Bare Essentials: Recipes for Zero Waste Toiletries

Bare Essentials: Recipes for Zero Waste Toiletries

One of the most helpful ways to approach zero waste living is to apply the 6Rs hierarchy to all possible waste-producing scenarios. That is, to Refuse, Replace, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and only in that order. (The ‘Replace’ R is a new addition, suggested to us by our wonderful plastic-free friend, Rachel Benefield.).

Most toiletries come packaged, so they instantly require us to use the 6Rs. Recycle is quite far down the hierarchy. So, even if a particular bathroom item comes in recyclable packaging, the first question we ask ourselves is still whether we can Refuse the packaged item and Replace it with a zero waste alternative. The answer is almost always “yes!”

The replacement for most toiletries has been to make them ourselves, at home, with simple and inexpensive ingredients that we purchase in bulk or in packaging that we can reuse. Doing so has been a pleasure for us because:

  • we have saved so much money;
  • often we find we have better results for our bodies using our homemade toiletries;
  • we have control over the ingredients and quantities of those ingredients that go into the stuff we put on our body; and
  • we greatly enjoy the creative/discovery aspect inherent in learning how to make common bathroom products.

At our presentations, people often want to know our recipes. We don’t generally have time to share them in detail during our presentations, so uploading our recipes seemed like the logical thing to do. However, we dragged our heels a little bit because every body is different and what works for us may not work for everyone (our own experiments with toiletries recipes that other people swear by have occasionally gone haywire for us!) We really didn’t want people to try our recipes, have them not work, and then come to the conclusion that all homemade products are less effective than store-bought ones.

But then we thought, well, we can provide you with that disclaimer, i.e. that you may need to tweak our recipes to suit your body. And, at the very least, what works for us is at least a good starting point – much easier than trying to work everything out from scratch! We also hope that, when you see how cheap and easy DIY bathroom products can be to make, you may be inspired to branch out and try even more recipes 🙂

So, without further ado, here’s our “Bare Essentials” DIY toiletries booklet (click on the booklet to make it full-screen). If you have any other go-to recipes, feel free to mention them in a comment below.


9 thoughts on “Bare Essentials: Recipes for Zero Waste Toiletries”

    • That’s what we go over in our talks! We just slowly eliminated all things that produce rubbish from our lives. We didn’t do it overnight, we just took it step by step. A lot of the changes weren’t as difficult as we thought they would be. Some things are really difficult to avoid, and we don’t beat ourselves up about those things, we just focus on the things we can change, which turns out, was quite a lot. A big part of it is learning how to make things at home from scratch, rather than having to buy things in a packet, which is why we are trying to share our recipes for body care products, to show people how easy (and cheap!) it can be to make a lot of this stuff at home out of simple ingredients. If you’re interested in knowing more, feel free to come along to one of our talks 🙂

    • Kia ora Jasmine,

      We are starting to put some of our food recipe ups, due to many requests, but is a slightly slow process of finding time! We can try and focus on prioritising uploading recipes people want to see, so if there is anything in particular that you would like to see for food, then please let us know and we’ll try and put that kind of thing up first 🙂

  • Hi Liam and Hannah, I was wondering if I could get your gluten free lemon cake recipe? Please

  • Hi Hannah, awesome talk in Hamilton last night :-)!!, I said I would email you the foil scheme, it’s called re foil, they are Australian based, the guys name is Paul Frasca, he in in nz next week, Thank you for the inspiration to reduce even more waste from my life, it’s been 6 months of not buying any more products in waste based packaging and I still have stuff in the cupboard, it’s amazing how much we can accumulate,

  • Hi guys. With your face cleanser/moisturiser regime above— do you just do as stated or do you afterwards, apply a little of the oil (sunflower) onto dry face afterwards ? Thank you . Clint.

    • Hi Clint, sorry for the delayed reply. We do not add oil to our face after doing the oil cleansing method as don’t feel it’s necessary. The oil cleanses by entering your pores (which open up from the heat while the hot flannel is over your face) and then when you rub the oil off with the wet hot flannel, the water-oil combo moisturises your skin. If you have particularly dry skin, perhaps this regime wouldn’t be sufficient to moisturise – it seems to work OK for us. Liam sometimes applies a kawakawa balm if he still has dry skin. But give the oil-cleansing method a go for a couple of weeks without moisturiser and see how it goes. Everybody’s body is different so adjustments may be necessary! We do exfoliate once a week too, either with coffee grinds (which we have infused the sunflower oil with) or sugar scrub – so that usually eliminates any dry/flakey skin that might be there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *