Looking for eco friendly loofah alternatives? Didn’t even know there was such a thing?
Well, it turns out there are lots of awesome brands out there offering options that work just as well as synthetic or non-vegan bath sponges with much less of the environmental and ethical strain.
Whether you are looking for more gentle options, zero waste options, or cruelty-free options, read on to find out everything you need to know about loofahs; along with a list of some of the best loofah alternatives available.
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What is a loofah?
The loofah (also spelled ‘luffa’) is made from the gourd of the luffa aegyptiaca plant which is a vine that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. Unlike the sea sponges or dried coral they are often confused for (which are considered living organisms harvested from the ocean); the natural fiber derived from this gourd is completely plant-based and veggie sourced.
To make these plant-based loofahs, the process starts out with the vegetable or gourd produced by the plant (which can also be cooked like a zucchini or consumed raw like a cucumber). It is left to ripen until the skin turns brown, and then it is picked and dried. To reveal the fibrous off-white spongy material we use to scrub or massage our skin, the dried gourds are soaked in hot water for easy peeling and the seeds are removed. Once peeled, seeded, and completely dry, what is left is ready to use.
The synthetic versions known by the same name are actually called poufs (also spelled ‘poof’) or bath poufs. These fluffy bath accessories, while colorful and oddly exciting, are made of plastic. Not only does this mean fossil fuels and virgin plastics, but it also means microplastics.
When used in the shower, these plastic poufs wind up shedding a type of microplastic just like synthetic fabrics do. And, just like polyester, acrylic or fleece, these microplastics end up in the ocean; causing serious harm to ocean life, damaging ecosystems, and even winding up in our food supply.
What’s more, these plastic loofahs are neither biodegradable nor recyclable and are only left to be discarded, with no sustainable disposal options. This leads us to the following questions…
1. Why are eco friendly loofah alternatives better for the environment?
Simply put, eco friendly non-plastic loofahs reduce the environmental impact associated with synthetic loofahs. Not only do they offer an alternative to plastic loofahs that do not shed any microplastics at all; eco friendly loofahs are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, chemical-free, plant-based, biodegradable, and compatible with a zero-waste lifestyle.
By choosing eco friendly loofah alternatives, consumers like you and me, also show businesses in the beauty industry that we support clean beauty products. This will go a long way for creating large-scale collective change, just by reaching for an eco friendly loofah alternative where possible.
So, to choose the best non plastic loofahs we ask ourselves:
2. What is in this product? (Ingredient Transparency)
Ideally, beauty products must only be made of all-natural, non-toxic, chemical-free, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients. To that end, it is imperative that you consult the ingredients list (usually on the back of the product) and take note of the percentage amount of specific ingredients, particularly those that are being advertised (on the front). If there are no percentages, ingredients are usually listed in the order of predominance (from the greatest amount to the least amount) so that may be a good reference as well.
For loofahs, the task is thankfully much easier. Just look for the most natural and organic of loofahs you can find (and afford) made only of all-natural, plant-based fibers and ingredients.
Whatever the label says, do watch out for greenwashing, to make sure brands and products are true to what you stand for. Where are responsible business practices being modeled by the brand? (Corporate Environmental Commitment)
3. Where are responsible business practices being modeled by the brand? (Corporate Environmental Commitment)
Next, we consider the practices being modeled by the brand; including their sourcing practices, packaging, and corporate responsibility. Here we are looking for ethical sourcing practices such as ensuring living wages for workers, climate-friendly production methods, and social impact tools like career development opportunities. Brands should also use environmentally-conscious packaging or relevant practices, and be working to actively reduce and improve their company’s environmental impact on the planet.
4. Who can access and use this product? (Inclusivity)
By this, we consider how affordable these products are (or are not)? And, who the products are made to appeal to? Ultimately, where creating large-scale change will require large amounts of people to have access to ethical products, inclusivity in terms of cost and representation is paramount for selecting the right ethical brands and products for as many as possible.
To learn more about these criteria, check out What is Clean Beauty Anyway.
From there, each of the brands featured is either Canadian, makes its products of all-natural ingredients, is certified organic, vegan, cruelty-free, sources materials sustainably, and/or uses eco-conscious packaging.
