Beauty Boosts, Life & Style

15+ Easy Zero Waste Beauty Swaps

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Are you looking to minimise waste in your beauty and personal care regime? I’ve come up with 15+ easy zero waste beauty swaps that make it easy to reduce our environmental impact. With concerns (or even panic) about the impending environmental crisis mounting, I believe it’s up to companies to overhaul their environmental policies. I think it’s also up to us as consumers, to do what we can, and buy from environmentally responsible businesses. Of course one person trying to cut waste is not going to do much, but if we all do a bit it will add up.

As well as trying to choose beauty products that contain natural, sustainable and ethically-sourced ingredients, I am also now trying to choose low or zero waste brands. It’s not easy, but it is getting better thanks to some green beauty, zero waste pioneers! Read on for my 15+ zero waste beauty swaps and see if it inspires you to make some of your own.

Easy Zero Waste Beauty Swaps

Zero Waste Beauty Swaps: Facial Care

I haven’t tried any zero waste make-up yet, so watch this space, as I will be investigating that next. But when it comes to skincare, I have a few beauty swaps to suggest.

Swap disposable for reusable make-up remover pads & muslin cloths

First up in my guide to zero waste beauty swaps is reusable make-up remover pads, and muslin cloths. Then environmental impact of face wipes and baby wipes has been well documented, and this is a really easy swap. Investing in a pack of reusable organic cotton or bamboo make-up remover pads is a great way to reduce cotton use, and cuts down on the single-use plastic bags normal cotton wool pads come in.

Reusable cotton pads and muslin cloth
Use reusable make-up remover pads & muslin cloths instead of disposable cotton wool.

Above are my Ermana bamboo zero waste bamboo pads, which were gifted for review. They come in a cotton bag so you don’t lose them in the washing machine. These super-soft pads are £12 for 10 through this affiliate link.

TIP: Dampen your reusable pads with water before applying eye make-up remover or micellar water, and this makes your liquids last longer.

You can pop your pads in with your normal wash and although they don’t come out perfectly white again, they are clean, just stained. The pad on the left is brand new, the one on the right is after using for a few months. It’s shrunk a little, and has a slight stain from mascara.

Reusable cotton pads and muslin cloths are easy zero waste beauty swaps
Reusable cotton pads and muslin cloths are easy zero waste beauty swaps.

The only thing I don’t use these reusable cotton pads for is removing nail varnish, as I don’t want to wash nail varnish remover around with my washing. I use muslin cloths to remove my oil-based cleanser too: either specific ones I’ve bought, or flannels or my kids’ old muslin cloths from when they were babies.

Ditch plastic tubes of face scrub and try a scrubbing stone

Microbeads in facial scrubs have quite rightly been banned, but most scrubs still come in plastic tubes. I have been testing a scrubbing stone instead, and as long as you are VERY gentle, it works really well.

This palm-sized stone must be drenched with water, and you need to use a cleanser on your skin. Then you just move it gently over your face and it exfoliates. The first few times I used it, I pressed too hard and my skin was not happy. But I have got the hang of it now and think it’s a great exfoliator and is light and travel-friendly too. You can buy a scrubbing stone through this affiliate link for £9.99.

Use organic cotton and bamboo cotton buds

Plastic-stemmed cotton buds are being banned in Scotland, and there is a proposed ban in England too. It’s become much easier to buy paper-stemmed cotton buds. These organic cotton buds with sustainable bamboo stems are an even better option.

Eco friendly bamboo cotton buds help reduce waste

Natural Zero-Waste Dental Care

As every piece of plastic ever produced is still on the planet, every toothbrush and piece of dental floss we’ve ever used is still out there. That’s quite a sobering thought for me. As a family of four, we go through at least 16 toothbrushes a year.

Brushd. have sent me some of their eco-friendly, sustainable dental care products to try for my zero waste beauty swaps. They sell them individually or on a subscription basis here.

“We have been working hard to formulate a range of products that promote good oral care while reducing our plastic pollution at the same time. Our toothpaste tablets are recommended by dentists to leave your teeth and gums feeling clean and healthy.”

Brushd.
Brushd. plastic-free zero waste dental care
Brushd. plastic-free zero waste dental care.

Swap your plastic toothbrush for one made of bamboo

I’ve transitioned to a bamboo toothbrush, and have used several types over the past year or two. So why is a bamboo toothbrush more eco-friendly? They have a lower carbon footprint, as they don’t need oil for production. Bamboo is a fast-growing natural resource, and will biodegrade.

