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?

 

 

Washing up.

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After spending several months using up my supermarket washing-up liquid and sponge, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to replace them. I needed something biodegradable that would last an awful lot longer than a sponge, (typically a couple of months for me) as well as a way of replenishing my soap without buying new plastic bottles each time.

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The washing-up liquid was the easiest thing to sort out. I have a bulk shop near me that offers refills of Ecover, an option that would mean I could bring back my old bottle and save on the plastic. However I wanted to find a system I could follow even if I was living somewhere where refills were not available. On my travels in France and the UK I have come across many shops that sell castille or marseille soap (all natural, cold-pressed) loose or in paper. I used half a bar of soap nut castille I received from Living Naturally, diluted in 500ml hot water to create my washing-up liquid (I shake it up before every use as the soapier water tends to collect at the bottom). It is nice to know I am now washing my dishes with something that is chemical-free and harmless to the environment that I could even EAT if I wanted to! Plus it does the job, obviously.

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As for my sponge replacement, I have been popping into every homeware shop I’ve passed for weeks and weeks looking for a loose scourer and some kind of wooden brush. I finally located one in Rennes, BazarAvenue, a 30-minute journey from my house, where I picked up my wooden brush from Redecker. I picked the soft bristle one, with beechwood bristles, as the other option appeared to come from some kind of animal (horsehair). The child inside of me is very excited about using this brush with the handle and everything!

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Last but not least I needed something for stubborn marks, so I also picked up a copper scourer from the same shop. I don’t think I need to explain this one. I originally intended to knit a small cloth out of hemp (like this) just to have something soft and more sponge-like, for situations when the brush and scourer are too hard. I will think about it over the next few weeks and decide if I really do need one.