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LastObject Review: How I Switched to Zero Waste Personal Care Products

Christen Russo
ByChristen RussoMar 17, 2021 | 9 comments

LastObject Review: How I Switched to Zero Waste Personal Care Products

LastObject Review

A Zero Waste Alternative to Personal Care Items

LastObject is a sustainable personal care company with a mission to eliminate single-use items by creating reusable alternatives. Founded in Denmark in 2018 by eco-conscious designer Isabel Aagaard, LastObject carries a line of reusable cotton swabs, tissues, and cotton rounds.

LastObject launched their first product, LastSwab, in 2019. I was interested in the idea of a reusable Q-tip — both because cotton swabs contribute largely to marine pollution and that some say it’s best to leave your ears alone. However, as someone who comes from a long lineage of folks with problematically waxy ears, I didn’t know how I was going to give them up. So, a reusable option seemed like a great solution. Here’s how I swapped out single-use personal care items for LastObject.

by Christen Russo, MSA Reviewer, Imperfectly Sustainable
March 22, 2021| 9 comments

About LastObject

Cost

This review is of six individual LastObject items, intended to show you their full line.

This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

  • Ships worldwide from Denmark, Hong Kong, and the U.S. (West & East Coasts).
  • Shipping costs vary by location.
  • Flat rate (starting at $3.95), express, and expedited shipping options are available to most locations.

More info about shipping (including estimated timelines, carriers, and duty/tax info) can be found here.

Getting Started

LastObject‘s goal is to provide the last version of each product that you own. They offer Personal Care Kits and Beauty Kits so you can stock up on all the sustainable self-care items you need in one fell swoop. Some quick math shows that you’re not actually saving any money by buying a pre-bundled kit vs. adding individual items to your cart. You’ll also forgo the option to choose a variety of colors within your kit—you just choose 1 color and everything you’ll be sent will match.

Screenshot of LastObject's Self-Care Kits

My LastObject Review

 

LastSwab Basic in Turquoise — Retail Value $12.00

Each LastSwab comes in a slide-open carrying case. Its recyclable cardboard packaging is filled with info about the positive environmental impact you’re making by choosing LastSwab over single-use cotton buds. The product itself is made from mostly plastic and rubber; not necessarily a win in some sustainability warriors’ book, but it’s meant to replace 1,000 single-use cotton swabs, so the goal is to add up to a net positive.

LastObject shares:

The swab ends are made of the rubber like material TPE, and the rod is made of plastic reinforced with glass fiber. The case comes in two versions and is either made of the plant based material PLA, or of recycled ocean bound plastic collected by Indonesian fishermen in collaboration with the organisation: https://www.reseaproject.com/.

LastSwab’s Soft rubber tips have a bumpy texture to help pick up wax. I found the sensation satisfying but was taken by surprise the first time I tried it—it isn’t nearly as gentle as the cotton of a classic Q-tip.

LastSwab

LastSwab

After using LastSwab, clean it with soap and water. I find that running my fingernails over the bumps helps clear the wax out more quickly. The directions don’t say anything about drying, but I’ve found that it’s a necessary step to get my LastSwab fully cleaned. And because there is often a little lingering wax on there, I generally use a piece of tissue rather than a towel. So, again, not the most sustainable step to have to take, but still feels less wasteful than using an entire cotton swab.

As far as durability goes, LastSwab has room for improvement. I purchased my first LastSwab in fall of 2019 and all went well for a while until one of the tips gave out mid-ear-cleaning (it did not fall off in my ear). I certainly wasn’t using it with significant force nor was I pushing it very far into my ear, so I was a bit bewildered. With a flimsy tip, it did me no good. I used just one end for some time, cleaning it between ears, but it became cumbersome, so I had reached out to the company for a replacement. They shared that there were some early production issues that have now been resolved, and happily sent me a new one. Unfortunately, both ends of the new one broke into flimsiness within months too.

