Here’s What Is In My Eco-Friendly Toiletries Bag
If you’re wanting to pack in a manner that is a little more eco-friendly, your toiletries bag is an excellent place to start.
It’s 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 back in 2009, which you never ended up using.
This post will give you a few ideas in greening up your toiletries bag – investing in items that are long-lasting, compostable, or even homemade!
If you’re looking to make your entire suitcase eco-friendly, here’s a list of the green items I pack when travelling overseas.
Bamboo toothbrush (with travelling case)
I think 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, although it splits after awhile and needs to be aired out after travelling, so that it doesn’t mould over. No real dramas.
I had a really nice comb with a handle, but I lost it – I think I left it on the floor of a plane during a long-haul flight. Sigh.
Luckily, a friend came to the rescue, delivering onto me a replacement. It doesn’t have a handle, but it’s still made out of bamboo and is lovely.
I’ve had it a year and it shows no sign of breakage. Could never say the same with plastic combs or hairbrushes, when paired against my extremely thick hair.
Merkur Razor (with blades)
I love my razor.
It took a little while to get used to using the stainless steel razors, rather than the horrible pink plastic ones – it’s an art, that’s for sure. I did cut myself the first time I used it and had terror flashbacks to being thirteen again (teenage years are years I would never want to repeat), but I quickly got the hang of it. 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.
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. When I started drying the razor myself, I could make them last for two to three months. It’s worth the extra effort.
If your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover buys you roses, don’t throw them in the bin once they’ve wilted! Gather up the petals and pop them in some water. Leave them to boil then simmer for a bit. At the end, you’ll have your very own rosewater, which you can spritz on your face for toning purposes, or whenever your face fancies a bit of a refresh.
Or, divide the 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.
Don’t forget to patch test on your skin before application, as you would with any cream or cosmetic.
I love rosehip oil, beyond all other oils. 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.
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).
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.
And that’s my eco-friendly toiletries bag, in a nutshell.
What else should be in an eco-friendly toiletries bag?
I have several goals over the next few months.
The first is to work on my deodorant situation. I love the Meow, Meow Tweet cream deodorant, but it doesn’t really do well in the harsh Australian heat – plus they jacked up the international shipping cost from $25 to $45 and just, no.
I’m also working to eliminate more toiletry items. This year the two that I’d like to do without (or three, depending on how you look at it) are shampoo, conditioner and lip balm.
My hair and I have gone through an interesting journey over the last twelve months. I’ve tried shampoo bars, coconut oil and the “no-poo” method of bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar, with not so great results. I gave up for awhile and went back to using semi-conventional shampoos, feeling like a failure.
Well, I’m having a crack at it again, because the absence of the weight of a shampoo and conditioner in one’s luggage is something worth aiming for. This time I’m trying the “water only” method.
I blame Lip Smackers entirely for my dependency on lip balm. I remember being a young kid at primary school, comparing flavours with the other girls in my class. These innocent actions created a monster and now I can’t actually get through the day without having some form of lip balm on me. In fact, if I’d forget my tub of it during a day at work, my lips would get so dry and painful that I’d have to duck out to Coles or Sainsbury (depending on which country I was in at the time) to buy a new one.
We don’t really need lip balm – how many men do you see buying it on a regular basis? I shudder to think about how much I’ve spent on various gels and glosses over the years. Hundreds of dollars I’m sure. Not to mention that it’s difficult to get these small tubs of goop plastic free.
So, at some point this year, I’m going to try to give up lip balm. It might be one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through (I’ve admittedly had a charmed life), so wish me luck.
Other posts on sustainable travel
An Illustrated, Eco-Friendly Packing List for Travellers
How to Have an Eco-Friendly Period Whilst Travelling
Phrases in Foreign Languages for Plastic-Free Travel
How to Travel Responsibly Without Blowing Your Money
This post contains affiliate links, to items I use myself and therefore recommend to all travellers. Thank you for supporting my war on plastic!
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Last updated: 25th June 2018.