Zero Waste Home Essential: Multi-functionalityLes produits multi-usages

Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for embracing voluntary simplicity. It’s truly been a gift and an awakening! It’s made our family’s household chores effortless, it has naturally eliminated toxic products from our routines, it saves a lot of money, but best of all: It saves a lot of time!

At the core of it, was the decluttering work that I have covered before. But a lot of my family’s minimalism also lies on adopting products that are multi-functional throughout the house.

Considering that the average American spends an estimated $2000 annually just on hygiene products, I am happy to share with you how economical, multi-functionality can be in the bathroom alone.


 We purchase this bar of soap for $2/unit (Good Soap, 3 for $6 at Whole Foods, a few times a year), and use it as:


Facial cleanser

Hand wash

Body wash

Shaving soap



I fill this little jar with organic, bulk cocoa powder, once a year. It costs 72 cents and I use it as:


Dry shampoo

Eyebrow powder

Eyelid powder

Body bronzer


 I buy baking soda in bulk for $1.71/lb at Good Earth a couple of times a year, and use it as:



Tile scrubber


Mixed with water as an antacid for guests (our family does not suffer from heartburn)


Three, simple, natural products, purchased in bulk/unpackaged have eliminated 15 packaged, toxic ones. No longer buying them evidently saves money, but the time savings are incredible since I no longer have to:

Drive to the store to buy each one of them

Load them in the car

Unload them from the car

Take them up 51 steps to our bathroom

Stack them in a cupboard

Throw the empty containers in a bathroom recycling can

Take that bathroom recycling can down 51 steps to the curb

Empty it into the curbside recycling cart

Walk back up the 51 steps

Start over again


When did we start listening to bogus marketing claims telling us that we need different products for different applications? Or start thinking that consuming saves time? Or forgetting that soap is, simply put, soap?
If you are looking to simplify your life this year, favor multi-functionality in the products that you buy or already have, you’ll be amazed at how much space, time and money you’ll save.
In 2015, Buy Less, Live More. Happy New Year!
Editor’s Note: This post might contain a sponsored link 

Il ne se passe pas un jour sans que je remercie le bon Dieu de m’avoir fait decouvrir la simplicité volontaire. Ca a ete pour nous une réelle epiphanie, car elle a non seulement facilité nos corvées domestiques, et petit a petit éliminé les produits toxiques de notre quotidien, mais elle nous fait aussi économiser beaucoup d’argent et beaucoup de temps!

Elle a biensur demandé un travail de désencombrement au départ, mais notre minimalisme repose aussi beaucoup sur l’adoption de produits multi-usages.

Quand on sait qu’un américain moyen dépense environ 2000 dollars par an juste en produits
d’hygiène, je tiens a demontrer que rien que dans la salle de bains, les produits multi-usages peuvent faire de sacrées economies.


 Nous achetons ce pain de savon pour $2 l’unité (Good Soap, 3 pour $6 chez Whole Foods, deux ou trois fois dans l’année) et nous l’utilisons en guise de :


nettoyant visage

savon pour les mains

savon pour le corps

mousse à raser


Je remplis une fois par an ce petit bocal avec de la poudre de cacao bio, achetée en vrac. Cela coûte  72 centimes et je l’utilise comme :

fard à joues

shampoing sec

fard à sourcils

fard à paupières

poudre bronzante pour le corps


 J’achète du bicarbonate de soude en vrac pour $1,71 la livre chez Good Earth deux ou trois fois par an et je l’utilise en guise de :

poudre dentifrice


poudre a récurer le carrelage


antiacide pour nos invités (notre famille n’etant pas sujette aux brûlures d’estomac), mélangé à de l’eau


Trois produits simples et naturels, achetés en vrac ou sans emballage, ont remplacé 15 produits
emballés et toxiques. Ne plus les acheter permet evidemment de faire des économies d’argent, mais cela permet d’autant plus de gagner du temps, car je n’ai plus besoin de :

me rendre en voiture au magasin pour acheter chacun d’entre eux

les charger dans la voiture

les décharger de la voiture

monter 51 marches pour les emmener dans la salle de bains

les entasser dans un placard

déposer leurs flacons vides dans une poubelle de la salle de bains

la descendre 51 marches

la vider dans le grand bac a recyclables dédié au rammassage de ville

remonter ces meme 51 marches

recommencer l’opération depuis le début.


