Our bathrooms are stocked full to-the-brim with plastic packaging. Even for those of us who are conscious of this issue, it’s quite difficult to eliminate every single piece of plastic from our cabinets. That’s why we decided to write an article outlining different products that are all 100% plastic-free from brands that are ethical, transparent, and sustainable.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Starting from the top of our list, we have hair care. Something almost all of us use on a very regular basis is shampoo and conditioner.
Traditional shampoo and conditioner have long been an issue for the environment. Usually housed in plastic bottles that rarely get recycled with ingredients that are often formulated with harsh chemicals that do more harm than good, these bathroom staples are now competing with a much more sustainable version.
Shampoo and conditioner bars have become synonymous with a zero-waste living, as they are usually packaged in paper, cardboard, or without packaging altogether. The problem we are still seeing with shampoo bars is that many of them still contain harsh sulphates, such as Sodium Coco Sulfate, which sounds like it’s derived from coconuts, but is in fact a synthetic surfactant that can irritate the scalp.
So we did some digging and found a brand that uses 99% naturally-derived ingredients. Shampoo and Conditioner Bars by The Earthling Co. are made from almost 100% natural ingredients, and some organic ingredients, including Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, a gentle foaming alternative to sulfates.
The founders, couple Emilia and Kevin, were already committed to a zero-waste lifestyle when they decided to launch The Earthling Co. in 2020. Being a new brand, they have a small range, but their products are of high quality.
Not a fan of the old shampoo and conditioner bars? We’ve found a really great alternative that doesn’t use water in it’s formulation.
The shampoo and conditioner powders by Meow Meow Tweet ticks all of our boxes, with it’s naturally-derived ingredients, like sodium cocoyl isethionate (from coconut) for foaming, rice protein for volumizing, marshmallow root for dryness and itching, aloe vera for strengthening, and rose geranium and lavender oils for promoting hair growth.
Your hair will feel silky and clean, and properly nourished. It comes in an aluminum bottle, which can be recycled forever, without losing quality. Or you can also reuse the bottle. The label is made from paper, too. So it is completely plastic-free.
Meow Meow Tweet was founded by two artist friends—Tara Pelletier (she/they) and Jeff Kurosaki (they/them)—who had a passion for clean and transparent skincare. The brand was named for their two pet cats and pet bird.
For the days in between washing your hair try using dry shampoo. The Dry shampoo by Fat and the Moon is formulated with just six ingredients—and four of them are organic.
Silica helps to strengthen the hair cuticle, kaolin clay and arrowroot powder absorb excess oil from the hair shaft and scalp, cocoa powder gives the scalp a boost of antioxidants, while lavender and clary sage promote hair growth. The powder is packaged in a paper tube that can be recycled or composted after use.
Fat and the Moon was founded by artist-turned-herbalist, Rachel Budde after she realized she was disconnected from her Slovenian roots. She moved from Brooklyn to California to study herbalism, and dove right into living a more conscious lifestyle.
The name Fat and the Moon was inspired by fat, one of the most important ingredients used in skincare for an effective formulation, and the moon, which has a profound effect on life on our planet.
Moving on, our face is the next port of call. Cleansing the face is something we do every day, so why not look for a more sustainable cleansing option?
Switch to a face and body cleansing bar that comes housed in a paper recyclable box. There are many on the market, but we love the cleansing bar by Thoreau Labs. It’s formulated using only 11 ingredients, all of which are vegan, cruelty-free, and free from nasty chemicals.
Seijin, the founder, grew up with skin sensitivities, and when he became an adult he decided to create an all-in-one face and body bar that was kind on skin and the planet. Coconut oil is hydrating and antibacterial, while sunflower, olive, and brown rice oils offer the skin soothing nourishment. The bars come in two mild scents, fragranced with natural essential oils. These bars are gentle enough for the face, and effective enough for the entire body.
After cleansing, you might want to exfoliate the skin. While the majority of exfoliants have some form of plastic packaging, whether it’s the entire jar or tube, or even just the lid, we did find a popular brand which is 100% vegan and comes in a glass jar with an aluminum lid.
Athar’a Pure’s Indian Glow Face Scrub is the perfect solution. With ingredients like finely-milled brown rice powder and oat flour, Sandalwood and Turmeric for brightening, and Neem for skin protection, this exfoliant will leave your skin soft and glowing.
