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A reader recently asked about the products that I use on a regular basis: shampoo, makeup, etc. I thought I'd whip together a quick post sharing my sources for the everyday items that help me in my zero-waste aspiring and ethics-driven daily routine! You'll notice that my routine isn't perfect, yet (see the paragraph about makeup at the bottom of this post), and I've purchased many of the things that I use every day from *gasp* Amazon.com. This is what is currently working out for me, with limited time, a very limited budget, and without good access to brick and mortar stores that sell the items I need (not all of us live next to the Package Free Shop in NYC!).
I use a bamboo and rubber hairbrush, which has held up well with constant use and which I hope will biodegrade nicely when it's no longer useable someday. My razor is a stainless steel razor, which I love. It creates a way smoother/closer shave than the crappy disposable razors I used to use! I just use a little coconut oil on my skin prior to shaving. I got my hairbrush and razor from Amazon (This is the razor I have and this is the brush) , but you could also buy these items from Life Without Plastic which would guarantee that the items wouldn't arrive on your doorstep in any plastic packaging. Philippines readers, you can find safety razors and bamboo brushes on Lazada. I use a bamboo toothbrush, as well, from Brush With Bamboo.
For shampoo, I've done a few different things over the years, including the "no poo" method using just baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar and using shampoo bars (I got mine from Lush, since that's all I could find here in the Philippines, but I'd recommend Jr Liggets or a similar brand if you're in the states as Lush uses some very undesirable ingredients). Right now, I'm temporarily using a shampoo and conditioner from Shea Moisture, as I've experienced a lot of hair loss in recent months (not from my hair care routine, it's a result of an autoimmune disorder) and wanted to use something super moisturizing for awhile. The ingredients are ethically sourced, the "bad" ingredients are very minimal, and I'll re-use the bottles for something else when these are used up. My "Dry shampoo" is just a quick dusting of cassava flour or arrowroot starch when I need it.
I don't own any soaps, lotions, or body washes. I find soap unnecessary and damaging for my skin. We buy a few bars of "naked" soap here and there to keep in the bathroom for washing hands (easily available at Whole Foods or your local co-op in the states, or at Got Heart or Everyday Island in the PH).
For washing my face, I use coconut oil and a washcloth to take off any makeup, and then just wash my face with water and my fingertips before moisturizing with a little drop of coconut oil.
When I'm on my period, I alternate between using a silicone menstrual cup (get it here in the states, or here in the Philippines) and my reusable cloth pads from Ecopads.
I make my own deodorant and toothpaste (recipes here). I use an old lotion tube with the top cut off to store my toothpaste and still allow me to squeeze it out of a tube rather than scoop it out of a jar. It's not perfect because sometimes the toothpaste "settles" and clogs the small opening of the tube, so I'll eventually re-use a tube with a larger opening.
This isn't a daily thing, but on the rare occasion that I use them I make my own intensive masques/treatments for hair and face. Right now I'm treating my hair with coconut oil and rosemary essential oil every few days, I do a clay mask a few times a month (just straight bentonite clay), or I do a turmeric/tea mask (like this or this). For whitening teeth, I just break open an activated charcoal capsule onto my wet toothbrush a few times a month.
Makeup is an area where I haven't yet gone completely zero-waste. I toyed with making my own mascara, powder, etc from recipes I found on the internet, but haven't yet had alot of success. I would love to get a set of makeup products from RMS, the favored company of zero-waste beauty bloggers everywhere, but that's not within my budget for now. Right now, the most eco-friendly thing that I can do is just not really wear makeup (not a huge problem for me, since I've never been much of a makeup girl). I actually let most of my makeup items run out a month or so ago and haven't replaced it yet... When I am wearing makeup, it's usually from The Body Shop or W3LL People or Gabriel.
There are also quite a few kitchen items I use every day (or nearly every day) that help me stay plastic-free and zero waste. I use my cast iron skillet (mine is from Lodge, but if you can find a vintage one at a thrift or antique store, that's better!) and old vintage copper-bottomed steel pot every day (and actually there are the only two pots and pans I own).
I use a few bulk bags from A Beautiful Refuge for produce/ bulk items when I grocery shop, and I keep one of those foldable tote bags from IKEA with me always in case I need it. I also have some cotton tote bags, but I like the foldable ones because they don't take up as much space (I don't like carrying big purses or bags). However, most of these foldable totes are made from synthetic materials, which I don't condone purchasing or using... I suppose this is a bit of a "do as I say, not as I do" situation! I also have a cotton string bag (again, just purchased from Amazon) that gets alot of use.
For buying "wet" or cooked foods at the grocery, packing lunch, or taking home leftovers, among other things, I love my Stasher bags and stainless steel lunch/bento boxes. I have about 6 stainless steel containers. Most of them I got in the Philippines at the local Japan home store, but I got my two-layer lunchbox online.
I hope this helps any of you who are looking for affordable and easily accessible items to begin working toward a low-waste lifestyle!