Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Zero waste hygiene

One of the most common questions I get if I mention that I am working towards a zero waste life is... "what about shampoo/deodorant/toothpaste...". I was a bit puzzled at first as well, but once I got the hang of it and found my favorite products, everything was smooth sailing!

Hair care:
At first I tried the no-poo movement, and it made my hair looks like, well... poo. I have long, fine hair, and it just ended up looking like I hadn't washed my hair. Then I ventured into Lush Cosmetics for the first time.  I described I was looking for something without packaging, and described my hair type to them. They recommended their shampoo bars and solid conditioner. For my thin hair, they pointed me toward the Seanik bar and the solid Big Conditioner block (comes in recyclable paper). They work so well together, and smell amazing! Not to mention how long they last- I am definitely saving money! One shampoo bar can last me 6 months if I use it sparingly.

Body/face wash:
I buy soap package free at Whole Foods. The brand is called the Good Soap company, and they use fair trade shea butter, and well as help the communities where the shea butter is harvested. The bars have a rich lather and I never feel dry, plus they have some great scents! I use the Dark Angels face wash from Lush. I return the container when I am done and they reuse them. This is the best face scrub ever! If I am ever feeling dry, I will oil cleanse with Sweet Almond Oil. Breakouts? No problem! I mix 2 parts water with 1 part apple cider vinegar (puchased in bulk, of course!) and use that in the morning and night on any blemishes. It really helps them dry out and go away quickly.

I use a Brush With Bamboo toothbrush that I found at a local home goods store. They can also be purchased on Life Without Plastic (to be sure you don't get any extra packaging). I am currently almost out of my Tom's of Maine toothpaste, and I think I will be making my own using this recipe from Trash is for Tossers.  

Left to right: Lush shampoo bar in Seanik, bulk soap, bamboo toothbrush, Lush face wash, Lush deodorant, Lush conditioner.

Oh man, this one is still tough for me. Confession time- I sweat. Like, randomly. I'll be fine and perfectly cool and then randomly my pits are just like "here, have some sweat" and I end up with pit stains. Not very attractive or professional (I work for the City of Portland, I have to try to look put together!). So it has been hard for me to find something that really works. I have been using the T'eo solid deodorant from Lush, but it started irritating me! So now I've been alternating, layering down some of my remaining Tom's of Maine deodorant and then adding T'eo on top (because sorry Tom's of Maine- I am stanky after a few hours of wearing your "extra strength" deodorant). I'll keep looking for the perfect deodorant!

Shark Week:
This is probably the question that people whisper to me the most. "But what about..." here their voice drops to levels that only whales can hear "when you are on your period". And honestly this has probably been the best part of zero waste- discovering menstrual cups. Holy cow, do those things work, and I honestly haven't had cramps since I started using them. They are sanitary, and easy to use. Plus I love that I can wear them all day without having to worry about running to the bathroom for a quick change. I bought the Diva Cup (because I found it at Whole Foods), but there are many awesome brands out there- Lunette and the Moon Cup seem to be the ones I have heard of the most in the US. If you don't feel comfortable using one, you can always go for reusable pads!

Bulk shaving soap and my lovely safety razor
I purchased a safety razor from Life Without Plastic and I LOVE it! It takes some getting used to (there was a lot of blood the first few times...whoops) but after you do, you will love it! I've never had smoother legs! I use a bulk shaving bar that was gifted to me, so I unfortunately don't know the brand. I know Lush has some great shaving products, and I am sure Whole Foods or your local bulk foods store carries some waste-free shaving options.

So there you have it! A brief overview of my basic hygiene while living a Zero Waste lifestyle! See, you can love the earth and still smell good, I promise!

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