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Last Updated on 08/05/2021
Solid toiletries make packing light a dream for travellers. Nothing beats the satisfaction of bundling your sparse belongings into a tiny carry-on suitcase and whisking it off to the airport without so much as a glance at the checked luggage counter. Going carry-on only – particularly for air travel – is hassle-free, and it makes travelling so much easier when you’re not bogged down with baggage. However, getting the packing bit right is a challenge.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with that old game of ziplock bag Tetris? The one where every essential item in your carry-on seems to resemble a liquid of some kind and you’re left shoving these little 100ml blighters into every available crack and corner of your TSA-friendly ziplock bag. It takes a go or two and a few different strategies, but you squeeze them all in hoping the bag won’t explode until at least after you’ve got through the security check at the airport.
Why you should travel with solid toiletries
Carry-ons are great, but we could really do without those tiny bottles of liquid toiletries than run out after a few uses. Now, luckily, we can. Liquid-free toiletries are becoming more of a reality and ziplock bag Tetris a thing of the past.
Swapping your usual travel toiletries for solid alternatives not only saves you a lot of packing stress but it’s also more economical. You get so many more uses out of your product – mainly because you get to take its full version with you as opposed to the 100ml allowance on a flight.
If looked after, solid toiletries can last you months. Gone are the days when you try to stretch out of the contents of your tiny shampoo bottle for an admirable length of time.
Here’s what else I include in my eco-friendly packing list.
Non-liquid toiletries are more eco-friendly
Solid toiletries are kinder to the environment. They last twice as long as their plastic bottled cousins, which means less waste. In fact, most of them don’t even have plastic packaging to throw out. Incorporating them into your packing list is a great way to limit your single-use plastic consumption and they can allow you to pack lighter which is also more sustainable.
Why you should go cruelty-free
Cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries are generally much healthier for you because they tend not to contain an ingredient list saturated with harmful chemicals, including parabens and sulphates. Cruelty-free products are also much better for your skin as you’re less likely to suffer breakouts, acne, allergies and irritation. It’s also worth noting that whatever you put onto your skin gets, to some extent, absorbed by the body.
Making your packing list cruelty-free is an important step towards being an ethical traveller. Responsible travel is about ensuring that our impact as travellers causes minimal damage to all communities, wildlife and the environment. That includes the ethical treatment of animals.
Liquid-free toiletries for your carry-on
Take a look at this list of solid toiletries below to get yourself started on a carry-on luggage revolution:
The Little Goat Soap Company Shampoo Bar
This shampoo bar produces silky suds and leaves your hair feeling softer and thicker. It’s a welcome treat for damaged travel-worn hair, particularly after long exposure to that dehydrating recycled oxygen during flights.
The shampoo bar is perfect for those with sensitive skin and its soothing formula can be used to relieve the discomfort of Eczema, Psoriasis and itchy scalps. It’s cruelty-free but not vegan so if you would prefer a vegan solid shampoo alternative, New Shampoo Bar by Lush gives your hair a wonderfully healthy shine.
It’s a good idea to get your hair used to shampoo and conditioner bars before travelling. Start using them about a month before for the best results.
Buy it here.
Funky Soap Conditioner Bar
This citrusy conditioner bar smells good enough to eat. Handmade by a small business located in East London, its ingredients are completely natural and plant-based. A little goes a long way with this conditioner bar and it’s recommended that you only use a sparing amount to get the desired effect.
The price may be a little steep compared to a typical conditioner, but it lasts a long time. In fact, it actually saves you money in the long run. This conditioner is one of the best solid travel toiletries for lengthier trips as it helps you avoid buying heavy bottles of hair products while travelling.
Buy it here.
Gallinée Cleansing Bar
Despite its appearance this not a soap for your face. The Gallinée Cleansing Bar is completely soap-free, and its balance of prebiotics and lactic acid is designed to protect the skin’s natural barriers. This cleanser can be used for your face and body so it’s an ideal all-in-one travel essential. In fact, this handy little bar is a perfect pick-me-up for when your skin is feeling a bit dehydrated and grubby from a long day of travelling.
I find cleansers quite tricky as I have sensitive skin. All too often after using them my face would feel clean but uncomfortably tight. However, when I used this Gallinée Cleansing Bar I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh and hydrated my face felt. It also lasts years.
Buy it here.
Lush Charcoal Toothy Tabs
Charcoal toothpaste is all the rage at the moment due to its tooth whitening properties. Now, thanks to Lush’s new line of eco-friendly solid toiletries, you can get it in a dry tablet form. The plastic bottle they come in is 100% recyclable, and there are no harmful chemicals in the toothpaste tabs so it’s ideal if you’re thinking about your environmental impact (read more tips on how to be sustainable here).
To activate the toothpaste you nibble on the tablet so that it breaks down into a paste. Admittedly it’s a method that takes some getting used to but at least you won’t have to worry about using up your tiny travel toothpaste in about three days.
It’s worth being aware that charcoal toothpaste should not be used every day as it can actually erode the enamel. If you would prefer something minty, try DENTTABS from The Plastic Free Shop.
Buy Lush here.
Lush Crème de Menthe Mouthwash Tabs
Thanks to Lush you can even get a solid mouthwash for your travel essentials. Similar to the Toothy Tabs, simply pop one tab in your mouth, take a sip of water and feel the tablet start to fizz. It’s a pretty intense sensation but they’re very travel-friendly. Simply slip them in your bag and use them on the go.
Using these solid toiletries aren’t a recommended alternative to brushing your teeth. However, they’re super handy if you’ve been travelling for most of the day and you feel like a quick blast of minty freshness to make yourself feel less grungy.
Buy them here.
Salt of the Earth Crystal Classic Deodorant
Not only is this crystal deodorant a perfect non-liquid alternative for travel but it’s also a great investment because it lasts a long time. Seriously. I’ve had mine for about two years now and I still have a lot left before I need to think about replacing it.
This deodorant contains only one ingredient: Potassium Alum, which means it’s essentially a huge rock of salt. It’s completely fragrance-free so it can suit anyone and there are no harmful chemicals to worry about.
If you would prefer something a little stronger, particularly if you’re going to hotter climates, simply spray on Tea Tree Water by Lush and then roll-on with the deodorant. Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal so it can combat odour. It’s another liquid to add to the pile, true, but if you swap in a few solid toiletries you should be able to find some room in that ziplock bag.
Buy it here.
Friendly Soap Tin
Photo credit: Friendly Soap
If you’re taking solid toiletries with you while travelling, you’re going to want to keep them as clean and protected as possible. You don’t want your precious cargo to suffer the wear and tear of your bag and you don’t want sudsy mush getting all over your clothes. That’s where travel containers like this soap tin come in handy. Made from recycled aluminium, this handy little tin is lightweight and fits your soaps and solid toiletries like a glove.
Buy it here.
Looking for more sustainable gadgets to add to your packing list? Check out this gift guide for ethical travellers.