My Body Care Routine (Zero Waste Update 1)
The skin is our biggest organ and deserves so much love, care and attention. I want to share the products and methods I use to keep my body healthy and clean. I think of them as minimalist, zero waste and cruelty free maybe not all three at the same time. Therefore, my processes change quite often.
To get to here I have gone through much experimentation. Although it is not a perfect routine yet, I am happy with what I’ve accomplished so far and next year it will probably be completely different. I am open to any suggestions that can make my body care more minimalist, zero waste and cruelty free. Leave me a comment bellow with your ideas!
To be honest, I often overlook my body care. It is a very forced process. It’s not like having a dry face, dirty hair or long nails, and therefore is such a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, I have a few traditions that I never forget which make my days better.
Every night before bed I have a quick shower. I almost never use soap and ‘wash the day away’ with just water. Usually I am in the shower no longer than 5min; plenty of time to feel clean and not use too much water. I only use soap when I wash my hair, but even then I often forget.
4-5 times a week, after yoga, I use my Body Shop dry brush to exfoliate my body and help blood circulation. It takes 5 minutes and it’s such a nice and relaxing activity. On days when Nic has coffee in his Cuban coffee maker, I mix the used coffee grounds with some sugar for further (and cheaper) exfoliation. It’s a great combination for softer skin with a great smell.
For hair removal I use two methods. I epilate my legs and arm pits and use a disposable razor for more intimate areas. I am not especially happy with the second one. Even though I use them many times, razors are far from sustainable. I am considering other options like getting a metal safety razor but I don’t think the time has come for that yet.
I rarely use body lotion in the winter but in the summer it is an everyday occurrence and at the moment I am using the Lush Charity Pot. I like it, but I am very interested in trying out a homemade recipe.
We have a hard deodorant from Lush. I think it is greatly effective for everyday use. Nic also uses it and has no complaints. Well, it’s not that successful after a day of heavy physical activity. But I don’t think it should be normal to block my body’s natural functions with heavy chemicals just so I don’t smell a bit after 8 hours on the ski slopes. What’s natural should be left natural and real.
On the other hand, I use almost no perfume. I don’t know much on the subject, but what I do know is that normal perfumes have a high toxicity levels. Therefore I use my DKNY Green Apple only for special occasions and often prefer to use essential oils.
And last but definitely not least is my Lunnette menstrual cup. For those uninformed it sounds quite unnatural, uncomfortable and unhygienic, but is actually far from it. I am absolutely in love with my cup and try to share the idea with every woman that will listen. The cup is so easy to use, cancels any need for frequent toilet visits, unnecessary rubbish and touching toxic cotton. I am so glad I found this alternative and got rid of the inconvenience of the other ‘socially accepted’ methods.
In my 23 years my hair has been through so much “care”. Long, short, straight, curly, with red tips from juice, with ombre, with both ombre and red tips, long again, short again. But nothing can compare to what I put it through in the last couple of years…
When I started understanding the idea of natural cosmetics my hair was logically the first to be experimented on. After all it does require the most care and I’ve always considered it as the most important part of my looks. Subsequently, the first thing I tried was water only washing. Turns out it requires so much time and effort that I ‘being my inpatient self’ was unable to handle it. I tried a natural shampoo which led me to horrible dandruff, I tried a shampoo bar but that didn’t help the dandruff, I made myself a coconut oil mask which I then washed with an egg – it was successful, but disgusting, I rubbed baking soda and tea tree essential oil on my scalp as well… The only thing I didn’t try was apple cider vinegar. And yes, everyone says it’s a great conditioner but after the egg and the horrible smell I am not brave enough to try it.
Fortunately, for the sake of my sanity, 8 months ago I read a post on Instagram by Shia from _wastelandrebel_ in which she talks about rye flour. She says it helped with the itchy and painfull scalp because the vitamin B5 in the flour which has a regenerating and anti-inflammatory effects. I went out and bought 500g of rye flour for £1. Worst case, we’ll make bread.
The results are amazing! Immediately with the first wash it helped my dandruff issues and my hair was clean, soft and pretty. For the first time in a year and a half I “had it all”. 8 months later it is still the same and I even wash it 1-2 times a week, instead of every 2 days as I did before. At the moment I also use a bar of Lush conditioner which I am not sure I need, but as everything else – I have it and it needs to be used up.
Method: I add 4 heping teaspoons of the flour to a cup and add water to turn it into a sludge. As it has no smell I add about 10 drops of essentials oil, whichever I am feeling that day. After that I carefully spread it on my wet hair in the shower - yes it goes everywhere so make sure to rinse the walls afterwards. And rinse your hair very well, although as much as you try bits will still stay in it (yes, this is the negative bit). After you dry it with a hair dryer though, they will all fall out (maybe hoover afterwards). Yes, it's not great that bits stay in your hair, but believe me, the result is so good, that it doesn't matter. Good Luck!
