Eco Friendly Toiletries: Kind Products For You and the Planet

If you’re looking to green up your travels and your life in general, packing and purchasing only eco friendly toiletries is a good place to begin.

In our toiletries bag is where many of us end up incurring endless amounts of waste – particularly through buying those “travel-sized” toiletries, which are pretty pointless and ineffective.

If you’re like me, you’ve got several floating around your bathroom cupboard from your first trip overseas several years back, which you never ended up using.

Never fear, it’s not too late to change. This post will give you a few ideas towards creating an eco friendly toiletries bag – investing in items that are long-lasting, compostable, or even homemade!

Green Tip: Don’t just throw the entire contents of your toiletries out to buy new items. Try to use everything up and replace each item as you go.

Read more: How to Cope With Climate Anxiety

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What to Pack in Your Eco Friendly Toiletries Bag

eco-friendly toiletries bag

Bamboo toothbrush (with travelling case)

Bamboo toothbrushes were the first swap over I made, in my quest to go plastic free. I purchased four adult toothbrushes from Brush with Bamboo, which is enough to see me through an entire year. The toothbrushes went in my compost in London at the end of their life and I then bought four my kids sized brushes, as I have an unnaturally tiny head.

I also bought the bamboo travelling case and it does all right. Clean it and air it out after travel, before popping it back into your eco friendly toiletries bag for the next time you need it.

Shop for bamboo toothbrushes and toothbrush travel case

Cream deodorant

After many years of trial and error, I finally found a cream deodorant that I like and which works, too!

Meow Meow Tweet’s deodorants come in many different scents and with or without bicarb (or baking) soda. This can prove to be irritating on the skin for some people, so it’s good to have options.

I also enjoy how the products can be bought in both small glass jars, or biodegradable packaging!

One jar is enough to last for at least all of summer – I usually get about six months out of mine.

Shop for cream deodorant here

Shampoo Bar

I don’t actually use shampoo bars at home anymore, as my local salon has refillable shampoo and conditioner options.

However, I would certainly take one travelling with me, or at the very least, fill up some reusable travel bottles with my own shampoo and conditioner.

Ethique make some fantastic shampoo bars, in an array of colours. They’re 100% soap free and long-lasting.

Shop for shampoo bars and GoToob Bottles here

eco-friendly toiletries bag

Bamboo hair brush and comb

I love my bamboo comb and have had my current one for several years now. I don’t imagine it will ever need replacing, so long as I don’t lose it or break it.

I also have a tiny bamboo travel brush with wooden pegs that I use pretty much daily. It’s perfect for taking just about anywhere – you can slip it into your handbag or your eco friendly toiletries bag when travelling.

Shop for a bamboo comb and hair brush here

Night Oil

I love rosehip oil. It’s thick, making it more of a night than day oil and feels lovely on the skin.

Although the bottles are made out of glass, the tops are plastic, which is annoying – but I try to repurpose the bottles, using them to house perfume and the like.

Shop for rosehip oil here

eco-friendly toiletries bag

Merkur Razor (with blades)

I love my Merkur Razor quite a lot.

It took a little while to get used to using the stainless steel razors, rather than the horrible pink plastic ones I’d been using since I first started shaving my legs. Luckily, I got the hang of it fairly quickly. It does a darn good job and gives me a close shave – I end up attending to my legs every 10 days or so, sometimes stretching it to two weeks or longer, particularly in winter because who cares, really?.

If you want to get as much use out of your blades as possible, make sure you take the razor apart and dry it after use. Then, if you’re at home and not travelling, either stand it up in a little glass jar, or hang it off a proper razor stand. Letting it dry naturally will prevent the blade from dulling.

I got about two uses out of blades I let drip-dry, which I can’t say was hugely economic. I then started drying the whole razor off after every use and I’ve been using the current blade for almost two years. It’s entirely possible to resharpen old blades, too.

Shop for a Merkur Razor and blades here

Travel soap

Good hygiene calls for having soap on hand – however, I hate using those little soaps that you find at hotels – it seems very wasteful!

Rather, pop a soap encased in its own tin into your eco friendly toiletries bag, which you can reuse again and again.

Shop for travel soap here

eco-friendly toiletries bag

Face Toner

If your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover buys you roses, don’t throw them in the bin once they’ve wilted! Have a try at making your own rosewater face toner – here’s a recipe.

Remember however, that products like these don’t have the longest shelf life, so try to use it within a couple of weeks.

If you don’t fancy DIY, you can easily buy rosewater facial toner. It shouldn’t have more than a handful of ingredients, so watch out for nasty preservatives.

Lavender hydrosol is also another option, very soothing on the face after a long day!

Shop for a rosewater toner and lavender hydrosol here

Perfume

Another DIY solution – divide rose petals into two and soak some in vodka for 2-6 weeks. You’ll be left with an exquisite smelling perfume – one dab behind the ears and everyone will be swooning.

Green Tip: Don’t forget to patch test on your skin before application, as you would with any cream or cosmetic..

You can also mix essential oils with carrier oils such as Jojoba and Olive oil to create perfumes. Read more about carrier oils

Jojoba oil in particular, makes for a great make-up remover, which you can pair with reusable cotton wipes.

