Throughout my teens and twenties I dread to think how many personal care products I used.
Every day, I would get up three hours before school started to hog the bathroom.
I’d wash my hair EVERY DAY, condition it, add styling mouse, gel and hairspray.
I’d use bubble bath, some kind of soap, slather on body lotion, use talc and spray myself with deodorant and body spray.
I’d religiously cleanse, tone and moisturise my face twice a day before adding applying make up.
And I’m sure I used a myriad of other things I’ve long since forgotten about. Cotton wool balls, disposable exfoliating pads, nail varnish and remover, glitter hairspray? Who knows!
Then there were things like cotton buds – used in my ears, to wipe away poorly applied mascara (!) and to mop up nail varnish from the edges of my fingers. Thankfully there are reusable cotton buds available now – especially since the photo of the seahorse attached to one went viral three years ago. Of course, if you have symptoms such as blocked ears, pain, hearing loss, dizziness or even tinnitus, you might need to leave it to the experts, such as Auris Ear Care. They tell us that cotton buds can push ear wax further in, which can then lead to problems.
[Photo credit: National Geographic]
When I was pregnant with my daughter I learned that 60% of the products you put on your skin can end up INSIDE you.
I figured everything that went into my body was growing my baby, so I started to read labels. And I was pretty horrified by what I found.
Organic and more natural products were few and far between back then; there was nothing like the products available to us now. I managed to find a few brands, but it meant I had to pare back the number of products I used. Still everything I bought was still in plastic.
When I started my zero waste journey, I reduced the number of products I used even more.
And guess what?
My skin and hair didn’t suffer. AT ALL.
In recent years I’ve switched my personal care regime quite dramatically and for the past 8 weeks I decided to retry something I did over 16 years ago – which was to go ‘no poo’.
Yep, that means not using shampoo.
If you Google it, you’ll find people across the world using all sorts of weird and wonderful things to clean their hair. One of the most popular is bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and Apple Cider Vinegar.
I’ve been there, done that, and find it too harsh for my fine hair.
What I use now is clay – rasshoul clay to be precise.
You can use clay on both your skin and hair and the magical thing is, because it doesn’t strip the oil out in the same way as harsh products, you don’t need moisturiser or conditioner.
I buy my products from Sally at Natural Spa Supplies for five reasons:
1 – She’s about the most ethical retailer I have ever come across. She questions everything and will not compromise.
2- You get zero waste packaging as standard.
3- Her integrity is next to none.
4- I trust her choice of products – Sally goes to huge lengths to minimise environmental impact and works with artisans to support workers.
5- Sally is insanely knowledgeable. Whenever I get a query, she has the thoroughly researched answer.
I wanted to give you a couple of pics of my most recent purchase so you can see what I mean:
Here you can see the minimal packaging. The whole lot arrived in the padded envelope at the top left of the photo – one of the ones stuffed with paper, not plastic. This can be reused. Inside, containers are wrapped in cardboard and tied with string, come in thin cardboard boxes or paper bags. Some things are naked and the soapnuts are now available in fully compostable packaging.
Here’s my loot – clay for washing skin and hair, seaweed and soapnuts to add to my ‘no poo’ regime (more on that another time after I’ve tried it out!), green clay – you can use this for brushing teeth. A natural nail brush and a lovely mitt and brush because I’ve decided to start dry skin brushing this year – apparently it’s brilliant for detoxifying and clearing out lymph as well as exfoliating your skin.
Here’s my packaging to dispose of – cardboard on the left – I can reuse the box and recycle the board, bags and envelopes on the right will be reused and the string is on my desk ready for reuse! The only ‘waste’ I will have is the soapnuts and green clay packaging, but I can live with that. And as I said, Sally now supplies soapnuts in compostable packaging. The rasshoul lay comes in a cardboard tube with metal ends – which I can reuse or take apart and recycle.
And here is my hair after 8 weeks of using clay – not looking too bad! I’m still in the adjustment phase, so there are so oily patches at the roots and my scalp is flaking a tiny bit. I’ll soon be experimenting with seaweed and soapnuts but I’m really pleased with the results so far. And my hairdresser is suitably impressed!