Low Waste You Guide - Personal Care Products

Living with less waste starts by looking at the products you use personally - what is an achievable version of ‘Low Waste You?’

Ready to dive head first into your soon-to-be-empty rubbish bin? Examine the finer details of your personal care products and choose some specific less-waste swaps, you are in the right place! 


Young woman with eco BB Cream

How To Use This Guide:

1. Expand The Sections:

We created these guides so they are easy to use and you don't need to scroll through heaps of information. Simple click the + sign and you will see all the plastic-free info relevant to that topic and links to New Zealand stores.

2. Check Out The Other Topics:

This is Plastic Free Living Guide 1 of 3 - we are talking about everything YOU. Those personal products and choices that make up your daily routine. 

3. ** Means Discount For You With Code 'CALIWOODS': 

See two asterisks (like this**) next to a brand link? This means there will be a discount for you if you follow and buy from the link and enter the code at Checkout. Some of our friends give us  a percentage of the sale as well - since we are a Social Enterprise, this money goes back into reaching more people with this and other Sustainability info. Win for you, Win for us, Win for our friends, Win for the Planet!


Using The CaliWoods Low Waste Safety Razor

Let’s see how we can easily make some of those choices with no/little plastic and waste. These low waste alternatives have the added benefit of being more-natural, less toxic.


X Plastic-filled containers

X Unhealthy, toxic make up brands

✔ Yes to refilling, natural recipes and some DIY. Here's a great Powder Foundation Recipe that you can do at home from ingredients at your local Bulk Food Store.

Aleph Beauty** is leading the way for low-waste beauty here in NZ. Check out how their simple routine can more than halve the contents in your make-up bag. Their multi-functional Cheek/Lip Tint, Concealer/Foundation and Radiance can be used on complexion, cheeks, lips and eyes. This means you only need these three items plus a good mascara and you've got all you need for a beautiful natural look. Game Changer!

The pots are made from glass and the lids are aluminium, both recyclable. There's a little recyclable plastic disc in the lids and they are making moves to switch this to paper. All outer packaging is compostable and including stickers and shipping bags (10% off at checkout with code CALIWOODS)

Ere Perez package in their foundations in Glass and contain natural ingredients. 

✔ Zero-Waste Eye Shadow Palette from Aether Beauty**. The first of it's kind in the beauty industry, with no magnets or mirrors, the packaging is made of recycled paper and is recyclable, and it uses an elastic band to close it (easy to reuse!) (5% off at checkout with code CALIWOODS)


X Aerosol Sprays (they last like 2 days!)

X Sunscreen bottles in plastic 

X Traditional recipe sunscreens with chemicals that can damage you health, the reef and marine life.

✔ Yes to natural sunscreens and shade during midday sun. These will often make you look white due to the non-nano zinc oxide - but at least that means it isn’t absorbing into your skin and bloodstream. 

✔ For daily SPF protection, you can find an all natural, reef safe and plastic free moisturiser HERE.

✔ Being a surfer and always in the sun, my face gets either the Frankie or Noa sunscreen as base coat (glass jar with plastic lid) and then Surf Mud (aluminium tin for packaging) as the serious coating for hours of time on the water. These products go a LONG way so seem expensive upfront but last ages.

✔ Look for reef-safe and if you see the ingredients ‘Oxybenzone' or ‘Avobenzone' then stay away.


X Complicated multi-step routines

X Changing to ‘miracle’ products all the time

X Tester tubes

✔ Yes to a simple, stress-free routine. Figure out what you really need and use then find a brand that packages responsibly and ticks your boxes. Choose one Cleanser, one toner (if you want it) and one moisturiser. Rise, shine, repeat - and bask in the simplicity!

✔ Find daily BBCream (tinted SPF moisturiser) that is SPF certified, ocean safe, natural and low waste HERE.

✔ Dirty Hippie** have popular face bars and one that is a zero-waste solution for teenage, acne-prone skin too (10% off at checkout with code CALIWOODS)

✔ I LOVE the Oil Cleanse by Tailor - it’s an everything in one for my face removing sunscreen or make up and then my skin is incredible afterwards and no moisturiser required. It’s packaged in glass with a plastic squirt lid that can be re-purposed afterwards.

Frankie do a Cleansing Bar which doubles as a body wash bar - great for the ‘top to toe’ guy or girl.


