How to be More Sustainable - My story so far
After the recent launch of The Chic Eco Boutique, I wanted to share with you my journey so far into living a more sustainable, and eco-friendly lifestyle. Which, as I write, is very much an ongoing process!
I know how hard it can seem at times to feel like you’re making a positive impact but if there's one thing I've learnt from my eco-journey so far, its that making small changes to how we shop is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal for protecting the environment.
With that in mind, I thought it may be useful to other aspiring eco-friends for me to blog about the changes I’ve already made, and am loving the trials and tribulations of trying new products:
like having smelly armpits for 2 weeks whilst my body adjusted to new deodorant… (belated apologies to my nearest and dearest!),
and how these changes will hopefully help me to live more environmentally consciously.
So, without further ado, lets dive right into how I overhauled my bathroom cabinet and transformed it into a chemical and plastic-free sustainable haven where waste was reduced to a minimum.
Eco-Friendly Cotton Pads
One of the best decisions I made was switching out disposable cotton wool pads for the Zero Waste Make-up Wipes. It always felt so inefficient using multiple cotton wool pads to remove make up, face masks or nail varnish.
With the reusable wipes I can nearly always do everything with one or two as they're much bigger and far more absorbent and there's no more disintegrated-cotton-pad-mush to deal with!.
Plus, these ones are made locally, and the material is terry towelling which is much kinder on my skin.
The old way, I was going through packs of cotton pads, filling up landfill. Whereas with the Zero Waste Wipes, I simply put them in a drawstring bag in the washing machine and they come out good as new! Cost effective and waste reducing!
Another switch up I’ve made, is my toothbrush. I’d never really thought about how many toothbrushes I go through, simply changing them when the bristles had gone soft.
- I was shocked to find out that the average person throws away four toothbrushes a year!
I was elated when I found Beech's range of wooden toothbrushes. When you’re done with them, you simply snap the head off and put the rest in the compost. Not to mention, I think the engraved beechwood finish is far more aesthetic and sustainable than the bright, garish plastic, toothbrushes commonly are.
Natural and Aluminium Free Deodorant
As I mentioned earlier, I've also tried changing my deodorant. So far, I've found two really great alternatives to the usual plastic packaged, chemical-laden ones. Now, I must warn you, because our bodies have become normalised to deodorants that block our pores and use aluminium, it can take two to four weeks to adjust to using organic, natural deodorants – Proverb Skin explains why: Using Natural Deodorant But Still Smell? Here’s Why!
So basically, be prepared to be a bit wiffy for the first couple of weeks!
After your body normalises though, you can really appreciate the effects. For me, it was very important to find an alternative that didn’t contain aluminium as there is suggestion that it could be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and kidney disease.
The first alternative I tried was Pit-Tastic. Handmade locally in St Ottery, these deodorant bars come in the most delicious range of flavours, from Lime & Tea Tree to Rose & Ylang-Ylang. Additionally, if like me, you’re prone to skin inflammation, then they do sensitive versions too!
The one thing I will say though is, I convinced my husband to trial the deodorant bars with me and we ended up having to call his ‘the yeti bar’ as bits of his armpit hair kept coming off and sticking to it. It’s safe to say that I didnt enjoy the time I accidentally used his!
So, I'd recommend that the Pit-Tastic bar is better for people with less fuzz in that region – or, make sure that you give it a quick rinse after every use – something my husband couldn’t manage! Also, get different coloured saucers or little bags to keep yours in if you share a bathroom!
and a roll-on version
The other brand I tried was 'Ku.tis. If you're used to a roll on, then their
deodorants will be right up your street. They're plastic free and have entirely recycled packaging. Made from a coconut oil base, you do occasionally need to warm the deodorant up to get a more liquid texture for ease of application, but the product lasts significantly longer than a traditional deodorant.
- I particularly loved the grapefruit & mandarin flavour!
Environmentally Friendly Hair Care
After changing the products I used for looking after my face, teeth and armpits, the next big thing I wanted to address was haircare. This was the area I was most nervous about changing.
Each person’s hair has very individual needs and no one enjoys having a bad hair day, so I was quite apprehensive about whether plastic free, organic shampoo and conditioner could be beneficial for me.
What I can say is YES!
- Yes, to them being beneficial!
- Yes, to their ability to lather and coat all my hair!
- Yes, to their delectable smells!
- Yes, to their tin packaging!
- Yes, to the long lasting, silky soft feeling from the conditioner!
I really thought I wouldn’t be able to move away from the squeezy bottled liquid conditioner I'm used to, but I'm converted.
I'm also very thankful that I no longer have to use shampoos and conditioners containing parabens or SLS, as they can be very harmful. There's also one less thing to worry about: fitting in your 100ml liquids bag in your hand luggage when you’re going on holibobs.
Organic, Natural and Vegan Soap
Biodegradable Cotton Buds
Other products I've now made essentials in my bathroom are the Ecovibe Bamboo Cotton Buds. With over 1.8 billion single-use plastic cotton buds being used by the UK every year, and taking up to 300 years to decompose in landfill, Ecovibe’s buds make a great alternative as they are fully biodegradable.
Refillable and Recyclable Shower Gel
The Faith in Nature Shower Gel, which is natural, vegan, cruelty free and made ethically, is now a firm favourite in my bathroom. The bottle is plastic but fully recyclable, and I've never thrown mine out as I get it refilled at a local shop. Find out below where you could refill yours.
For shaving, there's now some fantastic plastic-free options out there. From bamboo handles to metallic reusable razors - a personal favourite is Jungle Culture's double edged chrome safety razor. It comes in a gorgeous range of colours, is very stylish and sleek to hold, and shaves to a beautiful finish, even on sensitive areas of skin.
Please take caution when first getting used to them though, the blades are very sharp, and I found out the hard way!
Sustainable alternatives for bathroom cabinet products are continually growing and improving.
The fact that we can now shave, brush our teeth, remove makeup and wash, whilst significantly lowering the chance of harming the environment, or our bodies, is amazing!
For me, the most impactful, sustainable swaps that I made, were switching to a natural, eco deodorant and buying reusable, zero waste make up cotton pads.
These are currently some of my favourite alternatives but I’m very excited to see how I can continue to reduce my environmental impact through changing my consumption habits.
I will continue to keep trying out new eco-friendly, ethical, and natural products and let you know how I get on. So be sure to bookmark my sustainability journal!
Meanwhile, if you're curious to know more, follow these links for further reading and some fascinating insight.