Arretons nous d’ecouter les messages bidon des publicistes, qui nous disent que chaque application requiert un produit différent, que consommer permet de gagner du temps !
Si vous cherchez aussi à vous simplifier la vie, privilégiez les produits multi-fonctionnels, à l’achat ou parmi ceux que vous avez déjà. Vous serez frappé de constater combien de place, de temps et d’argent vous pouvez gagner!

Achetez moins, vivez plus cette annee 2015!


(Traduit de l’anglais avec l’aide de Sarah Yousfi)

Note de l’editeur: Cet article peut contenir un lien sponsorisé

  1. Claire says:

    January 8th, 2015 at 4:03 pm (#)

    This is great advice! I live in Ghana and these products are all easily available. I recently started buying shea/coconut oil soap loaves from a local body care shop and carving the loaf into bars myself. Before moving to Ghana, I had tried to buy a soap loaf in the US but the producer said the loaf crumbles if they wait too long after saponification to cut the loaf into bars. This isn't a problem in Ghana. Ghana, located along the equator, is hot and humid all year around so the soap stays soft long after saponification.

  2. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:31 pm (#)

    Ghana? What a coincidence! An organization there is consulting me next week.
    Thanks for your input!

  3. Josette Akresh-Gonzales says:

    January 8th, 2015 at 6:16 pm (#)

    How do you use cocoa powder as bronzer?

  4. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:45 pm (#)

    I just shake the jar before opening, then use a large brush to catch the powder that has collected in the cap, and apply.

  5. BLD in MT says:

    January 8th, 2015 at 7:52 pm (#)

    Brilliantly put. I couldn't agree more.

  6. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:45 pm (#)

    thank you!

  7. Stargirl says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 12:20 am (#)

    I just finished reading your book. I loved it. Do you still do everything in the same way as you described there? Or have you found some better ways to do things?

  8. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:51 pm (#)

    Great question! I am trying to put a list together of the minor things that I do differently, so I can share them. I now cut my own hair (can't wait to share how!), I use a light dusting of baking soda as deodorant (I used alum stone when I wrote the book) and I don't make mustard anymore (I found some in bulk).

  9. Anonymous says:

    January 16th, 2015 at 5:34 pm (#)

    Totally interested in cutting my own hair–
    Bulk mustard! Where????

  10. Bea Johnson says:

    January 18th, 2015 at 8:54 pm (#)

    I'll be documenting my next hair cut and posting it. What's great about it from a ZW standpoint, is that it allows me to compost my hair after a haircut.
    I buy bulk mustard from Gourmet and More in SF… And I have suggested Rainbow Grocery to carry it.

  11. Estela says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 3:33 am (#)

    Thanks for passing on your use of the items above, I may give them a try. I'm planning on a less wasteful year.

  12. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:53 pm (#)

    That's is great, I wish you a successful "less-wasteful" 2015!

  13. Saba Ahmad says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 4:24 am (#)

    There are the two items that I use for almost every cleaning job.
    One of them is Gram flour, locally known as Beshon, in Bangladesh. Gram flour is powdered lentil of any kind, most popular is chickpea. I use it for shampoo (use ACV for conditioner),body scrub, toothpowder, dish cleaner and any other scrubbing job.
    The other is Soapnut, locally known as Ritha. I have started to use it for laundry, dishwashing, and also for shampoo.
    Both Soapnut and Gram flour can be bought sans packaging, here in Bangladesh. In US, they come in a single layer plastic packaging.
    I am putting together a fair on zero waste here in February, where we would present and promote all types of sustainable/zero waste/less disposable alternatives that used to be the synonym for Bangladeshi way of life. You are invited!

  14. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 10:57 pm (#)

    Thanks for a great input! I had not heard of the term "Gram". But I know that the flour that I recently purchased contained some garbanzo flour. I might give it a try.
    I had not heard of using soap nuts as shampoo. I have not been lucky using it as laundry detergent (my machine?).
    Your Zero Waste fair sounds like a great idea! Where will it be taking place?

  15. Saba Ahmad says:

    January 16th, 2015 at 6:39 am (#)

    The fair is in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on February 5-6-7.

    I am collaborating with a fair trade boutique named "Jatra". In the fair, we are reintroducing now endangered recipes, ideas and wisdom like lip stain from Catechu to dandruff/lice solution from Neem/Margosa oil. We are aiming to locally source, promote and create a market for versatile, natural products like beeswax or unrefined coconut oil ,and resuscitate a small business or two, in the process. We are also developing a product line that further supports a zero waste lifestyle like metal straws or cloth diapers.

    Bea, I must admit your contribution to this whole thing, especially your tremendously edited aesthetic that attracted me into this lifestyle in the first place. Keeping the look modern and even glamorous (to lure the affluent who typically create more waste and are heavily reliant on the multinationals' gimmicks) is one of our objectives for the fair.

    You really are invited. You can stay at our place!

    Here's a link to Jatra's Facebook page:

  16. Bea Johnson says:

    January 18th, 2015 at 9:29 pm (#)

    Hi Saba! Thanks so much for the invite! The theme of your fair is a fantastic idea and I would have absolutely loved to join in on the fun…

  17. Emily Elle says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 4:40 am (#)

    Bea, I just found your blog about 2 weeks ago and have spent the time binge reading and making adjustments in my life.

    Five years ago my father passed away. His home was packed with stuff. He never wanted to get rid of something he might use one day, and couldn't let go of the "value" in everything. The physical and emotional energy cleaning his home out drained me, and I vowed to never hold on to "things". My husband and I married a few years later and we used that opportunity to buy quality items for our home that would make us happy for a life time, and we donated about half our previous household items to our favorite thrift store. For me, the minimalist mentality was my end goal. I hated clutter, I love clean lines, and quality pieces. Then I found this blog.

    I looked around at my simple home with my quality, well-loved pieces and my eyes landed on my trashcan. It was full of plastic, and glass, and cardboard, and food scraps. My cupboards were packed with pre-packaged food. I wasn't minimal at all. There was enough food in there for months–and its just the two of us.

    I'm very lucky to have a local market here in Richmond, Virginia called Ellwood Thompsons. They sell in bulk, and encourage their customers to bring their own bags and containers. I was intimidated at first so I went in with one Mason Jar for Almonds (a real love of mine) to feel this no-packaging thing out. I wrote my tare on the lid with a crayon 😉 and it was so easy, and normal. I felt great about it.

    Like other readers on past comments, my husband too thinks this is a phase. Getting him on board with this it going to take some time. He rolled his eyes when I plopped a compost scraps bin on our countertop (I've found a neighbor to share a compost with); however, after watching me dumpster dive after his egg shells and recyclables, he did–all on his own–put his banana peel in the scraps bin the other night. Small steps.

    A lot of words for. Thank you. Thank you Bea, for sharing your home and family with us.

  18. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:02 pm (#)

    Thank you Emily for the kind words. They are the reason I tirelessly keep going sharing my lifestyle. As I mention in my book, my husband was not on board with Zero Waste either… until he realized its financial benefits. And from what I hear it is the case for most household embarking on this journey. Stick to it and he (and everyone around you) will eventually be inspired to follow your lead. You go, girl!

  19. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 5:51 am (#)

    Our family is almost "zero waste." We don't have as many bulk options in our area but I'm at least able to buy the non-bulk items in recyclable containers. Except for my shampoo and conditioner! How do you like the Good Soap as shampoo? My hair is thick, coarse and wavy so I've had trouble finding something zero waste that works well. A review would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your work, words and inspiration!