This is the answer to question 1.

X Throw away face rounds

X Wipes (which are often plastic-based)

✔ Yes to reusable solutions.

Konjac sponges have been a go-to of mine for years for giving your face that clean feeling at the end of the day - bonus is you can home compost or literally throw them on your garden after use.

✔ Reusable make-up remover rounds can be washed - just make sure they are from Natural Fabrics (Synthetic Fabrics + Washing = Ocean Micro-Plastic, learn more about this topic HERE)


X No more monthly toothpaste tubes or plastic brushes filling landfills

✔ DENTtabs: No more pesky toothpaste tubes. Package free, vegan and organic! Shop HERE

Stainless Tongue Cleaners - Improving oral and gut health whilst being reusable to save the planet!

Bamboo Brushes: The handles are compostable and make great garden label sticks at end of life. At this stage, the bristles are mostly nylon and will need to be landfilled. Check out The Eco Brush

✔ Floss: This floss is made from PLA - a plant-based plastic. When you have a big item made from this material you can’t compost it at home. In this tiny floss strings, your compost at home will be okay. Here’s the link to the blog on composting if you need to learn more about this topic.

✔ Mouth Wash Alternative: A drop of DoTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil in a glass of water. No harmful on you or the environment. 


X Bottles of moisturiser

X Half empty products you don’t value

✔ Yes to one exfoliator and one natural moisturiser.

Body Brushes are great for circulation and helping with cellulite...and never need to be refilled or run out!

✔ You can whip up a luscious exfoliant yourself in about 1 minute with 2 tablespoons of rough salt, 2 drops essential oil and 4 tablespoons coconut/olive oil as the base.

✔ Coconut Oil mixed with unrefined Shea Butter is great for body if you want to DIY. 

  • ½ cup raw shea butter

  • ⅛ - ¼ cup virgin coconut oil

  • essential oils of choice (if desired)

Simply place the shea butter and coconut oil in a medium size bowl and mash/mix until well combined (in winter you might need to pre-soften). Add a few drops of your desired essential oil, and mix once more. Transfer to a container and store in a cool dark place.

✔ For a treat, Wellington Apothecary does body moisturiser in a glass tub.

✔ Yes, bars aren't just limited to soap and shampoo. You can get solid Moisturing bars too! Try Ama Balm and Ethique for Body Moisturising Bars.


X Bottles of shampoo and conditioner

X Chemical-laden products

✔ Yes to the many less-waste hair alternatives!

✔ Dry shampoo can work really well in between washes.

✔ Choose a hairbrush that is made from natural materials. You can find our bamboo and natural rubber, compostable Hair Brush HERE.

✔ Refill your existing bottles at your nearest Bulk Store: GoodFor in Auckland, your local organic shop and Bin Inn’s nationwide (read our guide on how to do this HERE).

✔ There’s a no-shampoo movement - touted as legit by no less than a famous hairdresser Michael Gordon himself, read more here.

✔ I use Shampoo and Conditioner Bars and tried 2 different brands before finding ones I liked. Check out the Dirty Hippy** Sampler Packs - a perfect, low-cost way to try what works for you. Get 11 sampler bars for only $25 (total deal) - shipped plastic-free! (Code CALIWOODS at Check Out for 10% off)

Frankie and Ethique also have a range of bars to choose from.

✔ If your routine, you could consider trying a Sustainable Salon. These salons have committed to reducing their waste, meaningful recycling programs and you’re more likely to come across natural dye and care products.


X Disposable razors

X Palm Oil Shaving Cream

✔ Use the items you already have then consider replacing with one of the following alternatives.

✔ Find a Stainless Steel Shaver that lasts. CaliWoods Safety Stainless Razors are highly recommended and are available from CaliWoods in Classic Stainless and Luxe Copper. Store & travel with in your sustainable Linen Razor Bag

✔ CaliWoods shaving soap is the perfect partner for any safety razor, handmade in NZ from natural ingredients, it lathers up perfectly for a close, smooth shave.

Eco Deals has a Shaving Kit for men which includes an old-school brush and a special shaving soap block. Combine with a Stainless Shaver and you're away 

 If you are into waxing, you could try out Sugaring - it's effectively waxing without the waste. You might need to play around with this one a little, find the details HERE


X A graveyard of empty roll on bottles

X Toxic aerosol sprays

X Aggravated skin

There are luckily great waste free deodorants around and we are fans of pastes. They are toxin free, and aluminium free!

