I get it – life gets busy. Not everyone has the time, the materials, or the living space to make their own personal care products like shampoos and soaps.
And that’s okay.
This is a post dedicated to those who are looking for zero waste products. I tend to prefer shopping on Amazon for personal care products so I can rely on their reviews. However, I’ve also linked to a bunch of independent sellers / brands, depending on what you prefer!
Let’s start at the top and move down the body!
(For anyone who’s looking for zero waste product recommendations for the Home that you can get on Amazon, check out my other post here.)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.
Shampoo & Conditioner
For those of us that can’t or don’t want to wash our hair with baking soda or apple cider vinegar, I have an amazing solution for you! Actually, I have two options for you to choose from.
The best part about this brand is that you can ship your empty bottles back to the company for them to clean and reuse. While the bottles are recyclable (where aluminum recycling is available), it’s always better to avoid having to melt and reform bottles into the same exact bottle!
I signed up for a subscription on the company’s website (subscription discount, yay!) but had to pause it because it’s been 7 months and I still have plenty. For me, I feel like it just lathers up really well so maybe that’s why it is lasting so long?
That, and I only wash my hair every 4-5 days.
Another alternative to consider is bar soap. There are so many different options available now in relatively minimal packaging.
If you don’t want to order online to avoid unnecessary shipping and handling, you can probably find this locally. I’ve seen package-free bar soap at Whole Foods, Target, health food stores, and farmer’s markets.
Heat Protection for Hair
I’ve struggled to find good heat protection for my hair. My hair gets quite frizzy after I comb it (part of the reason I didn’t own a hairbrush for the longest time. Just recently, I purchased this fragrant, natural, sandalwood brush with wooden bristles that I love (but still only use occasionally).
So sometimes I heat comb my hair.
Most of the available heat protectant sprays either smell so artificial, or are full of random chemicals, or are tested on animals so I usually go without heat protection (I know, so bad!). But this cool natural company has a hair serum with camellia seed oil that is pretty awesome!
I wash my face with raw organic honey because it is a gentle and effective way of cleansing my face.
That, or I just wash my face with water. I don’t use make-up and since I cut back on sugary and oily foods and use a good daily face lotion, my face rarely breaks out anymore.
This is a good raw honey option and you can repurpose the glass jar as a drinking glass or a storage container afterward, or you can usually find local honey in your bulk stores – take a look!
Honey is naturally antibacterial and it can remove impurities from your face without removing your face’s natural oils. Raw is key here as raw honey’s naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can be destroyed through processing.
Raw honey will definitely not be as strong as prescribed or OTC medication containing things like salicylic acid, but it’s effective for me and won’t cause red, flaky skin!
You can also use a clay mask for the occasionally pore cleansing 🙂
I mentioned above that I stopped breaking out after I regularly applied a light face lotion once a day.
The one I use is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. It comes in a plastic container, but by purchasing the 4.2 fl. oz jar, one jar can last me around 9 months. You can take your empty Kiehl’s bottles back to be effectively recycled.
I would caution that in writing about it, I was searching if the company was animal-friendly. They don’t test their products on animals and discourage others from doing so unless required by law (like to sell in certain countries). Because the company chooses to still sell in these countries that require animal testing, I will discontinue my purchases with them.
Does anyone have good face lotion alternatives? 🙂 I’ve tried pure oils directly on my face but they make me break out. I’m pretty sure I’ll go with natural aloe vera/shea butter moisturizer, but definitely still open to other suggestions too!
This mineral clay-based remineralizing toothpaste by Uncle Harry’s is my usual go-to. I wrote more about why I choose to use clay toothpaste here if you’re interested. This one is a bit strong with the peppermint so if you’re sensitive, it might not be the best option for you.
I like experimenting and trying different brands so I can report back to you guys, so I’ve currently switched to tooth powder! It’s cool how I can eat it 😀 My opinion so far: I loved the ‘citrus mint’ flavor. On my next order, I tried ‘power mint’, which wasn’t as great.
