Category Archives: beauty n’at

the best shampoo bar on the market

The very first blog post I wrote on Steel City Wasteland was about zero waste shampoo and how I hate shampoo bars.

I’ve tried several different kinds. I’ve tried Lush, J.R. Liggett, and some other random brands that just weren’t up to par.

If you’re tried a shampoo bar, you know what I mean.

First of all, in most shampoo bars, the lather is nearly non-existent.

(I know, I know, the soapiness of a lather doesn’t have anything to do with cleanliness… it’s just a chemical called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS, that makes consumers FEEL like our products are doing an even better job than they really are. But, hey, as a 20+ year all-things Dove girl, I know I’m an SLS addict.)

Second, it just feels weird to rub a bar of soap on your head. Maybe it’s just me, but something about it feels weird to get used to.

Third, the after-wash film. Shampoo bars always leave a nasty film on my crown and the nape of my neck.

If you’re unfamiliar with the filmy feel, imagine shampooing your hair, but not rinsing the shampoo out. When your hair is dry, it still looks like its coated in some sort of soapy oil.

Yeah, that’s what shampoo bars do. At least, that’s what they’ve always done for me.

Until I tried Ethique.

All about Ethique


Ethique — pronounced “eh-teek”; it’s French for “ethical” — is a New Zealand-based beauty company that’s goal is to end the world of plastic waste.

The brand started in 2012 “as an alternative to the 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles thrown out globally each year,” according to their website.

They have tons of beauty products — all plastic free.

Here are a few things they carry:

HAIR PRODUCTS: shampoo, conditioner and hair masks
FACE PRODUCTS: cleanser, scrubs and moisturizers
BODY PRODUCTS: cleansers, moisturizers and deodorants
LAUNDRY: laundry bar and stain remover
PETS: dog shampoo
STORAGE UNITS: in-shower containers

Reasons to love Ethique


1. Plastic-free
Ethique uses biodegradable ingredients and compostable packaging.

2. Plant-based, but palm-oil free* and vegan
Ethique uses the best ingredients that are plant based and ethical.

*The problem with palm oil:

Palm oil is a controversial ingredient because of the way it’s obtained. Palm oil is cheap, and it can be found in lots of processed foods. The palm oil industry is destroying rain forests, especially in Indonesia. There’s a lot I could talk about surrounding the palm oil industry, like how it’s also contributing to increased CO2 in the atmosphere. But, as with a lot of things, there is some good to it. It’s creating a lot of jobs for Indonesians.

Interestingly, I went to the Borneo rain forest in Indonesia two years ago. While trekking with my friend, our guide — a local — talked to us about palm oil and how it’s harmful to the environment, but it’s helping the local economy. He said it’s a tough issue to have a strong stance on, because he’s seen the good and the bad. I think that’s a helpful reminder.

If you do buy something that contains palm oil, try to opt for one that is sustainably sourced — like Dr. Bronner’s soap. But, when in doubt, it may be better to just avoid palm oil altogether. The choice is yours.

3. Cruelty-free
Ethique doesn’t test their products on animals. In fact, they only test their products on willing humans. They are certified cruelty-free by CCF (Choose Cruelty Free), PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and SAFE (a New Zealand-based agency that certifies cruelty free companies).

4. Sustainable, and a B CORPORATION!
Ethique is a B Corporation, which should speak for itself. If you’re unfamiliar with B Corporations, here’s what their website says: “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”

Essentially, B Corps are the most well-rounded, ethical, sustainable, transparent corporations in the world. Here are a few B Corps you may know: Patagonia, Klean Kanteen, Tom’s of Maine, Ben and Jerry’s, and Stonyfield Organic.

If you see a company that’s a certified B Corp, rest assured that company has gone through a serious vetting process to be dubbed a B Corp. They really are the best of the best — a company you can trust.

5. These products last, and they save you money

Ethique boasts that one shampoo bar can last anywhere from 6-8 months. I haven’t been able to attest to that, as I’ve only tried the sample size. But the bars are definitely concentrated and seem to last quite a while!

6. The sample bars are adorable

The sample kit is super cute. The bars are heart-shaped. They just make you want to use them!

How well do the products work?


Honestly, their shampoo bars are excellent. Not just for a shampoo bar, but for a natural shampoo, they’re outstanding.

Both the shampoo and conditioner lather well and neither leave a film on my hair. I can rub the shampoo bar on my hands or rub it on my scalp, both ways give a good lather!

