11 Easy Eco-Friendly Bathroom Switches That Will Save The Planet And Save You Money
A lot of zero waste beauty and hygiene switches not only save waste, but also save cash that would have been irresponsibly spent. This can either be from DIYing a cosmetic product instead or from buying a single reusable alternative rather than continuing to buy the single-use option over and over again.
Zero wasting your bathroom is all about simplifying your health and beauty routine. Remove unnecessary potions and lotions from your cabinet and replace plastic laden, disposable products with reusable or natural, compostable ones.
Simplifying in itself saves you money as you’ll no longer be buying multiple cosmetics that can be replaced with one multipurpose one, like a simple soap bar or balm.
Most DIY natural beauty and hygiene product recipes are seriously simple and easy to follow - generally consisting of a few ingredients that you literally just mix together. We share a few of our favs below, but there are numerous homemade recipe options all over the internet.
Before using anything all over your body, test it on a small patch of skin as natural substances can still cause reactions (like baking soda) and be sure you trust recipes for things that could affect your overall health - like toothpaste. Your health should always come first.
Read on to discover some DIYS and 11 easy eco-friendly bathroom switches that will save the planet and save you money (mostly).
1. Natural deodorant
There are a lot of great natural deodorant pastes you can buy - we have tried and recommend Dirty Hippie Cosmetic’s probiotic deodorant (AU), which comes in a compostable push-up tube, and No Pong (AU), which comes in a reusable or recyclable metal pot and has a bicarb-free version (We Love the Planet deodorant is similar to this one and Well.ca has a large range of natural cream deodorants in glass jars for those in the US/CAN) - but it is also easy to make your own at home!
There are various recipes for homemade deodorant and they are all very simple and quick to make and generally use ingredients you can easily find in bulk at bulk food stores and that you will most likely have in your pantry already.
And DIY deodorant works out a lot cheaper than any store bought deodorant!
The recipe I currently use, which I got from The Green Mum, is simply a mix these ingredients:
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp arrowroot powder, and
a few drops of an essential oil of your choice (optional)
Mix them together and put the paste in a small jar, ready for your pits!
Some other recipes I have found online use cornstarch instead of arrowroot and some use shea butter or beeswax, so these are other ingredients you can play around with to find the right concoction for you.
Everyone’s bodies are different, so not all natural deodorants work for everyone so try something different if this recipe doesn’t work for you and some people react to baking soda so stop using it if you develop a rash or sensitivity. A recipe I’ve come across that skips the baking soda uses coconut oil, shea butter, candellila wax, bentonite clay, arrowroot powder and tea tree.
Other zero waste deodorant options include wiping your pits with lemon (I’m yet to test this) and using a potassium crystal deodorant stick, which lasts at least 12 months. I’m yet to try this too, but it has been recommended by other zero wasters I trust. You simply moisten it with water, glide it over your skin and pat the crystal dry before storing it.
2. Solid shampoo bars
Did you know that one shampoo bar equals three bottles of liquid shampoo? So by buying one solid shampoo bar you save three plastic shampoo bottles! And although some shampoo bars may seem expensive, one bar will last as long as three bottles of shampoo, so divide the cost by a third to compare it to the cost of your regular liquid shampoo.
Like liquid shampoo, it can take a while to find the right one for you and your hair type though. So, if one type or brand doesn’t work for you, it is worth trying another brand; however, there are some ingredients you should avoid, so investigate what’s in a bar before you start experimenting with it.
Also, it does take a while for hair to get used to natural soap-based bars so allow enough time for this and don’t give up too soon!
To learn more about different types of shampoo bars and how to get the best out of them and for shampoo and conditioner bar recommendations read our Soap-based Solid Shampoo Bars Versus Syndet Shampoo Bars: What’s the Difference? blog post.
3. Soap bars
Swap the body wash for soap bars! You can find naked soap bars for good prices and you’re only paying for the soap, not the water added to it as well!
To make your soap bars last, make sure that they can dry between use - place them on a rack or anything with air flow underneath (we place ours on top of some pebbles on a saucer) or hang them in a net bag, or dry them with a dishcloth and place them in an airtight container.
Leaving them wet in a moist environment like a shower, especially on a solid service, will waste soap, making it less economical, and leave it sludgy and sticking to the surface you’ve left it on.
You can also make your own soap bars at home. There are many tutorials and DIYs online and many workshops you can go to to learn how to do this.
Stock up on some hankies and you won’t need to buy tissues anymore!
Simply throw them in the wash basket with your clothes after blowing, or use any dedicated box or basket for your dirty hankies.
If you like the convenience of being able to pull tissues out of something, use an old tissue box covered in a fabric tissue box cover for your hankies or layer them in any box with a slit cut on top that you can pull them through.
Search for vintage ones in second hand stores, buy new ones on Etsy, or sew your own from scrap fabric.
5. Reusable cotton rounds
Another thing you can stop buying - single-use cotton balls and make-up rounds!
Rather buy and reuse some reusable ones (there are loads of super cute options on Etsy) or make your own by cutting two circles or squares out of some soft fabric and stitching them together.
Another option is to just use a face cloth or to cut a face cloth into smaller squares.
6. Reusable menstrual products
How much do you spend on pads and tampons every month? How much have you spent on them since your first period? Too much! And how many pads and tampons have you sent to landfill? And how many menstruating women are there on the planet? A lot!
