If you've already started down the path towards a zero-waste lifestyle, you've probably taken a stab at making some of your own toiletries and cosmetics at home, or at least thought about it. One of the easiest and most popular ways to quit your dependency on bathroom products that are packaged in plastic is to make your own toothpaste. A quick Google search will get you a bunch of variations on the natural toothpaste recipe - some combination of coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint oil, sometimes with a natural sweetener like stevia.
Well, friends, I too tried to switch to natural toothpaste, and though in the zero-waste world it may be sacrilege to say it, I just don't like it. I don't like the salty taste of baking soda in my mouth, and the saltiness puts my salivary glands into overdrive and I end up drooling all over my toothbrush and hand by the time I'm done cleaning my teeth. The drooling is gross, and the taste is (in my opinion) gross, even with peppermint oil and stevia, and after about a month of brushing with the baking soda gunk I threw in the towel.
Then, on a trip to Bangkok, I popped into a natural beauty/health store and was excited to find a bentonite clay-based tooth powder, packaged in a metal tin. Maybe this was the solution to my distaste for baking soda toothpaste. I took it home and gave it a try. Alas, it was even worse than the homemade stuff, and turned my toothbrush bristles a swamp monster green color. There must be, I thought, a natural toothpaste that's packaged in a recyclable tube, that doesn't taste disgusting.
I found the answer in an unexpected place. On my return to the United States from India, I had a two week stopover in New York, and one afternoon when I was in midtown, I stopped into Urban Outfitters. There, in the beauty and cosmetics section, I found the holy grail: David's Premium Natural Toothpaste.
I was drawn to it because the packaging is a graphic designer's dream, with a minimal Helvetica-esque font and a gorgeous soft mint color background. Then I read the label:
- premium natural ingredients
- recyclable metal tube
- fluoride free
- sulfate free
- 98% USA origin ingredients
- made in California
It even comes with a metal key that you can slide on the end of the tube and roll up, so you get every last drop of toothpaste out of the tube before you put it in your recycle bin.
I bought a tube and took it home with me, crossing my fingers that this toothpaste wouldn't put my gag reflex through its paces once again. Fortunately, the taste is sublime! Fresh, minty, not at all salty, and it kept my saliva production at normal levels. It doesn't foam and froth as much as generic toothpaste does, but I don't care so much about that. It left my teeth feeling clean, and my breath fresh. I did a little happy dance at my bathroom sink, for I had found the one! This baby ticks all the boxes, and to top it all off, the package is beautiful. Never in my life did I think I'd get so amped about something as basic as toothpaste.
The one and only potential drawback is the price - $7.95 for a 5.25 oz. tube. I realize that this price may be prohibitive for some, but for me all of the other pros of this product make the price worth it. It costs money to manufacture in the United States, and to use natural, sustainable ingredients that are locally sourced. I will happily fork over my money for this quality product, and help to support an ethical brand.