When I was asked to review LastObject, I was actually looking forward to the opportunity to give this product a third try and explore their other products. Despite feeling like I was now collecting a large enough pile of LastSwabs to counteract the waste reduction, I recognized that this company is still new and wanted to continue believing in them. On the second day that I used my newest LastSwab, the case broke as I was returning the swab to it—two of the tiny arms that hold the swab in place cracked right off. Eek! At this point, I think I may hold off on seeking yet another replacement.

 

LastSwab Beauty in Peach — Retail Value $12.00

While the Basic version of LastSwab is textured for effective ear cleaning, the Beauty version has two super-smooth tips. One is pointed and the other is rounded.

From LastObject:

Our innovative design features a soft-feel tip made of medical TPE. It is delicate enough to be suitable for sensitive body parts, and so precise that it’ll become a make-up essential.

LastSwab beauty swab

LastSwab Beauty

The Beauty LastSwab is intended for makeup touch-ups and precise removals, and while I don’t wear a lot of makeup, my mascara sometimes transfers onto my eyelids. I used the pointed end dipped in a little bit of gentle face lotion (which I use as makeup remover) to carefully wipe the mascara smudge off my lid. The soft rubber tip of this swab felt nice and smooth on my eyelid—a hint friction-y, but that actually worked well for this effort. It took a couple of passes to remove the smudge completely, and I had to wipe the swab off between each one, but it did do the job. I’d say that for my personal needs, the Beauty LastSwab replaces cotton Q-tips just fine.

 

Add-On Mirror for LastSwab — Retail Value $3.00

If you plan to use your LastSwab Beauty on the go, you can purchase a small mirror that adheres to the inside of the case. It’s shaped with the appropriate cutouts to fit your case’s contours without running the risk of applying it incorrectly.

LastSwab Mirror

Here’s how it looks once stuck to the case. It feels sturdy.

 

LastTissue in Green — Retail Value $24.00

LastTissue is a portable tissue case filled with six reusable tissues (AKA handkerchiefs). And these 100% GOTS certified organic cotton tissues do have the feel of an old-school hanky. They are a nice-feeling woven material, thin but sturdy, and I can only see them improving as they soften from washing over time. The case is made from food-grade silicone and is dishwasher safe for up to 520 washes.

I think the concept of this eco-friendly alternative to travel Kleenex is so clever. You tug a fresh hanky out of the bottom to use, and when you’re done you fold it back up and place it in the top, above the silicone divider. The divider acts not only as a barrier between clean and dirty hankies, but it’s also an indicator of when you need to wash and refill.

 

LastTissue Refill — Retail Value $12.00

If you’d like to have the option of keeping your LastTissue case fully loaded at all times, consider stocking up with a refill pack. I don’t think you could squeeze more than six hankies in your carrying case at one time, but with extras on hand you can have a full case of clean ones available while you have a load in the wash.

LastTissue size with hand for scale

LastTissue size with hand for scale

Size-wise, LastTissues are somewhat small, which I like. My nose tends to run on a windy or chilly day, but I rarely need a gigantic tissue to wipe up my sniffles. I can see myself using one a few times, then storing it in the top of the case and grabbing a fresh one the next time I need it. I can also see myself using these for other random spills or small wipe-ups that I may encounter throughout my day.

 

LastRound in Red — Retail Value $14.00

This is the LastObject product that I was least drawn to, but it turns out that I might like it best. Its corn-based case comes filled with seven reusable cotton pads. They feel a bit brittle when you first pull them out, but they soften when wet. They also sort of smell like corn, but that doesn’t bother me. One pack is good for 1,750 uses or more—it’s hard to believe when you have them in your hands, but these cotton skincare pads are actually machine washable in cold water. Once they’ve passed their prime you can compost them. A plant-based product that’s both reusable and compostable? Now that’s a great sustainable alternative to a single-use product.

 

Laundry Bag — Retail Value $8.00

While you could certainly throw your LastTissues in the wash with the rest of your laundry, it might be a scavenger hunt finding them again. The cotton rounds would be even more of a hunt. LastObject sells this mesh, drawstring laundry bag made from 100% organic cotton so that they can be kept contained. It’s big enough for 6 tissues and all your cotton rounds at once. It would make a great wash bag for reusable face masks as well.