Exchange a non-recyclable tube of toothpaste for toothpaste tablets

The plastic tubes toothpaste arrives in is often not recyclable, as they’re made from mixed materials. So again, with the amount we go through, a zero waste option is a good one.

Brushd. zero waste plastic-free dental care
Brushd. zero waste plastic-free dental care.

Brushd. have bamboo interdental brushes, and plastic-free corn dental floss, as well as dental supplements. Brushd. also sell recyclable heads for electric toothbrushes, which could be a great option if you’re wedded to yours! The toothpaste tablets do take a little getting used to – but they do make your teeth feel super clean, and the bamboo brush feels so much nicer than a plastic one. I love the mouthwash tablets too, and don’t these lovely glass jars look so much nicer than garish plastic bottles and tubes?

Zero Waste Beauty Swaps: Body Care

When it comes to zero waste bathroom swaps, there are lots. From traditional plastic-free safety razors, which are suitable for both legs and faces, to body lotion in a bar, read about some zero waste beauty swaps for your body.

Use up any disposable sanitary pads and try period pants instead

I was gifted some Modibodi period pants earlier this year, and use them all the time. They are comfy, and not bulky and there is no need for disposable plastic pads. I’m a convert! You can buy these Modibodi pants through this affiliate link, but they do loads of different styles.

Wearing a Boody Bamboo vest and Modibodi period pants
Modibodi period pants cut down on so much waste.

A menstrual cup, and reusable sanitary pads are also great zero waste period swaps.

Swap plastic exfoliating gloves for a natural exfoliating mitt

I picked up this natural, plastic-free exfoliating mitt at Holland and Barrett. It’s made of ramie, which is a natural fibre from a plant know as a Chinese nettle. The fibre is naturally resistant to bacteria and mildew.

Ramie natural exfoliating mitt
Ramie natural exfoliating mitt is a zero waste replacement for plastic exfoliating gloves.

It’s so much better for the planet than the plastic woven exfoliating gloves. It makes my skin super smooth and silky, especially when teamed with a solid body wash like my Conchus bar.

Conchus solid body wash bar and natural exfoliating mitt
Conchus solid body wash bar and natural exfoliating mitt.

Exchange a plastic bottle of shower gel for a zero waste soap bar

How many plastic bottles do you have cluttering up your shower? We have loads, but I am working to replace them with solid bars where I can. Swapping a bottle of shower get for a bar of natural soap is a super easy and affordable swap you can make to reduce waste in your bathroom. The one in the photo above is a ‘Shell’ Body Wash Bar from Milton Keynes-based Conchus. This handmade bar is 100% natural, vegan, palm oil-free and comes with zero plastic packaging. They also do lovely shampoo bars and hair rinses, which you can read about further down this list of easy zero waste beauty swaps.

Replace your plastic razor for a safety razor with recyclable blades

If you’re using a disposable razor, or one of the plastic razors with replaceable blades, there is a lot of plastic involved. I recently bought my husband a traditional stainless steel safety razor from Mutiny Shaving, and he loves it. So when the handle of my current razor breaks, or when I run out of blades, I will swap to a safety razor too.

Mutiny Shaving safety razor and shaving soap
Mutiny Shaving safety razor and shaving soap for a zero waste shave.

Swap shaving gel for a shaving bar

Instead of using an aerosol can of shaving foam, or a plastic tube of shave gel, you can swap for a shaving bar. I got my husband the Mutiny Shaving Soap in the photo above, and it works so well, and smells great. I use a natural conditioner bar, that didn’t really work as a conditioner. I’m so happy I’ve been able to repurpose it!

Use solid cologne in a metal tin, instead of aftershave

Aftershave and perfume normally comes with tonnes of packaging, often including non-recyclable plastic film. It also has a high carbon footprint for transportation, as it’s so heavy and bulky. Using a solid cologne like this one gifted for review from Solid Cologne UK is a great zero waste alternative. A little goes a long way, and you just slide open the metal tin, and dab some onto your pulse points.

“These highly concentrated wax fragrances are portable, natural and moisturising. It’s so easy to apply and handy too. Perfect for carrying in your pocket or gym bag and you can travel on aircraft with this range. Discreetly packaged, application is fast and easy.”

Solid Cologne UK

Available in several fragrances online, these tins of zero waste solid cologne are £14.99 each.

Swap a plastic bottle of sun cream for Shade sunscreen

We normally go through so many plastic bottles of sun cream in the summer. This year, we found a great zero waste option, in an aluminium tin. You can buy Shade SPF25 sunscreen through my affiliate link. It only contains four ingredients: organic coconut oil, organic shea butter, unrefined beeswax and non-nano zinc oxide.

