Zero Waste Beauty and Body Products (That Actually Work)

Becky Pink
12 min readNov 14, 2020

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It’s Zero Waste Week. I have a long way to go to get to a zero waste lifestyle, but I think every step we make towards a zero waste existence is a good one! I’ve made a lot of changes to our household, cutting waste in our kitchen and for household chores, and you can read about some of the zero-waste and eco-friendly changes we’ve made here. So what about our bathroom?

Zero Waste Beauty and Body Products

Well, I found lots of zero waste beauty and body products that work too. Read on to find some easy ways to go towards a zero waste beauty regime, I hope they inspire you to make some changes too!

Reusable Make-up Removal Pads Are an Affordable Zero Waste Beauty Product

Zero waste make-up removal with Cheeky Wipes reusable cotton pads

Swapping disposable cotton wool pads for reusable organic cotton rounds has been such a no brainer for me. It saves waste and single use plastic (think of the packaging cotton wool arrives in) and saves money over time.

Reusable zero waste make-up remover pads and wipes on a bathroom windowsill with cleansers in glass bottles

You use them in exactly the same way to remove your eye make-up, but instead of binning them, you wash them. They do get stained with mascara but that doesn’t bother me at all.

I also use a muslin cloth or a flannel to remove the rest of my make-up, along with a lovely organic cleansing balm (this is my favourite) or oil (another gorgeous option.)

You can buy Bamboo Reusable Make-Up Removal pads here.

If you’re looking for a zero waste laundry liquid, so you can wash your reusables, check out this post which shows how good SMOL laundry capsules are.

The only thing I don’t use these reusable cotton pads for is removing nail varnish, as I don’t want to wash nail varnish remover around with my washing. I have found a solution though: these pads are made from recycled plastic and you can just rinse them under the tap when you’ve finished removing your nail varnish.

Zero Waste Exfoliators For Beautiful Skin

Aside from using a flannel, which is the cheapest kind of exfoliator you probably already have, there are other zero waste options. Microbeads in facial scrubs have quite rightly been banned, but most scrubs still come in plastic tubes.

Scrubbing stone zero waste exfoliatorin a hand

A scrubbing stone is reusable and lasts forever. As long as you are VERY gentle, it works really well. This palm-sized stone must be drenched with water, and you need to use a cleanser on your skin. Then you just move it gently over your face and it exfoliates. The first few times I used it, I pressed too hard and my skin was not happy. But I have got the hang of it now and think it’s a great exfoliator and is light and travel-friendly too.

You can buy a scrubbing stone here.

Fair Squared Zero Waste Apricot Facial Scrub

If you prefer a liquid facial scrub, this one comes in recyclable glass packaging. It’s not quite ‘scrubby’ enough for my taste but it’s good for a gentle exfoliation.

Buy Fair Squared Apricot Facial Scrub here.

A Natural and Biodegradable Exfoliating Mitt is Better Than Plastic Ones

Ramie natural exfoliating mitt

I found this natural, plastic-free exfoliating mitt at Holland and Barrett. It’s made of ramie, which is a natural fibre from a plant know as a Chinese nettle. The fibre is naturally resistant to bacteria and mildew. It’s so much better for the planet than the plastic woven exfoliating gloves, and it makes my skin super smooth and silky.

You can buy the exfoliating mitt here.

Zero Waste Beauty For Hair and Body

We go thought a lot of shampoo and conditioner in our house. They usually come in plastic bottles and only a small percentage of the plastic we use is actually recycled. So what zero waste swaps are available? New ideas are coming out all the time.

Shampoo in a Can

This shampoo in a can (and the matching conditioner in an aluminium tub) are a simple zero waste beauty swap.

Ksoni package their natural, vegan and cruelty free shampoo in aluminium for several reasons:

  • it’s light to transport which cuts down on emissions
  • aluminium can be recycled endlessly without losing quality, whereas plastic can only be recycled a couple of times before losing integrity
  • the Aluminium Association say over 75% of all aluminium produced is still in use today, thanks to recycling ♻️
Ksoni natural shampoo in a purple can being poured into a hand
Ksoni Unati shampoo and conditioners in aluminium packaging

So what about the results? I have the Unati range, for dry hair and the shampoo lathers up well and doesn’t feel drying, and the conditioner is rich and leaves my hair feeling silky and smooth. If also smells lovely thanks to the ylang ylang and lavender.

