Health & Beauty
We go through so many products to keep ourselves looking good and smelling fresh. Our bathroom cabinets are often heavily laden with plastic bottles and containers. Thankfully there are so many simple switches we can make that not only reduce our use of plastic, but are also free from nasty chemicals and therefore better for you and for the world!
Shampoo & Conditioner
Shampoo and Conditioner bars are great. I get mine from Lush. You can use them as they come or turn them into liquid by dissolving them in hot water, and then putting them in a soap dispenser. I don't mind using the shampoo bars as they come but I find conditioner bars work better when they are turned into liquid. The bars are also great for when you travel!
Apple cider vinegar is a great natural conditioner and can either be used on it's own (put it in a spray bottle) or added to the melted bar to make it last longer.
I've loved the convenience of the spray canisters in the past but they sure do run out quickly, cost a lot, and produce a bunch of waste.
For the last year I've been using an easy mix of cornflour, cocoa powder (because I'm brunette) with a little bit of grapefruit essential oil. Smells good, works well, lasts for ages! I keep it in a little tin container and use a bamboo blusher brush to apply to my hair.
Body wash and scrubs
How about switching out your bottles of shower gel or liquid soap and replacing it with bars of soap? Dove's come in cardboard packaging if you can't find other nice ones.
I've also tried making my own soap with a 'melt and pour' base. It's great because you buy in bulk and have control of the ingredients that go in your soap...but it comes in a big plastic tub. While I hunt for other ways of buying it I'm trying to re-use the tubs for other things afterwards!
Georganics is a brilliant company that sells a great range of plastic free alternatives. They stock bamboo toothbrushes, dental floss that comes in a glass jar and is refillable, toothpaste in glass pots, mouthwash (in dissolvable tablet form or glass jars), and even electric toothbrushes and toothbrush heads made from recyclable plastic.
Earth Conscious make a lovely natural deodorant in tins and cardboard tubes. I really like the grapefruit and lemon one. www.earthconscious.co.uk
If you're up for it here's a recipe to make your own deodorant bar with shea butter, coconut oil, bicarbonate of soda and arrowroot powder. I made them in bar form at first but found it melted too easily. I now make it in a tin container and it works a treat.
Be warned, your body might need a few weeks to adjust to less chemicals...!
Zao Makeup is a wonderful company. They make their products from organic ingredients and they use bamboo packaging. They have a great range and it's not too pricy. They also sell refills for a lot of their products!
I haven't found many good body or face creams that don't come in plastic packaging so I've been making my own and it's really simple. Here's a recipe for a lovely whipped body butter.
I love this face cream recipe (it feels SO soft). I don't use essential oils in mine as I prefer face cream plain. It can be hard to get the emulsifying right, but even if you don't (my first batch wouldn't blend together) I just put it in a nice lotion bottle and it still worked fine!
It's not hard to make your own natural face cleansers.
Oily Skin: 1/3 Castor Oil or Hazelnut Oil and 2/3 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
Combination Skin: 1/4 Castor or Hazelnut Oil and 3/4 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
Dry Skin: All nourishing oils like olive oil, or a very small amount of Castor/Hazelnut Oil added to the nourishing oils.
Read more on the wellness mama blog.
Toilet roll and tissues
Who Gives a Crap are a great company who not only sell toilet roll, tissues and paper towels in plastic free packaging, they make their products from environmentally friendly materials, and then donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need.
Tampons and sanitary towels produce a lot of waste. I switched to using a Moon Cup a couple of years ago and it's been great. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do it's definitely cheaper, healthier and greener!
You can get them in Boots or online.
Nail varnish remover
Karma Organic Spa do a lovely nail varnish remover in glass bottles.
If you're looking for something cheaper you can make your own by combining 2oz of rubbing alcohol with 10 drops of your favourite essential oils.