Shop for Jojoba Oil and essential oils here

eco-friendly toiletries bag

Lipstick

I have been properly addicted to Ilia lipsticks for quite some time now. They’re made out of organic ingredients and housed in recyclable aluminium containers.

I also like the fact that they don’t dry my lips out – particularly the tinted lip conditioners. My go-to colour is Arabian Nights, although I like the brighter pops of colours for a night on the town (like this rather fetching shade of pink).

Shop for organic lipstick here

Menstrual Cup

I remember when I used to go travelling and had to plan ahead, packing boxes of tampons and pads, which took up valuable space in my suitcase.

Not anymore! For the last five years I’ve been using a Lunette Menstrual Cup. It’s changed my life and saved me hundreds of dollars.

Better yet, if I know Aunty Flo is going to come calling whilst I’m away, I can just check my cup into my eco friendly toiletries bag. It takes up next to no space, yet it’s there if I need it.

Read more about travelling with your period here.

Shop for a Lunette Cup here

eco-friendly toiletries bag

Blush

I’ve used RMS Beauty blush for three years now, without any complaints whatsoever. The packaging is recyclable and I like the colours.

I don’t really ever wear foundation anymore, as it dries my skin out. A swipe of blush on the cheekbones and a bit of lippy does the trick.

A good diet, plenty of water and a bit of sweaty exercise a few times a week is all one’s skin needs, I reckon.

Shop for RMS blush here

A long-lasting toiletries bag

Finally, you’ll need something to house all these eco-friendly products in!

Look for something long-lasting, or even made out of recycled materials.

Shop for a toiletries bag here

And that’s my eco-friendly toiletries bag, in a nutshell.

What do you keep in your eco friendly toiletries bag? Any other additions to suggest?

Other posts on sustainable travel

Here are some of my favourite eco-friendly travel products
An extensive eco-friendly packing list (it’s illustrated, too!)
20 ways you can travel responsibly and save money and Go plastic free with a zero waste travel kit
Read up about responsible travel blogging here
Here are some ways you can use less plastic when you travel
The best water bottles for travel
Browse my sustainable travel archives

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If you're looking to be a sustainable traveller, your toiletries bag is a good place to start. Here are some ideas for green travel products, that are reusable or eco-friendly. If you're looking to be a sustainable traveller, your toiletries bag is a good place to start. Here are some ideas for green travel products, that are reusable or eco-friendly. / #EcoTraveller / #GreenTravel / #SustainableTravel / Eco friendly products for sustainable travel / Eco-friendly products / Travel accessories / Eco friendly travel bags / #EthicalTravel / #Responsibletravel /

LC

LC can often be found nursing a cup of green tea, with her head in a book. She is a writer, video editor and professional cheese eater. Her life's aspiration is to one day live on a farm in Tasmania with 11 dogs, a Shetland pony and several pygmy goats. Follow along on Facebook or sign up to the monthly newsletter.

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Rhiannon - April 10, 2017

I love the illustrations, they’re great!! When I was about 10 I had a bamboo comb that I loved more than anything. Not because I was a particularly green child, just because it made me feel like a proper grown-up! It got left behind at Brownies camp one summer and I think it’s about high time I replaced it. With you on the lip balm – the only time I ever actually need it is in cold weather when my lips are drying out, but still every time I see a fancy new Lip Smackers flavour (cherry coke, YES!) I just have to have it.
The chefs at my workplace use rose all the time – you’ve inspired me to steal some of their petals to bring home and make up my own green concoctions.

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    LC - April 10, 2017

    Thank you Rhiannon! I’ve been wanting to consistently put my doodles on this blog for awhile but I suck at colouring in both with pencil and done digitally. Luckily my fella is a graphic designer, so he helped me out with them. Woot, teamwork!
    Brownies have a lot to answer for. Definitely time to replace it. And yeah, lip gloss is about the most pointless cosmetic there is, especially those horrible gooey glossy ones. Urgh. I actually found all my old ones from high school when I moved back to Oz. I tried them out, which was probably a bit dangerous, considering how old they are now. Still tasted super sugary. Legal drugs for teens.
    And yes, do it! Particularly if you love rosewater. I’ve been experimenting with a bunch of homemade toiletries, which makes me feel like I’m Hermione in potions class. Gonna share some of the successful recipes on here soon.

    Reply
Hope - April 10, 2017

Definitely addicted to lip balm too. Although, I find myself using it a lot here is Switzerland, especially over the cold months, AKA most of the year. In Australia, with a warmer climate I didn’t need it as much so it should be good conditions for you to quit.

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    LC - April 10, 2017

    Yes! I hope so. I’ve definitely noticed that I use it less here – maybe twice a day at most. Conditions are good!

    Reply
Kati - April 11, 2017

The illustrations are fab!!!! Does the bamboo toothbrush get smelly after a while though? And how’s that ‘water-only’ hair washing method going???