Single-use pads and tampons are big business and a big waste of resources. Reusable menstrual products will save you a lot of money and means a lot less of these disposable options are heading to landfill.
The initial investment for a menstrual cup, period underwear and/or reusable menstrual cloth pads can be high, but you will definitely save in the long run.
And personally, I find my period undies and menstrual cup so much more comfortable than I ever found pads and tampons. Speak to any women who uses reusable menstrual products for their period and they will gush about them with pure love and adoration.
Read our Zero Waste Menstruation: Non-Trashy Menstrual Products for a Waste Free Period blog post for the answers to any questions you may have about these products and some recommendations and our How To Clean and Store Your Menstrual Cup Correctly blog post for some good info on menstrual cup care.
7. Safety razor
Again, an up-front investment but a good investment in the long run - buy a steel safety razor to replace your plastic disposable razors. These sultry steel follicle slicers last practically forever, if not forever, saving so much plastic waste and saving you so much money!
You just need to buy blades, which can be recycled in blade banks and don't cost much.
Some of my friends in my home country of South Africa have invested in Bundubeard safety razors and they keep on telling me that they don’t know why they didn’t do it sooner. From R149 for a lifetime of shaving, they're a steal (get it?). For those in US/Canada, Life Without Plastic has some adjustable and non-adjustable safety razors and for those in Australia, Flora & Fauna has a large range of Parker safety razors.
Another way to save on razors is to get laser hair removal or just stop shaving, which is the route I’ve chosen since my ginger hairs are barely visible and I don’t see why I should buckle to society’s pressure to shave.
8. DIY toothpaste
Although we personally don’t use natural or homemade toothpaste and choose to continue to use toothpaste that contains fluoride (you can read more about this in our Is Your Homemade, Zero Waste Toothpaste Ruining Your Teeth: How Effective is Homemade Toothpaste? blog post), DIY toothpaste is a good option for people who have strong, healthy teeth that don’t need fluoride.
And you can easily make your own at little cost. Again you’ll find loads of DIY toothpaste recipes online, but some from zero wasters we trust are:
The Rogue Ginger makes a Clove, Cinnamon, and Sweet Orange toothpowder by mixing:
5 tablespoons bicarb soda
10 drops clove oil
10 drops sweet orange oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
While, The Green Mum whips together these ingredients for her zero waste toothpaste:
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp powdered xylitol
1 tbsp baking soda
Essential oils of choice to taste
A scientific study we’ve found (we talk about this in the homemade toothpaste blog post mentioned above too) recommends using a mixture of calcium carbonate, bentonite clay, baking soda, peppermint oil, and coconut oil, so this Biome one sounds like a good choice.
If you’re looking to buy natural toothpaste without fluoride, these brands are recommended and come in glass:
Hoda’s Herbals Sparkle Tooth Paste (US/CAN)
And we sell Denttabs tooth tablets in cardboard packaging - with or without fluoride - if that’s something you’re interested in.
9. Bamboo toothbrushes and hairbrushes
Plastic toothbrushes cost between around $2 and $5 each, while bamboo toothbrushes generally cost around $4 to $7, so they’re on the higher end of the scale to more expensive.
The environmental costs of plastic toothbrushes is clear though - with over 30 million plastic toothbrushes, which will most likely remain on earth for over 200 years, being bought in Australia every year and many of these causing environmental pollution in our oceans. And, with this high environmental cost and the cost savings gained through other zero waste health and beauty solutions, we think they are worth it.
They should be replaced every three months, which is the same as is recommended with plastic toothbrushes. There are even subscription services that send you new brushes when it is time to find a use for or compost your old one.
Read our The Best Sustainable Toothbrush Options article for our top picks and more about these biodegradable tooth cleaners.
Bamboo hairbrushes are also more expensive than plastic hairbrushes, but they are not only better for the environment as they are biodegradable, they are much better quality and will last longer and are better for your hair and scalp.
Brushes made from bamboo or wood distribute your natural hair oils from your scalp to the ends of your hair more effectively than plastic, naturally conditioning it more. Also, less static is created when you brush with a wooden brush, so flyaways and frizz will be less of a problem every winter.
10. Multi-purpose beeswax balm
Ain’t No Planet B uses this multi-purpose balm as a lip balm, hair wax, elbow grease, a shoe polish, a wood dressing, a mascara remover, a cuticle cream, a foot/heal balm, an after shave leg lotion, a sunburn cream, an eye gloss, a tattoo aftercare balm, and the base product for her homemade deodorant.
It is simply made up of:
1 part beeswax
5 parts olive oil
To make the balm you melt the beeswax and olive oil mixture over low heat and then pour it into a jar and let it set. The beauty of its non-coconut oil base is that it maintains its consistency whether it is 40 degrees or four!
Start using loofahs instead of plastic sponges. These can often be easily found package free and are all natural! And they are cheap.
You can even grow your own if you plant a loofah plant in your garden! It is a type of squash and it can be eaten when young, but they are more commonly grown to maturity and dried for use as a sponge, scrubbing pads, back scratcher, exfoliator, or padding.
Are there other ways you have gone natural and zero waste and saved money in your bathroom? Let us know in the comments below!
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