But that’s just personal preference! Maybe I’m just not a minty kind of person.
For shaving, I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone who is reading this that disposable razors and their cartridges are not a good solution. But what’s the alternative?
I have two for you!
The first is called an epilator.
It’s a little handheld machine that has a bunch of small tweezer-like arms to grab and pull your hair. Just like waxing, epilating yourself pulls from the roots so it keeps you hairless much longer than shaving (which cuts off hair from the surface).
The drawback is that you can definitely feel the hairs being plucked out. For those with low pain tolerance or just don’t want to deal with purposely inflicting pain (albeit not that much) on themselves, perhaps find a different option.
I’ve heard people complain it gives them razor bumps, but I don’t notice.
I’ve had the same epilator for 5 years now – it’s still being sold here! Absolutely no waste created yet and I’ve had no problems with it so it seems it’ll last me plenty more years. You can use it wet or dry.
The second alternative is the safety razor.
For a long time, I’ve been afraid of using a safety razor. Search the internet and you’ll find all these articles and videos about ‘how to PROPERLY use a safety razor WITHOUT cutting yourself’. They all seem to imply that cutting yourself was the default option unless you were super careful.
I’m not super-careful so I figured I’d stick with my epilator.
A safety razor is really nice because it uses replaceable razor blades instead of cartridges. Whereas when you purchase a disposable plastic razor with replaceable heads, you need to replace the entire head, which is a combination of plastic and metal, so hard to recycle.
The razor blade on the safety razor can be collected in a metal sharps container and recycled with your metals.
A good body wash is relatively straightforward. There are so many bar soaps out there like this one with activated charcoal for acne, or this one with dead sea mud, or the simple fragrance-free options.
But for those who don’t like bar soaps, there’s still hope for you – here are some great options!
Plaine Products, mentioned before in the hair section, also sells body wash. Here’s one with rosemary, mint, and vanilla! It smells amazing. The vanilla is so calming and the mint energizing (does that make sense? I think I’m starting to sound crazy, but if you use it, you’ll know what I mean…).
My Go-To For Skin Problems (Not Zero Waste)
My skin occasionally has a psoriasis break-out. It seems I’ve tried
If you’re struggling with eczema or psoriasis, I feel your frustration! Give this a try – it has worked wonders for me. No guarantees for you as everyone’s skin will probably respond differently, but I wish you the best!
I know how frustrating it can be on a day-to-day basis.
Update: I’ve since switched away from Graham’s (it was a bit too expensive!). I now use and love the ShiKai brand. I’d recommend trying out a 12 oz container first. Caveat: it’s a plastic bottle.
But, if you end up liking it, you can start ordering the 1 gallon/128 oz size and just keep refilling your 12 oz container. That’s what I do now.
A gallon-sized plastic bottle is my best alternative for my health (skin) situation because I can’t tolerate soap. Do what works for you!
I found this brand while visiting a local independent health food store – perhaps there’s one near you as well. If not, you can order online. Here’s my guide on how to order zero waste on Amazon.
My skin is pretty dry so I use quite a bit of body lotion. Luckily, I don’t have to toss my lotion container and pump anymore. With this refillable aluminum bottle of body lotion, the company just sends me a new bottle so I can keep my old pump and use it with the new bottle.
How come more companies won’t go in this direction?! It’s SO LOGICAL!
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a strong foot moisturizer, I recommend this lotion bar made with beeswax. I don’t recommend it for the hands as it can take a while for the moisturizer to absorb so best to put it on your feet right before bed and wake up to super-soft, nice-smelling feet 🙂
Zero Waste Solutions for Your Whole Body
Well, there you have it: my complete thoughts on how you can clean and moisturize your entire body.
Did I miss a body part? Have another product you’ve tried and loved?
Let me know! I’d love to learn more from y’all 🙂