Traveling full-time opened my eyes to the sheer abundance of plastic addiction we as earthlings have. I didn’t expect my blogging journey to turn me into a dirty hippie, but thats what happened. The more I traveled, the better I got at living without. ….living without things I thought I NEEDED before. That’s not to say that I don’t wear deodorant or put on makeup, but I’m so much more conscious of what I put into and onto my body. I’m woke to the idea of a plastic-free life. Which is NOT easy, let me tell you. I’m not perfect, and I haven’t given up every bit of plastic I consume. My daily routine still doesn’t contain 100% plastic free makeup. But I’m working towards it. Let me tell you how I eliminated plastic from my make-up and hygiene process:
A Plastic-Free Guide to Makeup
As a woman, especially an American woman, one of the first things I noticed was that I wear far more makeup than my international sisters. I met Eve from EarthWandess and discovered how much more makeup and hygiene products I brought with me than she did. As a Swede, she’s very European with her makeup process, and usually only wears a little bit everyday. Seeing a gorgeous woman completely comfortable in her own skin without the need to put on a lot everyday was a breath of fresh air. I still own close to 300 different makeup and skincare products, but my use of them has significantly dropped since I began this #plasticfree commitment.
I used a blog called Going Zero Waste to learn more about how to reduce my overall consumption.
I began researching zero-waste makeup brands. I started to reevaluate the amount of plastic I was using on a daily basis in my brushes, foundation and mascara containers, and what types of things I was putting on my face. Since I went Vegan in 2017, I now have cruelty-free makeup (except for the legacy powders and brands I haven’t finished) but that doesn’t mean that the makeup I have is good for me or the environment. This has been my #1 way I’ve reduced my plastic consumption outside the Big 4 Plastic Products I swore off already.
Plastic Free Makeup
Most brands, even the vegan ones, have a lot of plastic packaging or are stored in plastic containers. I still have quite a bit- but because there is still product in them, I can’t just throw away the containers! That’s just as bad for the environment as purchasing new ones. As I finish old brands, I’ve started to purchase these ones to replace the old:
As my makeup brushes wear out, I’ve taken to purchasing EcoTools, which are made from bamboo and cruelty-free bristles. Their face and body brushes have also replaced my loofas (I didn’t realize how much bacteria those harbor!!! EEW!!). I have also purchased a downcycled-plastic and bamboo face-brush from EcoTools to replace exfoliant products that come in plastic containers. Ideally, this brush will last me years.
If you aren’t familiar with the idea of downcycled plastic, read this article. It takes MORE plastic to “recycle” plastic, which ultimately adds more plastic back into our environment. Any plastic you use is NEVER recycled, and it also almost NEVER degrades, so every single plastic thing you touch will be here….forever.
Makeup Removal Process
I used to purchase a plastic-wrapped container of cotton balls and cotton rounds every month, that I would use once before trashing. I never gave a second thought about how much I was contributing to our landfills….
I didn’t actually purchase anything in order to replace the cotton rounds and face wipes I used daily. I actually DIY’ed them! I followed along with this blog post about how to make my own. I keep a small bin in my bathroom and wash them with my laundry every week now.
I take a few when I travel. I use a bit of soap and leave them out to dry overnight. I tend to do this a lot with my socks and underwear anyway, since I would rather not have someone else handle my panties and personal things as it is, it works for me to wash my own and leave them to dry in my private space of my hostel/hotel.
Zero Waste Makeup
This has been by far the hardest part of my plastic-free commitment. Makeup is very personal. Our skin PH balances are all different, and the makeup brands that I use might vary from what your skin appreciates. I have done a ton of research about which brands are Zero Waste and Plastic Free. I used this blog post by Going Zero Waste, this one by Zero Waste Nest, and this HUGE list by Green Indy. Hopefully, one of these might work for you since they have worked for me:
Foundation & Face Makeup
I found a recipe from Wellness Mama that I’m dying to try….once my foundations are completely expired/finished. I have purchased trial sizes of Zero Waste brands, mostly from Etsy. Here’s all the ones I enjoy:
- BeeYou Organics
- Natural Mineral cream foundation. Contains sunscreen and made from clay. Light coverage
- Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
- Very similar to the one above. I felt like this one made my skin feel slightly heavier because of the coconut and almond oils in the base, but it also has a medium coverage rather than a light coverage.
- Wellness Mama DIY foundation recipe
- DIY Blush Recipe
- Can I just say that this stuff is awesome? Mix with a bit of water and I made a nice lipstain as well!