Used to have a wooden comb but it became sort of blunt so then I stopped using it and now got this plastic one that combs through my hair so nicely. But yeah… it’s plastic. 🙁

A friend gave me homemade body scrub (essentially sugar with essential oils) and body butter for Christmas, and I totally loved that! Looking forward to some “cosmetics recipes”.

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    LC - April 11, 2017

    Thanks Kati 🙂 It’s actually fine. I’m not sure how it would do if I were travelling long-term and that’s not my style, so I haven’t tested it. But for just around the house and trips up to a month long, it’s been great.

    My hair is so thick it shatters plastic combs, so the bamboo one has worked out nicely. If you’ve found something that works for you, that’s all that matters. I still have a lot of plastic items (my KeepCup for example), but I don’t have to replace most of them, so the fact that they are plastic doesn’t bother me.

    Hair is going surprisingly well… will be posting the three month update in a couple of weeks(!).

    Reply
      Kati - April 12, 2017

      I’m so looking forward to your hair update!! Beyond four days, my scalp starts to get so itchy that it drives me nuts. I can stretch to about six or seven on holidays, especially in colder climates and without shower access, but that’s been about it. And i just want to scratch and scratch…

      Reply
        LC - April 12, 2017

        I’ll publish it next Monday eve. ?? yeah had that problem too, but found a couple of natural solutions that have seemed to have worked!

        Reply
Karyn @ The Lost Lemurian - April 12, 2017

This is awesome, and so helpful! I’ve just started trying to replace my bathroom stuff with zero waste alternatives so this has given me a few ideas. Love the illustrations too!

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    LC - April 12, 2017

    Glad it was helpful Karyn and thanks! Good luck with the transition – you won’t look back!

    Reply
Ketki - April 15, 2017

This is absolutely brilliant. We need more and more people who want to venture into sustainable lifestyle and travel. Being an environmentalist myself and following a lot of sustainable practices i am so stocked to come across this article. Keep up the good work.

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    LC - April 17, 2017

    Ageed! Good on you for blogging about it too.

    Reply
Tasha - April 15, 2017

I loved reading this. You’ve introduced me to products I’ve never previously heard of. I had no idea a bamboo toothbrush existed! Had a quick look online and it looks great, thanks for sharing 🙂

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    LC - April 17, 2017

    No worries!

    Reply
Kaisa Lee - April 15, 2017

I really enjoyed reading this list. I’ve been using diluted apple cider vinegar + grapefruit oil as a toner, but tbh it is a little harsh and I’ve been thinking of switching to rose water. Might just do it now!

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    LC - April 17, 2017

    I used to use ACV as face wash too and much prefer the rose water.

    Reply
Meg - April 15, 2017

I’ve known people who’ve used water only methods on their hair but I would fear mine is too dry, particularly in the Australian sunshine. I would be interested to see how you go! It’s funny you should say that your lips become drier with the use of lip balm – it’s one of those weird cycles of dependency that means you become hooked on using them. I, for one, can’t sleep unless I’ve used some lip balm – crazy huh? I like the thought of a bamboo toothbrush and comb so will investigate these for my next trip. Do you have any suggestions for a good wash bag?

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    LC - April 17, 2017

    I upcycled a washbag from a friend! I think she’d got them in one of those buy-a-product-from-Myer-or-David-jones-whatsits-get-a-free-gift thingos. My hair has fared a lot better in Oz with water only than it did in London. I think the water is a bit less harsh here.

    Reply
Allison - April 16, 2017

Love this! I need to work on making my toiletries more eco-friendly and reducing my plastic use. So sad to hear that LUSH bars aren’t as eco-friendly as I thought they were 🙁 Any tips for a good tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation that doesn’t use plastic?

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    LC - April 17, 2017

    Some people apparently use cocoa powder for foundation. I’m not very helpful as my BB cream has lasted for an age and I don’t really wear foundation, although I do like RMS.

    Reply
Maegan - April 17, 2017

Tons of great ideas for eco-friendly things to bring or make. I want to try the rose hip oil to see how my skin does with it.

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    LC - April 20, 2017

    I love the stuff. Hope you have success with it!

    Reply
Global Brunch - April 22, 2017

You’re always such an inspiration for me on all things plastic-free and eco-friendly! I’m trying to better myself all the time but my efforts are put to shame by your discipline. I would love to give the bamboo toothbrushes and the rose water a go.

Totally agree on the men and lip balm subject. I only thought about this the other day. Men always have smooth lips but never buy lip balm, so surely us ladies don’t need it either.

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    LC - April 23, 2017

    Shucks! You’ve made me blush, woman… I do like the bamboo brushes a lot and Sinplastico sells them in Europe.

    Yeah, exactly! I’m not looking forward to giving it the flick, however. I think I’ll try after winter is over, which should be timely as my current and last pot of gloss should last ’til then!

    Reply
Katie Featherstone - April 24, 2017

You can make your own lip balms with shea butter, coconut oil, bees wax and honey (or just shea butter on it’s own is fine). I made tonnes for christmas presents this year and they taste quite good with the honey.

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    LC - April 24, 2017

    I’m quite determined to break my dependency on the darn stuff, but that will make for a great back up, should I fail (or crack in the process!). Thanks Katie.

    Reply
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