6 Toiletry Swaps to Save Money, Reduce Toxic Chemicals, and Declutter

6 Toiletry Swaps to Save Money, Reduce Toxic Chemicals, and Declutter

On my journey to minimalism, I’ve been exploring product-dependance and how I can remove certain ones from my life. It was only natural that I would end up taking a hard look at my bathroom counters and all the toiletries stationed there. Especially with my acne issues, for years I was a product addict. Now, as you’ll see, my skincare consists of only three ingredients and I rarely ever enter the toiletries aisle.

If you took a look inside your bathroom cupboards, drawers, and medicine cabinet, would you find dozens of products no longer in use? Or worse, dozens of products you do regularly use?

Be honest. I know that has been the case in my bathroom for as long as I can remember. There was always at least 1 or 2 skincare sets that I had tried but didn’t work out. And then the hair products like hairspray or mouse which I purchased then never used.

You get the picture. All of it stuff that just takes up space and clutters the area so you can’t find what you really need.

When preparing for my current 2 month North American Road Trip, I had even more incentive to simplify my routine and remove unnecessary products.

Road Trip toiletries
These are the toiletries I am using on the road. From left to right, the bottles are: tea tree oil/ castor oil blend, castor oil/ jojoba oil blend, olive oil, diluted apple cider vinegar, and castile soap.

Scroll down to go straight to the 6 product swaps. Otherwise, check out this breakdown of my old product routine versus my new routine.

BEFORE (My Old Routine)

Shower – 7x/ week

Shampoo (Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo) ~$10 for 16 oz
Conditioner (Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner) ~$10 for 16 oz
Bar Soap (365 Brand Unscented Natural Glycerin Bar Soap) ~ $3 for 4 oz
Shaving Cream (Dr. Bronner’s Shaving Gel) ~ $9 for 7 oz
Razor (Preserve) ~ $7 with replacement blades ~ $8 for 4 blades

Lotion (Aubrey Organics Unscented Moisturizing Lotion) ~$9 for 8 fl oz
Deodorant (Jason Natural Deodorant Stick) ~ $7 for 2.5 oz

Skincare – 2x/day

Face Wash (Aubrey Organics Vegecol Facial Cleansing Lotion) ~ $11 for 8 oz
Toner (Aubrey Organics Vegecol Facial Toner) ~ $11 for 8 oz
Acne Treatment (Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Blemish Touch Stick) ~ $11 for 1.6 oz
Moisturizer (Aubrey Organics Moisturizing Cream) ~ $16 for 2 oz

As you can see, my routine before was actually pretty simple and probably even similar to yours. Nothing too excessive or extraordinary. Yet, the cost did add up over time of replacing these products as they ran out.

AFTER (My Current Routine)

Along with the product swaps outlined in the second part of this article, I decreased the frequency of use considerably, cutting it at least down by half. Compare the cost difference and notice that now I use mostly basic ingredients rather than a product formulated in a lab somewhere (even an eco-friendly, vegan one).

Shower (2-3x/wk)

Shampoo (Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap) ~ $16 for 32 oz
Conditioner (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water) ~ $3 for 16 oz
Bar Soap (365 Brand Unscented Natural Glycerin Bar Soap) ~ $3 for 4 oz
Shaving Cream (Dr. Bronner’s Shaving Gel) ~ $9 for 7 oz
Razor (Preserve Triple Razor System) ~ $7 and replacement blades ~ $8 for 4 blades

Lotion (Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Trader Joe’s) ~$4 for 32 oz
Deodorant (Crystal Body Deodorant Stick) ~ $7.50 for 4.25 oz, occasionally used

Skincare (1x/day)

Oil Cleanser 1:1 mix of (Castor Oil) ~ $12 for 16 oz and (Jojoba Oil) ~ $10 for 4 oz Acne Treatment (Castor Oil) mixed about 4:1 with (Tea Tree Oil) ~ $15 for 2 oz, only used occasionally on active pimples and white heads

My routine is so much faster and simpler now, not to mention cheaper. The following changes have freed me up tremendously. I’ll be dedicating a future post to each of these so leave a comment with any questions you want me to address.

6 Toiletry Swaps

  1. Moisturizer –
    use Olive Oil instead

    In the shower, after you turn the water off but before you towel dry, rub a layer of olive oil all over. The water still clinging to your skin will dilute it, making it spread further.

    You can also use jojoba oil or any other plant-based oil; I just use the olive oil because I can get it relatively cheap in a large bottle (the same one we use in the kitchen). Just don’t use mineral oil as it is a petroleum product and will dry out your skin, leading to dependance.

    Read the full article “Moisturize Using Just Olive Oil: The Why and the How”.

  2. Makeup remover –
    use more of that oil

    You don’t need to buy an entire bottle of “makeup remover”. Use a few drops of your new moisturizing olive oil from swap #1 to remove any eye makeup. Then skip down to #5 to see how you can use oil to remove dirt and foundation from your face with the Oil Cleansing Method.

  3. Shampoo less often –
    and use Dry Shampoo in between

    Save some water and cut your showers to a few times a week rather than every day. If you’re stinky, I give you permission to take a quick 1-minute shower to wash your pits and other delicate areas.

    If your hair is oily like mine, give it some time to adjust. You can use my 2-ingredient dry shampoo to soak up the oil in between shampoos.

  4. Shampoo –
    lower chemical exposure with Castile Soap

    When you research the ingredients in beauty products, you will discover that there are almost no shampoos that avoid all the worst chemicals, even those sold by Whole Foods.

