Plastic Free Swaps for Personal Care

First, we want to mention that your zero waste journey does NOT mean going out and spending a bunch of money on pretty new reusable items. Use what you have, thrift or make what you can, and then when those options are exhausted, the wide world of plastic-free personal care products will still be there, we promise.

These are some of our favorite plastic free swaps for personal care, but of course we all care for ourselves a little bit differently! Share your personal care swaps in the comments below.

plastic free swaps for personal care items like shampoo bars and toothpaste bites and cloth pads


DIY Makeup Remover + Reusable Cotton Rounds – There are a lot of easy homemade makeup remover recipes out there, using ingredients that you probably already have in the house. Coconut oil, olive oil, witch hazel, and aloe vera gel are all gentle options. Experiment with different DIY recipes to find the right balance for your skin, then make your own reusable cotton rounds, reusable face wipes, or support an independent maker with your plastic-free purchase!


DIY toothpaste powder – Here’s a recipe for homemade tooth powder that we shared a few years ago. Once you have the ingredients you can whip up a big batch, so share with your friends!

Tooth tablets – Zero waste tooth tablets are easy to find online or in your favorite local refill shop these days! Just bite down, swish in some water, and brush!

Floss – Don’t forget to floss! For a plastic free, vegan floss option we like Dental Lace, made from plant-based polylactic acid (PLA), coated with natural, nontoxic candelilla wax. It comes in a glass container with a stainless steel lid.

Toothbrushes – Bamboo brushes are sustainable, comfortable, and a fantastic plastic free swap! These bamboo toothbrushes from Wowe Lifestyle are numbered 1-4 so there’ll be no confusion about whose is whose!


DIY Deodorant – Mixing up your own deodorant is easier than you might think. Add the following ingredients into a glass jar, mix well, and then to use just warm a small amount between your fingers and apply to your armpits.

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 6 to 10 drops of essential oils if desired (a few options we like are tea tree oil, lavender, sandalwood, citrus)

Lotion Bars – Lotion bars are a thing we didn’t know we loved until recently, thanks to our friends at Moon Valley Organics. We tried their lotion bar and are absolutely in love with the smell, the feel, and the handy plastic-free tin that it comes in!


Cloth Pads – Use cloth pads just like you would disposable ones in terms of absorbency. Choose Pantyliners for lighter days, Day Pads for heavier flow, and Night Pads for a leak-free night. GladRags has been making reusable cloth pads since the early 90s, and we have customers who report that they’re STILL using the same pads from back then! GladRags cloth pads are 100% breathable cotton, plastic not required.

Menstrual Cups – Our menstrual cup, the XO Flo and the XO Flo Mini, are made of 100% medical grade silicone, and can be used for years and years and years. Each XO Flo cup comes in plastic-free packaging, whether bought online or in stores.

Sponges – All natural, biodegradable, and absorbent sponges are another plastic-free swap for your period! We recommend using in conjunction with a cloth pantyliner, as backup.


Shampoo and Conditioner – Most hairstylists will recommend that we wash our hair considerably less than we tend to do (like every few weeks even!). That said, most of us probably can’t resist the urge to get sudsy, so shampoo and conditioner bars are the perfect plastic-free solution! There are so many options to choose from, and this hair-washer here has been loving “the balancer” from Unwrapped Life.


We love this quote from Anne-Marie Bonneau, the Zero-Waste Chef, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” PREACH. Use what you have. Make your own when you can. Shop thoughtfully when you need to shop. Thanks for joining us on our own zero waste journey!

An overhead shot of plastic free personal care items on a fluffy white bath rug, including a turquoise cloth pad with a bicycle print, toothpaste bites, and shampoo bars.