Something I didn’t think I’d do.

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this long jar my parents used to store spaghetti in has come in handy! I love all the colours in there 🙂

Hello! As you may have been able to tell from my recent posts, the bathroom has been an area I’ve been concentrating on. I’ve reduced my toiletries, found zero waste alternatives to lots of products, and I’d say the process of ‘transition’ is nearly over. I haven’t had to chuck anything away from the bathroom in… well I don’t remember the last time. Except there is one thing we chuck away several times a day without batting an eyelid- or maybe a better term would be flush away.

I haven’t bought baby wipes or flushable wipes since I started striving for zero waste, and to be honest, it’s not too hard to live without. It was always a luxury. I find that if ever I do feel the need for one, a few drops of water from the tap onto a folded piece of loo roll does the job.

In terms of actual loo roll, I either buy recycled toilet paper from the supermarket wrapped in plastic, or if I have the time to get to another shop, Ecoleaf recycled paper in recyclable packaging. That was until I read a few posts on it and realised that using reusable toilet paper didn’t actually sound that bad!

Let me get a few things straight. Reusable toilet roll is not just keeping dirty toilet paper or anything like that. It is actually fabric, which you use once and then stick in the wash. Also, I’ve decided to only deal with no.1’s using reusable wipes because cleaning no.2’s off is beyond me at the moment, so it’s regular loo roll for that. If you think about it, it’s the same principle as using a handkerchief really, and to be honest I’ve taken to it with as much ease!

I bought my rainbow coloured bamboo wipes from Cheeky Wipes and they arrived a couple of weeks ago. My first impression was that they are SUPER SOFT! Forget toilet paper, this is living in luxury! The best way to describe them would be a thin, soft flannel. I have read in other reviews of reusable toilet paper that on the occasions when people have to use ‘normal’ loo roll again (when out or on holiday etc.), that it feels rough- I can definitely see how this could become the case for me!

It takes a bit of time to get used to reaching for the wipes rather than the paper, (I still occasionally do that, it is a lifetime’s habit after all!) and then there is coordinating when to wash them in order to always have a supply. I picked coloured wipes rather than white because I do colour washes way more often than whites and can just stick them in the machine at the same time.

Considering that no.1’s are the majority of toilet trips, I reckon I’m going to be saving quite a bit of money, energy and resources which is pretty cool! Reusable loo roll has been on my radar so to speak for quite a long time, but I only recently allowed myself to consider it an option due to misconceptions I had. I would recommend researching it- you don’t have to be a hippy, and it doesn’t make you dirtier or require a whole load more time or energy. Get on it people! This is something I never thought I’d do, but I have to say, I’m sold.

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Water only face washing

 

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So moody haha.

Hullo. So, for about a year now, I’ve been using water only on my face. If you told me a few years ago that I would now be leaving my face completely alone to do WHATEVER IT WANTS (!) I would’ve been very sceptical to say the least. My skin, from pretty much the day of my 13th birthday was spotty. More than averagely spotty. It did get a bit better as I got older but I still suffered into my late teens. I tried all the face washes and creams and even got prescribed this horrible roll-on thing from my doctor which admittedly did sort out the problem, but made my face so dry that I decided I’d rather go back!

I didn’t notice a significant change until I went vegan. A few months into my new, healthy diet (I decided whilst cutting out animal products, to actually pay attention to what I put in my body and up the wholefoods) I noticed that the problem areas I still had left were clearing up. Nowadays I would say my face is manageable. I still get the occasional one or two, but it’s no longer a concern. My skin feels on the whole quite healthy.

I don’t have a routine as such for washing my face. I’ll normally wet it when I’m in the shower (so around 4 times a week) then any other time if it feels too oily I use cold water. If I notice dryness or dead skin, I give my face a brush in small circular motions either whilst dry followed by a water wash, or I rub the wet brush over a bar of soap and apply to my face then water wash.

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my face brush on the far left

Unlike some branded face washes, this method doesn’t in itself hold the answers. In other words, it won’t sort out your face if it isn’t already healthy. Here are some tips for going water-only…

Eat well– lots of fresh produce, less refined sugars and oily foods. Basically eat healthily. I really notice a difference in the oiliness of my skin and usually break out after I’ve eaten badly. If you are eating well and you still have a significant problem, it’d be worth seeking advice from an expert in nutrition because certain foods affect people differently.

