Sustainability and Circularity

Personal Care Items/Beauty (The Sustainable Everyday Bag: Mom Edition)

Why is the personal care/beauty bag such an important part of my “mom purse”? Let me tell you. 

While I know my daughter’s needs are getting taken care of (check out THE KID BAG section), I also need to make sure I am ready for whatever the day throws at me. I think we can all agree that 2020 threw a lot of curve balls and I’m guessing most of us have been bracing for the curve balls that 2021 will bring.

So this post is me throwing the middle finger back at the Universe’s high pitched cackle to say, “I got this.”

This is the “my lips are chapped, I have a hangnail, I have stress sweats and need deodorant, I forgot my tampon and just started my period, my blood sugar is getting low, I have a splitting headache because who needs sleep, and the I forgot my facemask” personal care/beauty bag.

Let’s be real, it holds all of THE NECESSITIES.

As you begin to put this section of your bag together, some of the items that I mention below might not apply to you. However, as you shop for the items to fulfill your day-to-day needs, use these principles when looking for items to fill your personal care/beauty bag.

With those principles in mind and because I know there are a lot of moms/caregivers out there that can definitely relate, I put together a list of 22 things that I felt like were considered a NECESSITY throughout the day. 

For more inspiration as you put your mom purse together for a successful day ahead no matter what the world throws at you, check out my blog post THE SUSTAINABLE EVERYDAY BAG: MOM EDITION, to get inspired and tailor your bag to your family’s needs.

This blog post and shop widgets use affiliate links. Affiliate links are marked (ad). Read the disclaimer about affiliate links and PR products/gifting HERE.

Let’s get started…


One of my biggest pet peeves is when I’m nervous or deep in thought, I start picking at my nails and my cuticles. Just being transparent over here. The part that drives me crazy is that I can give myself hangnails. And not the kind that are easy to pull off and be done, it’s the kind that somehow find their way deep down into your cuticle. I am not a fan. Because of this, I always have a nail file and nail clippers on hand. 

I keep one on hand for my daughter also. Kids get into everything and sometimes out of all of the things you need to do during the day, clipping their nails just isn’t one of those things you remember. However, when you have nail clippers on hand… good job, mama. Good job.   

For a standard manicure set with case > CLICK HERE.



Having a small brush on hand has come in handy for myself and also my daughter. If I want to change my hairstyle mid day by throwing everything up into a ponytail or if my daughter needs a bun before dance class, this brush has come in handy. 

Try to opt for a plastic-free brush with plastic-free bristles whenever possible. My current favorite mini brush is available below:

Zero Market Hairbrush


I generally always have a hair tie on my wrist. Since my hair is so long, I can get away with a hair tie being all that I need to tame my locks throughout the day, but when my hair was shorter I frequently used Bobby Pins. Especially, when Fall comes around and static electricity flows through the air, it is refreshing to pin my hair back. I try to keep these around me as much as possible.

Hair Ties > Terra Ties


I have found that I don’t need safety pins often, but when I do need them, I am SO THANKFUL I had them around. I generally try to keep a couple in my bag for those infrequent moments.

When it comes to sustainability, try to use what you have on hand first. If you already have a chunk of hair ties and a handful of Bobby pins at home, use those first before you buy a more sustainable version to replenish your stock.


I always try to keep a small emergency snack on hand for myself. In general, I’m able to plan meals and snacks throughout the day, but some days it just gets away from me. 

When choosing an emergency snack, try to pick items that will last a while without the help of preservatives. Dried or freeze dried fruit is a great option. Other great options are nuts. Look at the ingredients of whatever you decide to store as your emergency snack. The more simple the ingredient list the better and you should be able to understand or recognize everything in the ingredient list, as well.

A great way to save money and plastic packaging is to buy food in bulk. Since the pandemic began, most food stores that did sell bulk items took away the option to bring your own bags and have now begun to prepackage their bulk items in plastic bags. In general, the amount of food you get in a prepackaged item is still less than what you would get in a prepackaged bulk item. This means you will likely have to buy more of the standard prepackaged item; therefore, contributing more plastic waste. Try to buy bulk whenever possible.

Stores that offer bulk items:

King Soopers – although, not every King Soopers has a bulk section. Just fyi.


Natural Grocers

Whole Foods

Also, check with your local Zero Waste store to see what they offer

To store my emergency snack, these Stasher bags have been a perfect reusable option! Get yours HERE.


Depending on what type of scent you prefer, perfume or essential oils are great to have on hand. Whether it’s an essential oil like lavender to rub on your wrist to bring a sense of calm to your stressful day or you want to simply freshen up going from the office to happy hour, having a scent on hand is a great addition to my bag. 

Many natural grocery stores sell vials of essential oils, but try visiting your local zero waste store for low waste packaging options.

If you would prefer to have a perfume instead of an essential oil on hand, consider buying a large bottle of your favorite perfume and then transferring small amounts into a refillable vial. Many stores offer individual travel size perfumes, but this option still creates more waste. Using a refillable vial reduces packaging waste and will actually save you money since the only perfume you will be buying is the larger size. 

I was able to use a small dropper that I had on hand for my refillable perfume option. If you need a refillable vial or roller ball, check out these options below:

Zero Market Roll-On Glass Vial

Zero Market .33 oz Glass Vial



I always have pain reliever on hand. I have had infrequent migraines throughout my life and having pain reliever on hand has been a lifesaver when I am out of the house if I feel one coming on. 

The bummer is that most medicines like ibuprofen or Tylenol come in a plastic bottle. I have yet to find ibuprofen in plastic-free packaging. If you find yourself in this situation, try to buy a larger bottle and refill a smaller container to keep in your bag/purse. If you already have a travel size container on hand, use that first. If you are in need of a small container, check out these options below:

Life Without Plastic Plastic-Free Metal Pencil Sharpener in Tin (just use the tin)

Also, try going into your local Zero Waste store for options that are not available online.


I don’t typically forget to put on deodorant before I go out, but I think we all know what I’m talking about when I say… “stress sweats”. You know, when it’s the perfect temperature in the room, but you are sweating. The only thing it could be is stress. 

I keep a small refillable glass bottle of spray deodorant in my purse that I am able to refill at my local zero waste store. A bottle usually lasts a while so that extra trip to the zero waste store really doesn’t end up being an “extra trip” at all since I have other items that will likely need to be refilled at the same time. 

To get your own refillable glass bottle to fill with deodorant at your local zero waste store, check out the links below:

Zero Market 1 oz Spray Bottle

If you are more into a stick of deodorant, there are plenty of low waste options available with clean ingredients, check out these below:

Marley’s Monsters Deodorant Stick

Well Earth Goods Organic Natural Deodorant 


Colorado is really dry and having a tube of lip balm on hand is essential. It’s difficult to find lip balm that comes in a plastic-free tube though. Check out these plastic-free options available online below:

Nudi Goods Lip Balm

Butter Me Up Organics Organic Lip Balm

Well Earth Goods Plastic-Free Lip Balm

Eco Girl Zero Waste Lip Balm


I don’t think you’ll find a purse/backpack/ bag in America that doesn’t have an extra tampon inside of it. You just always need to be prepared for that time of the month.


If you prefer tampons, try choosing a plastic-free option. Many brands sell tampons with cardboard applicators. Be wary of brands that advertise a “plant-based” applicator. I have found that many of these still contain plastic and therefore still contribute to the plastic-pollution problem. 

Also, if you’re thinking that the plastic applicator you threw away will stay in the trash truck all the way to the landfill, like a lot of trash should, think again. Plastic tampon applicators are frequently found in beach and ocean cleanups. So unless women are changing their tampons directly on the beach, which I highly doubt, it must mean the applicators are somehow escaping the trash truck prior to reaching the landfill. 

Check out this odd, but informative plastic sculpture made of tampons found on the beach to bring awareness to this plastic problem.

So far, my favorite low waste/plastic-free tampon option is from the TAMPON TRIBE. Click HERE to sign up for their tampon subscription so you’ll never have to run to the store before your period again.

TAMPON TRIBE SUBSCRIPTION (P.s. they offer a trial size to check out the products before you decide whether or not to sign up for the subscription)


There are many zero waste options for pads available at almost every zero waste store online or in your area. I keep a washable cloth liner in my bag, which I know what you are thinking… that’s gross. Things like that should be disposable. But in the same way that you would throw a dirty towel in the washer after you’ve used it to clean up dog throw up… why not create less waste by using washable cloth pads. These are FAR more comfortable than the generic brands you find at the regular grocery store that make you think everyone can hear you as you walk by. 

Sorry, this topic is probably the hardest to sell and convince for women when it comes to using a washable item. Trust me though, they work, they are way more comfortable, and they wash easily. 

If you are looking to make a switch or to simply give them a try, check out the links below to get your own and start living more waste free during that time of the month!

Zero Market Glad Rags Moontime Goods Washable Liner

Rael Organic Cotton Reusable Pads


I have a friend that swears by these. There are several brands out there, so check out this YouTube video to see which one will work best for you > How To Choose Your First Menstrual Cup

The downside for these is that they can be more on the expensive side when you consider that a box of tampons can be a third of the cost. However, if you use this cup every month, it becomes a long term investment which will end up helping you save money every month since you won’t be buying that box of tampons that I just mentioned. 


The main thing to think about if you purchase breath mints or gum, is whether or not the container they come in can be reused to hold more mints/gum in the future or repurposed later. Another thing to think about is the packaging it comes in. Altoids are a good example. The container can be repurposed easily after you are done with the mints; however, the entire thing is wrapped in plastic at the store. Ideally you want to find an item that comes in a reusable container and is not wrapped in plastic.

A great zero waste option is using a jar you already have on hand and filling it with fennel seeds, mint leaves, or other herbs to help curb bad breath.

If you would like to stick with mints/gum for breath freshness, some of my favorite low waste/sustainable mints and gum are listed below:

Sencha Original Green Tea Mints

Chicza USA Organic Mayan Rainforest Chewing Gum


I use an SPF every day on my face (check out my blog about sunscreen > HERE), so I rarely end up using sunscreen on myself when I’m out and about. However, there have definitely been a couple of times when I’m sitting in the afternoon sun at my daughters soccer practice and I need a little extra protection.

The current sunscreen that I have in my purse is by Manda, which is a great sunscreen, but when I run out of this one, I will opt for a smaller sunscreen option to fit in this bag. These are some of my favorites below:

Raw Elements Face & Body Certified Natural Sunscreen

Surf Dirt Travel Tin in Neutral/Tan

Sunbutter Skincare


I like to keep tissues around for myself, but also for my daughter. In thinking about sustainability, we have to consider the packaging and the material of the tissues. 

Many tissues are made from virgin trees and then disposed of immediately after use. So basically a tree is getting cut down just to blow your buggers into. It’s just not worth it when there are so many sustainable options out there. 

A great option is tissue paper made of either recycled paper, bamboo, or hemp. These options save a tree and are often more sustainable for the environment in how they are produced. My current favorite tissues are below:

Who Gives A Crap Bamboo Tissue Box (you can even set up a subscription with them so that you never have to run to the store for tissues!)

If you are looking for an even more zero waste option, ditch the disposable tissues and opt for a good old fashioned hanky. Yep, just like the one that Grandpa pulled out of his back pocket. In reality though, hankies are making a comeback! You can find cute hankies at almost any zero waste store. You can even repurpose an old towel or sheet by cutting it up into hankie size pieces. This is probably the most zero waste option. 

If you would like to stick with disposable tissues, consider opting for a cute tissue cover (many are on Etsy) instead of the prepackaged plastic wrap kind from more common brands. I like to take a few tissues from the box of bamboo WGAC tissues at home and refill them in the cloth tissue cover that I keep in my bag. To get you own tissue cover, see my favorite below:

Tissue Holder by DolphinBlue on Etsy


This item may not be for everyone, but I like to be able to touch up throughout the day if my skin is particularly oily in my T-zone or if I want to touch up going from the office to happy hour. 

The makeup industry has a long way to go when it comes to sustainability and isn’t even close to making plastic-free packaging mainstream. Two things to consider when looking for sustainable makeup are 1) the ingredients and 2)  it’s packaging. Like I said, the beauty industry has a long way to go when it comes to making less of an impact on the environment, but there are a few brands out there trying to shift that culture. I’ll be doing a blog post in the future about these brands and what they have to offer. 

Check out a couple of my favorite options for pressed powder and plastic-free brush/sponge options below:

Baked Foundation and Kabuki Brush by Antonym

Pressed Foundation and Bamboo Multi-Use Brush by Elate Cosmetics


Nobody likes broccoli stuck in their teeth after their lunch break. These are my favorite sustainable/refillable dental floss options:

Zero Market Dental Floss

Zero Waste Silk Floss

Zero Waste Silk Floss REFILLS


With the current times, I don’t like to be without an extra facemask. I also want to avoid turning the car around to go do a fun activity because I forgot something so simple like a facemask.

I got some really cute ones on Etsy for an affordable price, check them out below:

Facemask by Gigglesnbowz on Etsy (these are my absolute FAVE!)


This is an item that was gifted to me and also an item I would never think about keeping in my purse on a day-to-day basis. However, adulting will throw some curveballs your way and you never know when you will need to measure the length of a coffee table tray. 

This random item has been a great addition to my bag. Get yours below:

Portable Tape Measure

All of these items have come in handy in one way or another. I cannot tell you how many times I happened to be the only one in the room with ibuprofen or have needed an extra hair tie because the one on my wrist broke when I needed it. 

I hope this helped you plan out the personal care/beauty portion of your mom bag or at least inspired you to start planning so that you can have what you need on hand to make your days feel a little less scrambled. I have found these items to cover most basic needs throughout the day, but have fun customizing your own personal care/beauty bag to meet the needs of your day-to-day life. Just remember to use those main principles I mentioned when shopping. 


To check out the other sections of my complete sustainable day bag (the mom edition), click on any of the links below:



Click HERE to subscribe to my blog for future zero waste, sustainable, and plastic-free tips, tricks, and reviews of alternatives to products that we use everyday.

Until next time, 


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