This is a bit of an embarrassing challenge for me and I feel exposed at the thought of posting this.  However, I also feel it is an important stage in my journey to a sustainable lifestyle. No-one transforms their life overnight and I am no different…

I was talking to Mr. L about making some “eco-swaps” in the bathroom and he said to me “I bet you don’t even know what you’ve got in there” [pointing to the dysfunctional and unorganised bathroom cupboard] – Annoyingly, he is right!  There is not much point sourcing and buying new, more eco-friendly alternatives when I don’t know what I use or what I have lurking at the back of the cupboard?  How can I become sustainable when I’m hoarding goodness knows what…?  Is this just me or do other people have this problem?!  It is a bit like a wardrobe full of clothes you have forgotten about… So I did a full inventory – that’s right – Rock’n’Roll! 

So here are the results: 

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I don’t even use hairspray…

6 x hair spray

1 x heat protecting spray 

1 x hair volume powder 

1 x hair mousse 

1 x hair styling cream 

1 x face moisturiser 

1 x home hair dye kit 

½ pack of plastic ear buds 

½ nail varnish remover 

3 x packs of face wipes 

3 x perfumes 

5 x disposable razors 

1 x shampoo bottle (almost empty) 

6(!) x roll-on de-odorant 

2 x spray de-odorants 

2 x denture cleaning tablet tube (for mouth guard… I have my own teeth, promise!) 

3 x toothpaste tube 

2 x mouthwash 

3 x face cleansing lotions 

1 x ear piercing lotion (how old is this?!) 

9(!) x ½ full body lotions of various sizes 

1 x face suntan cream 

3 x Eye creams/serum 

Various sanitary towels and tampons 

1 x in-shower fake tan 


2 x mascara 

3 x eyeliner 

1 x brow pencil 

1 x semi-permanent brow filler 

7 x lipstick 

3 x lip-liner 

1 x lip-lock 

2 x blusher 

3 x eyeshadow 

2 x face primer 

5 x tinted moisturiser/foundation (all half empty) 

8 x nail varnishes 

Urgh… There it is. Actually, I think I use only 10% of these items 90% of the time. 

This challenge has actually made me excited. Visualising what I use and making a plan has been really therapeutic… (I do love a plan!) plus it has been easy to complete my first sustainable bathroom switches! Whilst running down my current items, I have been researching and made the change to a lovely soap bar, toothpaste tablets and a shampoo bar – all plastic-free and now permanent fixtures in my bathroom.

The plan is to make sustainable bathroom swaps for the items I use up. The rest can be gifted or the new and unopened can be donated to the local food bank. Food banks want toiletries along with the groceries. You can find your local food bank to donate to here:

These are my top tips for auditing, de-cluttering and advancing your sustainable your bathroom cabinet:

  • Take out EVERYTHING and really look at what you have
  • Split them into piles – what to keep and use/ what to give away/ what to donate
  • Plan out your alternatives – what could you swap that you would be prepared to change?  
  • Do your research!  Find toiletries that 1. suit your skin/hair, 2. are within budget – from my experience, eco-friendly products can seem expensive at the outset but usually last, 3. suit your new lookout – plastic-free, vegan, cruelty-free, all of the above!
  • Give yourself time – Do your research whilst you still have some of your current product remaining.  You don’t want to run out and find your new choice is sold-out/takes 1 week for delivery and be tempted to buy another one during this wait!  Also, if it is something like a plastic-free mascara, it may not come with a wand and so you will need to keep the old one to use with it. Plus, it may take some practice – its good to have back-up of the old one while you figure out how it ‘load up’ the brush from the little tin!! 
  • Join in the #plasticfreeswapamonth; be proud of your changes and also supportive of others on this journey.

What do you have in your bathroom cabinets? Would you challenge yourself to do the same?  If so, good luck! 😊 

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