At first using a shampoo bar may feel odd, but once you use a product that works well — like Ethique — you don’t even think twice about it. I hated using shampoo bars because they never worked for me. But Since using Ethique, I actually get weirdly excited to shampoo my hair in the shower.

Not to mention, all the products smell AMAZING, and every ingredient is not only listed, but on their website, Ethique goes into detail about what each ingredient does and where it comes from. LOVE the transparency.

I bought the hair sample kit to try a few different shampoos and conditioners before I invested in one.

I’d definitely recommend doing that! They also carry a sample kit for face wash and body wash, too.

The Ethique Hair Sampler is $16 and comes with three shampoos and two conditioners.

My favorite shampoo from the kit is the Heali Kiwi, because it’s good for my dry, sensitive scalp. Ethique also has shampoos for oily hair and dry, damaged hair. Basically, whatever your hair/scalp type, Ethique’s got you.

As far as their conditioners go, I liked The Guardian best.

Ethique’s conditioners are definitely the best bar conditioners I’ve used, but I would say I like the shampoo a little better than the conditioner. I’ll continue buying both, though, because I like them both! But I was really wowed by the shampoo.

I’ve also been using their face wash and I actually really like it!


I’ve been using the SuperStar! cleanser. It smells like orange and I’ve noticed that it cleanses my skin without drying it.

I’d highly recommend it for dry skin folks!

Any downsides?


Only one thing that comes to mind, though I wouldn’t consider it a downfall necessarily, is accessibility.

For most folks living in the USA, you’ll likely buy your Ethique products off Amazon.

This could be a positive thing to some people, because you can use your Amazon Prime membership! So that’s dope! But buying on Amazon means your package could come in plastic. Working with Amazon, Ethique doesn’t have much control over that.

Though, it should be noted that I ordered off of Amazon and my package only came in cardboard! So you never know!

ALSO! Ethique is slowly moving their products across the US. Right now, they’re working their way into Target stores, and are currently stocked in all Erewhon stores throughout California! Amazing!

Locally to Pittsburgh, Ethique products are available at Target at the Waterfront in Homestead.

Check out this link to see if there’s a Target that sells Ethique near you.

Overall, I love this brand and will continue buying their products! And, now that they’re available in more places locally, I’m even more floored to purchase from them!

I LOVE their shampoo. I’m thrilled to have found a zero waste, shampoo bar.

I’m still a big fan of Plaine Products shampoo and conditioner — check out that review here. But for now, I’m sticking with Ethique, and I couldn’t be happier.

brand review: fat and the moon

I first heard about Fat and the Moon almost a year ago when I was researching zero waste makeup brands.

But this brand doesn’t just do makeup. They’ve branched out into making anything for the body, from deodorant, salves and perfume to cleansers, moisturizers and masks. And I can honestly say that everything I’ve tried I’ve loved.

I haven’t tried all of their products, so that’s important to note. But I’ve heard amazing things about their deodorant and cleansers and products for pregnant mamas.

Here are a few reasons I love Fat and the Moon besides their excellent quality:


While some companies boast an eco-friendly mindset, Fat and the Moon puts their philosophies to practice. When their package arrives in your mailbox — or for small mailbox folks like me, on your stoop — there isn’t any plastic in sight.

The packaging is all paper and plastic-free — including the tape! And all of their products come in sustainable containers like glass and aluminum.



From their website to their labels, Fat and the Moon speaks the language of the people. AKA — they don’t use pretentious language to make you think they’re elitists.

For instance, they’re lipsticks — “lip paint” — says “paint your pucker” on the back of the package. I just love that.

Also, if you follow them on Instagram you’ll notice they’re all about equality and self-love. No matter who you are or what you believe, you’re invited to enjoy their handmade products.



They list all of their ingredients (which are usually minimal and always natural) on the back of their packaging in clearly stated language. There’s never a doubt about what’s going on your skin. I appreciate that transparency.


Again, I haven’t tried all of their products, but here are the ones I have tried/will review below:


1. earth eye coal

I use their brown eye coal as an eyebrow filler and gentle eye shadow. It’s build-able and I usually apply it with my finger or sometimes I’ll use an eye shadow fluffy brush to blend it out a bit. I’ve been using it everyday for the last seven months and, as you can see in the photo above, I’ve hardly put a dent in it.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using anything else to touch up my brows and add a little depth to my eye lids.

As far as packaging goes, it comes in an aluminum tin that can either be recycled or cleaned out and reused for something else.

