Whether you want to ditch toxic chemicals, say goodbye to disposable plastic or a mixture of the two, you will probably need to start making some of your own products. While there are some natural, zero waste brands out there, it can save you money to make your own products at home. Plus this way you can choose which ingredients you use to not only get great smelling products, but ones that best serve your body’s needs. Here are 12 zero waste toiletries you can DIY!
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Now, before we get started, there’s a few things you need to know. First off, you need to understand that I am not perfect. I am not living a fully zero waste lifestyle, but I am working on it. Cutting out plastic from my life has been a definite work in progress. Over the past year or so I have learned to make a lot of my own toiletries and I want to share these recipes with you so you can do the same.
Secondly, just so you know, these recipes contain many essential oils. If you’re new to zero waste or ditching toxic chemicals and you’re planning to do a lot of DIYs, then essential oils are about to become your BFF. I grew up using essential oils I bought at natural health food stores but I just started using Young Living Oils and they are ten times better. If you want to learn more about this brand of oils I would suggest following Natamess, ValorAndGraceEssentials and BuildingBasicRoots on Instagram.
*** Please be aware that not every one of these recipes may work well for you. We all have different skin types, hair types and sensitivities. So if one of these recipes doesn’t work well for you, hit the web again and find some other alternative recipes until you find one perfect for your own needs.***
Did you know there are some really toxic chemicals in mainstream toothpaste brands? Have you noticed that toothpaste is almost always packaged in a disposable plastic tube? I really love being able to choose exactly what I put it my toothpaste and being able make it waste free.
The recipe below is kind of a mix of two different recipes I found online. I loved both of them and couldn’t decide which to use so I used both. Keep in mind when using this toothpaste that you make it in small amounts and you don’t dip your toothbrush in it while it’s wet. Since it’s a natural, homemade product there are no preservatives in it. So if you get the toothpaste wet and then close the jar it’s in, it creates an environment where bacteria can grow. Don’t worry though, just make sure you stick your toothbrush in while it’s dry, and then wet your toothbrush after.
The reason I used Activated Charcoal in this recipe is because it naturally pulls bacteria out of hard to reach places and then surrounds bacteria completely so that it cannot harm the body. Once you spit it out you have a much cleaner mouth and it naturally whitens teeth as well. That’s why there are so many activated charcoal face masks and tooth brighteners on the market today. If you don’t have activated charcoal on hand, that’s okay, you can skip it on this recipe or buy it here for next time. If you skip it, consider adding 2-3 table spoons of the baking soda rather than 1-2 as that is what will be cleaning the teeth as well.
In either a double broiler or the microwave, heat up the coconut oil so it melts. Remove from heat and mix in the activated charcoal, baking soda, and Stevia/Xylitol. Make sure you have used enough Stevia or Xylitol so that it tastes sweet and not bitter. If you want to skip the Stevia/Xylitol you totally can but just know that your toothpaste will likely taste bitter or salty without it. Next add 5 – 10 drops of peppermint oil and make sure to taste it periodically so the smell/taste isn’t overpowering. Pour mixture into a small mason jar and let harden/cool. Toothpaste is ready to use when it has hardened and should melt in your mouth.
Yep, you read that right. It is totally possible to make your own perfume! I don’t know if you if you’ve noticed, or if this happens to you, but every time I walk through the perfume section of a store, I always get crazy headaches. This is because perfumes are also full of harmful chemicals. The recipe below will not only smell great, but it is actually good for your health, instead of being harmful. It can be made using any essential oils you like to mix together. I get anxious often so I opted for floral oils that smell great and naturally relax the body.
You can choose to keep your DIY Liquid Perfume in a tiny mason jar and apply it with your finger but I personally love using these tiny, glass, roll on tubes instead. If you decide to use a roll on tube, just make sure to fill the tube up to about 1/2 to 3/4 with the Avocado Oil, and then fill up the rest with your favorite essential oils. Next, put the lid on the roller tube and gently shake it so all the oils blend together well. If you’re using a little mason jar, just mix all the oils together and apply a few drops with your finger.
I’ll be honest. I’ve found some really nice natural and chemical free deodorants for sale. I’ve even found some zero waste deodorants for sale. However my skin is pretty sensitive and I’m always down for saving money so making my own deodorant is something I have been doing for almost a year now.
