Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Personal Care

Today I want to discuss the way we have changed our personal care.  Now personal care is just that!!!  It is personal!  So you might wonder why I am choosing to talk about it.

Well beyond food, personal care is our greatest area of environmental impact.  Other ways of living that use too many of the world's resources are fairly easy to deal with.  We couldn't give a damn about can't justify new tv's, cars, wardrobes full of latest fashion, gadgets and STUFF in general, so it's easy to not use more than our fair share in respect to all of that.  We just don't shop for recreation or unnecessary items.  That's not to say I don't buy anything.  I will buy things that I feel are useful in the long term.  For anything else, there's the op-shop.  However we do need to eat and take care of ourselves so this area required a little more thought.
Op shopped plates, jugs and glasses
 Initially it required a fair bit of time to find alternatives to products we were using but now we've got it fairly simplified.  I don't use deodorant and I have tried making products to use instead.  For example, I used to make a cream from oil and beeswax with aromatherapy oils added.  It was okay and I was happy with it but I have found that the more that is involved in making our day to day products and food, the more likely I am to let it slip.  I find our lives are too busy already.  So now I just put a little bi-carb in my hand and rub it under my armpit.  The only downside I have found was the day I wore a black tank top and the bi-carb was everywhere and very visible.

I no longer shave under my arms and it doesn't seem a big deal to me but others feel this crosses some line.  Obviously we are meant to grow hair under our arms and it is just a societal rule that women shouldn't allow this to happen.   I can't justify buying disposable razors, cut throat razors are not an option (too scary) and I am NOT going to wax under my arms - Ouch!  Mind you, I was probably meant to grow hair on my upper lip at my age too but that crosses a line even for me!  So I do use wax.  Currently I have a pot of wax that I have for ages but when that finishes I have a couple of recipes for do-it-yourself waxes that are pretty simple.  I'll probably give them a try.
 I make my own soap.  I love our soap and would hate to go back to scented soaps now.  My soap feels gentle.  I'm currently using moisturisers that I was gifted but usually use an agave oil I buy from an aromatherapist or make my own from aromatherapy oils.  (Besides, I hardly ever think to apply it!)

I use cloth pads these days.  I find it funny to see the reaction that people have to this admission.  "Eeew!  No way!  That's gross!"  But having used cloth for a while, I now think disposable are gross!  I liken using a disposable pad to wearing paper knickers.  Really?!  You find them comfortable?  And as for the horror of having to deal with them afterwards.....  I just soak them in a bucket with a lid until I'm ready to wash them.  Once you get used to cloth pads, the idea of disposable is awful.  I recently had to borrow a disposable pad when I was caught out and not only did it feel horrible, when I went to dispose of it, I felt revolted at the idea of someone else out there (rubbish truck, tip) having to deal with my mess.
So in this post so far, I have done away with deodorant, razors, soap and pads.  That's a lot of rubbish saved over the course of a year!  Then if you stop to think of the cost savings.........  You'd be mad not to make some changes.  Pads alone cost at least five dollars a cycle.  Over a year that's a minimum of  sixty dollars yet the pads only cost me about one hundred.  You can easily make them yourself if you have time.  Then it would cost next to nothing.  There are heaps of instructions online if you google them.  Otherwise you can buy them.  I bought mine online from here.

We use hankies instead of tissues.  They are great except my kids do tend to lose them and that frustrates me.  We usually remember to take a clean, damp face-washer in a container out with us so we don't buy tissues or face wipes.
Grandbaby hands with snuggle toy
I use little cloth pads that I made for applying rosewater or similar rather than make-up pads.  I hardly ever wear make-up (weddings, restaurants) but I still have it.  I now buy more natural make-up and it lasts me a long time. 

We use wooden handled toothbrushes.  I bought them from here.  They are made from bamboo and apparently both the handles and the bristles will biodegrade.  Woo hoo!!  Chuck your toothbrush in the compost!

I'm not sure if I've forgotten anything but I think I've covered most of it (except for hair which I'll write about another time).  If you have anything to add like tips you have for reducing rubbish in the bathroom or products you've replaced please tell me about them in the comments.  We can all benefit from learning new ideas!


Busy mum of 3 said...

What an honest, upfront post! I completely eliminated the need for feminine hygine products when I got an IUD. I never thought I would ever get one for lots of reasons, but after several 'disasterous events' and problems, I did, (it was that or a hysterectomy and I wanted that even less)the upshot of the IUD, no more periods. They aren't for everyone, and they don't always help, but for me it was a win win situation, financially, environmentally and personally.

