This, my friends, is a challenge. I can not lie. I am still searching for better alternatives in the bath, body, & beauty world that adhere to my plastic-free life. Although there is a solution: complete abstinence from using beauty products, this is not a realistic choice for many of us. It’s not for me, not yet anyway. I like wearing a little make-up to bring out my eyes. I need to have some sort of moisturizer for my skin in the harsh dryness, that is Alberta. I prefer to wash my hair and wear deodorant. But the associated costs of using such products – tolls on my body and the environment – weigh on my conscience.
The industry of health and beauty constantly focuses on “improved formulas”, “new scientific studies”, and “innovative technologies”. There is always some new mascara that will make your lashes grow or some new skin cream that claims to make you look 20 years younger. Flashy, bright packaging, loud commercials, models and actresses all telling us to buy more! And we do. We try the new mascara, it clumps and lumps and makes our eyes itch, so we throw the half-empty plastic container away and repeat with yet another flashy packaged product with its new claims. This profit-hungry industry feeds on this cycle, ignoring the negative costs we as consumers bear. Costs such as the questionable testing methods on animals, the psychological warfare played on our minds and self-esteem, and the harsh destructive chemicals seeping into our bloodstreams. All topped of with the unprecedented amount of waste and plastic pollution it creates. The health and beauty industry, among others, is wreaking havoc.
I am excited however, because the movement for more organic, natural products, with less packaging is sweeping across the industry. It is becoming apparent some big makers of these products are listening. Most attempts are greenwashing, so consumer beware, but there is a trend and it is taking hold. It’s amazing to see so many options reverting back to more natural ways, but it is still hard to find plastic free.
I have learned mostly by trial & error, research, and great suggestions from friends how to say “No” to modern, mainstream, plastic-wrapped bath, body, & beauty products and still look great!
So here’s the juicy part you probably scrolled down to get to:
How to be a Plastic-Free Beauty?
Soaps, Shampoos, Conditioners, Moisturizers
Bulk Refill! If your eyebrows just contorted questionably on your face, let me explain. I haven’t purchased a new bottle of shampoo in 4 years! Refilleries are popping up all across our city (see our directory to find them) with awesome bulk selections of home liquids, like shampoos, conditioners, dish soap, laundry soap and more!
In the pictures, you will notice two small little pots. I fill with shampoo and conditioner instead of having a bunch of ugly bottles sitting on my tub ledge! Really cute & clean.
Buy in bar form! Regular hand soap already comes in a bar so that’s easy. Just be sure to get one without packaging!
-Shampoo and Conditioner bars are all the rage these days! Lush or your local health food store. These also make packing for travel a lot easier!
-Body moisturizer bars – As mentioned, it gets dry here in Calgary so moisturizers are needed but the bottles are not!
-Shave Bars – Its pretty cool how trendy shaving has become. Plastic-free shaving products is SO easy! As mentioned on my alternatives page, metal razors are great and affordable! Finding a delectable shave bar is easy at any of those trendy barbershops.
Buy in LARGE formats! Last resort, buy the largest bottles you can. This reduces the number of bottles you will buy overtime. When you use it up go back to point one and get it refilled!
Look for tin canisters or glass jars. So many products now come in alternative packaging.
-Mascara: Lush sells great stuff in a glass jar. It still has the little plastic applicator but its a start. However, I now make my own with the help of an eyelash curler.
-Eye-shadow & eye-liner – I use a pretty cream eye shadow in a glass container from Lush. My eyeliner is also in a tiny glass jar I paint on with a brush.
-Powders, Blush & Bronzer – Physicians Formula. This brand is really stepping up their game with packaging. I use their bronzer that comes in a paper container with a little plastic window made of post-consumer plastic.
Amendment: I now make my own with cocoa and other spices.
-Face Lotions and Oils – I use some beautiful oils and moisturizers, hand-made by a friend. Simply using coconut oil works as well! But check out our directory for places that sell refill moisturizers and ingredients to make your own.
Make your own! Yes, I’m serious. Go to your kitchen and start raiding your cupboards! Cocoa powder, cinnamon, tumeric, spiralina, arrowroot powder, coconut oil, coffee, etc. So many natural products in our cupboards can easily be used for making your own make-up! I keep and re-purpose my old make-up containers! I follow this blog for great EASY ideas: wellnessmama.com or Check out Queen of Green for easy recipes!
I am presently working my way through three deodorants! Finding a good natural one has been hard. Finding one without plastic… even harder. I mention natural deodorants (not anti-antiperspirants) because, I have yet to see a commercial brand of deodorant be anywhere close to plastic-free. Plus natural is just better for you.
You can make your own as well. Or check out Routine for some amazing options (refilleries around the city too!)
There are great products out there available in tins. you just smear it on you pits! I just discovered this little website that has plastic-free tins of deodorant (for next time): whiffcraft.ca
Toothpaste can be replaced with baking soda mix with coconut oil. Activated charcoal is a great option too!
Plastic free floss is now a thing with Dental Lace – silk or bamboo thread. Super awesome stuff that comes in a glass jar with a metal lid – easily refilled!
I use an arrangement of bamboo make-up brushes for my face. Found mine at Homesense!!
A bamboo toothbrush & case. Electric toothbrushes are good too – there is less waste.
My hair brush is wooden with boar hair (really good for your hair as it pulls the natural oils through). Bamboo, wooden, all-natural brushes are readily available – choose these instead of plastic. We all know those little plastic knobs on the bristles fall off!
My loofah is actual loofah – its made from the dried insides of a cucumber-like vegetable, not plastic. You can buy these in bulk at ethnic stores throughout our city!
And I use a pumice stone for my feet!
Our hand-soap lasts longer, and loves sitting in my cedar soap dishes! (found these at a boutique soap shop, but they aren’t too hard to find!)
Its important to note, I did not go plastic-free overnight. The learning process is slow. I had to use up what I already had before replacing with a PF alternative. So don’t go throwing everything out today! Just take it one product at a time.