Want to rid your bathroom of single use plastic? It’s the perfect room to start noticing all the unnecessary waste. Like the three-quarters filled serum bottles that for some reason I just couldn’t stand to pass up. Why?! No more! Here is a comprehensive guide to plastic free bathroom products for your hair, skin, and everything else in your throne room.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking a link on this site, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Caveat: Plastic truly is ubiquitous. While none of these products are sold in plastic bottles or have gratuitous plastic packaging, there are still some that contain trace amounts of plastic wrap (looking at you, Shampoo bars). Ideally, this wouldn’t be the case, but we’re doing our best here. Switching out even a few of these products is going leave behind a lighter garbage load. And isn’t that the goal? (Yes, yes it is.)
Another note: not all – but a good many – of these links are Amazon links. It’s no secret that Amazon is troublesome for myriad reasons, but the truth is they’re so huge because so many of us use them for price and convenience. So please, whenever possible, shop local. I know we’re looking for ways to fit being more eco-friendly into our busy lives. I argue we can have it both ways. Planning one large buy from Amazon on things like bathroom essentials is fast and easy, and if we do it all at once they’ll ship it all in one box at one time. So there’s that.
Use the table of contents to jump to the plastic free bathroom products category you’re looking for:
Plastic Free Hair Care
There was a time I swore off putting unpronounceable things on my hair and fully embraced the “no ‘poo” movement. (Google it.) For about a year I scrubbed my scalp with baking soda, rinsed with ACV and thought the deteriorating state of my follicles was just the toxins working their way out, before the good hair came. False. I’m sure this strategy works for some, but not me.
Fortunately, there are now a slate of products that are both natural and better for the planet. And you can finally swear off those giant bottles of product, thanks to companies paring down.
Best Shampoo Bars
Shampoo bars generally have very little waste, but still get a bad rap for usability and quality.
Here’s the trick: to use shampoo bars, lather between your hands, and then apply those suds to your hair. If you’re not happy with the lather, rub the bar against your scalp for a short swipe or two. A little generally goes a long way, but it’s easy to come out too hot, rubbing the bar all over your scalp, hair, and hands too. That will give you way too much soap, allowing you the most intense shower mohawk of your 6-year-old dreams, but not necessarily getting you in and out of the shower in a reasonable amount of time. Just remember
Ethique is a brand that walks the walk. They are carbon neutral and even plant a tree for every order. They’re also zero-waste, so you can toss the packaging straight into the compost pile. The list goes on, but most importantly, their products work. The company’s headquarters are in New Zealand, but Ethique products are available internationally, so they’re easy to get your hands on. They have them at both Amazon and Target, for example.
Lush Cosmetics may not need an introduction, as their naked packaging and cruelty-free products have a cult following. But if you don’t know, they’ve got shampoo bars, too! Honey I Washed My Hair is the clear fave among a long line of cleverly titled, eye-catching bars, however one lap around their intoxicating stores or glance at their website will entice you with plenty of other options for various hair needs.
Finally, Spring & Vine bars are available at Target for about $10. I can vouch for the Tea Tree and Mint Scalp Soothing kind, which smells clean and moisturizes even my scaley scalp. It should be noted, however, that while this is a better option than a large plastic shampoo bottle, the bar itself is wrapped in plastic. Additionally, some bars contain palm oil, which is a major cause of deforestation. While this product may be an eco-upgrade, the other options are better bets if they’re available to you. I included this here, because if you’re in the US, they’re inexpensive and easy to find.
If you just can’t get behind a bar, that’s cool too. Here’s a list of waste-free stores in every state. The website Littlerless updates it weekly, and we are forever in their debt. Check it out for a local resource for plastic free bathroom products.
Bring your own bottle, and pump your refill whenever you’re getting low. Most of these stores not only carry shampoo and conditioner, but laundry detergent, hand soaps, lotion, and so much more.
Best Eco-Friendly Conditioner
Feel free to correct me if you’ve had a different experience, but shampoo bars – at least the brands above – leave my hair more moisturized than traditional shampoos. I’m no scientist, but my guess is the concentrated, quality ingredients get the credit. So, you may find you don’t actually need a conditioner as desperately as you did when you were washing your hair with chemical water.
Again, Ethique is a standout in the zero-waste hair and body realm. The Too Delicious Super Hydrating Solid Conditioner bars save even my straw mane in the dead of winter. If you’re lucky enough to have curly hair, or need a weekly conditioner that doesn’t involve all the mixing below, this is for you. If none of that applies, they also have solid conditioners for normal hair, blonde or silver hair, and more. Best yet, according to the company, one of these bars is equivalent to five bottles of liquid conditioner. FIVE BOTTLES!
Lush calls their unbottled conditioners pressed conditioners and they are just as eye-catching and funky as the rest of their shop. Whether you need to soften, hydrate, or just want awesome smelling hair, they’ve got you.
DIY Conditioning Mask
Personally, I use a conditioning hair mask about once a week (and wash my hair twice MAX weekly) followed by an ACV rinse to take care of conditioning. Here’s how:
- Mix equal parts softened Dr. Bronner’s Coconut oil and raw honey (I usually go for 1 Tablespoon each).
- Whip it together with a fork until creamy and blended
- Slap it on your hair
- Rinse after 20-30 minutes.
(Do not be afraid of the honey! It may feel sticky when you accidentally get it on your fingers in the kitchen, but it is moisturizing for skin and hair, and washes away cleanly in warm water.) After rinsing out the mask, you can use an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. Before getting into the shower, mix 1 to 2 Tablespoons of ACV with 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup cool water. (Measurements vary depending on hair length and skin sensitivity. For my short hair and sensitive scalp, I use one splash of ACV in two glugs of cool water. This isn’t necessarily vaccine development, here.) Pour it over your hair and work through for a couple minutes. Rinse and shampoo with your chosen bar.
I hate bars because they sit in their own soap soup
Is this you? I get it. However, have you seen this most brilliant creation? The environmentally-friendlier Uncommon Goods sells this self-draining soap dish that will just make you wonder how some people are so smart and creative. There’s also this zig-zag soap dish that will keep your bars dry. There. Problem solved!
Clean Your Mouth Plastic Free
Best Sustainable Toothbrushes
One item many folks are surprised to find in the “plastic free bathroom products” list is the toothbrush. For nearly 100 years this item has been plastic. Aaaand not the recyclable kind.
National Geographic has a surprisingly fascinating article about the plastic toothbrush’s contribution to the amount of plastic the earth is stuck with. However, if you’re short on time I’ll leave you with this nugget from the piece: the number of toothbrushes thrown away in the US just this year could wrap around the earth. Four times. So what can we do?
Brush with Bamboo is one of the most well-known, well-reviewed plastic-free toothbrush brands. The packaging is compostable, the handle is made from bamboo, and bristles are made completely without fossil fuels. Additionally, these eco-friendly toothbrushes (with soft bristles!) last just as long as their plastic counterparts.
Here’s a great option if you prefer medium bristles. GreenBoss infuses their bristles with charcoal, and plants a tree every time you make a purchase. But honestly, that won’t be very often as this very reasonably priced 4-pack will last a whole year! And they didn’t forget the littles. Check out these bright and fun sustainable toothbrushes for kids!
Reminder: this space is judgement-free. Do what you can. If none of these dental care products work for you, maybe you’ll find this toothbrush and toothpaste tube recycling program helpful.
Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste
Bite Toothpaste Bits are another novel product which doesn’t dilute the good stuff with water. Glass bottles, paper shipping materials, and compostable refill bags show Bite’s commitment to remaining plastic-free. They say more than one billion-with-a-b toothpaste tubes are pitched every year, and they’re not standing for it. As for using the product, simply chew the bite – your saliva will make a paste which you can than brush as usual.
One common complaint about toothpaste bits is that they lack fluoride. Bite heard the boos and recently launched products that contain Nano-Hydroxyapatite (nHAp) which they say is a non-toxic fluoride alternative that will help combat tooth sensitivity and strengthen enamel. Pretty great.
You can order one bottle at a time, but their subscription service makes it easy to get a supply quarterly, which will also save you some money. Who doesn’t love that?
