A few months ago I reached my limit: I didn’t want any plastic bottles anymore wasting parading in and out of my bathroom. Every ledge and shelf in my shower was filled with a smorgasbord of products I barely touched — three quarter-bottles full of shampoo, abandoned bodies washed of multiple fragrances, conditioned for literally every hair tragedy known to mankind.
So I joined them in a cabinet and promised not to buy anything new while I tried a low-no-waste shower routine.
Bottles, excess packaging, and microplastics have become a standard part of our morning and evening routines. While many people have made the big change to plastic-free in our cleaning cabinets and shelves, things are moving more slowly in the bathroom. We are simply too attached to our beauty products — shampoos, lotions, wash-gives them up for something less effective. So I went on the hunt for products that not only reduce waste, but that really (really!) work. Here are the best I’ve found.
Grove Collaborative’s home beauty line, Peach, offers a wide range of shampoos and conditioners — and other body products — in low and rechargeable formats. I tried a few different shampoo bars during my test run, but the peach moisturizing shampoo bar is by far the best. Just a few swipes produces a lather rich with paraben-, silicone-, and sulfate-free shampoo rinse out clean. The accompanying Bar Conditioner performs better than I had anticipated, coating and taming my frizzy, thick hair without squeezing it down. Plus, GC estimates each bar eliminating the equivalent of two bottles of product. I used them every day for two months and gave them barely shrinking.
Growing up, I used only Ivory bar soap to wash my face. That’s what my mother did (and still does) and I consider it flawless. Now I need something a little more strategic before I implement my skin care routine. Peaches have a range of facial cleansing bars, but with combination skin, I naturally like the best-made Combo Bar and soothing blue tansy oil and willow bar extract. It follows me out of the shower to the shed and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and primed for serum.
I’ve been leaning on rechargeable, biodegradable wash bath cultures for the past year. It smells fresh air, is rich and lush, and cleanses like an animal without letting my skin feel dry.
Bonus shoutout The one-use Plus body wash sheet which comes in an insoluble wooden suitcase (which can be left behind in the shower). At $ 16.60 for 16 bags, I didn’t find them cost-effective for everyday use, but they’re excellent for travel.
My bathroom cabinet used to be full of giant pump bottles and jars of body lotions that I would change out on a whim, which I know is a me problem rather than a beauty industry problem. But finding one waste-free moisturizer that feels just as luxurious as the tubs of body butter cluttering my shelves was a hard copy. Kate McLeod’s Body Stones are the closest I’ve found: Each hockey puck-sized bar lotion slicks through dry skin, warming and warming your body, and instantly melting in. They apply quickly and efficiently and leave behind a day complete in moisture with cocoa butter and a mixture of nuts rich with fruit oil.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to part with the spinning door of new care products that are part of my job, but I was happy to be introduced to the common inherited Vitamin C serum. Each perfectly measured, concentrated dose of skin-shining serum is packaged in a small biodegradable, plant-based capsule that can be dissolved in hot water.
I’ve been ashamed of the colorful, disposable plastic razor for decades, so swapped up a no-nonsense, heavy-duty safety razor. . . uh, terrifying. Yes People have created such a cult around its chic $ 75 razor. They sell out often that the product pages come with a “First come first serve” warning. The change is definitely an investment, but each razor comes with 10 blades, and refills are a mere $ 11 for 10 blades after that. It’s intimidating at first, but the weight works in your favor, allowing for a closer, more agile peel, and the lighter touch. (Seriously, don’t apply pressure! There may be a learning curve.) The first few strokes might be nerve-racking, but the results are worth it. I promise!
I also watched the brand Peel the milk gel, but they were never able to catch it in stock. I typically use Johnson’s baby oil (I know, boo-whistling, plastic!) To peel my legs because it’s simply the best trick I’ve ever picked up Reddit. Expensive rechargeable glass bottle of amazing peel oil — where are you?
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