  20. Bare Necessities says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:32 am (#)

    Personally I switched to using only Aleppo soap as shampoo (also a bar soap, made of olive oil + laurel bay leaf oil).That was three years ago, and I am not going back. The trick is to really spend the time to massage it on your head so that it gets everywhere. I have thick hair too and its been happy with the change. It might even stay clean longer (perhaps due to the fact that my soap is less agressive on the scalp than my previous shampoo). Maybe you should try a few different bar soaps and see what you like best…

  21. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:11 pm (#)

    Good Soap has worked great on our family's fine and thick hair qualities.
    I too prefer Aleppo soap to all the soaps that we have tried on hair and face for shaving (shampoo bars melt and disappear too quickly), but Aleppo is very difficult to source in the US, let alone in bulk…
    The people that last rented our home over the holidays left a Kiss My Face bar of soap that is reminiscent of Aleppo (also green color). I am not sure what it contains and Kiss my Face sells in packaging, but I will be investigating it further and maybe proposing waste free packaging alternatives to the company.

  22. bragnbutter says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:07 am (#)

    Hey there Bea, and a happy new year! I cannot agree more – and thank you for your wonderful advice. I started to declutter and simplify by the end of October last year – and already, as the cabinet above the basin in the bathroom is getting more and more empty (and I still do not miss a single thing!) I enjoy walking in there and opening it so much more. I do get your fascination for simplicity – and will continue simplifying. Have a great year!

  23. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:13 pm (#)

    There is so much beauty in simple living. And it's something that can only be understood when applied. Thanks for being open to this way of life and sharing your experience!

  24. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 11:59 am (#)

    I'm with Anonymous, in that our family is having trouble getting rid of the shampoo bottle (not my husband, who just uses the same bar soap for everything) and also liquid shower gel and hand soap. I've tried several different bar soaps now (passing them on to my husband each time they fail with my sons and myself!), but none of them rinse very clean, leaving a film behind on our skin and in the tub that is anything but nice and time-saving. (And we have tried Dr. Bronner's liquid soap…too watery and doesn't rinse clean either.) Is there a soap bar brand out there that rinses clean, so we actually feel clean when we get out of the shower? This has bugged me for years, as we have cut down on a lot of products we used to buy, but my husband is getting a little tired of using up the rejects, I think! 🙂 Oh, and we love baking soda (except we're not into using it for tooth powder yet).

  25. Emily says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 9:08 pm (#)

    I use Dr. Brommers in a foaming soap container mixed with water. It comes out pre-sudsy so it is not watery at all. I use it in the shower, bathroom sink, and for washing dishes by hand. There are some great foaming soap dispensers on Amazon (mine is by Cuisipro), or you can obviously buy one already filled with soap at the store and continue to refill it. 🙂

  26. Bare Necessities says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:37 am (#)

    I feel like a walking advertising for Aleppo soap :), but it does have this very clean feeling after you wash (like a neat friction point on your skin), yet you still feel moisturized. The problem if you live in the US is that is isn't as common there as in Europe. Try online maybe?

  27. Anonymous says:

    January 11th, 2015 at 1:10 am (#)

    Thanks for your feedback…I'll look for and try the Aleppo soap. I've tried Dr. Bronner's in a regular soap dispenser (it kept getting clogged), but not a foaming one, so maybe I'll give this a try. Mostly, I'd just like to find a bar soap with little packaging that doesn't leave behind a film like so many we've already tried. We have liquid soap pump containers (refilled with the store brand liquid soap, so very economical), but I still hate having the big plastic jugs to lug home form the store and later recycle (DOWN-cycle, in truth!).

  28. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:21 pm (#)

    We use liquid Dr Bronners at the kitchen sink only. I found that on hair, it was too drying (made my hair feel like straw), and why bother buying the liquid in bulk when bulk shampoos are generally available where liquid Dr Bronner's is.
    What's great about buying solid soap, is that you not only eliminate a container, you avoid paying a premium for the water that is added to liquid versions, and lighten your carrying load! It also is easy to travel (no security check needed for air travel).

