In a recent discussion, Ben mentioned toiletries and beauty products and I realised how much my personal grooming habits have changed.
When I was about 15 I’d spend over an hour in the mornings getting ready for school.
A complex, yet precise routine existed of ensuring I was first into the bathroom and applying all sorts of lotions and potions, daily hair washing and styling, shower gel, body spray, deodorant, body lotion and perfume, then at the end of the day I’d do it all over again! A regular cleanse, tone, moisturise regime coupled with foot cream, hand cream, more body lotion and probably a myriad of other rituals that I’ve forgotten about.
There were weekly shopping excursions for body spray, cotton wool balls, deodorant, hair gel, mousse, hairspray – you name it, I had to have it and apply it to every square inch of my body.
If anyone had told me then that some twenty or so years later I would be using just 7 different products I would have probably laughed in their face. Actually, I’d have probably grunted and then done rude impressions of you as you walked away.
So come with me to the bathroom where I’ll show you the products I use now:
On my hair I use clay or a gentle, mild shampoo with no harsh chemicals in it such as SLS. Because the product is gentle and doesn’t strip my hair, I no longer need conditioner or hair packs.
When I was a teenager daily curling with heated appliances, blow drying, and the use of harsh stripping shampoos and colours meant I needed to replenish lost moisture with conditioners, hot oil treatments and retexturising products. What you take out, you have to put back in. If you stop taking it out, you don’t need MORE products to put it back in. I leave my hair to dry naturally, so I don’t take out the natural oils. Simple, right?
And by the way, my hairdresser is consistently impressed with the condition of my hair – no split ends for Mrs Green! 😉
On my face I’ve given up the twice daily cleanse, tone, moisturise routine and instead I, are you ready for this? splash water onto my face!
If it needs a bit of a clean I mix up yogurt and oats which serves as a multi purpose cleanser, exfoliator and moisturiser all in one. At other times I use clay. That means no cotton wool balls, disposable exfoliator pads (hello Aapri) and no packaging to dispose of.
I use a couple of drops of jojoba oil to moisturise if I need it (which I do this time of year and at the beginning of spring for some reason).
If I’m taking a bath or shower I don’t use anything apart from water. I don’t bother with shower gels, soap or bubble bath and instead use a drop or two of my favourite essential oil. I figure that if I’m washing my hair the clay or shampoo runs down my back and gives me a bit of a wash as a side effect!
As you’ll be aware from recent posts, I’m not ready to embrace my inner cave girl and I haven’t found a perfect zero waste shave. Instead of using shaving foam I use a bit of shampoo; just enough for the blade to glide over. My razor blades are my zero waste sin.
Instead of soap I use watered down shampoo. We buy a mild eco brand anyway, so I don’t see it’s any different from soap. I use a few drops of jojoba oil as moisturiser if I need it (but tend to get around this need by getting Mr green to do the washing up 😉 ).
I now use a crystal deodorant under my arms which comes wrapped in cardboard and has no packaging. Another confession is the occasional squirt of perfume. The ones I have are in glass bottles with a metal atomiser. I’m not sure how to recycle them because I’ve not used a full bottle yet…
Toothpaste tubes are recycled and our toothbrushes are composted. Wahee!
You might have noticed some repetitions in this little list. Shampoo doubling up as shaving foam. Clay being used on hair and face. Jojoba oil for hands and face (it can be used as a hair conditioner too) and I think that is the key to minimising products and therefore reducing waste.
The other thing to ask yourself is ‘Do I really need this?’
Yes, I fell for it all when I was a teenager, but now I see above the hype, above the necessity for different products for every square inch of skin and above the claims that anything I put onto my skin is going to perform miracles.
If we take everything apart we can see my list of products is currently:
and if I really felt inclined, I’m sure I could knock two of those off the list.
What about you? What’s in your bathroom cabinet?
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