Returns

LastObject has a 30-day refund policy for any items that are unused and in their original packaging. Email [email protected] with your order number and reason for returning, and they’ll issue a reimbursement (minus $10.00 for shipping).

If your item is broken or defective, LastObject will send you a replacement for free. Contact [email protected] with your order number and a photo of the issue, and you’ll get a replacement at no cost. Rather than returning the defective item to LastObject, you are encouraged to dispose of them at your local recycling station.

My Verdict

I really like the concept of LastObject, these products are well designed. The slide-open swab cases and the clean/dirty tissue system are two standouts. In terms of use, it takes a little getting used to the different feel that these items offer from the classic cotton swab or tissue experience, but that’s par for the course when transitioning to eco-friendly alternatives to single-use products. In terms of sustainability, there’s no question they’re making a positive impact on waste reduction with their ethical production, efforts toward replacing single-use items with reusable options, and use of plant-based plastics. While their swabs aren’t entirely plastic-free, eco-friendly living is about improvement over perfection.

In the area of durability, I think there is room for improvement. Most of LastObject‘s items seem pretty sturdy, but their flagship offering, LastSwab, has given me recurring issues. If your LastObject breaks and you live in an area like mine where there are limits to what’s accepted in the local recycling facility, your LastSwab is ending up in the landfill. I would love to see LastObject evolve their swabs so they’re built to last.

Have you tried any personal care or beauty items from LastObject? How did the switch go for you?

Christen Russo
Christen Russo
Christen is a smile collector, outdoors enthusiast, and appreciator of soggy French fries. Her favorite subscriptions involve eco-friendly products and clothes, nature supplies, stationery, and coffee. She can be easily won over with a good sheet of stickers.

Christen Russo
Christen Russo
Christen is a smile collector, outdoors enthusiast, and appreciator of soggy French fries. Her favorite subscriptions involve eco-friendly products and clothes, nature supplies, stationery, and coffee. She can be easily won over with a good sheet of stickers.
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9 comments

KW

My roommate used to really like the swab until the white nubby tip lodged in an ear canal, resulting in a $1,200 emergency room trip. Fortunately there was no permanent damage from this incident and he now uses cotton swabs that don’t have plastic shafts instead.

MrsLittle

Just fyi, those can get lodged, too. I worked in an er for just over a year and in that it m time I saw 3 adults come in for that.

Jen

I had the same problem with my last swab. And although it feels nice- like a little ear massage; I don’t think the last swab is as effective at cleaning.

Ragan Buckley

As an alternative to this, if you are interested in recycling things that are difficult to recycle or not accepted by curbside recycling services, look at TerraCycle. Some of the programs are paid but there’s a free one for oral care products sponsored by Colgate (toothpaste tubes, floss containers, toothbrushes, any brand), and one for beauty product containers sponsored by Garnier, some for specific beauty brands, some for cleaning products and laundry detergent bottles, etc.

I just can’t do handkerchiefs, though.

If you buy actual Q-tips (i.e. not generic swabs with plastic sticks) they are compostable (would be OK from cleaning ears anyway, probably not if you’re putting acetone on them or something).

Christen Russo

Oh yes, Ragan, thank you for the reminder about TerraCycle! I think you had suggested this before and it hadn’t stuck but I’m going to see about sending my broken LastSwabs in to them.

Julia

This adds to one’s to do list, to the clutter of objects on surfaces (waiting to be washed or dried), and to the water bill. Not a sustainable solution as far as my mental health is concerned. And somehow I doubt that the CEOs and founders of companies like that stand around washing their earwax off plastic knobs.

Flora

Just FYI, they do not offer a satisfaction guarantee (I.e. they only accept unused items) and I didn’t enjoy the wet ear feel but could not return mine.

D

A lot of this feels over engineered. Can’t I just use a cut up old sheet for most of this?

Christen Russo

I’ve heard people say that using your bath towel to dry off your ears should be the extent of ear cleaning. I tried that for awhile and it just didn’t work for me (too much earwax buildup) but maybe it would for you, D! Would be very sustainable!

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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.