  29. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 12:05 pm (#)

    My dentist warned me that baking soda will wear away tooth enamel very quickly. I'm in my 50s and have receding gums so lots of stuff underneath the gums is exposed. He could be part of the Commercial Toothpaste-Industrial-Complex, but I went back to my all-natural Trader Joe's peppermint toothpaste afterwards. Occasionally I do gently brush with baking soda, though.

    We use Good Soap too for shaving and washing and love it. I only wash my "smelly bits" every day rather than scrub the entire body daily. I have one bottle of shampoo left that I use twice weekly, diluting one squirt of it in a large cupful of water then basically rinsing my hair with it. It should last me at least a year. Shampooing daily is not necessary and dries out the hair. I remember the old slogan from childhood commercials .. Lather, rinse, repeat … then use a "cream rinse…" what fools we were for marketing!

  30. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:32 pm (#)

    My hygienist told me definitely to stay away from baking soda for cleaning teeth. It is just too rough on the enamel. She said not even on my porcelain caps!

  31. Anonymous says:

    January 11th, 2015 at 1:17 am (#)

    I was also encouraged not to use baking soda on my teeth by the dentists and hygienists whom I've asked in the past several years. They, too, said it was not good for the enamel. Commercial Toothpaste-Industrial-Complex suggestion or not, I have great teeth and the only thing I swear by is daily flossing and my electric toothbrush. The cheapest Crest toothpaste available (basic tartar-control paste) has kept my family in good dental health. Maybe cardboard, compostable tubes will be in the future for toothpaste packaging and I won't have to feel terrible when disposing of tubes.

  32. Anonymous says:

    January 11th, 2015 at 9:49 pm (#)

    Strange enough, the parodontosis toothpastes use baking soda.

  33. Nerissa says:

    January 13th, 2015 at 9:24 am (#)

    The thing is though, bicarb soda has such a low level of abrasivity that it is actually used as a baseline by which to measure the abrasivity of other tooth cleaning solutions. It's called RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity), and anything between 0-70 is considered low level abrasive and generally considered safe to use. At an RDA of 7, bicarb is much less abrasive than any commercial toothpaste available.
    and another source:

    These peer-reviewed course notes,
    discuss how abrasives are necessary and how risk to surface enamel can minimised. It concludes that sodium bicarbonate is the ideal ingredient in toothpastes:
    "Dentifrices with the three major categories of abrasives
    are likely to be safe from a dentin and enamel
    abrasivity perspective and functional in their ability to
    clean teeth.
    • Sodium bicarbonate is the least abrasive of the calcium
    phosphate, calcium carbonate, and silica abrasive
    systems in general use in today’s dentifrices.
    • The cleaning function of sodium bicarbonate is
    achieved by a combination of mechanical and chemical
    cleaning; thus sodium bicarbonate cleans with
    less abrasion."

  34. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:31 pm (#)

    Thanks Nerissa for your valuable input.
    My family has been using baking soda as toothpowder since 2008 (as suggested by a dentist then) with no issues! We can't even use toothpaste anymore, as we found that it leaves a waxy film on teeth. As I mention in the book, there are different coarseness of the powder out there (in France it is much coarser than in the US) but I have only found the fine kind in bulk, in the US. If I had listen to marketing brainwashing when I started this lifestyle, I would have never gotten to enjoy the benefits of the Zero Waste lifestyle. I am glad I did not listen to them and followed my instinct.
    If you do believe in them, maybe you want to give soap a try? This link, shared by a follower, tells why and how.

  35. jo says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 4:10 pm (#)

    Bea could you please please do a wardrobe post perhaps on multifunctional items, many thanks.

