7 Zero Waste Solutions for your Personal Care Routine

personal care

You may or may not have noticed that I am extremely tardy on my “Zero Waste Baby Steps” update for last month… as in, I never posted anything. But as life would have it, it is suddenly the end of another month, so let’s get on with it! In May I ended up finally finding a shampoo bar (packaged only in paper) that actually works, and I’ve since used it all through June as well. I also started using homemade face powder and homemade dry shampoo. Since I look delightfully normal, I’m calling these products a win.  And so my zero waste baby step for months five/six is to look for zero waste alternatives in your personal care routine.

personal care Collage

In honor of this baby step, I’ve highlighted some zero-waste-friendly personal care products I’ve started using over the years. Bonus: they are also free from probable human carcinogens and untested chemicals, both of which love to hang out in personal care products.

1. Deodorant


Y’all, my  homemade deodorant is the bomb. It seriously never fails, is made of three ingredients I keep in my pantry, and is super easy to make. I use a sensitive skin deodorant recipe because I have found that recipes with too much baking soda irritate my armpits after a while. If you can’t tolerate any baking soda, I list a few alternatives in this post, and Mommypotamus also has a baking soda free recipe. I mix mine up in a tiny mason jar and go about my stink-free business.

2. Body Lotion

Coconut oil makes a lovely, light moisturizer. Look for organic, unrefined, coconut oil sold in a glass container (this one, for example). (Confession: I sometimes buy mine in bulk in a plastic bucket. I reuse the bucket for chicken feeding activities, but it’s still plastic, which I’m trying to move away from.)

In the winter I find I want something a bit more moisturizing than coconut oil, so I use Shea butter. Look for organic, unrefined and fair trade (example). This super healing lotion is like magic for really dry winter skin.

3. Soap

bulk soap

For several years we’ve been using homemade (not by us, by Miss Jenny) soap made of lard- otherwise known as lye soap. It’s unscented and has hardly any ingredients and is quite lovely. You can often find homemade soaps in bulk (no packaging!) or packaged only in a paper sleeve at places like health food stores and farmer’s markets. Etsy is also a wonderful place to find local products- you can search by state.

4. Shaving Cream

clove soap

When we jumped on the handmade soap bandwagon, we switched over to a clove shaving bar (again, from Miss Jenny). And let me tell you, it is divine. I can’t even fathom how shaving cream came into existence when a soap bar works so well. Even Farmer Dickie loved it… back when he used to shave his face.

5. Shampoo


Shampoo has been one of the most challenging things for me to natural-ify in my personal care routine. I’ve tried no-poo and low-poo recipes, but always just ended up with hair that looked like, well, poo. But, about a month ago I purchased what I believe is “the one”- a shampoo bar packaged only in a recyclable/compostable piece of paper, that works! I am loving this shampoo bar!

(I’d like to add that many people have stores where they can refill their own shampoo and conditioner bottles in the bulk section, so that’s a zero waste possibility for many.)

6. Face Wash

My multi-ingredient face wash and face lotions have been replaced with one product: sweet almond oil. I have been oil cleansing for a long time and am so happy with it! My sweet almond oil is in a plastic bottle, but I’ve been using the bottle forever- it replaces makeup remover, face wash, and moisturizer. When I run out I will make sure to look for one that comes in glass packaging.

I follow The Elliot Homestead’s directions here and have been so pleased.

7. Makeup (and Dry Shampoo)


A while back I ran out of my mineral makeup and decided to try out Mommypotamus’ homemade powder recipe to get me by until I purchased some more of my usual. It’s been a while, and I’m still using the homemade powder. It covers lightly, like a powder rather than a foundation, but I’m finding it’s perfect for summer.

I actually use this same exact powder as dry shampoo. I just use a makeup brush to apply the powder to my roots and it works great!

That’s all I’ve got! What are your favorite zero-waste solutions for your personal care routine?


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  1. Grapeseed oil: it replaces both shaving foam and lotion afterward. I buy a big glass bottle and decant into a little spice bottle, which lasts a long time.

    I’m going to try your deodorant recipe!

  2. I am so glad that I have found your blog. Thank you so much because you are such an inspiration. We are a family of five and live in middle Georgia. I participated in a permaculture course and started reading a lot of homesteading blogs. I would like to be a minimalist and practice zero waste, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that and homestead. Sometimes as a homesteader, I feel like a hoarder. You over think and ask a lot of the same questions I often ask myself. 😉 I just wanted to let you know that you are awesome and just thanks so much!!!

    • Thanks Robin! Yes, homesteading and zero waste don’t often go hand in hand. For instance, we raise all of our own meat and then freeze it for the year in plastic… I haven’t found a better solution. Granted, it can be recycled, but we all know recycling plastic is a last ditch effort, and reducing our use is better. And then there’s the greenhouse… Every year it gets a new layer of plastic, which makes me cringe. But glass is expensive and not an option for us on a rental property right now. BUT, there are plenty of ways I can go “zero waste” even while homesteading, so I try to focus on those! Keep fighting the good fight!

  3. Great post! I am try to cut back on waste and this post was exactly what I was looking for. Have a great day!

  4. Tanya Barsony says:

    I live in west middle TN-Camden. About 1 1/2 west of Nashville. We have 2 daughters (14 & 18) we, the daughters and I are new to TN, the Mister has been here for 20 years. My girls and I came from Ca. to Tn. to get away from the hustle and bustle and really start slowing down and getting back to nature. We are currently building our chicken coop and I CAN NOT wait to have chickens in our yard and getting fresh eggs and eventually fresh, organic meat. The next step is a couple of milking goats and maybe hopefully eventually a fulltime micro-farm that I can work to replace my current job. That’s the dream anyway! I am enjoying reading through your blog, it gives me inspiration that even at my older age we can do this!! Keep up the great work!!

  5. Those ideas are awesome! Reducing waste by making your own products is more than remarkable. I will use some of your suggestions and to make my own cleaners too!

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