When traveling, toiletries are essential items in your bag. But these days, there is more to worry about than just what’s allowed in your hand luggage. Toiletry items are some of the top offenders when it comes to plastic waste. Plastic packaging is often not disposed of properly or can be difficult to recycle, even if it is a bio-plastic. With people growing more concerned about their plastic footprint at home and on the road, many small innovative companies have come up with eco-friendly-toiletries that are designed to reduce the waste that ends up in our ocean and landfills.
When I was at the beginning of an eco-conscious lifestyle, I began to interrogate everyday items in search of minimum packaging, quality and sustainably made materials and toxic-free ingredients. I had to drastically reduce my everyday plastic consumption because there wasn’t a recycling program where I lived on the rural coast of Nicaragua. Examining the environmental impact I made as a consumer and pressuring for brand transparency was more powerful than I realized. Some companies falsely position their products as natural or ecological by adding botanical pictures or a few drops of essential oils in their products. You can avoid major green-washing with this list of eco-friendly-toiletries.
Whether you are at the beginning of your low-waste lifestyle or are already environmentally orientated, let this eco-minded product guide set you up for your next plastic-free journey.
We hope you love the toiletries we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you make a purchase. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
Making an effort to refuse plastic and adopt eco-friendly-toiletries can start with your toothbrush. Every plastic toothbrush that you’ve ever used in your lifetime probably still exists, which makes the switch to a sustainable toothbrush more essential. No matter what kind of brush you use, the bristles get worn out, bacteria can accumulate and three to four months down the line, your toothbrush needs to be replaced. A toothbrush made of wood or with plant-based materials makes your dental routine more eco-friendly while still getting a great clean.
SeaTurtle Plant-Based Bristles Bamboo Toothbrush
This bamboo brush has 100% plant-based bristles, minimal packaging and contributes to marine conservation with each purchase.
Brush, By Bite
You can detach the head of your Brush, by Bite for an easy travel option and sign up for subscriptions for your replacements. Also, good to note that the brush is made from Moso bamboo, which is not a recognized food source by panda bears.
This UK based lightweight bio-plastic handle is made from GMO-free sugar and has fun color options to choose from. The replaceable bristle heads are made from miswak wood, which gives this brush a modern twist to an ancient approach to dental hygiene.
This Berlin-based design team has many sustainable manual options, but their rotating electric toothbrush is a great choice if you already have an Oral-B electric toothbrush or other compatible models. Their design, with consumption and environment in mind, allows you to buy their replacement toothbrush heads without having to rebuy your electric base.
Without batteries or cords, this human-powered electric toothbrush is designed with stainless steel to last a lifetime. These creative Portland-based designers have stayed true to reducing waste by creating small replacement heads. If you are in the US and planning to go off-grid, this is your choice.
When it comes to choosing effective all-natural ingredients in toothpaste, it’s great to look for ones that are cruelty-free, vegan and organic. Chewable toothpaste tablets, which are dry-compacted toothpaste, have grown in popularity because they are easy to carry and create less mess, which makes them the perfect travel-friendly option. A dry toothpaste with lightweight compostable packaging and chemical-free ingredients is the best option as your zero-waste replacement to tubed toothpaste.
Unpaste Tooth Tabs
You probably weren’t aware that toothpaste could be fluoride-free vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and preservative-free and still clean your teeth, freshen your mouth and reduce your plastic consumption. But that’s what Unpaste promises!
Dent Tabs is a dry toothpaste choice with sustainable and ecological values. It contains fluoride for those who need it but is sodium lauryl sulfate-free and packaged in a bio-plastic of renewable plant material (corn-starch). Bio-plastics are theoretically recyclable only if your town has a high-temperature industrial composting site.
Choosing plastic-free and plant-based dental floss you can use every day is a must-have for your low-waste personal care routine. Even as small and thin as tooth floss is, nylon-based products can still leach toxic chemicals into the environment. The three options below have higher decomposable ratings, refill options and will help clean between your teeth and raise your eco-consciousness even more. Bonus tip: use your tooth floss as sewing thread to repair any clothing or items instead of trashing them on the road.
Me Mother Earth Floss
A cute vegan bamboo container makes a lightweight option with refillable charcoal fiber floss that breaks down quick and easy after use.
Eco Living Eco Floss
This EU manufactured floss is part of closing the waste cycle by using a corn-byproduct from the food industry, making sure ingredients are sustainably sourced. They also plant a tree for every purchase made.
No one wants to be that smelly traveler on the tram or a public bus. But we also need to minimize plastic waste. So choosing a natural deodorant that is plastic-free and chemical-free can benefit your skin and the environment. These deodorants were picked for their travel-friendly plastic-free packaging, all-natural ingredients, and compact simplicity that will suit your toiletry travel case.
Pack and Leaf Coconut and Vanilla Deodorant
Choosing cardboard tube packaging designs like Pack and Leaf is a smart choice. They make full and travel-size paraben-free deodorants and donate 10% to protecting marine wildlife.
MAGSOL Plastic Free Deodorant
If you have sensitive skin, check out this baking soda-free deodorant that has been rated the best with four simple ingredients and compostable packaging.
Beauty company, Wild, consulted with industrial designers create the world’s first top zero-waste refillable deodorant made from aluminum and recycled plastic.
Shampoo, conditioner and body wash
As you transition into using more zero-waste toiletry products, you’ll find that solid bars or tablet-sized items are smart ways to reduce waste for the environment and weight in your carry-on bag. You can avoid the mini-amenity toiletries in plastic bottles and use soap bars or tablets that will break down with water and pressure, giving you that soapy foam to wash, as usual. There are a lot of simple DIY body wash, shampoo and conditioner recipes on the web to try at home and fill in refillable bottles, but this list of products have less mess and save on space when you set off on your next adventure.
Ben and Anna Shampoo Tablets
Ben and Anna is my personal favorite for my travel toiletry shampoo and ticks all the boxes for natural ingredients, plastic-free packaging, and a fresh conscious clean.
J.R.LIGGETT’S All-Natural Original Formula Shampoo Bar
This natural shampoo bar is the equivalent to one 24 ounce shampoo bottle and comes with its own water repellent pouch and TSA compliant.
HiBAR Shampoo Bar and Conditioner Bar
HiBar have made these mini-sized bars that pack snuggly into a travel case and guarantee plastic-free packaging.
Ben and Anna Body Wash Tablets
If soap bars are too bulky, then Ben and Anna’s certified natural body wash tablets are a great fit for travel and friendly for the whole family
Hair Brushes and Combs
Hairbrushes usually end up in the regular garbage bin if they’re not made with quality, long-lasting materials. Purchasing eco-friendly toiletries doesn’t need to break the bank, but it does mean choosing more responsibly and sustainably to avoid unnecessary waste. Here’s a couple of quality and environmentally friendly options to help make an easy choice for your hair needs, texture, preference and budget.
Fiora Naturals Hair Detangling Brush
Made from plant starch, this light-weight, durable, and kid-friendly brush is a great choice for many hair-types and useful for blow-drying.
Stainless Steel Metal Hair and Beard Comb
A small, foldable, and portable metal comb for hair or beard that fits in your pocket or on your keychain is a must-have on-the-go accessory.
Every time you buy something for your travels, you can begin to ask yourself: “Is it worth the waste?” By using less, searching for quality materials, and researching eco-friendly companies, you can make filling this bag with eco-friendly-toiletries a breeze.
Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag
If you like a lightweight durable foldable bag option with zipper compartments that can hang behind a bathroom door or inside a tent, then this one’s for you.