One of our biggest struggles with Zero Waste is beauty supplies and cosmetics. A big issue is dental care, but thankfully there are increasing numbers of options for zero waste versions of standard oral hygiene products.
So a few months ago we made the switch from plastic toothbrushes through to bamboo ones (you can find a whole selection of options here). There isn’t much to say when it comes to these guys - they basically work like your bogstandard toothbrush. So if you want an easy switch I really recommend making it.
But we kept hearing from loads of people that toothpaste was difficult to find, or that it was difficult to use, or tastes really odd. So honestly we were a bit put off...
But we decided to try out some more zero waste options.
The first one we found was Georganics Mouthwash - 720 small tablets that you dissolve in water. For £15 a bottle we got enough mouthwash to last two of us one year (if we each only use mouthwash once a day, which seems fairly sufficient…)
It tastes great, is easy to use, and works fantastically. It really surprised me both in terms of value and how well it works, so we definitely recommend going for it. Plus, I adore the idea that we're sorted for mouthwash for a whole year!
As for toothpaste...
There are a couple of options we’ve experimented with.
The first was Lush dental tabs - you crunch one between your teeth with a bit of water and it starts foaming up. Then you brush as normal. Tastes great, works really well. I totally recommend. The other great element of these is that Lush offers a variety of different kinds and flavours of tooth tabs, so you can try out a few of them and find the ones that suit you best. We actually got hold of our box of tooth tabs from a friend who really hated the flavour - so it was frugal as well! You might find you dislike the flavour of the first one you try, but keep testing them out, as you may well find one that suits you better. However, they are a bit on the pricey side - £4.95 for 45g, which isn't that much toothpaste... However, our box did last a fair bit longer than a normal tube so it possibly works out evenly? I wasn't really tracking how long it lasted at the time so can't say for sure.
Alternatively, we’ve been using Georganics toothpaste recently - it doesn’t foam up so it’s a bit different to standard toothpaste, but it cleans well and leaves a good flavour in your mouth. It makes your teeth feel really clean too. It also comes in a big glass jar, that will probably last for quite a long time, so again it might even be better value than standard toothpaste - I'll report back when we use it up! We got 120ml for £8.90 - again, not cheap, but that all depends on how long it takes us to get through it. Also, sadly at the moment it seems like you can have products that are vegan, zero waste or inexpensive - but not all three.
To use it, you just scoop a pea-sized amount out with the little spatula they provide, add it to your brush and away you go.
We’d previously been using plastic-heavy interdental brushes for flossing, when we spotted that Georganics also do a dental floss. They currently have two options, one made from silk (which therefore isn’t vegan…) and one made from bamboo fibre (which is!). Obviously we got the vegan one.
So based on a couple of uses I’d say it’s a really great choice. The floss comes in a glass case with an easy-to-use dispensing lid. It works just like normal floss (I mean, it’s floss, what do you want me to say…) and when you run out you don’t even need to replace the whole jar as they sell refills to go back in there. Couldn’t be easier, really.
It is a fair bit more expensive than supermarket floss - the initial purchase (complete with jar) works out at 16p per metre, compared to a supermarket lowest price of 2p per metre. When you get the refills, that comes out at 11p per metre, so it does get cheaper when you get onto refilling your jar. I suppose it depends on how much floss you use in one go as to how quickly you’ll get through a jar!
What I love about these guys is that they’re a really easy replacement for what I was using before. It may be a bit more expensive, so sadly not great if your budget is really pressed, but the peace of mind I get knowing that the floss I’m using won’t still be around in the environment a millennium after I’m dead balances out the cost for me.
Just for fun…
Stick around - in a few weeks’ time we’ll be trying out making our own toothpaste. Check back in then for recipe method and reviews!