If you like the idea of trying toothpaste bits, but would prefer to shop around, Hello has well-reviewed activated charcoal toothpaste tablets that come in a reusable metal tin; and ChewTab ships their replacements plastic-free.
Top Eco-Friendly Mouthwash
As far as mouthwash goes, it’s probably not surprising that subscription company Bite will also allow you to add on plastic-free floss and mouthwash bites to your order.
Mouthwash bites, you ask? Oh yes. Just like their toothpaste bits, you simply chew one up and take a swig of water. Swish around in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit. The Ahhhhh is optional.
Another great plastic-free option is now easy to pick up at Target. Swish Mouthwash by Colgate is not only plastic-free (it comes in an aluminum bottle) but is also alcohol free.
Best Eco-Friendly Floss and Tongue Scrapers
And floss? What’s wrong with floss? Well, if you’ve picked up some context clues, we’re heart-eyeing plastic free bathroom products in this post. And more often than not, your floss is plastic. (Technically, nylon, but still not recyclable.)
Fear not, Bite (as mentioned a couple times above) has you covered. You can add plastic-free floss onto your order, and they make a four-month subscription easy peasy.
While we’re on the topic of pristine mouths, tongue scrapers are great tools to ensure a clean mouth and fresh breath. A products named for what it does, this U-shaped tool literally scrapes your tongue free of the buildup. This keeps germs out and breath fresh. It’s also disgustingly satisfying. Or maybe satisfyingly disgusting? I don’t know – but really great either way.
Mastermedi makes a completely stainless steel version of the tool. They claim that using this twice daily can increase your sense of taste. That hasn’t been my personal experience, but I’m definitely going to start paying closer attention! Here’s a more compact version from Basic Concepts, as well.
Top Earth-Friendly Body Lotion
For my money, all you need for a body moisturizer (and hair mask. And makeup remover.) is Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Oil. You just need a small dab. Rub it between your palms to melt, and use as a body lotion. If that’s too oily for you, you may be using too much. Try even less than that. And it’s easy to find – just pick it up at any grocery store.
If that’s not your jam, the trick is finding plastic-free body lotion or oil options that suit you. Meow Meow Tweet creates natural, vegan products that smell like a batch of angels. Their packaging is predominately glass and paper, and once you buy a full size product you can just order the bulk size thereafter. They offer free returns on the bulk empties, and will reuse those (sterilized) bottles. Check out the Meow Meow Tweet body moisturizers.
Lush also sells body lotions that are a literal dream (looking at you, Sleepy). These lotions are sold in plastic pots, but Lush is committed to a closed recycling loop so they’ll give you a free face mask for every five pots you return. Then, they’ll turn them into new black pots so you can re-up on your faves. We’re all for that.
Greener Hand soap
Package-free hand soap is one of the easiest things to find locally. Wander into nearly any locally-owned grocery store, farmer’s market, or craft fair, and there’s someone hawking their amazingly scented handmade bar soaps. Usually wrapped in paper or not at all, these are some of my favorite things to use in our bathroom.
Keeping an eye out locally is my first suggestion. Whole Foods even sells them by weight in their health and beauty aisle. Our local Nashville no-package store is also a great place to refill bottles. No (new!) package necessary!
Like everything, though, there are options if you want them. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soap is always a safe bet. A family-run company with a long history of sustainability. Dr. Bronner’s has regularly earned sky-high ratings as a certified B Corp, so you know your purchases are supporting fair trade principles.
Speaking of Dr. Bronner’s, their liquid Castile soap has a nearly unlimited amount of uses. It may be sold in a plastic gallon jug, but it will last you a very long time. Additionally, we can trust the company when they say they use 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. For hand soap, you can mix two tablespoons of this liquid soap into 2/3 cup of water. Add a teaspoon of olive or almond oil if you’d like it a bit thicker, and scent with essential oils if you’d like. I double that recipe for these Amber Pump Bottles. Cheap, easy, and cute!
