Travel Essentials #6: Toiletries (Zero Waste-ish)
Everyone always brings along their own toiletries when they go on a trip, right? Or do you depend on using those little single-use bars of soap, shampoo, conditioner or (gasp) toothbrushes that they make so readily available? Well, if you don't BYO already, I hope that you will find it is incredibly easy to do so and make the switch over.
We have a lot of toiletries, which I don't quite understand why. Most of them we don't even bother using. So why do we lug them around? Ummm, good question. I don't have an answer for that.
So, were I to do it all over again, here are the 3 things I would say are absolutely essential to your zero waste toiletry collection:
1. Safety Razor
2. Lush shampoo and body bar
These babies are awesome! Our days of totally wasteful disposable razors are totally behind us. And can I just go off on a tangent here for a second and say how incredibly crazy the market of disposable razors is! You buy your blade and handle, but then you need to replace your blade and it costs a million dollars or (as was my case) you need to replace your blade but you find yourself in a foreign country where they don't make your blade so you cross your fingers and buy the closest thing hoping it will fit. When you find out it doesn't you end up shaving holding on to the little numb that's supposed to attach to the handle instead. True story! What a racket that whole market is!
So anyhoo, now we have our handy-dandy straight razor, which was intimidating the first time around but totally awesome for it's close shave and zero wasterness. A+
But what about flying? Yes, well, you will have to keep it in your checked luggage. If you are a carry-on only kinda person, then I'm afraid you would have to go without or pack only the handle and purchase blades at your destination.
Lush Shampoo and Body Bar
Before we left on our trip I had only used the shampoo bar a couple of times and, frankly, didn't like how my hair felt afterwards. What I've learned is that it takes some time for your hair to adjust to using the bar, but once it does it is so awesome to have this handy two-in-one bar in a nice little stainless steel container. I was even able to replace the bar during a quick stop in Auckland, New Zealand at their Lush store. And the bars last forever as long as you keep it dry between uses.
Importantly, my husband says he "doesn't endorse" the Lush soap as he feels it's overly expensive and prefers to either not use shampoo or have a bottle that we refill whenever larger bottles or bulk are available (we do this sometimes!).
You could forgo the shampoo altogether and use the "Water Only" method like one of my favorite zero waste bloggers Paris To Go. Pretty intriguing, but I haven't yet had the guts to give it a try! My husband says, "I do that method and I look fabulous!" Ha! Too bad it ain't the same thing for us ladies with longer hair!
I've been having my hair cut by the same woman in Santa Cruz since I was in high school. Why mess with a good thing! So she cut my hair right before we left and recommended I purchase this conditioner and said that I might be able to avoid getting my hair cut THE ENTIRE TRIP. And you know what? So far, a year in, and she's right. I think a lot has to do with the way she cut it, but I think using the conditioner has saved it from drying out with all of the sun and water its been exposed to.
This is not a zero waste item, but I gotta say that it has helped me avoid using any single-use bottles of conditioner and the bottle is recyclable. My system is to wash my hair with the Lush bar and once out of the shower I put a pea-sized amount of this on my hair starting at the ends. It also has worked great for my daughters and we even use it as a detangler. I think this one bottle may last us the entire trip. Not too shabby.
And of course, I'm leaving off of the essentials list toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. Toothbrushes we have been able to stick with bamboo and made our own toothpaste when we access to bulk in Australia, but otherwise that one has been very hard to manage from a zero waste perspective while being long term travelers. We are in need of new brushes and have asked some family members who are meeting us to bring along for test-driving a few different brands of brushes and floss. I'll post some reviews of these later on.
If you've got any suggestions for products you love then I'm all ears!
*As usual, there are no affiliate links, just our opinions. Thanks!