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Eco-Friendly Toiletries

Bar Soaps & Eco-Friendly Toiletries Update: 

Nestor and I are on a mission to reduce single-use plastic packaging, both now at home, and in the nearish future when we live on a boat. We don’t want to contribute any more trash to local landfills than necessary. To accomplish this, we are starting to buy our body care products in bar form and without plastic packaging. Before our current trip, I purchased bar versions of: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, face cleanser, face scrub, shaving cream, body lotion, and body wash.

All of it arrived in paper packaging. The deodorant lives in a cardboard tube and the Ethique self-draining plastic-looking holder I bought (not pictured) is actually made from bamboo and cornstarch, should last ~5 years and then is compostable. A few of the other travel/storage containers actually are plastic, so I plan on using them as long as possible and then finding biodegradable alternatives. We are by no means anti-plastic saints and I am embracing an “every little bit helps” approach, rather than trying to be perfect. 

Now that I’ve had a week to try them all out while traveling, I wanted to write an informal and totally unsponsored review. Overall, they have all worked out exceptionally well, taking up very little space in my carry-on and creating no plastic/packaging waste for the local ecosystem. I have found that it is best to let them air dry in a non-damp location between uses, but that doesn’t mean they have to be fully out of the bathroom, they just shouldn’t be hanging out in the shower. 

Shampoo: Davines: normal size: cut in half to bring on the trip, still have plenty left, works & smells great, stored in a self-draining container

Conditioner: Ethique: normal size, cut in half to bring: works good, a little different than regular liquid conditioner, you slide it down your hair and then massage in

Face Cleanser: Ethique: mini size: worked good, but too small for >1 week, doesn’t lather, which it took a minute to get used to, will still need eye makeup remover (or to find a more robust version) to remove mascara/etc – but haven’t been wearing that all week, so it doesn’t matter for now

Face Scrub: Ethique: mini size: works great, plenty left, works well to hold in your hand and carefully exfoliate by making small, very gentle circles

Shaving Cream: Ethique: mini size: works great, has a decent amount left, easy to hold in hand and circle around to spread the bar and lather up

Body Wash: Ethique: mini size: worked ok, but the mini was pretty small for body soap, so I got a locally made bar of soap and have been using it in a Sisal soap bag which helps it lather great and has a string to hang it to dry

Sisal bags: made from plant fiber, they are strong, durable, water-resistant, and fully biodegradable. I bought a multi-color 5 pack and brought 2 with me to test out. The material really helps soap lather up and makes it super easy to hold when it gets wet and slippery. There is a little rope to hang it from and that helps whatever is inside easily dry. Also, will work well when the bar pieces are too small to hold without dropping. Highly recommended. I thought that a multi-color pack would come in handy to keep track of what is in each one vs getting a set of 5 all in beige. 

Toothbrush: the Humble Co.: bamboo handle, nylon bristles. Works great, like any other toothbrush, unfortunately, the bristles have to be pulled out with plyers to attempt to recycle them, but I am afraid they are way too small not to get lost in the shuffle. At least the handle will eventually break down!

Deodorant: SmartyPits: lavender rose: cardboard tube: substantial consistency, goes on nice, smells great, proved itself on a 3-mile 87* sunny hike! 

Liquid Hand/Body/Clothes/Soap: Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash: biodegradable, phosphate/paraben-free, works great to hand wash clothes and/or hands/body/etc. The container is sturdy and can be refilled, has worked great on camping trips as well. 

Overall, I am really pleased with how well everything is working and it was great to be able pack it all into a carry-on for this 3-week trip by bringing the mini versions; at home I plan on buying the normal size though. It’s also pretty cool that a single bar of shampoo can replace about a 32 oz container of the liquid version, saves plenty of space and weight, especially on a boat.

Anyone have any other suggestions on products to check out? What is your favorite go-to for travel and/or land life? Mention them in the comments below and I’ll check them out, thanks!!

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