Happy New Year everybody!! It’s a new year, and time for New Years Resolutions. Mine is to start blogging, so here goes nothing!
So you want to go zero waste, but have no idea where to start. Trust me, I get it. I also know there are thousands of blog posts about how to do it, so today I’m just going to focus on skin care, cosmetics, and a few other bathroom odds and ends. This is the area I’m most familiar with, and the one I struggled the most with. So I tried to make it easy for you guys by making this handy guide below! Please know I am not paid by any of these brands or companies except my own, so you guys know I’m giving a honest recommendation. I am of course just a little biased towards my own brand, but I give you some other options if you’re just not entirely sold on Zerra & Co. (which you totally should be, we’re sustainable, plastic free, and handmade in small batches, just saying…)
So let’s jump right in! First off, just because you’re trying to live a plastic free life doesn’t mean you should turn around and throw away all of the plastic in your house. In fact, try to make the plastic you have last as long as possible and use all of the product inside any containers. Going plastic free is more about replacing single use plastic after it’s worn out with more sustainable options. So, keep this in mind as you go through your journey.
If you look at your bathroom counter now, chances are it’s filled with skincare and hair products in plastic bottles. Odds are you only actually use a few of them. So since you’ve decided to go zero waste or plastic free, sit down and Marie Kondo your entire bathroom. Decide on what you need, and what you don’t. Keep only what you actually use, and find other uses for the rest. I recommend donating any full and unused bottles of product you have to shelters, and recycling or upcycling the rest. When I did this, I was left with a few products in plastic bottles. I used these for the rest of their lives, and then recycled them and replaced them with more sustainable options afterwards.
Okay great, now how do I find sustainable options to replace my favorite products with? Well I highly recommend going to your local markets if you live in a major city. This will be an amazing place to stock up on local soaps and skin care products. Chances are, the local soaps and skin care companies will be best formulated for the climate and are you live in. If you don’t live near any good markets, fear not! Below I’ve listed some great online options, along with my local Baltimore favorites!
If you want a company with a wide range of quality zero waste makeup, look no further than here at Zerra & Co! We make zero waste mascara, mineral foundation, eyeshadow, and so much more. And it all ships free! We offer several refill options, and we’ve made a commitment to keep as many products as possible 100% plastic free. Even if you’re not big into wearing makeup, we have the basics like plastic free lip balms and oil absorbing setting powder. If you’re looking for some vegan alternatives to the products we use beeswax in, then I highly recommend Clean Faced Cosmetics on Etsy. The maker is super down to earth and makes some great high quality products. I’ve was gifted some of her products before I started making my own, and they're pretty great!
If you’re wanting to get some plastic free makeup brushes, go high quality and only buy what you need! They make hundreds of different types of makeup brushes, so only purchase the few you’ll actually use. Ask yourself, do I really need a separate brush for highlighter, blush, and bronzer? By purchasing high quality ones, they’ll last you a lifetime! Bobbi Brown makes some amazing top notch brushes, but they can be a bit pricey. If you want to save some money and support a small business, Etsy has lots of handmade options that are well reviewed. Lots of them are also vegan and made out of sustainable materials like bamboo! Just remember to clean your brushes regularly to keep them looking nice and like new. Proper care and cleaning will help them last you years!
Before I went zero waste I used disposable makeup wipes. I know, they’re awful.
Now, I have a few washcloths just for removing makeup. I recommend getting them in darker colors, like navy or black, to hide any makeup stains. I pair them with our best selling Zerra & Co. Makeup Remover to easily remove even the toughest waterproof makeup. It won’t leave your skin feeling dry or greasy, just refreshed. It’s become a staple of my beauty routine and some people even use it as a nightly toner! The best part is it’s 100% plastic free and zero waste. If you don’t wear water proof makeup, a lot of time you can use straight carrier oils on a rag. Coconut Oil is nice as it’s a little more solid, but grapeseed oil also works! Just be sure to wash your face afterwards to avoid breakouts.
Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Mouthwash
This is one I’ve struggled with for a long time. Coconut and baking soda toothpastes were just too abrasive. Until I discovered a recipe that used arrowroot powder to mellow out the baking soda! It is amazing, and I even add charcoal from time to time to help whiten my teeth. You can find it here. Unlike the original author though, I can’t recommend putting essential oil in your toothpaste as essential oils are not meant to be ingested. I use mint flavoring instead, which you can find in the baking aisle.
