All your personal tissue needs
I know what you’re thinking – should I be worried that it’s brown? Good Karma’s products are free from bleach and artificial dyes, retaining the natural brown colour.
They can fulfil all your tissue needs for personal care from toilet paper to kitchen towels, napkins and a bedroom tissue box. They make their products by recycling unprinted, pre-consumer waste paper. I recommend the personal hygiene pack that comes with 5 toilet paper rolls and 4 boxes of facial tissues
₹649 (currently on sale)
Menstrual cups allow you to have a sustainable period without compromising on hygiene or comfort. They sound a lot more intimidating than they are. It just takes a bit of practice. But once you’ve got the insertion and removal technique down, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.
As long as you keep them clean and sterilised, menstrual cups may be the most cost-effective option among the bunch.
They’re just as safe and effective as sanitary pads and tampons – public health studies have verified it – while also reducing waste and water usage. A municipality in Kerala was even giving them out for free.
₹299 (currently on sale, please check which size is suitable for you )
Biodegradable and reusable sanitary pads
If you’re not ready to make the switch to a cup, I suggest trying one of these. These aren’t as easily available as just going down the road to the chemistwale bhaiya. It takes extra planning but it’s worth it.
Sanitary napkins such as the ones made by Pee Safe tap into the benefits of natural fibres. They’re free of bleach and irritating fragrances, without compromising on hygiene and effectiveness.
They also employ organic ingredients to create reusable sanitary pads. These are great if you’re looking to switch to eco-friendly personal care products but you also need to be a little mindful when using reusable sanitary napkins.
Make sure you wash and dry it properly and follow the usage instructions. Some can be used for up to three years, while others advise being replaced after one year.
Biodegradable sanitary pads for ₹199 (pack of 10 regular, currently on sale) and reusable sanitary pads for ₹399 (3 regular pads + 1 night pad, currently on sale)
Herbal multipurpose hot/cold pack
I love doing seka with a hot water bottle, but I like how malleable and multipurpose this herbal pack by Aksobha is.
Pop it in the microwave and you’ve got yourself a hot pack for the days when your period cramps need some relief. Need a cold compress to relieve tired eyes and puffiness? Keep this in the freezer.
It’s handmade and you can choose if you want to have it infused with stress reliever or pain relief essential oils for some aromatherapy.
When the products start gathering around your washbasin, it may be time to store them away for safety.
These pouches by Akiiko are multi-purpose, you can use them to store pretty much anything given that they come in different sizes. Use them as storage for skincare, the stationery you somehow keep hoarding or extra wires and phone accessories.
They’re made using hemp, which is considered a more eco-friendly fibre because the processing into pulp involves fewer chemicals. It’s not bleached, can grow pretty much anywhere and is non-irritating on the skin as well.
₹1,499 (set of 3)
Eco-friendly laundry detergent
Your kit of eco-friendly personal care products should include laundry detergent that’s kind to the skin and the environment.
This one by The Better Home uses plant-derived surfactants and is great for people whose skin tends to have bad reactions to regular store-bought products.
It’s safe to use with different fabrics and you can use it in your top or front load washing machines or when you’re doing a bucket wash of your intimate wear. They even let you sign up for a subscription, after choosing the frequency, you’ll get one regularly dropped to your home without worries of it running out.
Reusable bamboo pads
It’s time to replace your disposable cotton pads with bamboo ones. Taking off stubborn eye make-up or applying a hydrating toner, these pads can be used for anything.
They’re made using bamboo cotton and comes with a mesh bag you can drop them in and run in the washing machine. ONEarth says that one pad can be used up to 200 times.
Breastfeeding mums can also use these as nursing pads to soak any accidental leakages.
It seems we’re going back to whence we came. Shedding the plastic-bottled shampoos for eco-friendly shampoo bars that cleanse the scalp as effectively.
Not only effective, but they also come infused with ingredients that imbue your scalp and hair with their natural benefits.
I love this one by Earth Rhythm that comes with the cleansing and nurturing powers of shikakai, reetha, amla and curry leaves which clean your scalp without drying it out. Your grandmother will vociferously agree with the ‘superfood’ tag that amla has. Rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, the label is for good reason.
If your hair is on the drier side of the spectrum, then opt for Tweak editors’ favourite weDo No Plastic Shampoo with argan oil and shea butter.
weDo No Plastic Shampoo Bar for ₹1,200 and Earth Rhythm Shikakai, Reeta, Amla & Curry Leaf Bar for ₹519
A bathroom bundle
Almitra Sustainables did us a solid. Creating a bundle out of their eco-friendly personal care products makes swapping a lot smoother.
You get a bamboo toothbrush that’s infused with charcoal which some believe can bind to acidic components in things like coffee, tea, and wine and remove the stains they can leave behind.
There’s a copper tongue cleaner, neem wood comb to replace your plastic brushes, a loofah made from natural fibre, bamboo cotton earbuds and a bamboo razor.
This also makes a great gift for someone looking to make the switch.
If you live in a hot and humid city like me, then you go through deodorants faster than probably any personal care products. So it might be worth trying out the more natural, organic deodorants that are cropping up in the market.
The ones by Juicy Chemistry also come in eco-friendly packaging to prevent adding waste to overflowing landfills.
I know, natural deodorants aren’t for everyone and they take some getting used to. Given the overpowering scents of our regular deodorants, these may seem like they aren’t working at all.
They need to be applied to dry skin and then massaged in to prevent any staining on your clothes. They come in different scents, though we’re partial to the grapefruit and peppermint one.
These do contain essential oils, so always do a small patch test and track for possible adverse reactions and irritation.
₹562.50 (currently on sale)
There’s something very satisfying about bathing with a bar of soap. Most handmade soaps are made up of glycerin — often removed in the processing of its commercial counterparts — which is a humectant, drawing hydration to the skin. Its moisturising capabilities have been tried and tested for maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
Handmade soap also tends to be gentler on the skin barrier with fewer detergent ingredients that can leave you dryer than a day-old chapati. Switching over from bottled shower gel may seem like a small step in sustainable living, but your shopping gets some good karma along the way.
₹620 (pack of 4)
Bamboo soap dish
Since we’re switching over to soaps, we’re going to need a dish to keep it in.
You can ditch the plastic trays for this bamboo one by Geosmin which is handmade, durable and is compostable as well. Geosmin states that there’s no chemical treatment done on this product, but it also can contain the growth of bacteria and microbes while in use. That weird white gooey thing that forms on your soaps sometimes, that’s also less likely to happen.
Who doesn’t like a pretty and ornate ceramic soap dish? But when things are wet and slippery in the shower, you want something that’ll survive the constant drops without snapping.
Now that you’ve made the switch and opted for eco-friendly personal care products, what about the empties?
Restore deserves a special mention for what they’re doing. They’re partnered with several beauty brands and home care brands to bottle and recycle their products in sustainable packaging.
The reusable containers are made of aluminium, stainless steel and glass. As a customer, you can shop directly on their website, pay a small deposit for the containers and the product gets delivered to your doorstep. Once you’ve run through the product, instead of dropping it in the waste bin, Restore will pick up the container and return your deposit, or if you enjoyed the product, refill it with the same and you get the item on a discount.
While they’re currently only working in Mumbai, I hope to see them expand soon.