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by Alexander Forsyth

Almost all liquid toiletries use single-use plastic packaging, and that's before even thinking about plastic toothbrushes, razors, and wet wipes.

When it comes to looking for liquid alternatives, rather than using fragile and heavy glass bottles, or resorting to home-made recipes, there’s a much easier solution: simply switch to solid cosmetics. Not only will going liquid free cut out plastic waste, and help you pack more efficiently, it'll also mean you can breeze through airport security without having to unpack. If you combine that with a good carry on backpack (made from plastic free waxed canvas), suddenly airports are a piece of cake.

We set out to see if we could replace every item in our Travel Dopp kit with a liquid and plastic free alternative, sourced from ethical and sustainable suppliers. It was easier than you’d think!


Solid Shampoo Chemical Free Cosmetics

While a bar of soap is a common thing to find, the right bar of soap isn’t. Our favourite suppliers are UK based Friendly Soaps, who make a range of chemical and plastic free soaps in Yorkshire, in all number of amazing combinations. If you’re looking for a more elaborate bar to keep you clean, Solidu cosmetics create a range of beautifully packaged designer soaps that are similarly 100% plastic free. They're perfectly wrapped as gifts - their charcoal purity soap looks like a precious gem in a box!

Shampoo and conditioner

Solid Shampoo Chemical Free Shampoo

Unlike soap, solid shampoo is still a niche product. Thankfully, there’s no difficulty in finding it with a little searching. Again, Friendly Soaps do two chemical free shampoo bars that we’ve come to depend on. Solidu have gone all in here, with a range of luxury solid shampoo bars that smell incredible, and are 100% natural. They even do a solid conditioner bar!

Moisturiser, Deodorant, and Aftershave

Solid Moisturiser and Cologne

Solid deodorant is commonplace, but solid deodorant without plastic packaging? Less so. While there are ample homemade remedies that are just as good as anything in the shops (a few drops of tea tree oil is one of our favourite freshness hacks on a camping trip), there are plenty of solid deodorant bars from the right sources. Ethique of New Zealand do one that some of our friends swear by, but also Lush offer theirs in a packaging free bar.

Solid moisturisers are far rarer, but no more difficult to find. Ethique and Lush do a solid moisturising bar for the body as well as for the face. If you're looking to freshen up after a shave, though, then Glasgow based M. V. Kingston create a range of amazing solid colognes - not only do the work as an after-shave balm, but the naturally scented tins have none of that nasty chemical smell that infects most synthetic colognes.

Razor and Shaving Foam

Plastic Free Razor with Solid shaving foam

Needing to create a lather for trimming hair in any location? Friendly soaps again come to the rescue. We’ve used their shaving bar, and not only is it locally made, and plastic and chemical free, it makes such a foam than you’ll be able to pull the classic “look at my santa beard!” gag on your housemates with little to no effort.

As for plastic free razors, that's easy. A good aluminium razor from Standard Razors is plastic free, with 100% steel blades available everywhere.

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Mouthwash

Lush, the UK manufacturer, do a range of solid “tooth tabs” and “mouthwash tabs” but they're yet to provide them in plastic free packaging, so we opted for the Lamazuna solid toothpaste bar. Manufactured in France, and created from entirely compostable materials and packaging, it was easier to use than a tube of toothpaste, and tasted amazing.

As for the toothbrush, we went with a Humble Brush. Turns out avoiding plastic entirely in a toothbrush is all but impossible (unless you want a dentist non-approved badger hair brush), but the bristles are removable and recyclable, and the brush itself is made from sustainably sourced and compostable bamboo.

Sun Tan Lotion / Tanning

There was a summer in Scotland this year. We’re not even kidding! It was incredibly confusing, and we’ve not quite figured out how it happened. One thing is for certain though, we needed sun-tan lotion in our own country for the first time ever. The solid bar by Lush comes at 30SPF, and is available packaging free from their online store and retail outlets.

If you’re looking to go a little deeper in colour without the sun, though, Ethique offers the world’s first solid tanning bar, if you're looking for a little more glow on your skin that the sun in your country likes to offer.

Alexander Forsyth
Alexander Forsyth

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