Last week, I wrote about how I switched to a simpler body-cleaning regime. This not only saved some plastic bottles from ending up in landfill (or at best at the recycling factory) but also saved me time and money. Here are some more suggestions on how to green your beauty routine.
I read about some people who stopped using all types of lotions and moisturisers and their skin recovered to the point where the natural oils are enough and they don’t have a need for any creams and lotions. I do get it as my boyfriend has never used any lotions and his skin is perfectly happy. I do think, however, that girls’ skin has a different structure which can benefit from lotion and let’s be honest, the cosmetics ads have this down – it feels pretty damn good, to massage a blob of nice smelly stuff into your skin after a shower! In the future, I might consider trying to go without any lotions but for now, I keep at it…
I have some The Handmade Soap Company body lotion I bought last year but even though it smells and moisturises really nicely, it is packed in a plastic bottle which I’d rather avoid once I use this one up. I got two ‘massage cubes’ from Ponio which look like a really promising replacement. (I spoke about Ponio in my previous post.) These cubes are solid blends of shea and cocoa butters that will melt once warmed up in your hands. They can be used as a lotion for your face, body and all limbs. Basically, imagine slathering some chocolate over your body. Yep. That good.
The Burt’s Bees hand cream I got recently as a gift and I am happy that it’s in a metal tube which is recyclable. A little goes a long way here and it’s made from natural ingredients. I tend to have dry skin which is sensitive to too much water, so having a good hand cream is important. To be perfectly honest though, I am not too mad on the smell. Maybe I am weird. But I do find it a bit overpowering. Once I use this one up (or find someone to give it to?!), I will experiment with other alternatives and making my own hand cream concoction…if I don’t decide to go without in the meantime!
With winter coming soon, a lip balm is also essential, even though I found out that when properly hydrated from inside my lips get chapped much less. I got an artisan beeswax balm in my hive-share pack from the Brookfield Farm earlier this year. It’s packed in the cutest little tin and smells amazing. Hopefully it will work too!
Tools – brushes, razors & co.
The two worst landfill offenders from the bathroom are toothbrushes and disposable razors.
There are a lot of problems with plastic toothbrushes and this infographic says it all…
The best solution to date are toothbrushes made from a sustainable resource like bamboo. Bamboo happened to be the fastest growing plant on earth. It also contains naturally-occurring antimicrobial agents hence there is no need for using fertilizers or pesticides during its cultivation. It’s a tree so the toothbrush handle is biodegradable. As for the bristles, Nylon 4 (a synthetic polymer) is believed to be biodegradable in about 3-4 months in an active compost. There are brushes with Nylon 4 infused with bamboo fibre which are also said to be compostable. Other sources say that the only option for the bristles to be natural and biodegradable is boar hair which is a questionable source. I suppose the the next best thing is a plant-based material that can be recycled. There are a good few companies that produce bamboo toothbrushes so it comes down to what is available where you live. I got some WooBamboo toothbrushes some time back as they were the only brand I could find to be sold close to Ireland (in the UK) so the transportation costs would be minimised. What I didn’t like about these brushes was that they were single-packed in a PET blister with a cardboard back. They actually answer the question why plastic packaging on their website. I mean I do get their point but still, the next time, I will buy ones that are packed in compostable packaging, probably from Brush with Bamboo.
Statistics say that, in the United States alone, 2 billion disposable razors are thrown out every year. Now, that’s a lot.
Thankfully, there are alternatives. You can either go total badass and master the use of a straight razor but if you, like me, prefer not to bleed to death every time you shave, a ‘closed-combed reusable razor’ is a much better option. The blades are from metal which is recyclable, however, you would need to find a local recycler who accepts them. They do exist though so have a look around your area… (Mental note: look for one around Dublin!) Once you buy the handle though this will, with proper care, last you a lifetime, may I say. I actually got mine at my parents’ house, which my grandma bought for my grandpa years ago but he never got to use it. That’s why mine has added emotional value for me as I always remember him when looking at it!
The collection of tools is completed by a nail clipper, scissors, tweezers (have these for ages) and a pumice stone I got last year in an amazing shop in Belgium last year. Seriously, if you ever close to any Dille & Kamille shop, do pay them a visit. It’s like in heaven.
To complete the full list, I need to add a hair brush, plastic but very durable, a blow-drying-brush which I got about 5 years ago in Barcelona (memories!) and a small hairdryer. I got it as a gift for travelling but it’s so small and handy it became my ‘main one’. Even though since I swapped to the solid shampoo bar, I don’t even need to blow dry my hair as it actually looks respectable just air-dried. In my case having short hair means also much less maintenance…happy days.
In summary, I have to say immodestly that I am pretty happy with myself and the fact that I eliminated almost two thirds of cosmetics products once I used and swapped the ones I was using for better and greener alternatives.
Did you take the plunge and tackle your beauty routine? What was the easiest and the hardest? Let me know in the comments!