For toothbrushes, they now make bamboo ones with plant fiber bristles, meaning they’re entirely compostable when you’re done with them! I’m still running through an old toothbrush that has replaceable heads, but once I’ve run out of brush heads I’ll be making the switch! You can find these all over the place now! Organic grocery stores are a great place to start looking, or you can order them online!
Mouthwash was fairly easy for me, I found a hydrogen peroxide recipe that includes baking soda and mint flavoring that I love! I take 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 cup of water, 1 tbs of baking soda, and some mint flavoring to taste! Easy peasy!
Soaps & Shampoo
So my personal favorite soap company ever, is Mount Royal Soaps based here in Baltimore! Not only are they run by an awesome group of people, but they’re palm free and working towards becoming entirely plastic free! Plus, they ship anywhere here in the US. If you’re not a Baltimorian and don’t want to fuss with shipping, go to your local craft fairs and farmers markets! Chances are, you’ll find at least one quality local soap maker, if not more! You can use these for your body, hands, and even to replace your face wash! Ever since I’ve switched I’ve found my skin to be less sensitive and I’ve had fewer breakouts. Plus they always smell amazing.
Mount Royal Soaps also makes some amazing shampoo and conditioner bars! I have to admit their oat one is my current favorite, but they make several fun scents and formulas for everyone. I was able to easily transition from my natural shampoo without my hair getting fussy or ‘detoxing’. I can easily go two days without washing it. So yeah, they’re pretty awesome. If you’re not local and looking for another option that you can smell and see in person, Lush makes some great plastic free options and they have stores all over. Plus, at both Lush and Mount Royal you can buy cute little metal travel containers!
Razors & Shaving
I have just started using a safety razor and I love it. If you are brand new to safety razors, or someone who’s prone to cutting themselves while shaving, then I recommend you start with an adjustable safety razor. Adjustable safety razors can adjust to hide more of the razor to make it more difficult to cut yourself. These are great to learn with, and you can adjust to get a closer shave as you you get better with it. When you buy one, I also recommend buying a razor bank to safely store and recycle your used razor blades. Make sure they’re also made of metal for easy recycling and sorting. Please know you shouldn’t recycle these in single stream recycling systems, as someone has to sort those, and that can be dangerous. Recycle them where you sort it yourself to reduce the risk of anyone gettin hurt.
The best handmade local safety razors are made right here in Baltimore by Imperium Shaving! Their handles are crafted to last a lifetime and are just gorgeous to hold and look at. These make excellent gifts for yourself, or someone you know and love!
For shaving soap, I just recently switched to a solid bar and I love it! You can buy a special brush to help you to apply the foam, or you can apply is straight on like I do. Some people even just use a plain foamy bar of soap to shave, use whatever works best for you!
Lotions & Moisturizers
DIY lotion is super easy to make and I really recommend giving it a try if you're a big into making your own stuff. If that sounds like too much work for you, good news, we have a few other options for you! Let’s start with face moisturizers, if you have oily skin like me, I always reach for my witch hazel & rose water toner. The witch hazel tightens pores while the aloe and glycerine in my rose water makes my skin just feel super soft and dewey. If you have dry skin, try a cleansing oil like our Dry Skin Cleansing Oil. A couple drops give you all of the moisture and nutrients you need to keep skin looking fresh!
If you need something a little thicker for your body or hands, try our Whipped Body Butter in a glass jar, or Burnt Bees hand salve in a metal tin. I used their products for years before switching to my own products. These both work best on rough skin that really needs some deep moisture. Or if you’re really wanting to ditch packaging, then try a lotion bar! They provide the same moisture as regular bottled lotion, but without plastic packaging. Our lotion bars come in a vegan and a beeswax formula, with scented and unscented options too! Just hold them in your hands to warm them up and glide over skin for the perfect amount every time. Once you try it, I promise you will never go back.
WOW we made it!! Thank you so much for following along! As always, feel free to reach out with more blog post ideas and any comments or questions. We love hearing from you!