Ways to Pack Your Beauty Bag More Sustainably & Ditch Plastic


For many people, our daily beauty regimens consist of a sacred process of lotions and potions in order to tackle the day, but while you’re getting your glow on, Mother Nature isn’t. The beauty industry has a dirty problem—plastic. 

The industry creates an estimated 120 billion units of packaging annually, and if you think all of this waste is being recycled, unfortunately, that’s rarely the case! A whopping 8% of plastic is recycled annually, leaving the rest to aggravate Mother Nature in countless ways. 

And, to be honest, we’ve reached a point in the plastic love affair where we can’t recycle our way out of it. Instead, some earth-friendly companies are finding ways to make our favorite daily necessities minimal and zero-waste. 

But what’s this got to do with travel? 

Well, not only is less liquid encased in plastic better for the environment, but it’s also easier to zip through the airport! Forget about having to hunt through your bag to find your toiletries in a long security line ever again with these simple swaps. 

The next time you’re in the market to upgrade your beauty regimen, be sure to check out these 8 zero-waste, plastic-free beauty products.

Zero-waste, plastic-free beauty products you need for sustainable travel 

Toothpaste tabs + compostable floss

Tubes of toothpaste are so passe! Swap out that traditional paste for sustainable toothpaste tabs from a variety of brands like Bite or Unpaste. While you’re at it, be sure to skip floss which is traditionally made with plastic for a compostable option made with plant-based materials and a compostable bamboo toothbrush! Now you have a full sustainable and zero-waste dental care package!

Face scrub & wash

Getting your glow on starts with keeping your face in tip-top shape with a great cleanser and exfoliator. For most of us, not any old product will do. You can rest assured there are many brands creating a variety of facial care bar products formulated for all types of skin from dry to oily and everything in between! If you’re not sure where to start, check out Ethique’s Face Sample. This little pack comes with a variety of minis and their all-star exfoliator! Another great zero-waste and plastic-free option is No Tox Life’s detoxifying facial bar—great for all types of skin and made with charcoal and oatmeal to remove toxins and soothe irritation. 

Shaving cream bar

Forget about lugging bottles of shaving cream around to keep those legs and face silky smooth—Eco Roots has come to the rescue with the perfect shaving bar! It is formulated with moisturizing powerhouses—coconut and avocado oil as well as cocoa butter to ensure your skin is protected and left free of irritation! Eco Roots is also a great resource for tons of other zero-waste and eco-friendly products for your home and beauty bag!


Finding a zero-waste, plastic-free, aluminum-free deodorant that works was once like finding a needle in a haystack! Thankfully for us, those days are gone! There are many great options and you can be sure that you won’t smell funky by the end of the day. A few favorites include PAPR’s lineup of unisex scents (definitely check out Bright Shiny Morning!) that go on nice and smooth and keep you fresh, another one to check out is the puurrfect scents of Meow Meow Tweet—their earth-friendly lineup is formulated to keep you fresh on the go.

Body wash

Body wash grew in popularity for its luxurious lather and fun scents, but what if you can get that same spa treatment from a bar? Well, you can!  Drop the plastic jugs of body washes for Lush’s ethically sourced lineup of amazingly scented soaps—these aren’t your grandma’s bars of Ivory or Dial. Relax with a meditative blend of patchouli and orange with a bar of Karma or get a wake-up call with a burst of lemon from their Lemon Zest soap. Aside from Lush, there are loads of great bar soap options on the market—just choose one that isn’t wrapped in plastic, it’s not going bad after all!

Shampoo & conditioner bars

Think you need to have a small plastic army of haircare products to ensure your locks stay gorgeous? Think again! Traditional hair care products need to get out of the way for the luxurious lineup of shampoo and conditioner bars. There are many terrific companies who are formulating bars for your individual hair care needs, a great place to start is with Ethique! They have options to wrangle unruly frizz, calm irritated scalps, or just provide a little balance. If you can’t decide, check out their hair care sampler and test them all! What’s even better is that these bars can last up to 80 washes—that’s some serious bang for your buck and the environment!


Get rid of potentially toxic makeup in plastic packaging for a variety of options made with clean ingredients in compostable or minimal packaging. For just about any type of makeup product, start with Zao. All of their products are toxic-free, vegan, and cruelty-free and their packaging is made mostly of bamboo— they also offer a refill option to cut down on extra packaging. Another great option is the minimally packaged lip, cheek, and eye tints and stains from Fat and The Moon. All of their products are created with packaging that can either be recycled, reused, or is biodegradable. One last option is the plastic-free lineup from Plastic Free Pursuit. They carry products from multiple sustainable brands from highlighter sticks to foundation powder and everything in between!


Skipping traditional creams and lotions to keep your skin hydrated is now possible thanks to a variety of balms and bars that are ready to tackle even the driest elbows! For spots that need a little TLC, grab Meow Meow Tweet’s compostable tube of repair balm. This balm can be used from head to toe and when you’re done, throw it in your backyard compost! If you just can’t imagine not slathering on lotion, check out Ethique’s Hydrating Body Lotion Concentrate. All you have to do is mix their bar concentrate with boiling water and voila—you have a batch of creamy liquid lotion that you can put into a reusable bottle.

About the author:

Rebecca Gade lives in Metro Detroit and is the creator of the vegan travel blog Veggies Abroad. Born of her love for travel and the curiosity of others about her plant-based lifestyle, the blog addresses the question, “What in the world did you eat?” When she isn’t checking out new vegan hot spots, you can find her strategizing ways to amplify the voices of vegan businesses and nonprofits in an effort to build a kinder world.