Top picks for eco friendly loofah alternatives
I hope this information was insightful and will enable you to choose the best option(s) for your needs. From there let’s get right into my top picks for eco friendly loofah alternatives:
Based out of Toronto, Canada, etee is committed to creating a Plastic Free life for everyone. Its mission is to make sustainable products accessible to everyone, no matter their background. To that end, they offer a variety of plastic-free products ranging from dish soap to loofahs of course!
Their Natural Loofah is sourced from a family-owned farm in Guatemala and is available in a 6-pack; making replacements more efficient.
etee is a really impressive brand and is all about: "Simple, daily actions. Meaningful, lasting change." All of their items are hand-made in Toronto with fair labor practices and ethical manufacturing.
2. Net Zero Co
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Net Zero offers a range of reusable products covering every aspect of day-to-day life on their mission to help consumers reduce waste and its impact on the environment.
Their alternative to plastic loofahs or harsh chemical exfoliants comes in the form of a porous root belonging to the Japanese vegetable: Amorphophallus konjac.
Shortened to Konjac sponge (pronounced: Kohn-yak or Cognac), Net-zero’s naturally sourced and biodegradable facial version of the konjac sponge makes for a gentle option; particularly for those with sensitive skin. USE CODE ECOHUB10 at checkout.
Owner, Tara Holguin, started Green & Frugal because she had a difficult time finding “natural” skincare products without the harmful chemicals herself. Based in Toronto, Canada, they now offer a wide range of body care and other eco-friendly products to help support healthy, chemical-free, sustainable lifestyles.
Their Loofah Scrubby is 100% plant-based, and dye-free. While it is advertised for the kitchen, it is still a natural loofah and can be used in the bath to exfoliate instead. USE CODE THEECOHUB15 at check out.
The Detox Market is a marketplace offering a safe haven of green beauty products, carefully curated by a team of experts with a no-compromises ethos.
There, you will find the Wyld brand Konjac Loofah Body Sponge made of 100% natural konjac & loofah. Use it to exfoliate away clogged pores, buff away dead skin cells, or stimulate skin renewal, on both the face and the body. One side is also dusted with an ultra-fine layer of ground konjac for a deeper cleanse.
Also based in Toronto, Canada, Smile Boutiques strives to provide affordable, unique, eco-friendly products, while ensuring the finest of quality.
To that end, they offer a 3-piece set of Kitchen Sponges made of naturally grown and processed loofah. They even make a sisal shower sponge that is made from natural sisal. It's soft and abrasive and can be used for dry-brushing, which is good to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
6. Eco Roots
EcoRoots is an eco-conscious and minimalist brand based in the US. They offer quality, affordable, everyday products, shipped to you entirely plastic-free.
Among them, is a Natural Loofah, which can be used for mild body exfoliation and skin massages in the bath; just as it can be for scrubbing and cleaning around the house.
EcoRoots is one of my top zero waste online shops because not only do they have some of the best sustainable products, but they are also members of 1% for the Planet and give back to organizations like Ocean Conservancy.
Bathorium was founded on the concept of the benefits of bathing, this Canadian company prides itself on creating a memorable bath experience without harsh chemicals, phthalates, and parabens.
Their selection of products includes a Konjac Walnut Shell Exfoliating Body Sponge fit for showers and baths. The two-sided sponge offers a more textured side made of walnut shells and konjac. Use it to exfoliate away dead skin cells, or to gently remove dull surface cells. It is also naturally anti-micro bacterial and creates a creamy lather when combined with your preferred body wash or bathwater.
Why we think eco friendly loofahs are the way to go:
When it comes to loofahs, eco-friendly options are a no-brainer. So if you are looking to make the switch, do consider leaving plastic loofahs in all their awkward handling and microplastic shedding splendor for one of these zero waste loofah alternatives.
Do remember, they will only be zero waste if you choose to close the loop and compost them once they are used. Otherwise, they are simply the best loofah alternatives to plastic/synthetic loofahs which is still pretty awesome considering you can even add anti-micro bacterial properties to an already long list of ethical ones; including being vegan friendly, cruelty-free, all-natural, chemical-free, and plastic-free.
Whatever you end up choosing, do remember to disinfect any loofah (natural or synthetic) once a week by following manufacturer instructions, or by soaking them in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of any essential oil with antimicrobial properties like Tea Tree, Lemon, or Peppermint.
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