Zero Waste Bathroom: Emily reviews her favourite bathroom swaps

Ethical bathroom swaps
Image credit: Emily Prowse-Mclean

Going zero waste in the bathroom

With the growing concern about the environment and the growth of waste from single use plastics, more and more of us are trying to make switches and changes in our lives to lessen our waste output. 

Not just that, but with so many cosmetics, cleaning, and hygiene products being reported of containing harmful chemicals and additives, there has never been a better time to start making the switch to plastic free, natural alternatives to our everyday bathroom staples.

And it really isn’t that difficult, with most things it’s the *thought* of the change that is more daunting and difficult than the change itself. 

Where it all began

I have been slowly making changes over the past 3 years, starting with household cleaning products and then moving on to my bathroom products. This started with looking at my menstrual products and went from there. I had never been a fan of tampons, and didn’t get on with sanitary towels due to the chemically smell they would release once used. They made me feel self conscious, so my first port of call was finding a menstrual product that did away with those feelings.

Baba & Boo cloth sanitary pad

I’d tried various cloth sanitary pads (CSP), and had no issue washing them as I was already using cloth nappies on my children, but I never quite got over the feeling of using pads. So I bought myself a Mooncup and fell I love straight away.

Mooncups are so easy to use and easy to clean, you don’t notice you’re wearing one most of the time, and (personally) I found them easy to remove and insert. To me the mooncup was a wonder thing, rubbing out all of those unnatural insecurities I had about my own bodily functions. It was fantastic. That was, until I left my (thankfully clean) cup on the side of the bath one night and discovered it had gone missing an hour later. To this day I still don’t know where it is, though I suspect one of my children hid it.

After that I moved on to toothbrushes. I replaced our plastic ones for Hydrophil bamboo brushes– one for each of the four of us. I loved them, and while I admit it took me a tiny while to get used to the chunkier size of the bamboo brush, I had no issue or difficulty adjusting to the swap. And best of all there was no guilt in disposing of them when they were finished with.

I felt very proud that just these two little changes alone would have a big impact on our family’s waste output.

What to change next

But this wasn’t enough, I found making these changes addictive. I started to look at our various body washes. I didn’t recognise any of the ingredients on the labels and so I visited our local heath shop and chose a few natural ones instead.

Eco bathroom swaps
Image credit: Emily Prowse-Mclean

Finding a body wash/ soap that you love I would say is harder than any of the other changes I’ve made to date. I’ve tried several brands, liquid soap and bars and I’ve found a couple that I really like. The Organii organic soap is a lovely luxurious soap that is lovely and foamy, and leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft. I use this with my Hydrophil soap pouch, which adds suds and leaves you feeling lovely and clean. It’s also a great way to store your soap without it dissolving in a wet soap dish.

I also love the Lamazuna range- I’m yet to try something of theirs that I don’t like. A friend of mine bought me one of their body bars and I loved it! Best of all, when it’s not being used you can store it and keep it safe in the Lamazuna glass pot. It’s a great way to keep your bar dry and out of the way ready for next use 🙂

Eco Deodorants

Finding a deodorant has been the biggest issue to date. I walk a lot, and I’m a ‘larger lady’ and I do tend to sweat a lot. And so finding a deodorant that kept me as dry as possible and ensuring there was no ensuing odour from any sweating was the toughest task.

I’ve tried quite a few brands, doing my reading and research. I didn’t like the non- natural, chemical based deodorants, so I tried various things, some worked, some didn’t. There are a few I can recommend whole heartedly as being excellent deodorants and anti antiperspirants:

Biork crystal deodorant

Salt crystal deodorants: I think these are excellent for everyday use, they are fantastic natural anti antiperspirants and fantastic at deodorising due to the salt. I’ve used these for years and I have never had issue, they are excellent little roll ons and are great to take when on holiday/ out and about as they are nice and compact. I love the Biork crystal deodorant sticks more than any because I *love* their plastic free packaging! And the cork keeps it’s nice and dry too.

Image credit: Emma Jones

Ben and Anna deodorant sticks: These are magical. They smell divine- my favourite smells of lavender, and I tend to use that when I know I’ll be walking a lot or when it’s a particularly hot day. It adds a little more protection, and has the added bonus of a nice smell in case of any unwanted body odours. Best of all the packaging is paper- no more plastic!

Image credit: Emma Jones

My favourite of all though? Easy- the Earth Conscious deodorant stick is hands down my favourite. It’s very similar to the Ben and Anna deodorant stick, and while it’s smaller in size it packs a punch! I feel like I don’t sweat almost at all when I wear this. When I go for long walks or do anything strenuous I don’t notice myself sweating, and that’s a massive confidence boost for me! I can not recommend this one enough!
And again- paper packaging! Whoop!

Zero Waste Shampoo

One of my most recent changes has been shampoos. I have incredibly thick and quite frizzy hair. My hair is coarse and defies the laws of gravity. It drives me mad, and washing it is never a task I undertake with pleasure.

Beauty Kubes shampoo
Image credit: Emily Prowse-Mclean

It takes me forever to wash my hair due to its thickness. I was having to use a lot of liquid shampoo to get it clean, the same with conditioner. Not to mention the fact that the sheer volume of wastage as a result of these products was astonishing. I hated to think of all my shampoo bottles I’d used over the years, where were they now? Were they recycled? Or had they ended up in the ocean somewhere? It didn’t bear thinking about, so I boycotted shampoos in bottles and went for something different.

There are two products I have used that I love and trust:

Lamazuna shampoo bar
Image credit: Emily Prowse-Mclean

Lamazuna shampoo bar was the first eco shampoo I tried. I loved it- I found it easy to lather it up in my hair and I didn’t need to do it for long before I worked up a good foam. It smelled incredible (I had the chocolate one) and I was amazed at how clean and *light* my hair felt. Rinsing was easier too, leaving no waxy residue. The whole experience was just easy- and that was a first time for me.

I’ve also fell in love with Beauty Kubes– I wish computers had the ability to let you smell things through the screen – you’d buy it straight away after one whiff! I’m not going to lie: I *may* have take one or two of the cubes out of their box and left them on a shelf near my sofa so I could smell them, they’re just so nice!

Beauty Kubes shampoo
Image credit: Emily Prowse-Mclean

I was very pleased with their performance too, they lathered up a treat, and left my hair feeling clean and smelling amazing. And again- no nasty residue 🙂 I found it took me a while to work out the right amount cubes I’d need for each hair wash. I think most people would maybe use 1-2 per wash and find that was enough, I prefer to use 3, as my hair is so thick.
But even so, these last well and they certainly do the trick- and again, no plastic packaging.

Reusable Wipes

The final swap I want to mention that I’ve made are reusable wipes. I’ve been using these for about a year and a half now, and I am loving them. I’ve been using cloth since my eldest was a few months old, my second was in cloth from birth; but I’d never thought to use reusable wipes- they looked like too much of a faff. But they weren’t at all! Babipur sent me a pack to try and I couldn’t believe how good they were!

These are handy for lots of things though- wiping faces, taking off makeup, and cleaning (my wipes don’t half take a beating). I use these as wet dusters (as I stopped using spray polish years ago) and they’re fantastic!

Best of all they take a beating and then you stick them in the wash and they come out really well after! I bought another set after Babipur sent me my first pack, I use them everyday <3

What the future holds

There are still so many zero waste bathroom swaps I want to make – I’m almost there, but there are still a couple of things I want to change.

My next big change will be switching to a decent razor- I’ve seen so many people rave about the MÜHLE safely razor and I really want to try it! Once I’ve got some spare funds I will most definitely be investing!

I’ve got to say, I’ve really enjoyed our bathroom product swap journey. I’ve enjoyed trying all of the different products and doing my research. It makes me proud that I’m not contributing as much to the growing waste problem; and best of all there are so many people out there like me who want to make the change.

One small step at a time, one person at a time, we as a society are becoming more conscious of the problems around us every day. If we keep making swaps and telling people about it, my hope is there will become the new mainstream products.

I hope this article has been a help to those of you who want to make the change or who are already doing it. It feels good to know we are working towards making a difference .

Huge thanks to Emily for reviewing some of her favourite zero waste bathroom swaps with us xx

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