How to Pack a Sustainable Dopp Kit
Traveling green: The best ways to pack a sustainable dopp kit
Words— Kaitlyn McInnis
Sustainable personal care habits may begin at home—but that doesn’t mean you should forego your earth-friendly routine when you’re out exploring it. While it may seem more difficult to maintain sustainable practices while on the road, it’s actually easier than packing a conventional carry-on—if you know the right tricks.
Most eco-friendly products opt for minimal packaging and fewer ingredients, which means getting creative with the make and medium. This also means that you’ll be able to forego conventional liquid-based personal care products—which can be a hassle at customs—and actually, fit more of what you need in your dopp kit (or save space for one-of-a-kind souvenirs!).
Here, we’re laying out some of the best ways to pack a sustainable dopp kit, that will actually leave you feeling just as fresh (or fresher) than you would using your usual travel-size grooming products. Following these tips will also help you avoid opening up the plastic mini bottles in your hotel room—which, let’s be real, have like, one squirt of liquid in there anyways.
Ditch the aerosol sunscreen
No matter where you’re travelling (even if it’s just across town), it’s important to be mindful of the sunscreen you choose to use. Aerosol sunscreen may seem convenient in theory, but the amount of wasted product that flies past your skin and into the air and surrounding grass or sand is astonishing—seriously, have you ever watched someone apply an aerosol spray in the breeze?
Instead, opt for traditional sunscreen. Most modern sunscreens rub in just as easily as an aerosol but instead of floating into the air, will actually make it to your skin. When shopping for sunscreen, read the label, and avoid Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, which causes harm to coral reefs and are banned in many states and countries. We really like Badger Balm, which is reef-friendly and biodegradable.
Skip on mini toothpaste
Mini toothpaste tubes are cute, and, yes, convenient too, but how many brushes do you really get out of that little tube? Maybe a week’s worth before you throw it away? While we’re not suggesting you forego brushing your teeth while on the road, we definitely think there’s a better way to keep up with your oral hygiene without being wasteful.
Toothy Tabs by Lush work exactly the same as toothpaste, but instead come in a compact tablet form—in a glass bottle. Simply pop one of these guys into your mouth before brushing, crush it up (without swallowing), grab your wet toothbrush, and brush as usual.
Reconsider your face wipes
Anyone who has travelled on a long flight will agree: face wipes are the real MVP—but, unfortunately, they’re a straight to the landfill product that isn’t doing the environment any favours. According to the FDA, face wipes are made from things like polyester, polypropylene, cotton, wood pulp, and rayon fibres—many of which are not biodegradable. But don’t worry: these days there are handfuls of eco-friendly options that will work just as well as your beloved one-use wipes.
We recommend the Exfoliating Organic Muslin Cloths from Pai Skincare. Made from 100% unbleached organic muslin cotton, these environmentally conscious wipes are made to last and are actually much gentler on your skin than a throw-away wipe. Simply wet the cloth and do your thing. The natural fibres act as a gentle cleanser and exfoliant and are made to last through the wash.
Choose bar soap over liquid
Whether at home or while travelling, stop buying your soap or shampoo in plastic bottles—instead, switch back to old fashioned bar soap and shampoo bars. Not only do bar soaps allow for an easy time going through airport security (they’re not a liquid, gel, or aerosol, and can stay in your bag!), they last longer and come with no packaging so not only are they more sustainable, they’re more economical.
We like the Shampoo Bars from Lush, which are made from essential oils and natural ingredients and are made to fit in a reusable tin carrying case. When shopping for a bar soap, the more natural, the better. Look for ingredients like vegetable oils mixed with aloe and seaweed, which will add moisture back into the skin without making it feel waxy—and don’t forget to pick up a reusable soap case for it while you’re at it.
Look into all-purpose
Realistically, you probably don’t need to pack a bottle of aloe, after-bite cream, lip balm, and hand cream all for a quick trip abroad. Even if you do find organic products to fit the bill, the amount of packaging that comes along with each small product is wildly unnecessary.
Instead, we recommend looking for a hard-working salve to check all your just-in-case boxes. All Good Goop is a great example of a sustainable, multi-purpose product. The all-purpose balm is made from organic herbs, beeswax, and olive oil and works as a moisturizer, a salve for cuts, sunburns, and insect bites, a remedy for chapped lips, and more. It’s also packaged in glass rather than plastic.
Invest in a safety razor
Disposable razors are no friend to the environment. Most of the time they last for just one or two shaves before being thrown away—and not in the recycling. Most disposable razors are made of plastic and cannot be recycled as they are because of all the different types of plastics, rubbers and metals used to create the razor.
If you’re still using disposable razors when you travel, consider switching to a safety razor. Many people don’t know that reusable razors are allowed to be brought in a carry-on bag, so there’s no need to pick up a pack of disposables once you reach your destination. What’s more, a one-time razor purchase is much more economical than constantly buying packs of disposables. It’s a win-win.
Don’t forget your essential oils
While packing an essential oil may not seem like a necessity, it’s actually a great remedy to have on hand—especially peppermint or eucalyptus. Most people find that a few drops of peppermint essential oil will alleviate headaches and migraines, while eucalyptus will help with any stress or anxiety that can sometimes accompany long travel days. It’s a great alternative to packing a travel-sized container of Advil or Tylenol.