Instead of buying commercial toothpaste, deodorant, and shaving cream, try making your own personal care items. These personalized, homemade toiletries will help you avoid superfluous packaging and plastic waste — plus, DIY products are easy on your wallet.
When it comes to making your own toothpaste, baking soda (for oxidizing stains and removing plaque) is the key ingredient in most personal care recipes. Additional ingredients can include coconut oil (which has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties), a dash of sea salt, and an essential oil for flavor. We’ve included one of our favorite recipes below; for comparison, Mother Nature Network has three simple recipes with slight variations (including a vegan option). Experiment and make a paste that works for you!
DIY Toothpaste Recipe
Mix together a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil to baking soda until it becomes a paste. Add essential oil if desired, roughly 5 drops per tablespoon of paste; try rosemary, peppermint, thyme, or spearmint. Add sea salt sparingly. For 2 tablespoons of baking soda, a dash of salt will suffice. Store in a glass jar.
Note: The colder the toothpaste, the firmer it will become. You can make a tablespoon at a time or make a mason jar’s worth, it’s up to you.
(Of course, if you’d still prefer to buy toothpaste from the store, we have a few eco-toothpaste suggestions.)
Using nearly all the same ingredients that you used to make the toothpaste, you can make your own deodorant.
DIY Deodorant Recipe
Take equal parts baking soda and cornstarch and add coconut oil at a ratio of 1:4 (baking soda + cornstarch: coconut oil). Add a few drops of essential oil, like tea tree, lavender, or lemon grass.
Store in a glass jar.
Variation: Wellness Mama recommends adding shea butter to the mix. Try it for yourself and find out what works best for you.
3. SHAVING CREAM AND RAZORS
Note that the EPA estimates that 2 billion razors are thrown out every year in the United States. Somewhere along the way, we switched from purchasing a quality product, which lasted a lifetime, to cheap disposables. Reusable razors are a better personal care option, but the replacement blades come packaged in unnecessary plastic containers. The alternative? Shave like your grandpa by switching to a safety razor or a straight razor.
Making your own shaving cream is a bit trickier than making your own deodorant or toothpaste but you use nearly all the same ingredients. Consider this recipe and store it in a DIY mason jar soap pump.
Know of other ways to make your own toiletries? Leave a comment below and share your favorite recipe! –Christine Coester
This article appears courtesy of Sierra Magazine
Christine Coester is an editorial intern at Sierra. A fan of flora and fauna, she has a passion for conservation and environmental stewardship. Currently a graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is studying journalism with the hopes of making the world a better and greener place.