Athar’a Pure was founded by Sara Davoodi to honor her Nonni (grandmother). What started out as an indie brand has now turned into a cult favorite, specializing in ingredients that come from Ayurvedic tradition.
After exfoliation, a serum, oil, and moisturizer is in order. What if you could use one item in lieu of all three? And what if that item was zero-waste and came housed in compostable packaging? Now wouldn’t that reduce your waste marginally? We have the perfect product.
The Bloom Jelly Serum Bar by Dew MTY replaces your serums, oils, and moisturizers. Made without water, it contains only the highest quality ingredients to nourish, hydrate, soothe, protect, and enhance your skin. Ingredients like hibiscus seed for it’s brightening properties, blue chamomile and tansy for skin soothing, and magnolia bark for antioxidant protection.
DEW MTY was founded by Tiffany Buzzato, a science and biology enthusiast. Tiffany wanted to design a product that could help with the industry’s incredible waste problem, while also solving skin conditions, like irritation and sensitivity. The name, DEW MTY was chosen because the small serum bar packs a mighty punch, and leaves skin feeling dewy all day long.
If you’re looking for a foundation that comes in 100% plastic-free packaging, try Elate Cosmetics Uplift Foundation. It comes in a glass jar with a compostable bamboo lid. The ingredients are all toxic-free, and they have a range of tones to suit just about any skin color.
Elate Cosmetics was founded by Canadian native, Melodie Reynolds in 2014. The driver behind Elate Cosmetics was that Melodie wanted to create a cosmetics brand that had complete transparency, and was effective and sustainable in formulation and packaging.
Now to add some sparkle to your skin. Āthr Beauty has formulated the makeup industry’s very first zero-waste makeup palettes. Made from FSC certified organic paper, and without mirrors or magnets—two elements that would make the palette non-recyclable—these makeup palettes can be used to the end of their life, and then popped into the recycling for a new life.
The palettes are made using a special formulation of sustainably sourced organic, natural, and synthetic ingredients, including finely-milled crystals for that extra-special sparkle. The founder Tiila Abbitt has also banned 2700 ingredients from their formulations, making this brand one of the most ethical and sustainable brands in the makeup industry.
Next, add a boost of hydration to your lips with Blue Heron Botanicals Lip Therapy balms. These paper tubes are 100% plastic-free, and the lip balms themselves are formulated using eight ingredients, seven of which are organic.
The founder of Blue Heron Botanicals, herbalist Theora from Vermont, wanted to create products that were sustainably sourced from nature, that could protect her and her family from the elements of the North-Eastern harsh weather. She started with lip balms, and has now a full range of lip therapy balms, and protective salves for the rest of the body.
Moving on down to our bodies. Many of us shave, whether it be our underarms, our legs, or somewhere else... but we don’t need to rely on plastic razors anymore.
The Plastic-Free Razor by UpCircle Beauty is one of their best-selling products. At the name suggests, it’s 100% plastic-free, made from chrome, so this weighty, high-quality razor will last for years to come.
UpCircle Beauty salvages byproducts from the food and beverage industry. They currently have 10 different byproducts in their formulations, with goals to salvage even more ingredients in the future. You can also try their Cinnamon and Ginger Chai Soap, made from salvaged chai spices and housed in recyclable cardboard.
The founders, siblings Anna and William, found a massive opportunity in the food and beverage industry, when they were getting their morning coffees and saw the amount of coffee grounds being thrown out. After doing some research, they learnt that the food and beverage industries create an enormous amount of waste, and this gave them inspiration to launch a skincare brand that solves this problem.
After shaving, your skin is going to need some hydration and protection. Body Stones by Kate McLeod will do just that. Made with ingredients like shea butter, sweet almond and apricot kernel oils, and pure essential oils like Rose and Frankincense, these body stones act like armor on the skin.
The founder Kate was once a baker. Her philosophy is, if it’s good enough to put on your skin, it should be safe enough to eat. Her body stones are 100% plant-based, and they come in bamboo canisters.
So there you have a full bathroom of items that are 100% plastic-free, from brands that are transparent, ethical, and sustainable in their practices.
Emma Masotti is an Australian now living in Austin, TX, and has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn’t cost the earth.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't make any profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition