When first starting out on the path to zero waste, many “zero wasters” will tackle the easy swaps first – replacing their daily takeaway coffee cup habit with a KeepCup, plastic water bottles with a glass bottle, and lightweight plastic bags for a reusable tote bag.
Next, they may address those frequently used single-use kitchen items – paper towels, cling wrap, etc, before moving onto the bigger areas like the bathroom cupboard.
Bathrooms are usually teeming with plastic products, which is why I found it the most intimidating area to zero waste.
I loved my beauty products; and after years of trialing this latest miracle cream and that must-have eyeliner, had settled upon my favourites.
The idea of letting all of those products go in order to be zero waste was more than a little daunting.
The beauty purge begins
The first things to go were the bottled shampoo and conditioner, swapped out for shampoo and conditioner bars.
It actually took many months (those bars last forever) of trying every shampoo bar out there until I found the right one for my hair type (Ethique’s Sweet & Spicy Shampoo Bar).
Take heart if you’ve tried a few bars yourself with varying results – the perfect one is out there, it just takes a bit of trial and error.
Next, my makeup bag received an overhaul. First, I looked at what I could do without. Goodbye eye primer! Then I searched for zero waste alternatives to my must-use products.
After exhaustive research (read: trawling Instagram) I discovered Dirty Hippie Cosmetics. Organic, vegan and fair trade, this completely plastic-free brand has all the makeup staples – mascara, eyeliner, concealer, and plenty more – as well as skin and body care products, all of which come in glass jars or tins.
Labels are printed using recycled paper and vegetable-based ink, and shipped using recycled paper tape and boxes.
You can also have your full-sized tin and bottle products refilled, which will be posted back to you free of charge.
The next big beauty swaps
After I zero wasted my makeup and hair care, there were still four big waste generating culprits to tackle – body wash, cleanser, dry shampoo and lip gloss.
Here is what I replaced them with, why I love them and most importantly, whether they actually work.
Zero waste beauty swap #1: Body wash for soap bars.
This one is a no-brainer; switching out your liquid body wash for a soap bar is one of the simplest changes you can make in your efforts to go zero waste.
Up until recently, bar soap sales were on the decline, but as the consumer backlash against plastic waste gathers force, the humble bar of soap is making a comeback.