Drink water– same as above; water has a dramatic effect on the clearness of skin. Drinking water helps expel what your body no longer wants and fuels it to function like it’s supposed to.

Exercise– if your diet is half of the picture, exercise is the other. It all comes together and helps all the processes in your body run smoothly. You’d be surprised how getting a sweat on helps you look brighter and healthier!

phase out soaps– This stage will differ from person to person depending on what your skin has become used to. I would advise transitioning gradually though, because that way you won’t have to go through a period where your skin has to adapt to an extreme change, which could make it unpredictable. Find something a more natural version of what you usually buy in the supermarket. When that’s finished, switch to a soap bar. Then start cutting down on the number of days a week you wash your face with soap and use just water instead.

Avoid touching skin– This one is a struggle for me, especially when I’m stressed, but the less you touch your face the better. Every time you touch it you are making it dirty, so try to refrain as much as possible. Then when you do want to touch it, wash your hands first. I’ve noticed a change in my skin since I’ve been making an effort to leave it alone.

Learn what is normal for you– now that I have no products on my skin, I can feel what state it’s in, I know how my food affects it, and I have the instinct to know what it needs and when. Pay attention to what it’s doing and try and find out why. The better you know you’re skin, the better you’ll be able to give it what it wants.

**UPDATE 10/09/2017**

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August 2017

As you can see from the above picture, I am not spot-free. Ditching soaps and creams was not a magical solution to all my skin problems, but if I’m honest with myself, that’s not all I wanted. It would’ve been too simple for everything to clear up just like that.

Saying that, I don’t experience anywhere near the same amount of oiliness or angry spots that I used to get. When I do break out nowadays, the spots are less aggravated, they clear up more quickly, and I can often attribute them to being in a dirty environment or not eating very well. All the tips above, have been reinforced over the last few months as incredibly important to the well-being of my skin, even if I don’t adhere to them all the time (WHY DO CHIPS TASTE SO GOOD?!)

What suits me about water-only, aside from being the healthiest option for my skin, is the simplicity. Instead of applying things to my skin for it to adapt to, I leave it and then react when my skin gets oily or dry or I break out (which is pretty rare). This passive approach to the whole thing is perfect for someone who would much rather snooze for another 10 minutes a day than faff about with my skin! #toohonest?

 

 

Minimalist bathroom + make-up tips.

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the superstars.

I’m still working out what an ideal amount of toiletries is for me, so by no means consider this the final edit. However, there are a few things I’ve learned when narrowing down my collection which you might find useful. The following tips are things that I do to keep my bathroom products to a minimum…

Water for face + hair washing:

Yep, you heard me- no shampoo or face wash! Apart from my skin and hair completely thriving on water alone (after a transition period. I will be writing separate posts on these soon!) the best thing about it is that I don’t have to pack anything up to go away. Water is everywhere! More bag space and less expense and complication, WOO!

 

2-in-1 eyeliner:

If you have an eyeliner pencil, you can use it normally for a soft line, or to make your lashes look thicker,  hold a lighter 1-2cm from the tip for a few seconds, it softens the consistency and it makes more of a gel or liquid liner. The black gets bolder too. If you’re an eyeliner fan, trust me, this will blow ya mind 🙂 Now you only need one!

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My organic muslin face cloth for wiping off make-up. Bought here

Oil:

Be it coconut oil, olive oil or argan oil, (to name but a few) they all make great make-up removers. Just rub a few drops over the area then wipe away with a cloth. Now that my skin is natural, it tends to regulate itself in terms of moisture, but occasionally it gets dry. This is where the oil comes into its own again. Rubbing a teeny bit of oil (sometimes diluted with water for a lighter effect) is all I need to revive a dry patch. Having one product that serves many purposes is the best way of saving space and simplifying.