  36. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:44 pm (#)

    Hi Jo,

    You're in luck! Bea has already made many posts about her wardrobe:

    Her wardrobe in pictures:

    General advice about one's closet:

    Posts about different ways to wear a particular item:

    I hope this helps.
    Happy reading, and happy ZWing. 🙂

  37. marie says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 4:35 pm (#)

    Bonjour Béa,
    Tout ceci est tellement vrai. On a tout à gagner à se simplifier la vie et à réduire ses déchets. Un gain d'argent et surtout de temps que l'on emploie à faire ce qui nous rend heureux.
    Nous n'en sommes pas encore à zéro mais la réduction est énorme et en 2015 elle continue.
    Merci pour vos conseils, votre livre,

  38. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:32 pm (#)

    Merci Marie!

  39. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 5:59 pm (#)

    Bonjour Béa,
    Voilà plusieurs mois que je vous suis et adhère totalement au zéro déchet mais de grâce pouvez-vous traduire en français pour une ignorante en anglais qui vit avec le dico pour traduire vos post.

  40. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:00 pm (#)

    What do you use to condition your hair? I am in my mid-40's and have dry, curly hair and love conditioner to add softness. Thanks!

  41. Anonymous says:

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:51 pm (#)

    Hi there,

    Bea uses bulk conditioner, bought from Wholefoods.

    You could also use coconut or almond oil (although you could use any oil, I think these are used because they smell good) as a hair treatment.

    Just apply* to the driest parts of your hair, put your hair up (wrapping it up in a towel turban would help too) and leave to absorb for at least 2 hours before washing out.

    *It is best to heat coconut oil so that it's a liquid.

  42. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:35 pm (#)

    I indeed use whatever bulk conditioner I might find. I am not attached to brands and half the time I do not buy it from Whole Foods (since my local store does not carry it). I use the multipurpose balm recipe (or oil) on my ends and to tame flyaways.

  43. Anonymous says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 2:50 am (#)

    I find it very difficult to reduce the amount of products I use due to my moderate acne. I only use make up on special occasions, I have a good diet and drink plenty of water. I tried natural products like honey to help but to no avail. I've been using benzoyl peroxide, with some success but it causes sun sensitivity, which leads to the use of a sunscreen, then I have to use a mild soap and a moisturizer to prevent flacky skin. I would love to find a simple solution so that I can use less products. Any suggestions?

  44. Alexis Soderberg says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:00 am (#)

    Have you tried changing your diet? I had horrendous acne until I cut out dairy and processed foods. I drink a ton of water. I use to spot treat with tea tree oil, but now I dont need to. It was hard for me to give up makeup because the acne made me feel insecure, but when I did I noticed such a change. Now I only need to use warm water to wash and I moisturize with coconut oil.

  45. Anonymous says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 4:37 pm (#)

    I am peeling my skin with a mixture of a teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of water. You can also leave it on the skin for half an hour. This helps really good for me. And try to use a minimum of makeup even so its hard…

  46. Grüner Alltag says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 11:56 pm (#)

    I advised a friend to use olive oil for her skin and it works great for her (as it does for me). No more red spots or acne. I only wash my face with water, pad dry and then put a drop of oil on one hand, a few drops of water on the other, rub both hands together and apply to face. I know olive oil sounds weird to put on oily skin but it will balance the skin and clear it very mildly. Just try for a few weeks since it's almost free anyway! Cutting dairy out of your diet is a great tip too!

  47. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:40 pm (#)

    I went through a bad acne stage when I weaned myself off of the toxic products I used to use. My skin, I believe, went through a transition stage. I have not had problems since. I use oil (different oils are best for diff skin types, see book). I personally found olive oil to be too thick, and prefer grapeseed and rice bran.

  48. Anonymous says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:00 am (#)

    In your book, you've admitted to using botox and lasers in the past . Using a simple bar a soap is all well and dandy when you're skin is young and fresh. But I when the signs of aging starts to show its ugly face, will you just accept it gracefully or will you go back to the more effective botox and lasers. We are all superficial, whether you are into mother nature or mother science, we all love to look our best and "freshest". I have been debating this a lot. Would I still stand for all natural when my face starts to let loose? I don't know.

