Basic bathroom: How to simplify your skincare

Your skin drinks everything you put on it. Your bathroom cupboard doesn't need to burst. Here's how to simplify, cut packaging, and save dosh on skincare and bathroom basics.

Ever tried expensive skincare and it just didn't work for you?

Do you ever wonder what's lurking in the depths of your bathroom cupboard, that you just can't reach anymore?

I've been on a slow and steady journey to simplify my toiletries - from skincare to shampoo and essentials like deodorant. I'm always looking for package-free alternatives and natural ingredients, and slowly phasing out old products has had so many flow-on benefits.

Some of my plastic-free bathroom swaps.

Why simplify?

  1. I've saved money - woot! Once you realise you just don't need that many creams...
  2. I've cut so much plastic, and packaging generally, through not replacing things and having a go at making my own beauty products.
  3. My skin loves me. No really, it's happy. Less stuff to deal with, no toxins, only natural ingredients that I either get raw, mix up myself or it comes simple.
  4. I've had fun getting creative with DIY recipes.
  5. I can see all the products in my bathroom cupboard!

So what do we need?

That really is an individual question. 

For example, often moisturing with oil only (non-pore-clogging oils like shea butter, jojoba, almond, etc) is enough for people. But it might not be right for your skin, and the climate you live in.

But the amazing thing is so many waste-free swaps are inexpensive so it's worth experimenting to see what you prefer.

Go for ingredients and products you can mix and match - read on!

Skin cleanser

You can simply use an oil to cleanse - something that won't block your pores (non-comedogenic) and is non-greasy.

I'm loving the plain and simple glass bottle of (refillable!) jojoba oil from Biome's new natural skincare range. It's easily absorbed both on the face and body - so far I've been using it as a moisturiser. It's got a really light scent too, making it perfect for the face. 

Try a skin cleanser in bar form if oil isn't your thing - I've tried the lovely sea salt and raspberries bar from Ethique. No bottle, no plastic and they last ages!

Add some clay...

With natural clays you can multi-purpose! I've used bentonite clay and activated charcoal to DIY face mask (just add water or a carrier oil) and I've now got the pink clay and rosehip, ideal for sensitive skin, from Biome. You can also use clays as a simple exfoliant or cleanser.

Pink clay and rosehip 3-in-1 from Biome's natural skincare range. Glass jar and refillable!


One moisturiser to replace them all!

Once I realised this worked for me it was so enlightening. My skin has been loving the DIY whipped body butter I made using shea butter and avocado oil from Biome's Naked Beauty Bar. I made my whipped "body" butter and ended up using it on my face, hands, feet too.

Whipping my body-all-over butter using naked, natural ingredients. Recipe here!

Don't feel like making your own?

I mix it up and use my jojoba oil (and you can cut down even more using oil as cleaner and moisturiser!) or some swear by using olive oil, meaning you've literally got one bottle of oil for everything in the house... amazing!

Oils like these are so multi-purpose: condition hair, use as a bath oil, for massaging and as a carrier oil if you want to mix with other ingredients (even just essentials oils for scent).

Versatility for the win.

You can also try moisturiser in solid bar form (whaaattt?) - Ethique and Lush do these too.


Bars, bars, bars for everything. If you want to cut waste and packaging, opt for naked bars (for almost anything). Plus, they're cute in a little dish!

I love using bar shampoo. It lathers like the liquid stuff, is travel-friendly (and can be cut up if needed) and means I can say bye to any more plastic bottles.

Shampoo in a bar - one of the best swaps you'll make. This guy's from Lush.

My fave is the sweet and spicy voluminising bar from Ethique, and soak and float from Lush is pretty nice too.

If you still want to use liquid shampoo, you can refill your empty bottle at bulk food places like The Source.

I find I don't need conditioner anymore using bars, but...

Conditioner (if you still need it)

Apple cider vinegar diluted with water makes a great conditioning rinse. Seriously, it works.You will smell a bit vinegar-y at first but once your hair dries, no more smell and super soft hair!

Other options:

A straight oil - again, like the jojoba (so far that's three essentials in one!). Not coconut though - when I visited Olive Eco Hair, a member of Sustainable Salons Australia, owner Jade told me it's just no good for our locks. Cook with it instead!

Conditioner-in-a-bar - oh my there's a bar for everything now. Again, try Ethique, Lush or the Tasmanian brand Beauty and the Bees.

Refill your bottle - The Source also do refill conditioner. The ylang ylang lavender smells real nice.


While we're on about hair... 

I just switched to an all-metal, plastic-free safety razor, so now all I need to switch out is a single blade when it is blunt - and those come in a little cardboard box. 

My new Parker safety razor and refill blades from Biome - all 100% metal and recyclable! 
The razor has a lovely weight to it - I'll report back soon...

And as the safety razor is metal, it's infinitely 100% recyclable and won't be compromised in the process.

I'll report back on my experience soon! I've been wanting to try one for ages but just haven't needed to while I finish up my plastic razors. I'm just stoked to never have to buy a plastic one again! And they're so pretty...

A few other plastic-free hacks

Switch from plastic to a bamboo toothbrush. Here are a few options:

The Source bamboo toothbrush with super cute travel case. Image via The Source

Try a plastic-free toothpaste, or DIY toothpaste using bicarb, coconut oil, peppermint oil and a sweetener. There are so many recipes online!

Opt for metal or wood wherever you can - think scissors, clippers, hair and nail brushes, nail files, combs.

I'll save the simple-natural-waste-free makeup ideas for another post!

What are your favourite switches? I'd love to know!

-  Ash


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