Three people who’ve been actually reading my blog have asked me this week about plastic free shampoo and toothpaste, so here goes.

Toothpaste – this one I’ve still to tackle. I think I’ve got a few weeks left in my tube and I’m really eking it out.


From what google tells me, this is one of the things people find tougher to handle as the recipes with baking soda sound a bit unpalatable. It made me wonder when people actually started using tubes of toothpaste as I know tooth powder was still pretty common in the 1950s. It turns out Colgate were mass producing tooth paste in glass jars by the middle of the 19th century. Tubes of toothpaste came into use in the 1900s and until there was a shortage in the second World War, the tubes were made of lead/tin. Somehow, this is one time I’m actually relieved they switched to plastic! In the meantime, I’m searching to see if one can still get toothpowder.

Shampoo is easy to find in solid bars. Lush make a great selection and they are very easy to use. You just lather the bar up in your hand and rub subs in as normal. It washes as well as ordinary shampoo but you do need to make sure it dries off between uses or it gets a bit messy. I find Lush products very pungent so I will try another brand (or this one) next time.

img_0629  img_0630

The beer one is particularly tempting – and yes, I know it’s aimed at men – but it’s got a nice citrusy smell. I’ve also read some good things about the kiwi brand Ethique. They claim solid shampoo lasts three times longer. I cannot confirm or deny that as yet, but it probably needs to as at $22 a bar, it’s a good mark up on a bottle of shampoo from the supermarket! Once you start looking, there are loads of alternatives available.

Conditioner has turned out to be more difficult. I did expect issues with conditioner because I have always found only some conditioners work for me and the longer my hair the harder it is. After a particularly windy Wellington day, I made the call to my cut hair as there was no way I was trying to tackle this tangle without conditioner.

img_8632My Lush Jungle Conditioner bar just does not work. It takes ages to rub enough into my hair and it still feels dry, so that one is a fail. Two of my colleagues are using a solid conditioner too and are really happy with it, so it may just be me. Conditioner bars seem to be harder to find than shampoo. Someone suggested using Argon oil but I have yet to find a plastic free bottle of it. I have some bottled conditioner left and after that is used up I may have to try the no poo method of cider vinegar rinse.

Soap is the obvious easy alternative to shower gel and facewash. I realised one evening that I’d run out of shower gel so rather than trek to the shop a quick google gave me a body scrub recipe which I adapted it a little –  1/2 cup of coconut oil (softened in microwave), 1.5 cups of sugar and a tablespoon of peppermint extract. I mixed up peppermint extract and essence so the smell evaporated but the scrub works great on the body. I found it too oily for my face but will save the face cleaning for another post.

My sister suggested this would be a simple solution to the need for any of the above as well as saving energy and money but I remain unconvinced!

And to jump topics – my plum cake with powdered milk rather than fresh was a hit but sadly, the kaffir lime leafs in a jar come with a cirle of, what I assume is tamper proof, plastic so no thai chicken curry this week either. I shall try the asian food shops as they may have other brands.




6 thoughts on “Toiletries

  1. Ethique is definitely worth a go. I switched to their shampoo and conditioner over a year ago and haven’t looked back. You could try a sampler to test it out. I recommend the sweet and spicy shampoo. The Wonderbar conditioner works well for me and one bar has lasted over a year. The shampoo lasts me about 4 months… but I do keep it in a bamboo container they sell. As for face scrub – their Gingersnap face scrub is lovely. I also use it as a body scrub for any areas that need particular attention. The Love Baby Massage Bar is a really nice moisturiser too.
    Good luck! I love what you’re doing and I’d love to see you get to the end of this year with an answer for all these challenges.


  2. . As a child, in the pre-tubed toothpaste era I and Robin Hood and all our merry band of outlaws and inlaws used powdered tooth cleaner, which tasted divine, a taste that I have never found again – the only comparison that I can possibly make is the instant mental transportation that happens when I smell or taste parma violet sweets, a taste and smell that is redolent of childhood, even if it miles away from powdered toothpaste flavour.
    But one can still get tooth powder though perhaps NZ customs might impound it.


  3. Having problems sending my posts – maybe they are too long, or long winded, but they won’t go. So I will try a short one.
    Glad the apple famine has been averted


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