  49. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:53 pm (#)

    I wish my skin was, as you say "young and fresh", but I am in my forties now;)
    There is no need worrying about whether "I would still stand for all natural when my face starts to let loose". I'll worry about it when the time comes!
    What I do notice at my age though, is that I find the women who stay natural (or have such little work done, that it is not noticeable) more beautiful than those with a pulled face and protruding lips.

  50. Katrin says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 9:03 am (#)

    I just switched to a bar shampoo and so far I love it :-). There are special shampoo bar soaps available here in Germany from Savion (

    I gave them to my sisters for Christmas. Hopefully, they like it, too.

  51. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:55 pm (#)

    That's great that you found a good shampoo bar. How long does it last? Does it work just as well on your face and body? I have found those that I tried to be too pricey, melt too fast, and be too "slimy" for my face 😉

  52. Anonymous says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 9:12 am (#)

    After reading this, makes want to look at in my bathroom and list things I can say goodbye to, and things that I really need keep. I have at least 8 bottles in bathroom that use, but after reading this really wants cut that in half.

  53. Bea Johnson says:

    January 14th, 2015 at 11:56 pm (#)

    So glad my post can help you!

  54. lindseyalyce says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 3:13 pm (#)

    Thank you, Bea! I am one again inspired, particularly by your use of cocoa powder. Do you know of any interesting blush substitutes for those of us with rosier complexions?

  55. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:00 am (#)

    You can add bulk beet powder, as mentioned in the book (which also covers more colors available in bulk, for eyes for ex)

  56. hegemonypedagogy says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 6:17 pm (#)

    I'm allergic to soap (i.e. it causes my eczema to go haywire), so I must use Dove for most soap uses … but I no longer bother with any other special soaps. I simply use bar shampoo and Dove. It's not as minimalist as I'd like, but it's the best I can do. I do, however, adore baking soda. Great skin exfoliation and kitchen/bathroom cleanser, etc. (all mentioned in this blog post).

  57. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:01 am (#)

    I thought Dove was soap 😉 Have you tried it on your hair?

  58. Claudia says:

    January 10th, 2015 at 9:13 pm (#)

    I wanted to comment on the post about what to do with the waste you keep in your jar – you should make an artwork/collage out of it. I love the photo where you display it all like a little collection.

  59. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:02 am (#)

    Thanks for your input, Claudia. I have been too busy to do anything with our jars lately. One art project at a time in my studio…

  60. Chevanne Scordinsky says:

    January 11th, 2015 at 12:20 am (#)

    I recently discovered Lush Cosmetics which makes vegetarian and vegan beauty products. My hair texture has a high level of base care, so it's a great option since they take back their containers for recycling. But for face and body, soap, salt and baking soda have worked like a charm. The only thing I have left to do is get rid of some older lingering products. The whole family is trying to use it up!

  61. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:09 am (#)

    Hi Chevanne! I was really disappointed with Lush when I tried it. I refer to it in the book when I speak of headaches caused by a shampoo and a conditioner bar (which then melted on my driveway). I found out that their ingredients are not as "natural" as they claim to be (particularly their synthetic fragrances -phtalates). It's such a shame that such an international company selling bulk items and taking their containers back can't do better! The phtalates are so strong, my family could not even step into their store anymore.

  62. Anonymous says:

    January 16th, 2015 at 10:51 pm (#)

    I know what you mean about not being able to step in a store any more. We have done away with everything with a fragrance at our house, and now I realize how desensitized most people are to fragrances. I now have to hold my breath walking past cleaning product aisles and the make-up counters because they make me feel ill.