Best Zero Waste Natural Deodorant
Natural deodorants have been making their mark in the stink removal industry for some time now. If removing aluminum and preservatives from your deodorant is on your to-do list, these are a great pick. However, most still come in plastic packaging. If you’re looking for a natural stick that is also plastic-free, you have to look a little harder.
First, let’s clear up a couple complaints about one of the plastic free bathroom products a little newer to the scene. Yes, natural deodorant takes some getting used to. If you’ve been using an aluminum-based antiperspirant for
years decades, then you’ll need to give this a few weeks. Many people don’t last longer than a week after switching to natural deodorants because they say they stink by the end of the day, or they’re sweating so much. Give this at least three weeks – just throw the stick in your bag and re-apply in the afternoon if you feel like you’re truly offensive. Honestly, now’s the time to try. We’re all wearing masks anyway.
Second thing: a lot of these formulas are a little more solid than what you’re used to, so they don’t…glide. Simple fix: just hold the deodorant up to your armpit for five seconds before applying. Your body heat softens the ingredients and makes it much easier to use.
So let’s choose one:
Judgement-Free Green fave Ethique has plastic-free deodorant bars that are my absolute favorite. The scents are not at all overpowering, yet I don’t feel like I stink by noon. Everyone wins. Additionally, while I’ve never had the irritation many complain of after going natural, on-line reviews indicate this is one of the most gentle options on the market. Like all Ethique’s products, I suggest having a small reusable box for storage, or purchase a plastic-free holder.
Native is one of the tried and true natural brands, and Target now carries it in cardboard tubes! I’ve purchased this a few times, and am happy to recommend it. However, I’ve found that more often than not, the product doesn’t stay elevated in the tube, so I have to push up from the bottom while I’m applying. This is a little awkward, but not as awkward as leaving yet another deodorant stick in the landfill, so I deal.
Plastic Free Bathroom Products In the Shower
There’s no question that body wash in those giant plastic bottles are not helping our cause. For more details on plastic-free body wash alternatives, check out this post. If you’re not in the mood to be clicking around, here are some bits of advice.
Get a Soap Saver! These things are awesome. I buy them at my local zero-waste store, but you can also snag them online. A bar of soap goes into the bag, made of natural fibers that work wonders to exfoliate skin. Because of the pouch, you don’t have to worry about those annoying soap slivers when the bar wears down. When you’re done with it, just throw it in the composter! The excitement I feel for this thing makes no sense, but it’s absolutely my favorite plastic free bathroom swap.
Best Sustainable Bath Soap
I think we can all admit that in our past lives of excess consumerism, we purchased a product for every single use. In our new lives of searching the internet for plastic free bathroom products, we can admit that there really isn’t much difference between bath soap and hand soap.
If you’ve skipped to this part of the list from above, I’ll recap our hand soap recommendations:
Locally made soaps found in small grocers, farmers markets, or craft fairs are some of my favorite things to buy for our home. They smell great, are made in very small batches, and are rarely packaged in plastic. The next best thing may be supporting the artisans contributing to Ten Thousand Villages. They have many different plastic-free soaps available online.
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soap is also a safe bet, from a family-run company with a long history of sustainability. Dr. Bronner’s has regularly earned sky-high ratings as a certified B Corp, so you know your purchases are supporting fair trade principles.
Speaking of certified B Corps, Tom’s of Maine is also one, and has a great bar soap in a variety of pleasing scents.
Finally, no surprise here: Ethique makes a great body bar. I’ve been pleased with all my purchases from them, but particularly like the Pumice, Tea Tree, & Spearmint bar. It smells great, lathers well, lasts way longer than you expect, and exfoliates – with or without your Soap Saver!
DIY Body Wash
Like I said, once you start getting into sustainable living, a few lightbulbs go on above your head. A really big (probably LED) one, is you don’t need something different for every task. Bath soap and hand soap – bar a vbcnd liquid – are all pretty much the same ingredients. Maybe in slightly different quantities, but maybe not.
For example, check out my Body Wash Alternatives post for a body wash recipe using Castile soap, water, and essential oil. It includes honey for additional moisturizers, but you get the idea. One gallon of Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soap goes a long long way.