I have a reusable bamboo lid on my shampoo- it snaps on and twists to let the shampoo out. So once I’ve finished the shampoo I can rinse and recycle but hold on to the lid for next time.

Check out the Ksoni range here.

Solid Shampoo

They look just like a bar of soap but act like shampoo: shampoo bars, also know as solid shampoo not only save packaging but also save water too. I’ve tried a few, with varied results (many don’t suit processed hair like mine, and if you live in a hard water area like I do, that also affects how well they work).

My favourite shampoo bars are by my. Haircare and you can buy them here.

My. Haircare Rescue My. Hair Hydrate Shampoo Bar Review
My. Haircare Rescue My. Hair Hydrate Shampoo Bar

A Shampoo Bar That Works? Let’s Find Out!

Hair and Body Care Cubes

We’ve been using soap bars instead of shower gel for a while now. They work really well but there are other lovely zero waste options available. Beauty Kubes make solid shampoo, conditioner and body wash, in little cubes, packaged in cardboard boxes. You just crumble them into you palm, and add a little water to form a paste. Foam it up to wash your hair or body, or smooth over your hair for the conditioning mask.

Beauty Kubes zero waste shampoo, bodywash and conditioner cubes

They are gentle on the skin and hair, contain organic ingredients and are infused with gorgeous-smelling essential oils. They are vegan friendly and palm oil and sulphate free.

On Thea’s fine hair, I find you can get two hair washes out of a cube. For Ava’s thick hair it takes 1 1/2 cubes. Please be careful to store them in a dry place, not directly in your shower, so they don’t get damp and stick together.

Beauty Kubes foam up brilliantly and smell gorgeous. I find it easiest to crumble them up with dry hands and then gradually add a little water.

There are 27 Kubes in each box, which is the equivalent to a 250–300 ml bottles of conventional shampoo, and they’re made in a factory powered with green energy in Cornwall.

You can buy Beauty Kubes here.

Shower Gel Tablets

I love these shower gel tablets from Ben & Anna. They come in a paper packet which can be easily recycled.

Ben & Anna Natural Zero Waste Shower Tablets
Ben & Anna Natural Zero Waste Shower Tablets in paper packaging

You get 24 tablets in a packet and each tablet lasts for at least three showers. They smell lovely too and lather well. I store the bag outside the shower so it doesn’t get soggy, and use an old jam jar lid to keep the current tablet in on my shower rack.

You can buy Ben & Anna Shower Tablets here.

Learn How to Zero Waste Shave

It may sound funny to talk about learning how to shave. Afterall, most of us have been doing it for years! But using a zero-waste safety razor does mean a bit of re-learning. You need to angle the razor in a different way from the razor you’re used to. You need to apply less pressure, and you even need to shave in the opposite direction!

Rose gold Mutiny Shaving safety razor, shaving brush, razor blads and shaving soap

I’m on the fence about this one to be honest, as I’ve been using my safety razor for about six months and still cut myself, sometimes pretty badly. I’m going to persevere though!

So taking your time to go slowly is the best way. Instead of using an aerosol can of shaving foam, or a plastic tube of shave gel, you can swap for a shaving bar which works just as well and is zero waste.

Mother Nature Skin have a great guide about how to use a safety razor, which you can find here.

You can buy a zero waste safety razor kit here.

Try a Natural, Zero Waste Deodorant

I get so many messages wanting to know which natural deodorant actually works. I have tried loads, and may of them just don’t work, or at least not for me! And I totally understand why trying a natural deodorant, with no guarantee it will work, can be off putting! To get you started, here are some deodorants that work for me. And luckily they are also zero waste!

Two glass jars of The Natural Deodorant Co zero waste deodorants

These natural deodorants from the Natural Deodorant Co are my favourites. A little goes a long way so one glass jar lasts ages — three months for me. And they actually WORK, even thought it’s made of all natural ingredients.

It has glass bottom and a tin top so both parts are easily recyclable but they are also reusable if you wash them out well after use.

These jars of creamy paste have minimal ingredients and no aluminium. It comes in a few ranges including Active which is perfect for your active days and Clean which is ideal the rest of the time. I have both and they both work brilliantly but the Active one smells nicer, of bergamot and orange, gorgeous.

You can find the full range of natural zero waste deodorants here.

I’ve recently started using Wild natural zero waste deodorant which comes in a refillable aluminium and recycled plastic tube. The refills are compostable and there are no nasties in this deodorant.

Wild deodorant box
WIld natural deodorant

It comes in five scents and the refills fit through your letter box. I’ve only been using it for a little while, but haven’t had any issues so far.