Shade zero-waste natural sunscreen
Shade zero-waste natural sunscreen.

As it is a physical sunscreen, rather than a chemical one, it does look quite white to start with but this soon fades away. It smells lush and is super-moisturising, but because of that it is not great on the face.

Replace your can of deodorant with natural zero waste deodorant

I swapped to natural deodorant from anti-perspirant several years ago and after some trial and error I have found some natural deodorants that actually work. I recently compared three zero waste natural deodorants, and you can read all about them here.

Tried and Tested Zero Waste Natural Deodorants from Elsa's Organic Skinfood, Nuud and Earth Conscious

Zero Waste Haircare

I’ve tried a few solid shampoo bars with mixed results. I feel that like natural deodorants, you have to try a few zero waste shampoos before finding the one that works for you. Luckily, there are loads to choose from now.

Conchus zero waste haircare
Conchus zero waste haircare and a natural exfoliating mitt.

Try a solid shampoo bar and conditioning rinse instead of shampoo

I use Conchus Swell shampoo bar on the girls’ hair, and it works well. It didn’t work so well for my bleached hair, however, so I am still looking for one that will suit my hair. The Conchus Heavenly Hair Rinse is an essential, especially in a hard water area, and you use it instead of conditioner. It helps it rinse cleanly and I spray it on, and then comb the hair through before rinsing. It comes in a big recyclable aluminium bottle, and you can buy a refill too. Conchus have sourced spray components that can also be recycled at the end of their life, unlike conventional sprayers.

Conchus zero-waste shampoo bars and hair wash
Conchus zero-waste shampoo bars and hair wash can cut plastic from your bathroom.

The bars come wrapped in paper and have a compostable sticky label.

“All products are 100% natural, vegan friendly, cruelty free, palm oil free, plastic free, handmade, hand stamped, cut and wrapped, and made with love and care in very small batches.”

Conchus

My husband Ryan uses the green Drench head to toe bar, which is shampoo and body wash in one.

I recently picked up this trial pack of Ethique solid shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser and body moisturiser. You can buy varieties for normal and oily skin too, from Holland and Barrett. I have only used the facial cleanser so far, but I was impressed!

Ethique zero waste haircare and body care
Ethique zero waste haircare and body care.

One important thing to note is that I am not saying you should throw out what you already have, to replace it with an eco-friendly, zero waste version. Please keep using what you have until it’s finished or no longer works, and only then consider replacing it!

So on that note, here are some zero waste beauty hacks to keep your beauty tools in tip top shape, so they last longer.

Sharpen up your tweezers

If you’re about to throw out some blunt tweezers – stop! You can sharpen tweezers quickly and easily with Tweezerfile. It’s a simple idea, but so genius. Thanks to Tweezerfile for sending me some to try out.

Sometimes simple ideas are the best. Tweezerfile is a simple solution to a small problem but one that will save you money in the long term. Our tools for life save waste and money.

Tweezerfile

You just run your tweezers up and down the file, and the diamond-plated stainless steel panels (which are on both sides) sharpen the points. It’s vastly improved the performance of my tweezers, I’m so happy with it! You can buy a Tweezerfile through this affiliate link.

Get every last drop of your products

I use this great squeezer gadget to get the last of my tubed products (affiliate link). It’s made of metal and you just feed your tube in – plastic or aluminium, clamp it, and turn the lever to squeeze everything out. I find I can get at least three more weeks’ worth of this CC cream, for example. Just be careful as it can squirt out quickly!

Aluminium product beauty product squeezer
Don’t waste the last of your precious beauty products.

Keep make-up brushes squeaky clean

If you look after your make-up brushes, they should last and last. So washing them regularly is a must. But it’s not exactly fun, is it! This nifty silicone gadget has a variety of bumps and ridges all over it, so you can scrub away the make-up quickly and easily.

Make-up brush cleaner and brushes
Keep your make-up brushes in good condition for longer with a make-up brush cleaner.

I just squirt a little shampoo or washing up liquid onto the rides and swirl my brushes over it, and then rinse. Clean make-up brushes are so much better for your skin, too. You can buy a silicone make-up brush cleaner through this affiliate link.

So there are my easy zero waste beauty swaps, do you have any to add to the list? I’d love to hear them, please leave me a comment!

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15+ Easy Zero Waste Beauty Swaps for a Cleaner, Greener Natural Beauty Regime

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