Just keep in mind that when you first use this deodorant it will make your armpits smell amazing. However for a few days after your first trial, your arm pits will likely smell pretty gross. This is because if you’re new to natural products or if you’ve used harmful antiperspirant in the past, your arm pits will actually need to detox themselves.
This is why antiperspirant is so bad for you. It clogs your pores and blocks your ability to sweat. Your body doesn’t just need to sweat when it’s hot, it also sweats to release toxins from the body. So blocking yourself from doing that can cause you to have an imbalance of toxins in your body which can make you sick. Thankfully I’ve got this amazing, natural and zero waste deodorant recipe for you that won’t clog your pores! This deodorant will allow you to still sweat but it will ensure that you stay smelling fresh.
Please keep in mind that some people tend to have sensitivies to baking soda applied on the armpits. If you have a lot of sensitivity or itchiness after using this recipe, try this one that contains no baking soda instead or try replacing some of the baking soda with arrowroot powder.
In a double broiler or microwave, melt the coconut oil and shea butter and mix well. Remove from heat and add baking soda, mixing thoroughly. Next add essential oils of choice. Pour into a small mason jar and let cool and harden. Deodorant is ready to use when it has hardened and should melt slightly in your hands and when rubbing on your armpits.
Mainstream muscle salves and creams can be pretty expensive. Plus many of them are packaged in plastic. This muscle salve works wonders after a good work out or hike and it’s much cheaper than many others on the market.
In a double broiler or microwave, melt the coconut oil and shea butter and mix well. Remove from heat and add essential oils. Pour into a small mason jar and let cool. Muscle salve is ready to use when it has hardened and should melt slightly in your hands and when rubbing on sore muscles.
There are a lot of dangers of using Vick’s Vapo Rub. The main reason for this is that Vick’s contains some toxic ingredients and is made mainly of petroleum based products. Plus, Vick’s comes packaged in plastic. The Vapor Rub recipe I have here for you today is all natural and made from essential oils that are proven to help with fighting colds and flus. If you don’t have access to all of these oils, just use the ones you do have access to and make a mental note to purchase more later.
Using a double broiler, or microwave, melt the coconut oil and shea butter and mix well. Next, add the essential oils and gently stir. Vapor Rub is ready to use when hardened and should melt in your hands and into your skin. Use topically on the chest and rub some on the bottoms of the feet as well. Be sure to cover the feet with socks afterwards. You can do this during the day to fight cold or flu but it’s more popular to do this at night to ensure you sleep well and are able to breathe without congestion.
Who doesn’t love a good face mask am I right? Sometimes it is so nice to just come home, get the bath running and really give your skin some much needed love and attention. Again, when it comes to cosmetics, we just don’t know what toxic ingredients could be in them due to poor regulation. Aside from that I often find face masks to be super pricey! The good news is, they don’t have to be pricey or unnatural any longer. This recipe will cleanse your skin of impurities all while leaving it fully moisturized.
In a small mason jar or bowl, mix together the activated charcoal, bentonite clay and water. Next add the two drops of essential oils and mix together. With your fingers, apply the mask in an even layer over your face. If you have some mask left over, use it on your neck, chest, back or shoulders as well or share it with a friend. Once the mask is dry, rinse off and follow with a natural toner or moisturizer.
I am such a huge fan of hair masks. I have long, naturally thin hair so I make this mask once a week to make sure I am keeping my scalp and strands healthy. I also use this mask to help my hair grow thicker and longer. It’s so easy to make and way more affordable and natural than most hair masks on the market.
In a double broiler or microwave melt the coconut oil. Remove from heat and add the essential oils. Using your hands, run the warm oil through your hair. Next, run a comb through your hair to make sure your scalp and strands are evenly coated. Give your scalp a good massage to increase blood flow to your follicles and promote hair growth. If you want to go the extra step with this hair mask then wrap your hair up in a warm towel. Let the mask sit for at least an hour (sometimes I just sleep with the mask in overnight) and then wash it out. Remember you have just thoroughly soaked your hair in oil so you will likely need to shampoo it 3-4 times to get all the oil out and ensure your hair doesn’t look greasy after.
