’m blown away that leaks aren’t a thing, and that I was living my entire period life without this.” — Emily Protecting your @mujiusa sheets is SERIOUS BUSINESS, people. We can help.
More stories on sustainable living are in the links from our archive below.
Sustainable Living: Mother’s Day Gifts for Eco-friendly Moms
International Plastic Bag Free Day: Top Eco-Friendly, Reusables for Your Home & Family
Best Products to Help You Live More Sustainably in 2020
Fall Fashion: Sustainably Sourced and Responsibly Manufactured Pieces at Nordstrom
10 Biodegradable Family and Home Products That Will Help You Care for Mother Earth
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