I hope that's not too much information?

Great post.

Linda said...

Not too much info at all. But wow! I didn't know an IUD stopped menstruation. I'm glad you didn't have to go through with a hysterectomy. Great outcome!

Liz Beavis said...

I love your honesty Linda! I only wear deodorant on work days and special occasions :) I don't think the farm animals mind. And when that runs out I have been considering other options, but I still shave, as you say, we all draw the line somewhere! I have been using the same razor for several years though. Love my cloth pads, I agree you save money and reduce waste. I also have a moon cup. I have just started making soap and I'm addicted. I stopped washing my hair over a year ago. I didn't realise how much I had reduced all the "products" until we stayed with a friend and her bathroom was FULL of bottles. I only have soap, a small jar of moisturiser (Damadi) and an organic deodorant. I'm really quite pleased with the lack of clutter!

Tracey said...

I too also do most of the things you posted. But I shave, at least when my arm pits/ legs will be on show. Once the current shaver is done though I intend to try sugar waxing.
I make a deodorant and it works great and lasts for months, and I also make our toothpaste. I've tried a few recipes, but can't find one I love - I'll keep tinkering...
When I want to give my face a nice cleanse, I use honey and homemade toner that leaves my skin feeling lovely, and if I wear makeup (for work) I add a little bicarb to the honey and use olive oil to remove the heavy eye makeup I have to wear to perform.
I totally agree about the pads - I never thought I'd say it, but cloth pads are soooo much nicer and they feel cleaner.

Kali said...

I also use cloth pads which I bought on Etsy, so they didn't cost nearly as much as yours but they will probably not last as long. I find that I cannot wear them with some work clothing, so do a half half thing.
I am also trying to transition all my products to sustainable, frugal and natural alternatives. I use coconut oil lightly on my face as a night moisturiser and on my hair instead of hair product in the morning.

Lynn said...

Hey Linda,
Most of the things you do we do here too! Just a tip on the toothbrushes - you can buy them as a pack of 12 from THe Environmental Toothbrush website in Queensland. They work out to be $3 each and the delivery is free.

Crunchie's Mum said...

I too use the cloth pads and agree they are much more comfortable but do find they can be difficult at work so sometimes use commercial products on work days. I make soap which is gentle and use that as my facial cleanser. People often comment on my lovely skin and ask me what I use. When I say soap they are a bit shocked. I do wear a moisturizer with sunscreen so that helps.

I use a shampoo bar from Berts Bees which lasts months and months. I don't know how long as I'm still using the first one which I bought 6 months ago! The hairdresser commented on my healthy hair as well!

livingsimplyfree said...

I stopped wearing make up a few years ago, I do have a mascara for those special occasions but the last time I wore it was November of this past year. I use baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair, and use a keeper, but I think I may be able to retire it soon. The only thing left in my bathroom is a stick of deodorant as I haven't been able to be comfortable with just baking soda or any other home made deodorant. Oh and I have a cheap razor that I have had for several years as when my arms and legs will be seen I do shave. Winter months when no one sees it's rare I shave.

Christine said...

Great post Linda and well done on your achievements. I have to say the biggest revelation in earth friendly personal care for me has been the moon cup. I switched about 18 months ago after a friend told me about it and am a total convert. Whoever invented it..genius! Love it and would not be without it.

I still think we use way too many tissues in the house and really like the idea of hankies..may make up a few flanny ones this winter..

Linda said...

Liz, I know! I am amazed at how little we need to take when we go camping! A bar of soap covers most of it.

Hi Tracey, I'd love to know how you make your homemade toner. And yes, pads do feel cleaner, dont' they.

Hi Kali, What a great idea! I didn't think of Etsy. And I definitely need to work out a method for my dry hair. I'll keep coconut oil in mind.

Thanks for the tip on the website Lynn. I'll check it out.

Hi Crunchie's Mum, They are much nicer, aren't they. And I wash my face with homemade soap too. You couldn't do it with the bought stuff!

Impressive Lois! And I must say I'm looking forward to the day I can retire my pads!

Christine, I don't know enough about how you 'deal' with the moon cup but obviously it can't be too hard. As for the hankies, I should make them too but I just never seem to have enough time.