Little Mango has a great range of natural deodorants that WORK!

✔ DIY Deodorant Paste recipe HERE - easy and it works too! Upcycle your jars and say bye to plastic bottles!

Black Chicken is a plastic-free paste deodorant option that we are big fans of.


X Synthetic Fabrics

X Goods with a huge human cost

X Microplastics released during laundry loads. Did you know that 60% of fabrics produced today, contain plastic?

✔ Opt for Natural Fibre Materials. Synthetic clothes are contributing to ocean plastic pollution, in a sneaky but impactful way. Read more about alternatives to Synthetic Fabrics HERE, and how washing our clothes is a big contributor to Ocean Plastic Pollution.

✔ Try Second Hand shops if you need any new items. Often you can pick up Clothing in great condition, including Natural Fibre items. Try your local Salvation Army.

✔ Buy Ethical. This can mean a lot of things but the main point is that there isn't a huge human cost from our fast fashion habits - the fashion industry is notorious for horrific work conditions and human suffering. Read our blog on this HERE for a simple overview of the Fashion Revolution and then we can definitely recommend the ebook from Ethically Kate which outlines everything you need to know about Ethical Fashion. You can sign up for this free HERE.

✔ Head to these awesome resources for more Ethical and Natural Fashion inspiration...

  1. Ecomono = a monochrome, online ethical boutique store curating all the best pieces from multiple designers 
  1. The Kind Guide = an online ethical fashion directory, your go-to for finding ethical fashion alternatives for everything you need 
  1. Ethical Made Easy = Melbourne based, Kiwi blogger who shares behind the brand stories, where to shop for affordable ethical products, and everyday inspiration
  1. The Green Hub = an online knowledge source, helping you begin and sustain your eco-lifestyle with information on fashion, living, food, and travel
  1. Sustainably Chic = ethical fashion goddess and guru, offering discount codes for the best ethical fashion brands, and teaching you how to begin your ethical fashion journey



Not much on the waste-free front here yet but it’s something to be aware of.

✔ Always return un-used medication to pharmacies - we don’t want the chemicals out on the loose!

✔ Can you buy your vitamins in glass bottles rather than plastic or blister packs?


X 1000s of sanitary products in the landfill over your lifetime

X Toxic products going inside your body

X Hundreds of $ spent every year

I was lucky enough to be introduced to cups over 12 years ago. They were ‘weird’ and none of my other girlfriends did want to hear a bar of it. Fast forward and cups are massively popular and there’s plenty of brands to choose from - win!

✔ We LOVE and can highly recommend the Wa Cup** because they are on a mission to end period poverty! With every cup bought, a cup is donated to someone in need right here in NZ. Make your purchases count and the cups are medical grade Silicone, FDA Safety Registered. 

My Cup are what I use now and are NZ Made. Also available are the pink and blue coloured Hello Cup, Moon Cup and Lunette**.

✔ New to the scene are Reusable Pads that you can wash. Check this brand out.

✔ I have used Thinx Period Proof Underwear which are perfect for those light ‘in-between’ days as well as back up if you have heavy periods (US Shipping FYI)

✔ There’s a New Zealand Period Proof Underwear brand, I Am Eva and they have a great selection and local shipping.

Being aware that these fabrics are Synthetic is important as washing contributes to micro-plastic pollution (read more on this HERE). 


X 50 bottles of polish you’ll never use

X Toxic Nail Manicures

✔ If you are a fan of colour on your Nails then rejoice in the less-waste, no-tox options that are coming to market. Sienna Byron Bay are leading the charge for their less toxic formula - you can find different colours HERE

✔ Nail Polish Remover in a glass bottle - check out Priti NYC non-toxic nail polish remover available at Tigs and Boo HERE.


The average female uses 16 products in any given day. This unnecessary clutter is not only filling up our bench tops and handbags, the flow on effect into landfills is real.

  1. The first action is to use what you already have.
  2. The second action is to very carefully replace the clutter with a simplified beauty and personal care routine that truly cares for your body and Mama Earth. What swaps will you make?

CaliWoods Is On An Eco-Mission Graphic


Additional Plastic-Free Living Guides: 

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