    I switched to shampooing with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap which we already had around the house. Then I used apple cider vinegar diluted about 3:1 with water as a rinse to my hair balance pH. If you make the switch, give your hair a couple of weeks to adjust before coming to any conclusions.

  5. Skin care –
    try “washing” with oil

    A few months ago, I put aside my traditional skincare products, and started doing the Oil Cleansing Method. And I love it! Basically, you apply oil to your face, massage in, then either leave on or rinse off.

    For the oil blend, mix some castor oil with an oil of your choosing. I use jojoba in a 1:1 ratio. Castor oil is great at removing dirt (or makeup) and the other oil helps balance out your natural oils and moisturize. You can adjust the ratio based on how oily or dry your skin is – drier skin should use less castor oil.

    I do this at night before bed and do nothing in the morning. You can imagine how free I feel after 15+ years of a skincare regime twice a day every day without fail. Now I only have to travel with one face product and it’s even easy to do while camping with no running water.

    Read the full article “The Oil Cleansing Method: Skincare for Acne and Beyond“.

  6. Deodorant –
    use Crystal or none at all

    I’ve gone through many iterations of deodorant, and it took me a long time to wean myself away from the traditional kind. Now I rarely wear it at all (more on that in a future blog post). When I do wear some, I use Crystal deodorant (there are probably other brands…). The only ingredient is natural mineral salts which prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming.

    This doesn’t keep you from sweating (that’s natural!), but you won’t stink. And it lasts months unless you accidentally drop it on the ground and shatter it…

With these swaps, I’ve cut down the time it takes and the mental energy devoted to my beauty regimen, and it feels great. Funny how we are so used to doing certain things that we don’t think about the why anymore. I hope this article has made you look at some of your habits differently.

I‘ll be posting a new article focusing on one of these swaps each Minimalist Beauty Monday for at least the next couple months.

Now your turn. Have you made any great toiletry swaps? Share in the comments.

9 Responses to 6 Toiletry Swaps to Save Money, Reduce Toxic Chemicals, and Declutter

  1. Question for you Adria! And BTW I love this post!

    I’ve tried using Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap as shampoo in the past with DISASTROUS results…I literally couldn’t get a comb through my hair even using regular conditioner after the shampoo. I ended up being pretty much dread-locked! I really want to reduce my chemical exposure and use Dr. Bronner’s for most other things but do you have any other suggestions or did you have similar problems with it at first?

    Is the key factor the apple cider vinegar solution afterwards?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Heather. What type of hair do you have? Mine is thick and somewhat oily and doesn’t tend to tangle easily while my sister’s hair is fine and hard to get a comb through. When I first tried the castile soap a few years ago and started experimenting with apple cider vinegar and making my own products, I was really unhappy with the results. I think the difference is that I’ve been slowly weaning my hair away from products and washing it less and less, allowing my natural oils to find a balance.

      I do think the apple cider vinegar helps to soften the hair and make it more manageable. I mostly use it on the middle to ends of my hair. Try it out and then give your natural oils some time to balance out if you just made the jump from regular shampoo. Good luck! Adria

  2. Question for you Adria! And BTW I love this post!

    I’ve tried using Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap as shampoo in the past with DISASTROUS results…I literally couldn’t get a comb through my hair even using regular conditioner after the shampoo. I ended up being pretty much dread-locked! I really want to reduce my chemical exposure and use Dr. Bronner’s for most other things but do you have any other suggestions or did you have similar problems with it at first?

    Is the key factor the apple cider vinegar solution afterwards?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Heather. What type of hair do you have? Mine is thick and somewhat oily and doesn’t tend to tangle easily while my sister’s hair is fine and hard to get a comb through. When I first tried the castile soap a few years ago and started experimenting with apple cider vinegar and making my own products, I was really unhappy with the results. I think the difference is that I’ve been slowly weaning my hair away from products and washing it less and less, allowing my natural oils to find a balance.

      I do think the apple cider vinegar helps to soften the hair and make it more manageable. I mostly use it on the middle to ends of my hair. Try it out and then give your natural oils some time to balance out if you just made the jump from regular shampoo. Good luck! Adria

  3. love jojoba oil! I’ve used it straight on my face for some time! I also love my aubrey green tea lotion face lotion with spf 15, but I think they’ve discontinued it- they recently changed up their whole product line, back to jojoba full time I suppose! I can go two weeks w/o washing my hair and be fine but at the end of that I’m so ready for a nice lather! Does the dr. bonner’s lather in your hair? Probably just something you’d have to get used to doing w/o. Nice post!

    • Yep, Dr. Bronners lathers my hair great, more than I was used to before I switched. I shake the bottle before pouring into my hand, maybe that helps? Or maybe I was used to little to no lather before I switched…

  4. love jojoba oil! I’ve used it straight on my face for some time! I also love my aubrey green tea lotion face lotion with spf 15, but I think they’ve discontinued it- they recently changed up their whole product line, back to jojoba full time I suppose! I can go two weeks w/o washing my hair and be fine but at the end of that I’m so ready for a nice lather! Does the dr. bonner’s lather in your hair? Probably just something you’d have to get used to doing w/o. Nice post!

    • Yep, Dr. Bronners lathers my hair great, more than I was used to before I switched. I shake the bottle before pouring into my hand, maybe that helps? Or maybe I was used to little to no lather before I switched…

  5. Hello. Would you recommend to wash your face after a workout? or would just a splash of water and then moisturize with olive oil work? I do the oil cleansing method too at night, and in the morning i workout I do no get overly sweaty as it is cold where I am but I just want to know what your opinion on that is. Thank you for your time have a wonderful day!

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