2. beam highlight

It’s perhaps my favorite product. Beam is the best highlight I’ve ever used. It gives a natural glow that lasts. But it’s also super easy to apply again.

I use it just about everyday on the inner corner of my eyes and on my brow bone. But if you do more of a full face of makeup, you can for sure use this on your cheek bones and anywhere else that suits you. If you’re a highlight fan, this is an excellent purchase. And I’ve also had this guy for seven months and have plenty left.

3. artemis at dawn perfume

It’s a musky perfume that is surprisingly light and actually blends well with other essential oils. I tend to mix it with either white angelica or bergamot and wear it as a perfume. (Wondering where I get my oils? click here.)

The smell is gently peppery and has a gentle woodsy scent. It’s hard to explain, but if you’re into more muskier scents, you’ll love it, I guarantee. And you don’t have to worry about it spilling in your bag if you carry it with you, because it comes in a reusable aluminum container, like the rest of their makeup.

4. mortar and pestle lip paint



This is my most recent purchase from Fat and the Moon and I have to say I’m impressed. The staying/lasting power of the lipstick is to be expected with a super natural lipstick — this isn’t gonna last you 12 hours and through breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But I don’t necessarily need that everyday. It’s moisturizing and gentle on the lips. It’s also build-able and is super easy to reapply during the day. And it wears off really nicely — doesn’t leave weird lines or anything. I love this little tin of reddish/orange lip paint.

5. masa and olive face paste

Potentially the best mask I’ve ever used — no kidding! It’s incredibly gentle but also moisturizes and exfoliates my sensitive, dry skin.

Only bummer is I left mine in the shower and it started growing a bit of mold inside. It even warns you not to do that on the packaging because of the natural ingredients mixing with water and being trapped in a container. But for whatever reason I ignored that clearly presented advice.

Regardless, it’s an awesome product! And it comes in a reusable glass container.

6. sage and rose face mist


I used this all the time! I finished my bottle off, but the gentle mist was delightful. I used it in the morning and night. It is definitely refreshing and hydrating. I only wish it came in a large bottle because I would spray it all over my face all day long!

So overall this brand is DOPE. I will continue buying the products I already have and I hope to try out their deodorant sometime, and potentially their aloe lotion, too! It sounds wonderful.

Their products are quality and their philosophies are kind and inclusive. I love this brand 🙂

Have you tried Fat and the Moon? If not, DO IT. I’m not being sponsored by them or anything… I just truly love this brand!

try biting your toothpaste

For a while I made my own toothpaste.

I’d throw coconut oil, baking soda and lots of peppermint oil into a jar, mix it up and use it for weeks or even months.

Talk about minimalistic AND cheap AND zero waste.

But my husband hated the taste. And I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t a big fan either.

I’ve tried several recipes since then and I haven’t seemed to find one mike and I both like.

So, I’ve been shopping around for something different.

I’ve tried three zero waste toothpaste brands that are effective and pretty much taste like your traditional toothpaste brands. Here are the ones I like…


Truth Paste runs for almost $10. The taste and texture are super similar to traditional toothpaste. It comes in a small glass jar with a metal lid and all the ingredients are top notch.


Davids is around $10. It has the exact same texture as traditional toothpaste but the taste is a bit more mild. The toothpaste comes in an aluminum tube that is 100% recyclable.

Note: I forgot to take a photo of the Davids package before recycling it and writing this post. But here’s a photo of my bamboo toothbrush! Check out why I brush with bamboo here.

3. “BITE”

Bite tooth paste is probably my favorite of the three! The toothpaste comes in little bite-sized bits. You take a bit, bite down on it, take your wet toothbrush and brush your tooth as normal. The bit turns into foam like a traditional toothpaste. The bits come in a glass jar and you’re able to buy a subscription to have the jars delivered every few months.

It runs for $7.50 if you subscribe. The brand will send you refills every four months.

The only thing I don’t love about Bite is the texture of the bits. It’s like a chalky texture. It’s not bad! But it’s a little weird at first.

Overall, I think Mike and I are going to stick with Bite for now. Ideally, I’d like to be able to find a good recipe to make our toothpaste, because it’s more cost effective (much cheaper than Colgate or whatever other brand you might be using) and it’s simpler. But until I find a recipe we both dig, we’re munching on Bite toothpaste tablets for now!

What toothpaste do you use? What’s your favorite zero waste toothpaste brand or recipe?