Top Eco-Friendly Shaving Cream
Real talk: shaving creams are one of the trickiest to find in the plastic free bathroom products realm, at least IMHO. Many traditional creams are packaged in metal containers (recyclable!), but contain aerosols, which aren’t great for the environment. Our motto may be do your best, but it seems like we can do a little better in this department.
Unfortunately, even some of the reliable environmentally-friendly brands we rely on around here (Dr. Bronner’s, for example) sell shave soap in plastic bottles. To that end, I honestly just lather up my soap a bunch and get to it. If that won’t work for you because of sensitive skin, here are some choices:
Ethique’s Tip to Toe Shampoo and Shave Bar is a two-in-one that’ll produce a good lather and smell great. I have to say I’ve had better luck with this particular formulation as a shave bar rather than shampoo, but try it for yourself! We all have different hair needs – both the kind we’re washing and the kind we’re shaving.
With that being said, any of the shampoo bars above (conditioners, too!) will work for shaving. With high quality ingredients and moisturizers, you’ve got what you need for a clean, close shave.
Besy Sustainable Safety Razors
But what to shave with? It’s a no-brainer that disposable razors are not going to cut it in an eco-friendly shower. This may give you visions of your grandfather scraping a single blade down the side of his face, but there’s no need to be dramatic. Plastic-free safety razors are in. These metal handles offer changeable blades allowing you the closest shave of your life without adding plastic to the ocean.
Check out this rose gold Bambaw Safety Razor, complete with stand. If that isn’t sustainable and beautiful, than I don’t know what is. However, if rose gold isn’t your flavor, how about this beaut from Zomchi? They both utilize these standard safety razors which are sooo much less expensive than the refills you’ve been buying.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can’t just chuck the used metal blades in your recycling containers. Keep a tin nearby to place the used blades and dispose of them all at once in a proper sharps disposal.
Now, if all of that just sounds like a little…much, I get you. Just like the toothpaste tube recycling program mentioned above, TerraCycle and Gillette work together to recycle disposable blades, razors, and packaging. Just click to get information and a shipping label to send anything in you can’t recycle locally.
Fortunately, toilet paper is not considered an eco-don’t. (I mean. I don’t think so. Not for our purposes anyway. Boundaries!) However, it is often wrapped in a whole lot of plastic. For some reason, wrapped eight packs are often wrapped again to make 64-packs, or whatever, and really it’s just not necessary.
Who Gives A Crap? They do! It’s actually the name of a company that makes paper products from sustainability darling bamboo, and wraps their paper in…paper. This company is absolutely packed with personality if that wasn’t obvious on name alone. From the copy on their website to their adorably wrapped rolls, they make sustainable fun.
And this isn’t gas station toilet paper that comes apart in your hands, or makes you walk like you just got off a horse. It’s good on your bum, and it’s good for the planet. It’s also septic safe, if that’s a concern for you. (It is for me!) They even have paper towels and subscription options!
A similar company – Better Way – is available on Amazon and is made from Bamboo and completely plastic-free. It’s also very well-reviewed. I can’t take credit for this joke, but one reviewer submitted, “10/10. Would wipe again.” and I will never stop laughing at that.
If you still want options, keep in mind that another eco-friendly toilet paper tip is to look for industrial options. Cottenelle and Scott both sell 60-roll options individually wrapped in paper, similar to those you’ll find in office buildings. Keep in mind if you go this route that you’ll have 60 rolls of work TP in your own home bathroom. It’s not for everyone.
One hero of the Covid-19 pandemic (you know, besides actual heroes) is the bidet. During that month where everyone was wondering if they’d have to fight an elderly person in the grocery store for TP, the wisest among us were procuring a bidet.
While these may be adjacent to our subject of plastic free bathroom products, it seems like they fit the bill here. Bidets aren’t new, of course. They’re more popular in Europe and Asia, but(t) those folks are on to something. They are said to use considerably less water than the amount it takes to manufacture TP, and thus are easier on the environment.
SO, would you be surprised to hear that a bidet is technically just an attachment for your toilet; is $89, and fairly easy to install? Well now you know! Whisper Bidet makes it easy to buy and easy to install.
