Earth Week: Low Waste Personal Care

Earth Day is this Thursday! So this week I’m going to be going through the changes that I have made and the space that I still have for growth here. Today is personal care/beauty/hygiene. This is the area that I have made the most growth in and still have the most room for growth I think.

My shower routine is the area I think that is the most “zero-waste”. I still have this foot pumice stone thing that I bought years and years ago that has this plastic grip thing around it, but I’m going to keep using it until it wears down or breaks.

I made the switch to shampoo bars first, years ago, in 2013 before I went on exchange and wanted to have less liquids to take with me when I went backpacking so I switched before I went. I started with one from Lush and stuck with Lush shampoo bars for a long time. I tried several different ones and always hated the way they made my hair feel and so would occasionally cave and buy plastic bottled shampoo just to have better feeling hair. I also tried the conditioner bars and they were even worse. Then I switched to Unwrapped Life when I saw them in a local Zero Waste store. They were significantly better than the Lush bars and I was working with what was available to me. Then I moved to Oakville and discovered the Kind Matter Company who stock the Plenty and Spare shampoo and conditioner bars. They are by far the best I have ever used. I use the Oat Wash shampoo and conditioner bars and my hair feels like it does when I use conventional shampoo and conditioner and I find that the conditioner actually works into my hair rather than just sitting on it. And they’re a Canadian company, which I really enjoy. They can be purchased from Kind Matter Company or via their own Plenty and Spare website, they actually make a lot more than just shampoo and conditioner which I am interested to explore.

I love my face wash from Meow Meow Tweet, this is my third bar of the tea tree and charcoal and my skin looks great with it. I also use it on my underarms because natural deodorant can require some extra cleansing. I have also used the Pink Rose Clay version and also really enjoyed it. I have not found either of them irritating and neither have caused an eczema flare up not acne, which are always my goals.

Let’s have a moment for my Leaf razor. The things I could say about my Leaf razor. I really really love this thing. I find it super easy to use and it took away all my fear of a safety razor. I haven’t air-travelled with it so I don’t know how it would pass through airport security but I have heard from others that they have travelled successfully, but sometimes have the razor blades but not the razor taken away.

I also have this little brush from Plastic Free Shop and this razor blade deposit thing for after you change the blades. I was always a little worried about just tossing the dull blades into the recycling bin. I worried for two reasons: I didn’t want anyone involved in recycling at pick up or the facility to get hurt, and I worried they would be too small to be properly recycled and they would end up filtered into the trash. So I’m hoping by putting them into this little bank they will get recycled properly. Snapping the blades to fit the razor is still scary, but keep them in the paper and close your eyes and it’s really not that bad. Also you use the brush because it doesn’t rinse out quite as well as a disposable razor so your hairs can get caught in between the blades and then it doesn’t work as well, but the blades are still sharp. So a quick brush and it’s back to working perfectly.

The next thing of note is the Wildcraft Skincare Buff scrub. I love this stuff; it is probably a little rough for regular face use but I use it whenever my face feels really rough and dull and probably once a week on my underarms. One bottle has lasted me ages, since probably fall 2019. I love that it is a powder and you mix it with water in the shower to use. I think it makes it last forever. This is another Canadian brand, Toronto, I think? And while this is the only product I am currently using of theirs I also love their: Refine Face Serum, Restore and Clarify Face Creams (although I prefer the Restore, the Clarify smells like licorice to me and I couldn’t get past it). I find it to be a super affordable natural and clean beauty brand which is really nice when you are trying to make these switches and choices because it can be very expensive.

The other two products at the moment are a bar of soap from Paddywax and a coffee scrub that I bought at a random little shop in Oakville. I always use bar soap but I’m not particularly fussed on which one, it doesn’t really matter so long as it comes sans packaging or in cardboard/paper. I do like the way this one smells, and it’s from Blooms and Flora in Guelph, which if you are in the Guelph area when lockdown is over is a must visit. It’s so lovely.

This is one of the areas that still has room for improvement, although I’m not sure I currently want to make that improvement.

In the morning I use the Biossance oil and the sunscreen (although not currently this sunscreen although this one is my preference, the one I am currently using doesn’t appear to be available anymore). And obviously brush my teeth, floss, and scrape my tongue. I love a tongue scraping, it is so disgusting but so satisfying and I think it does really make food taste better. I got mine a few years ago in a grocery store and it is starting to show its age. Mine has these rubber bits for handles and they are starting to peel away. I still use a conventional toothpaste, I have tried a bunch of different toothpaste alternatives and have found them all lacking. This tooth powder never left my mouth feeling really clean, and this paste is expensive and I feel like I use it up astonishingly fast. I have also tried the Crush and Brush toothpastes and again never really felt like I was really clean with them. One of my biggest fears is people thinking I have bad breath.

I like the First Aid Beauty products for the actual product but also because when I use a plastic-packaged product I really like when they are in tubs; no pumps, no tubes, no mixed materials, so that they can actually be recycled easily. It’s not a perfect solution but it is one that is currently working for me and my eczema which on occasion completely overtakes my concern for low-waste living.

A part of me can’t believe I’m putting this on the internet but what is an eco-friendly personal care post without a menstrual cup. I have used nothing but a cup for nearly 5 years now. But I have gone through more of them than I should have because I have forgotten about them when boiling them to sterilize and burnt them. They get all brittle and quite useless when you do that, so don’t do that. I just use the classic, a Diva Cup I think I even bought it at the grocery store. They are expensive, but if you don’t actually cook them, they will definitely save you money over time.

I am considering investing in a second though. There have been times where I have been caught out, no where near my personal bathroom and have had to borrow a product, fold up some toilet paper, or buy an emergency box of tampons (which I do currently have in my bathroom drawer because of one such occasion.

Needs the most improvement:

My daily makeup routine is definitely the worst portion of my routine, most of my products aren’t even clean let alone low waste. I have gone most of the last few years barely wearing makeup. This is definitely an area of focus for me as I continue my Project Pan. I want to completely transition away from brands like Nars and Revlon and focus on female-founded, not-tested-on-animals brands. Brands I’m looking into for making the swaps are Elate Cosmetics, Kjaer Weis, and Merit.

I think a big part of Earth Month/Week/Day is that everything we do to have less of an impact on the planet is important. Each little thing makes a difference. Every change, every swap, every kilowatt of power not used, kilometre not driven makes a difference. I think we all know that it’s certain companies that cause the majority of the damage, but each action can make a difference.

Have you made any changes that you are proud of? Any changes that you are planning?


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