If you know me personally, you will know that I don’t have a beard. LOL. However, my fiancé has a beard and so do most of the men in my family. This past Christmas I made them all this amazing beard oil that they loved. It was so easy and inexpensive to make since I already had all my own oils anyways and it was a huge hit. In fact it’s only February but my fiancé, Arturo, is almost out! This recipe not only smells great, but it promotes growth and actually helps to keep the beard soft.
You can gift this in a mason jar and apply it manually but I personally love these amber oil droppers a lot more. Mix all the oils together and bottle in either the amber oil droppers or in a mason jar.
Showers are nice and all but I love a good bath. Bath salts can be used to ease muscle aches and pains or even to help alleviate cold and flu symptoms. Plus, with this recipe they don’t have to be expensive! Bath salts are one of the easiest things to make and you can get really creative with them. If you don’t like my personal Lavender Lemonade bath salt recipe, you can play around with other essential oils or find a ton more just by searching for them on Pinterest.
In a bowl mix all the ingredients together well. Pour into a mason jar or two to keep or gift to a friend. When ready to use, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the salts into the bath as the water is filling the tub. Soak and enjoy!
Ok, so while a lot of people know that you can make your own bath salts, not that many know that you can actually make your own bath bombs. Now, there are some really lovely, natural, bath bombs on the market right now, but making them at home can save you a ton of money! Plus sometimes bath bombs come packaged in plastic and if you want to avoid that then I have just the recipe for you. Keep in mind that some people experience skin sensitivity to citric acid so if that’s you then try one of these recipes instead.
In a bowl mix together the citric acid and baking soda. Add the Avocado Oil and essential oils while mixing quickly with your hands. You need to make sure you mix quickly before the mixture has a chance to start fizzing. Next, add any natural colorants you want, such as crushed lavender florets or fresh lemon zest and mix well. Spritz just a little bit of water on the mixture until the powder is easy to form in your hands. You don’t need a special mold to make bath bombs, instead just press and pack the mixture tightly into a set of cupcake tins. Let dry for a few hours and then they’re ready to use. To store them, use a glass jar and be sure to use within a few weeks as they will lose their fizziness over time.
Sugar scrubs are so great if you need to really exfoliate your skin. Just make sure you use this one up quickly as there are no preservatives and you don’t want to have to deal with mold. I made this sugar scrub for my mom over Christmas and she loved it. I couldn’t stop smelling it either because I just love the smell of Jasmine, but you can use any Essential Oil you like.
In a double broiler or in the microwave melt the coconut oil. Remove from heat and add the cane sugar stirring well. Add the Jasmine Oil or other essential oil of choice and mix again. Store in a mason jar, cool, and enjoy!
Ok this recipe is not really a recipe but just something I thought I would throw in here. As you can see almost all of these recipes include Coconut Oil. If you didn’t already know, Coconut Oil on its’ own can be used for so many different things. One of them is makeup remover.
Scoop out some coconut oil and rub gently on eyes using fingers or a reusable bamboo round to remove makeup.
I have tried so many natural and zero waste shampoo and conditioner recipes and unfortunately I haven’t liked any of them. I currently work at an Organic Hair Salon in Kelowna, BC as a Receptionist, so I have been using Certified Organic Shampoo and Conditioner from a product line we sell there. It’s called the Harmonic Shampoo and Conditioner from Intelligent Nutrients, and while it isn’t fully zero waste, it is natural and packaged in recycled plastic.
If you really want to stick to zero waste shampoos then there are other options for you. You can try the whole baking soda and apple cider vinegar thing or you can check out this shampoo bar. Now, keep in mind that I haven’t tried this shampoo bar yet but I can already tell it’s better than the ones from Lush because it contains no SLS.
Thank you guys so much to everyone who voted on my Instagram story telling me to hit ya’ll up with these sick recipes. Also big thanks to everyone reading this as it shows you really care about the environment! You guys are the real MVPs! If you have any questions, are looking for a recipe you don’t see in this list, or want to recommend a recipe to me that I should try then please let me know in the comments below!
PS. The labels on some of the handmade products were made by me using Canva and some old sticker paper my dad wasn’t using.
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies for Sustainable Travel. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.
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