I use a hair dryer which is not very natural but unless it’s 30оС+ and bright sun shine I get headaches if I don’t dry it right away. I try and wash my head just before bed. Years ago I realised that going to bed with the slightly wet (don’t tell my grandma) and warm hair forms nice waves. Otherwise I end up with a cloud on my head, which needs to be kept in a pony tail. For special occasions I straighten it, but it doesn’t hold long anymore. Perhaps the lack of chemicals doesn’t make it durable. For two years now I have been using a wooden brush with natural bristles which I love ( and which only my grandma has the patience to clean).
Now that I plan to let my grow long again, I am interested to see if the natural method will speed up the growth and if the flour would be just as successful on long hair.
My face is relatively low maintenance. When I wash my hair and my pores open up from the hot steam I use baking soda to exfoliate. Otherwise I wash my face with soap – I usually get an organic all natural one. For face cream I use coconut oil before bed, adding Vaseline in the winter, as the coconut oil isn’t enough for the dry winter climate. Perhaps Vaseline isn’t quite natural but between us we somehow have a large quantity of it at home and I’m trying to use it up. After that I might try out a homemade recipe.
Perhaps I should mention some non cosmetic factors that help my clear skin. I only use make up for some very special occasion, when photography will be involved like my graduation, after which I remove it with coconut oil. At the moment I still have non-natural makeup (probably all expired). But considering I use them so rarely, I don’t want to throw these ones out and invest in new ones, which will go out of date before I’ve even used half.
The other thing that greatly affects my skin is food. Veganism has had a great influence, and reducing processed food perhaps even greater. The more processed it is (oil especially); the more I am sure I will break out in the next couple of days. We do still eat a lot of processed foods, but I make an effort to cook without oil whenever possible. Soups, stews, baked potatoes – if I can forgo the oil, I will do. Mic. The Vegan has a great video on the affects of food on our skin.
The skin on my hands has two conditions which help you understand the time of the year. Between April and September they are soft, smooth and nice; between October and Mach – dry, irritated, itchy and often bloody. Of course that only happens when I don’t take proper care of them.
Thankfully I have very few troubles in the past few years, not sure whether it’s hormones or discipline that helped. It depends on 2 things. Firstly, in those months I never leave the house without gloves; Even if I just keep them in my bag I am always prepared for an unexpected cold wind on a sunny autumn day. Secondly, I use glycerin based creams daily for their hydrating quality. At the moment I use Lush’s Charity Pot and it does a very good job. In only two days it fixed my hands after 5 days of neglect on the ski slopes.
In October 2015 I challenged myself to not use nail polish for a month. Caring for my nails required so much time and effort and yet they were in horrible shape under the polish – always breaking, yellow and deformed. After the success of that month I haven’t opened a bottle of nail polish to this day. I realised that just keeping their shape with a file makes them nice and feminine enough, because they are healthy. I don’t remember the last time I broke a nail and it makes me so happy. What I have been given is enough and there’s no need to hide it behind bright toxic colours which peel off the day after. “Never say never”, but I believe that nail polish is something I will never use again.
My oral hygiene is 50/50. It’s both eco and not quite eco.
My brushes have been wooden for two years now, some people don’t like the feel but it has never bother me and I even enjoy their simplicity. So far I have tried 5 kinds and all of them I liked (The Environmental Toothbrush, F.E.T.E., Zoya). All of them had bristles from recycled materials, some softer, some harder – something for everyone. The best thing about them is that when you’re hiking and brushing your teeth on the outside sink with another 5-6 people it’s a great conversation starter.
I use a wooden tooth brush because all tooth brushes globally produced, used and thrown away still exist to this day. I have littered the Earth enough with my 21 years worth of tooth brushes. Those wooden brushes that I haven’t lost have been composted (without the bristles as they aren’t biodegradable).
For tooth paste we use a generic Colgate, verifying that it doesn’t contain microbeads. The tiny plastic particles they substitute with baking soda to help with plaque buildup. We have three reasons to use regular toothpaste. One, their price is so much better than of any eco and natural ones. We brush our teeth twice a day, every day – the turnover is big. Second, the powders we tried were fine, but I had an allergic reaction to them. Third, and completely honestly, I haven’t researched other options. My attempt to make one from coconut oil and baking soda was so unsuccessful for me that I have given up on the idea.
And that’s it. This is how I take care of my body. Of course I am no specialist on the subject. Just because I share it, does not mean I recommend it for everyone. These are only actions I have found suitable for me after long experimenting and online research. I advise everyone, who has an interest in this, to make their own research before deciding to change their body care routine.
As I constantly have new ideas and needs I am sure that very soon there will be changes in my routine. For example I am researching bamboo cotton buds. And there are still many things I am looking for alternatives to. If you have any ideas how I can change up my routine, these are the things I am most in need of:
Disposable razor alternative
Body lotion recipes
Natural zero waste tooth paste alternatives