Beauty is probably one of the harder categories to avoid plastics because the vast majority of beauty products come in some kind of plastic container and/or packaging. While I haven’t been able to replace all of my bathroom, makeup, and skincare products with plastic free options, I’ve been able to make a dent in a few of them. Here are some of my experiences with hair, floss, deodorant, soap, and period products.
There are a lot of shampoo and conditioner bars out there. Because of that, this part of my grooming routine was one of the easier parts to replace.
I first tried shampoo and conditioner bars from Lush. Specifically Honey, I Washed My Hair for shampoo and Sugar Daddy-O for conditioner. The shampoo bar is great; it foams/suds really well and smells nice. The conditioner bar was a good conditioner, but it was very hard to use. You really have to rub it in your hands to get any kind of lather, and it takes a long time to get enough for all of my hair. Oftentimes I didn’t have the time to get enough and needed to supplement with another conditioner I had in a bottle (or just use that outright).
I’d heard a lot about HiBar and decided to give that brand a try. I ordered the Moisturizer line shampoo and conditioner bars. I was really happy with the packaging – all paper and no plastic! These make my hair really soft and the conditioner bar is much easier to extract conditioner from than the Lush bar. I plan to keep using these for a while because they smell nice, produce enough to coat my hair, and make my hair look great!
There are a few reduced plastic floss options out there. I decided to go with Dental Lace because it seemed to be the best option. For your first order, you’ll order a small metal and glass container that will house your floss. It comes with a spool of refillable floss.
They have two different floss options: Silk and Vegan. The Silk floss is certified compostable and the Vegan one might be compostable. It contains PLA – a bio-based plastic made from corn. There’s research that it does compost, but Dental Lace hasn’t officially tested it. You can find out more about the compostability of each of them in their FAQ section. Given the questionable compostable-ness of the Vegan version, you sort of have to decide here which battle you’d like to combat. Just keep in mind that in order to be compostable, you likely need to include it in your compost. It will not just break down in the trash. I decided to try both and I found that the Vegan version breaks a little less.
They have a bunch of fun colors to choose from for your case. The packaging overall is plastic free – the bags the floss refills are stored in are made from PLA. I do wish there was a better option for that, but overall this is one of the better plastic free floss options I’ve been able to find. They’re reasonably priced and last a very long time.
So far I’ve tried two plastic free deodorant options. The first was (again) from Lush. I was unimpressed. The Aromaco block was very hard and I felt like I wasn’t able to get enough on without ripping off my skin. As with the conditioner, it was too difficult to use.
I then went on to try Myro. I was a little disappointed in their packaging. I was aware the dispenser was plastic and you’d get a refill each month (or when you need it) to fill the dispenser. However, the refills are encased in a thick layer of plastic. So while it’s probably less plastic than a traditional stick of deodorant, it’s really far from a less-plastic alternative.
My second gripe with Myro was that at some point I think they changed their formula. My first order lasted me a very long time (that’s because I don’t need much deodorant though) and it stayed in a stick the whole time. My second order earlier this year melted almost completely and never regained its structure. Our air conditioning broke and our house hit maybe 85 degrees in May. My Myro sticks turned to mush and stayed mush. So now to use them I have to use a tissue to wipe it on my armpits because I don’t want to waste what I already have. Le sigh. Once I finish the “sticks” I have, I’ll be on the search for a deodorant that a) doesn’t melt and b) actually is plastic free. I was sad because I really liked the scent and it worked pretty well.
While I’ve griped on a few of Lush’s products, I really do love their brand. Their focus on sustainable packaging and stance against animal testing/cruelty is something I admire greatly. Like I said above, I really liked their Honey, I Washed My Hair shampoo bar and I also like a lot of their other products. They have great lip scrubs in glass containers, and are famous for their (packaging free) bath bombs.
Lush is also really great for soaps. Instead of using liquid body wash in the shower which needs to be housed in some kind of packaging, I use a bar of package-free soap from Lush. They have so many and it’s really fun to try new ones!
Any of their lotion consistency items are sold in black pots, which they accept back to the store for recycling. You can bring back five of them and receive a free face mask! They are cleaned, ground into pellets, and heated and remolded back into pots by Lush’s recycling partner.
There are a number of plastic and waste free period products out there. Diva cups, underwear, reusable pads, etc. I decided to go with Aisle’s (formerly LunaPads) period pads because I felt they offered a little bit more flexibility than period underwear (aka easier to change) and I was also a little confused if period underwear was more for preventing leaks or if it was meant to replace pads/tampons completely. Anyway, I also really liked that their pads were made of organic cotton and they offered a dye free option at the time (less potential toxins, thank you!).
These have worked well for me, but if you have a heavier flow, I’d recommend only wearing them in something like jeans as they do slide around slightly.
A few random bathroom suggestions! I invested in a metal tongue scraper, which will last forever. That one from Amazon comes with two and is super cheap.
Instead of using liquid hand soap, just use a bar of soap in a dish – maybe one from Lush! Or one of the 8000 you accumulate from hotels (pre-COVID, you know, when we traveled). You’re probably thinking, “Ew! Bar soap?” I don’t know if this is a millennial thing or just a me thing (please let me know in the comments), but I think sharing bar soap with people you don’t live with is a little gross. I get it, it’s soap so it’s clean but there’s just something about it. I’m totally fine with this arrangement for members of my own household, but I wouldn’t put a bar soap option in a guest bathroom.
So here’s what I do. For our downstairs half bath, which guests use (again, pre-COVID, maybe we will never have guests again, I don’t know), I use the liquid hand soap from Blueland, which I talked about in my last post. And then in our upstairs bathroom (which only we use), I have a soap tray and use bar soaps only for hand washing. Works out great.
I’m still working on upgrading my beauty routine to use less plastic. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still heavily reliant on plastic for skincare and hair styling products. My skin is very sensitive, so I haven’t been able to do much experimenting there. If anyone has any suggestions, please send them along! My next beauty ventures are: finding a new deodorant, toothpaste tabs, and lotion from Lush.
Stay tuned for my final post this round that will focus on plastic free kitchen and “on the go” items!