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Left to right, top to bottom: ‘lust’ solid perfume, LUSH; pina colada flavour lip balm, gift; homemade mascara, recipe here; lighter; argan oil, ClementsClements; eyebrow brush, Ecotools; Kohl eyeliner pencil, Boots

Refine:

Remove items from collection and store somewhere else. If you don’t miss them after a few months, get rid (donate, give to friend, chuck). It’s easy to keep products that you think you might need for an occasion, but it’s very eye-opening to discover that you only actually tend to use a fraction of the things you have.

No duplicates, this is not the apocalypse:

You don’t need to stock up. There isn’t going to suddenly be a shortage. Also, if you decide you no longer want to use a certain brand/product, you can easily change because you don’t have 10 duplicates in your drawer waiting to be used up. Replace when you are really close to running out/have already run out. Vow that you’re not going to buy another shampoo until you’ve used up what you have, or if you do fancy starting fresh immediately, donate the unused stock.

Zero waste bathroom.

When I think back to over a year ago, my bathroom was pretty ordinary. And by ordinary I mean I used a handful of plastic bottles, packets of wipes for various things, toothpaste in a plastic tube. It was all I really knew, but it seems like so much packaging and plastic now! Not only is my bathroom (so almost!) plastic-free these days, but my routines are simpler and cheaper to the point where, environmental benefits aside, I would still continue as I am because I just prefer it. My ‘products’ last so long that thinking about shopping for bathroom things (with the exception of toilet paper) is so rare it’s practically non-existent! Read on to the end for my full collection of toiletries, but first…

Here are some tips on where to start decluttering and greenifying your bathroom:

  • Do an audit– the first thing to do when cutting down on any type of waste is to find out what and how much you actually create. Keep or note down all the trash you make in a week/month and make a list of the items you use that create rubbish.
  • Find solutions– For each item identified look into purchasing/making alternatives. In many cases, it’s as simple as switching from disposables to reusables! Googling “zero waste [insert product here]” is a good place to start 🙂
  • Use it up– It’s super tempting to chuck out all your products and just start fresh with new and improved ones, but it’s wasteful. The few times I have done that I’ve ended up making a hasty decision and wishing I’d given myself time to research the best alternative. Use your time wisely, and when that disposable item runs out, you can replace it with a well-informed alternative.
  • Coconut oil is your best friend– really. It does so much. Having products that double up for multiple purposes saves money and space when travelling (see here for list of coconut oil uses).
  • Get rid of your bin– if you have a bin in the bathroom, ditch it. If you make it more inconvenient to throw things away, you’ll become more aware of every bit of waste you produce and you’ll find yourself trying to avoid creating more!
  • Solids are your best friend too– When you buy things that come in bottles, not only are you going to have to send the packaging to landfill (it’s normally plastic), but the companies are selling you soap plus a load of water. When you buy solid soap/shampoo/conditioner it lasts ridiculously long because you add the water yourself every time you use it. Normally solid soaps etc. come in cardboard/paper/no packaging too so it’s win win!
  • Simplify– since I no longer use cotton pads and wipes, and I use one soap for everything (rather than face soap, body wash, foot scrub, hand soap etc.) I’ve realised they weren’t really necessary, and I appreciate not having to buy them ever again! The less you have, the less you have to maintain with your time and money 🙂

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From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Salt of the Earth deodorant, Holland and Barrett (see my review here)
  • Jagen David safety razor, Ebay
  • Body soap bar, LUSH (don’t know its name, sorry!) in a Savon du Midi soap tin, Green Fibres
  • Wooden face brush, Boobalou
  • Hand soap bar (gift) on a shell soap dish (gift)
  • ‘The Plumps’ conditioner bar and ‘Jason and the Argon Oil’ shampoo bar in a tin, all 3 from LUSH
  • Hair styling cream (last bits from a large tub, I just transferred it into the jar)
  • Homemade toothpaste in an aluminium tin, repurposed from a toiletry gift set
  • Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile soap bar, Wholefoods and Activated charcoal soap bar, Living naturally on a glass butter dish

I like to mix and match soaps for different things, and I wanted to try them all out, but when they eventually run out I’ll be able to streamline this collection a little bit more.

 

There are a few items missing above, such as my toothbrush, (mentioned here) and a jar of coconut oil that I picked up in Holland and Barrett but this list is the bulk of it!