Luxe is also a popular bidet brand available on Amazon, and includes everything you need for self-installation.
Obligatory disclaimer: you are attaching something to your toilet’s water supply. If you don’t know what you’re doing, or are at all concerned about the process, hire a plumber for this job.
Environmentally Friendly Feminine Care
Best Waste-Free Menstrual Cup
At least on my radar, the menstrual cup was the first tampon alternative to creep into the mainstream. Now, there are lots of options for a more eco-friendly period. Products like Anigan’s EvaCup and OrganiCup are made from 100% medical grade silicone, and will last for years and years, unlike single-use feminine items encased in plastic.
Best Period Underwear
Period underwear is no longer the dark colored, already-stained b-team unders that you bust out once a month from the back of your drawer. Dear Kate makes literal period underwear. Best worn on light days or as a backup, these babies make single-use pads and liners a thing of the past. This company even sells yoga pants with built in liners called (wait for it) Go Commando Yoga.
Thinx states that each pair holds up to four tampons worth of menstruation, yet feel (almost) like regular underwear. They come in various cuts and colors. And Thinx knows the first try is a leap of faith, so they ship the first order free and offer a 60-day money back guarantee.
Plastic-Free Garbage Liners
Listen, if none of the sustainable period stuff are the plastic free bathroom products for you, there are always more eco-friendly garbage bags with which to line your bathroom can. Check out these small biodegradable garbage can liners, or some in the taller size as well. It’s all good.
Reusable Shower Curtain Liner
When it comes to plastic free bathroom products, did you even consider breaking up with your shower curtain liner? I have to admit that it never occurred to me that that was an option until I did a much deeper dive. But it is! Washable shower curtains are a great eco-friendly upgrade. Now you don’t have to throw away that plastic sheet every time company’s coming! (Hint: if you’re not there on a reusable liner, at least save the old one to use for a drop cloth when you paint!)
For less than $10, you can hang this polyester liner and have a truly plastic-free shower! Another option for this product is hemp – here is a GOTS certified liner. Those who’ve committed to them love them, but beware that because hemp isn’t water repellent, you’ll have to plan to wash (and then rehang) this every few weeks.
Environmentally Friendly Towels and Robes
If you’ve done any research into making your wardrobe more sustainable, you’ve no doubt come across textile certifications like GOTS that ensure consumers they’re buying ethically made items that haven’t been treated with pesticides. (This is a gross over-simplification. Check out this primer for more info, and read The Conscious Closet!) Well, the same goes for towels, sheets, and other linens around your home.
Delilah Home is a relatively new sustainable living company, but their Organic Turkish Cotton Towels are a literal dream. They’re luxuriously thick and absorbent, and don’t disintegrate in the laundry the way other towels I’ve had seem to. At the time of this writing, they’ll even give you 10% off your first purchase!
Another great option are these Chakra bath towels. They’re extra large and made of a bamboo cotton blend that’s said to get softer the more they’re laundered. These are super lightweight, though, so if you prefer to wrap yourself up in something a bit fluffier, then these won’t be for you.
Speaking of wrapping yourself up – look at these unique robes from Ten Thousand Villages. Brighting up your spa day in fair-trade style.
Plants for your Bathroom
This is certainly a little off-topic from plastic free bathroom products, but there’s much to be said about the eco-friendly benefits of plants. So this seems as good a place as any to mention the happiest plant in my home may be the Hoya that hangs right outside my shower door in front of a window.
If your bathroom needs some green (and you’ve got some decent natural light) look into these species that also thrive in humidity:
Lucky Bamboo doesn’t technically need soil. It survives in all kinds of light conditions, and straight stalks are happy in a vase of water. If you want to get real cute, though, how about this very cool braided bamboo plant?
Spider Plants. Admittedly, I didn’t fact check its humidity rating, but I happen to have about 15 Spider Plants throughout my house, and I’ve yet to find a place that they won’t grow. Double edged bonus: these babies are prolific, so as soon as your Spider Plant starts having Spider Plants, you’ll have them everywhere too.
So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to plastic free bathroom products that you can swap. What are your favorites?