You can buy Wild Natural Deodorant here.

In case you don’t already know this, deodorants won’t stop you sweating, but if it’s the right one for you, it will stop the sweat smelling. Sweat isn’t bad: it’s to get rid of stuff your body doesn’t need so stopping sweat doesn’t seem like the best idea to me. It takes a bit of getting used to but for me it’s well worth it.

Here’s a review of more zero waste deodorants:

Zero Waste Natural Deodorants: Tried & Tested

Have a Zero Waste Period

I have seen lots of people online wondering if reusable period products actually work. And even if everyone answers to say ‘yes they do!’ it’s still a big step (and investment) if you’ve only ever used disposable products.

Reusable zero waste period products
Woman wearing a black Boody Bamboo vest and Modibodi period pants

I have been a period pants convert since Modi Body sent me a couple of pairs to try out last year. At first, it does seem incredible that a pair of pants can replace a day’s worth of tampons or towels. But they really do! And no, it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a nappy.

When I first used them, I only used them when I was staying at home (as a freelance copywriter, I spend most of my days at home anyway, so I’m used to it!). I was worried about leaks, but I needn’t have worried. They work so well. If you have a very heavy flow you may need to change period pants for a fresh pair during the day, but mine last a whole day easily, and I change into a fresh pair at night.

Buying reusable period pants does feel like a big investment initially, but they do last really well. I think that over the lifetime of the pants they will work out cheaper than disposables, not to mention how much landfill you’re saving!

You need a small bucket to soak the pants in — I am lucky as we have a utility room that I can put this in until the next wash.

You can browse the full range of Modibodi reusable period pants here.

If period pants are a bit too much to start with, you can also buy zero waste reusable pads. Mine are from Cheeky Wipes and work well although I do find them more bulky than disposables or period pants.

You can buy reusable cloth sanitary pads here.

A menstrual cup is your best bet if you’re looking to transition from tampons. Again they can seem like an investment, but can last up to ten years so will save money (and waste) in the long term.

Pink Saalt Co period cup in a hand

My reusable period cup is from Saalt, and I’ve only used it for one cycle and think I need a bit more practice! But I managed to use it successfully after a couple of tries and they do say it takes a few uses to get used to it. I can see this becoming my go-to period solution.

You can choose from Saalt’s range of reusable period cups here.

Give Zero Waste Dental Care A Try

As every piece of plastic ever produced is still on the planet, every toothbrush and piece of dental floss we’ve ever used is still out there. That’s quite a sobering thought for me. As a family of four, we go through at least 16 toothbrushes a year.

Brushd. zero waste plastic-free dental care

I’m really happy with my bamboo toothbrush. And as bamboo is a fast-growing natural resource, and will biodegrade, they are much better than plastic brushes.

The plastic tubes toothpaste arrives in is often not recyclable, as they’re made from mixed materials. Zero waste toothpaste tablets do take a little getting used to — but they do make your teeth feel super clean.

Brushd. sell zero waste dental care individually or on a subscription basis here.

Zero Waste Sunscreen

We normally go through so many plastic bottles of sun cream in the summer.

Shade organic All-Natural Sunscren SPF25 with swatch on hand

This is my favourite zero waste option, in an aluminium tin. Shade only contains four ingredients: organic coconut oil, organic shea butter, unrefined beeswax and non-nano zinc oxide. As it is a physical sunscreen, rather than a chemical one, it does look quite white to start with but this soon fades away. It smells lush and is super-moisturising, but because of that it is not great on the face.

You can buy Shade SPF25 sunscreen here.

Looking for more natural sunscreens that don’t make you look like a ghost? Find them here!

Get Every Last Drop of Your Products

Whilst this isn’t strictly speaking a zero waste beauty product, it does mean you don’t waste any products in plastic tubes.

Aluminium product beauty product squeezer

I use this great squeezer gadget to get the last of my tubed products. It’s made of metal and you just feed your tube in — plastic or aluminium, clamp it, and turn the lever to squeeze everything out. I find I can get at least three more weeks’ worth of this CC cream, for example. Just be careful as it can squirt out quickly!

You can buy a tube squeezer here.

So there are my easy zero waste beauty swaps, do you have any to add to the list? I’d love to hear them, please leave me a comment!




Becky Pink

#freelance #copywriter & journalist | | #blogger | chemical-free beauty | homes | family lifestyle | trying to be greener