Every. Single. Product. I used to own was wrapped in plastic. How terrible is this?!?!? I realized I needed to make a switch ASAP. I now use an aluminum container of eyeliner/mascara with a clean mascara wand from an old tube of Benefit Mascara (Benefit ISNT Vegan anymore, btw!!!!). I use an EcoTools brush to apply the gel as eyeliner as well. My favorite brand is CleanFaced Cosmetics, but here are the other products I’ve tried:
- Fat and The Moon
- Their eye coal was nice, but as the sweaty beast I am, I needed something that didn’t smudge quite as easily.
- 100% Pure
- I LOVED this product, but was a bit put off by the $25 ticket. I prefer CleanFaced $12 pricepoint
I love me a great lipstick…but not if it’s not in an aluminum or cardboard container anymore. My personal favorites are UrbPothecary and Axiology. You can also DIY your own lipstick and lip-stains. I found some cool DIY recipes for reusing mint containers and filling them with a mixture of old lipstick and shea butter/ wax in order to make a great zero-waste tinted chapstick! Heres a link, and heres another for my DIYers.
Plastic Free Hygiene
Zero Waste Deodorant
Though I’ve already touched on my EcoTools Face and Body Brush, I’d like to mention that I made a switch from aluminum-containing deodorant to a natural one that comes in a glass jar. Schmidts brand does contain a plastic lid and applicator, and I’m working towards finding something else that I love that is COMPLETELY plastic free. (Schmidts does have sticks but they are in a plastic container. BOO!) For now though, it’s a HUGE difference in the amount of plastic packaging that I am consuming.
I’ve considered using a deodorant stone, but I haven’t made the switch since I still have 1/2 container full of Schmidts left, and I love the lime-and-bergamot-scent that it gives me. I never have any B.O., despite working out twice daily, and feel like this gives me the perfect amount of fragrance that I like throughout my day. I suppose my next switch will be to a natural stone deodorant….that I’m told will pretty much last your entire life. I also think it would look pretty classy as a bathroom accessory as well.
Zero Waste Oral Care
I recently discovered that almost ALL floss is covered in petroleum-based products and sometimes even TEFLON…which not only means that the plastic container is bad for the environment, but SO IS the actual floss!! Depending on what brand of floss you use, you might be exposing your gums and blood system (if your gums ever bleed while flossing) to BPA, and other chemicals that have been linked to cancer. Not good.
I did a bit of late-night research (because what else keeps me up at night besides my oral hygiene…..) and discovered:
- Dental Lace
- Plastic free, biodegradable, and comes in a cute little glass container. Sweet! AND ITS REFILLABLE. 🙂 Awesome.
- Tom’s Floss
- Biodegradable, not covered in plastic, but does come in a container with plastic. Can’t win them all. It’s also not vegan because it is made with BeesWax, but it is a better option than others on the market!
- Eco Dent
- VEGAN! Made from Nylon. Also in a cardboard, not plastic container.
- Radius Floss
- Though it does come in a plastic container, its vegan and cruelty free, and NOT wrapped in teflon or petroleum.
I made the switch to a bamboo-shafted toothbrush, that lasts for 4-6 months. The bristles are made from 40% plastic and corn. You must pluck out the bristles at the end of their lifespan and you can then compost the bamboo shaft. I’m not totally satisfied with the bristles, but the only other options I found that are 100% natural last for less than a month!!!!
This might make me a bad vegan, but did you know that most commercial toothpastes contain animal byproducts??!! WT ACTUAL F. I was pissed when I found out that I might have been using a non-vegan toothpaste for years after going “vegan”, so this was one of my first switches.
I read that you can actually make your own toothpowder, which looks like it might be BETTER for your teeth since it doesn’t have all the extra chemical preservatives and additives. According to Dental Buzz, the product doesn’t actually clean your teeth, the friction of the brush does! Toothpaste is very cosmetic, and you can easily make you own. Or, you can buy toothpowder ( I love the charcoal stuff) that will whiten and clean your teeth just as well as the non-vegan brands. For my travelers out there, this is great because it’s not a liquid. NO TSA issues for you!
Here’s a minty-charcoal toothpowder from Etsy that’s Zero Waste.
There are so many other aspects of my life that are plastic-filled. I’m working, slowly, towards eliminating wasteful tendencies and waste-inducing products. I hope this guide helps you towards a plastic-free daily routine!