  63. Anonymous says:

    January 11th, 2015 at 6:31 pm (#)

    For a while, I had an internal debate over which was less wasteful: purchasing separately (but in bulk) general purpose cleaner, dish, dishwasher, & laundry detergents or use similar ingredients and make them myself. For me, it's actually easier to purchase each item than purchasing the ingredients, less time/mess/trash and actually same number as the base ingredients I would need, particularly since things such as washing soda are difficult to find in bulk…. the only exception is that I use a diluted version of dish detergent for general clean-up. I DO use baking soda as my general purpose scrubber (salt for the tougher stuff). Since I use detergents vs soaps, serious scrubbing is pretty much for cooking accidents only.
    Regarding hair shampoo vs soap, I cannot find an unpackaged AP bar soap that I like but CAN find in bulk an excellent hair shampoo, body shampoo, hand lotion at the market where I get most bulk purchases. No extra trips, etc.
    Toothpaste vs baking soda– unfortunately, I, too, got the word from our dentist to not use an abrasive, no matter how mild …. This remains the one item where I haven't been able to get rid of the packaging. Not ideal, but Terracycle to the rescue!
    The point is that I think part of any decision making about the products you use has to not only be about multi-functionality, but also HOW and WHERE you get your products: shipping vs local store, bulk vs packaging, etc. Bea's example of the soap they use is perfect: local, unpackaged, multi-purpose.

  64. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:15 am (#)

    Thanks for your input Anonymous: Just to clarify, we use the 3 ingredients listed above as-is. We do not "make" (or add any ingredients to) the 15 products that I mention.

  65. Foxy Green says:

    January 12th, 2015 at 5:39 pm (#)

    I love this simply thinking, it´s better den good 🙂

  66. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:15 am (#)


  67. Carole says:

    January 12th, 2015 at 8:38 pm (#)

    An annual $2000 ??? Good Lord, how is this possible ? I couldn't do it even if I tried very, very hard !

  68. Bea Johnson says:

    January 15th, 2015 at 12:16 am (#)

    we do live in a consumerist society afterall 😉

  69. Anonymous says:

    January 17th, 2015 at 10:23 pm (#)

    If anyone is interested, we can continue the discussion about multi-functionality on the forum!

  70. Anonymous says:

    January 18th, 2015 at 12:35 am (#)

    Don't forget that baking soda (along with vinegar) can be used to un-clog the shower drain. My husband says it workks better than liquid plumber or drain-o. You just shake about half a cup of dry baking soda into the drain. Measure out a cup of vinegar– then pour it in and plug the drain very quickly. As the baking soda/vinegar reaction fizzes inside the stoppered pipe gas and pressure build up until the hair clog is blown down the drain. Follow with some hot water to keep the clog moving until it reaches the sewer or septic.

  71. Bea Johnson says:

    January 18th, 2015 at 8:46 pm (#)

    This is a recipe that I provide in the book, thanks for adding it to this relevant post.

  72. Lauren says:

    January 18th, 2015 at 3:21 pm (#)

    How do you use the coco powder as dry shampoo? I've been looking into dry shampoo for a while, but I haven't found one with an ingredients list I like. The ones I've tried were aerosol, so I'm wondering how you use it in powder form.

  73. Bea Johnson says:

    January 18th, 2015 at 8:49 pm (#)

    Just as you can use cornstarch as dry shampoo, the easiest way to apply it is to put it in a spice jar. You can then sprinkle it on the roots of your hair, massage in and brush out. Use sparingly.

  74. Healthy Skin Tips says:

    June 4th, 2016 at 2:04 pm (#)

    Healthy Skin Tips

    “[…]Zero Waste Home Essential: Multi-functionality | Zero Waste Home[…]”

  75. marion says:

    July 26th, 2016 at 7:17 pm (#)

    Quelle inspiration autant de simplicité! Un doute sur l’usage du savon comme shampooing, il n’y a pas eu une période de transition avec les cheveux qui font comme des paquets? Comme s’ils étaient gras juste après le lavage? Parce que je teste plusieurs savons et même le savon de marseille me fait cet effet donc je me demandais s’il fallait rechercher un savon plus particulièrement?

    Merci !

  76. Inspirasjon – UEMBALLERT says:

    October 9th, 2016 at 12:29 pm (#)

    […] Bea som har bloggen zerowasstehome har skrevet et inlegg om gleden ved å ha mindre ting rundt seg. Det handler i hovedsak om hygieneprodukter, som er en av utfordringene ved å ikke skulle generere søppel. Les innlegget her. […]

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