Waste Free Bathroom Update + Toothpaste Recipe

I first blogged about DIY toothpaste over four years ago, and my low waste bathroom three years ago. A lot has changed in that time, not just personally, but also in the waste space. Plastic-free and waste are now hot topics, and single-use plastic is quickly getting booed and banned. This is such an exciting thing to see happening, and the waste minimization space is quickly growing and low waste is rapidly becoming more mainstream and thus, accessible! Personally, I’ve had to find ways to make waste free work for me in the long run, for my own personal sustainability and sanity. So, while I’m no longer refusing absolutely every tiny bit of plastic and only filling a small rubbish bin a year, I’m now focusing on bigger picture change. I’ve been working in waste for the past three years, and have established projects, such as The Community Fridge and Auckland Library of Tools.

The shared shower shelf in my flat. The top shelf is mine and my partner’s. From left: Beyond soap, jar of rye flour, pumice stone, rosemary hair rinse, random jar of face scrub that was being thrown out.

What’s changed? 

 

Toilet Paper:

Plastic-Free toilet paper used to be so hard to come by! There are lots of options now, including subscriptions like Smartass. I live in a flat so we all purchase different toot paper, most of us purchase Earth Smart, which comes in recycled paper packaging and can be purchased from our local supermarket. No more having to go out of my way to buy plastic-free loo paper!

 

Shampoo and Conditioner: 

I mentioned in my 2017 blog that I used avocado seed shampoo or rye flour. I just use rye flour as it’s super easy and doesn’t require DIY. I have a jar of rye flour which I keep in the shower. When I’m washing my hair, I tip about a tablespoon of rye in my hand and mix with water to form a shampoo like consistency. Rinse out thoroughly with water! I then follow-up with a rosemary tea rinse (steep a sprig of foraged rosemary in a jar of water). 

When travelling, I take a shampoo bar. I did find that places with hard water don’t work well with shampoo bars, my poor hair suffered while I was in Europe last year! 

In between washes, I use a DIY dry shampoo of arrowroot powder with a bit of cocoa powder mixed in (for a brown tint and lovely chocolaty smell), which I store in an old talcum powder shaker. 

 

Deodorant: 

I really tried and struggled to DIY my own. I kept getting rashes from the baking soda, or the consistency was too hard in winter and too runny in summer. Luckily for me, there are now plenty of options to buy low waste deodorants that irritate my skin, make me smell worse or break the bank. I’m currently trialing and loving, Ethique’s solid deo bars. My friend Ethically Kate has a really comprehensive deodorant post here.

Deodorants from my travels around Europe last year. The first one sucked, it was a lotion and made me sweat more! The one on the right is amazing, but I got it in London. The one in the middle is my DIY deo mixed with the first one, surprisingly this worked really well!

Skincare: 

I make my own lotion bars and use these as an all over moisturizer and lip balm.  I have dry skin so these work really well, and they make excellent gifts! I buy my ingredients either from my local organic store, fancy bulk store or Go Native (and then I make a day of going to Devonport on the ferry with my bike). I’ve also been trialing the Ethique solid face bar, using their mini sample pack (what a great idea by the way!). The solid bars are great, I don’t use them every day, usually just splashing my face with some water in the morning. 

Not an ad for Ethique, yes, you can believe the hype!

 

Toothbrushes:

I’ve recently started using an electric toothbrush, my partner and I have the one brush and our own heads. These are unfortunately plastic, however, I’m only throwing away the small head as opposed to a whole brush. We still also use bamboo toothbrushes, for when the electric is charging and traveling.

 

Floss: 

I use PLA (compostable) floss from The Eco Brush. Nab yourself a 10% discount with the code Amanda10, (not an affiliate, just keen to be supporting a small kiwi business).

 

Toothpaste: 

I first wrote about DIY toothpaste over four years ago. Since then, I’ve trialed quite a few different variations and DIY tooth powder. I also now avoid coconut oil (it’s a pain as a paste) and essential oils (not really that great after all?!).

I now alternate between a DIY toothpaste, and dental tooth tabs which contain fluoride. Unfortunately tooth tabs are a bit pricey in NZ, so I don’t use them regularly unless I’m traveling. I recently went to the dentist for a check-up and was informed my teeth and gums are in great health, which is impressive considering how much chocolate I eat! 

For my DIY toothpaste, I was originally making it as a toothpowder, but I found adding water to make a paste made it easier to use. I now make a large batch of toothpowder and then use this to make smaller portions of toothpaste. You could use coconut oil instead of water, but personally I find coconut oil annoying to use as a toothpaste as the consistency depends on the seasons, it’s either too hard or too liquid. Plus there is also the concern about blocking drain pipes.

I adapted this toothpowder/paste recipe from my previous toothpowder mix and this DIY toothpaste by Ask a Dentist. This recipe is also cacao based, which helps to fight tooth decay much like fluoride. This is also excellent if, like me, you’re a chocolate fiend. Only downside, you’ll need to regularly rinse our your sink!

All of the following ingredients can be found package free at most bulk stores, or organic stores. 

 

DIY Tooth Powder or Paste: 

  • 8 tablespoons Bentonite Clay (food grade) 

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 4 tablespoons xylitol

  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder (or blitz some cacao nibs)

  • 3 teaspoons ginger powder

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix these all together in a jar or a small coffee grinder if you want to be fancy and are already grinding cacao nibs. 

You can finish up here and just use this as a toothpowder, or separate some of the powder into a small jar or container and add enough water to form a smooth paste. The paste is really nice to use and a bit less ‘gritty.’ It also reminds me of the fancy clay toothpastes I used in London last year. 

Ideally you should be using a spoon to dish some out to your brush, but I like to keep things simple and just dip my brush in. I only make a small batch for about a week or so at a time, and then thoroughly wash out the jar before mixing a fresh batch of paste.

 

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