I thought I had been conscious about using plastic for years: I avoided taking plastic bags in shops and favoured natural materials when choosing clothes and home decoration items. But some months ago there was a big turning point for me. One evening, after I’d cleaned my face, my favourite moisturizer ran out. I had seen this coming and had a new pump bottle ready in the bathroom cabinet. As I threw the empty bottle into the trash bin it made a sound as it hit the empty metal basket. With the new bottle of moisturizer in hand, it hit me: That old bottle will never go away. It will never biodegrade, and even if it will be out of my sight when the truck comes to pick up the trash next week, it will never disappear. It will be one more piece of plastic waste and contribute to the ever-growing dumps or floating plastic masses in the oceans. It was a realization I couldn’t ignore and I decided to do more to reduce my contribution to the plastic problem.
This morning I read in the news about a whale that had washed to the shore in Norway in such a bad state it had to be put down. When the whale was examined, it turned out that it’s stomach was full of plastic bags. Feeling very emotional about this news I decided to sit down with a cup of tea and read an article from Michael Stone’s book Awake in the World. The page that opened randomly read: “… Because we can’t surgically separate the thoughts you are having right now from the colors of this room or the icebergs that silently glide thousands of miles north and south of here, everything you experience right now is one. Everything in the world is the ground of our life.”
The thoughts and values that drive my actions, the plastic waste, the suffering whale, it’s all connected, it’s all happening in the here and now. So, I’ll continue to make efforts to reduce my impact with small everyday choices and also share them here if they can inspire anyone to do the same 🙂
So, let’s start with shampoo and soap – lots of plastic bottles right there! I’ve been using natural products from the bio shop for years but even they come in those damn bottles and often have chemicals in them. Last summer I switched into bar soap & shampoo and I’ve been super happy with the products I’ve found!
There are many shampoo bars on the market. At first the thought of using a shampoo bar felt strange and I remember trying it for the first time a couple of years ago in Brussels. The water in Brussels is very hard and my hair was left a bit sticky. Many brands advice that this is normal in the beginning, when your hair and your scalp are getting used to the new, more organic way of cleaning, and the stickiness will disappear after a while. The commercial shampoos might have left some residue of silicon and other chemical stuff that will take some washes to remove. The hardness of water also plays a role in how your hair feels after a shampoo bar wash. You can always do a baking soda treatment ( 1 tsp mixed in warm water and spread evenly on the hair, then rinse and wash your hair with the shampoo bar) if your hair feels weird during the adaptation period.
I love the Avocado oil shampoo from Estonian brand Nurme. Waiting to be tested are a Hemp oil shampoo also from Nurme and a Hemp & Turf shampoo from Finnish FLOW Cosmetics. The shampoo bars are also very affordable with prices starting around 4-5 eur.
If you’re not sold on shampoo bars, don’t worry: there are some alternatives out there! Natura Siberica makes a shampoo and body wash that comes in a glass bottle, which can later be recycled or used as a container for something else.
During our trip to Portugal last summer I stocked up on soap. The classic Claus Porto soaps are beautifully packaged and come in so many scents that it’s hard to choose from them. They make a great gift as well. Simply the perfect hand soaps for the bathroom!
And by the kitchen sink we have a marseille soap with white tea from Pentik, a Christmas gift from my father.
As a body wash I often use the shampoo bar as well, but I’m looking forward to trying out the Super foaming coconut soap from Nurme. It has two ingredients: Coconut oil and water, how cool is that!?
My biggest skepticism about switching to bar soap was about face cleansing. I imagined that a soap bar would dry out the skin and not remove make up efficiently. I was wrong. So far, I have two favourites: The detox soap bar from Madara and the blueberry face soap from Flow Cosmetics. Both products are designed with an oily/combination skin in mind, but there are alternatives for all skin types on the market. And what comes to the eye make-up, if anything is left on your face after cleansing, some coconut oil and cotton wool will take care of that!
Another alternative to wash your face without turning to plastic bottles, tubes and jars is a natural Konjac sponge that promises to cleanse, exfoliate and detoxify the skin. You soak the sponge in warm water for a few minutes before use and then cleanse the face with it in circular motion, with or without soap. Rinse, squeeze and hang to dry after use and change the sponge every couple of months. I got a sponge that also has bamboo charcoal and is suitable for combination skin. Ekovista has alternatives for different skin types, and all of them come in stylish card board packaging.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy creating your own new bathroom rituals with less plastic ❤