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Your zero-waste guide to beauty while travelling

Zero waste beauty

Hi, my name’s Danielle and I love the planet. I also happen to love travel, which is why I’m happy to share my tips for reducing waste while on vacation. I find it easiest to make eco-friendly swaps in the bathroom and beauty cabinet – and this is an area that I’m really passionate about!

After much trial and error, here’s what I pack in my suitcase to ensure my toiletries aren’t washing any nasty chemicals down the drain or leaving plastic bottles in my wake.

Bamboo toothbrush

The easiest eco-swap you’ll ever make. The handles of these are biodegradable and they work just as well as a plastic toothbrush. The Bamandboo offer a subscription service (so a new brush pops up at your door every few months) and ships worldwide.

Toothpaste tablets

Cut back on plastic and still have fresh breath with toothpaste tabs or powder. Some varieties come in glass (like Bite), but Lush also stocks some in recycled plastic (which you can recycle again through your local Lush store).


Image source:Bite

Plastic-free floss

Zero waste floss exists! Instead of plastic string, the floss strands can be made of bamboo fibre (vegan) or silk strands (not vegan, but biodegradable) and come in glass and metal bottles. Dentallace is a great brand to start with.

Safety razor

Safety razors are all-metal razors, that you just replace the razor blades for every few months. They look a bit scary at first but they’re the best shave you’ll ever have! When travelling, one just be sure to buy a leather guard for the head.


Image source:@inteligencia_eco

Natural deodorant

There are so many benefits to using natural deodorant (you can read about these here on a different article I wrote – see, eco-addict), and since you’ll be travelling with deodorant anyway, why not make it eco-friendly! You can find plenty of brands in metal tins. Find one that suits you but I highly recommend Black Chicken.

Shampoo bars (and conditioner bars)

Have you ever had your shampoo explode and leak through your toiletries case? Same. But if you swap to shampoo bars (bonus points if you can find one that’s shampoo and conditioner combined – this Australian brand makes them) you can cut down on waste and save space in your luggage.


Image source:Banish

Soap bars

If they’re good enough for your grandma, they’re good enough for you! Go back to the old school methods and skip plastic bottles of body wash for a simple soap bar. Pro tip: buy a metal tin to keep it in so it doesn’t get everything else wet in your toiletries case. 

Face wash bars

Like soap bars, package free face washes are making a comeback! Lush sell a great range by weight (so just purchase a small amount for travel) and cater for every skin type.

Serums and moisturisers

A lot of serums come in glass bottles already, but instead of packing your full serums and face moisturiser, place small amounts in small repurposed jars or tins so you can cut down on weight in your suitcase and save space by only bringing what you need.

Packaging-free body moisturiser

With a little bit of time in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon you can whip up some great DIY body moisturisers! I love this simple recipe. If DIY isn’t your thing, the ever eco-friendly gang at Lush sell package-free moisturising bars. Legends.


Sunscreen is SO important when travelling no matter the season, and while waste-free versions aren’t available in the supermarket or drug store yet, you can find options that are wrapped in cardboard or come in a tin online.

Plastic-free makeup

I like to keep it pretty simple when it comes to makeup on holiday, but I do usually carry the basics (mascara, blush, foundation). Makeup packaged in glass or metal isn’t too common yet but there are brands out there using sustainable packaging and offering refills!

Lush has a range of packaging-free foundations, highlighters and lipsticks. Elate Cosmetics is cruelty-free, packaged in bamboo and offers refills. Kjaer Weis, which is available mainly in the US, UK and Europe, have beautiful makeup packaged in stainless steel and even offer mascara refills! I highly recommend exploring what options you have locally and treating yourself to a plastic-free palette next time you’re due for a makeup order.


Image source:Kjaer Weis

Tea tree oil

Tea tree is a little bottle of liquid gold and it’s my cure all to any pimples, bites, scrapes or cuts while I’m travelling. It’s a natural disinfectant and a little goes a long way! Check out your local pharmacy or buy online.

One-step makeup remover

Packaged face wipes are mostly made of plastic and clog waterways when flushed (they should never be flushed FYI). This is a game-changer – did you know that you can use coconut oil to remove makeup!? I keep some in a small jar while travelling and then rub it onto my eyes and wipe off with washable cotton wipes. It’s so easy, cheap and great for the environment. Want to take it to the next level? Invest in water-only remover wipes like the Face Halo or Makeup Eraser.

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