Solutions : For you ; For Us.
I wanted to share some of the products I have shifted towards using that are in my opinion, better then alternatives either sustainably speaking, health / wellness related, and in some cases, both. Each product will have links if you are interested in purchasing them, and I created a shopping list of some of my favorites or other recommendations.
Disclaimer : None of these products are sponsored, just my honest feedback based on personal research and use!
Though this is a pretty basic starters guide, I hope it helps! If you had any favorites items that I didn’t mention, leave a comment below - I’d love to check it out!
Face + Body.
Neutrogena face wipes are hard to replace, trust me I get it. However, there are many amazing products out there to help you phase out of single use products such as cotton balls / pads, makeup remover wipes, etc.
• Sea Sponges - Sea Sponges are a fantastic, natural material that has many different uses. I use mine to remove cleanser or masks from my face, as well as makeup at the end of the day. These are great swaps for cotton balls. You simply wash them after using them, and they are ready to go again, and again, and again!
• Bamboo Pads - This switch over from using single use cotton pads has been one of my favorites. In the past, cotton pads were everywhere and often would have to be tossed even if they were not used. I finished out the remaining cotton pads I had, and purchased this luxurious 12 pack from Our Earth Beauty, and was amazed by how soft they were, which my skin instantly responded to. I use the gloves to help remove makeup and apply my cleanser. The fibers also help to gently exfoliate.
• Clarisonic - This is not exactly a super ‘sustainable’ solution, however, before I did purchase this, I was using cheaper plastic facial brushes that would only be good for about a month, before being tossed away. While the Clarisonic is also relying on reusable heads, the heads last longer then the one I was using previously, which in this case is a better option.
Smell is one of the easiest senses to indulge in daily. Our homes, bodies, and items are all things we often cover in different scents, from Perfume, to Laundry Detergent, Lotions, and Room Sprays - there are many products out there to choose from. However, many, if not most of these products are created from "Artificial Scents” or “Scent Additive” which are made from artificial chemicals that can be toxic to our bodies - and our environment.
These scents are often derived from petrochemicals, phthalates, aldehydes, etc - these chemicals may be confusing to understand, but essentially these various chemicals that create smell are often to hide the chemical smell of the products. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens, (meaning they may cause cancer). Some are derived from petroleum, some are known endocrine disruptors, (which effects our hormones, which can lead to tumors, cancers, birth defects, developmental disorders etc.) Some fragrances are actual neurotoxins which can cause adverse effects to the nervous system. The effects can range from nausea, headache, vertigo, dizziness, and more. The chemicals and compressed gasses also cause adverse effects on our environment and ozone layers as well. Basically, we do not need any additional chemicals in our air, or bodies.
There are many different labels, titles, and names that all mean different things when it comes to Scents, Scent Additives, Natural Scents, Fragrances, Fragrance Free, Wax Bases, Soy Bases, etc. I won’t get into that too much more, but I suggest anyone to take some time to try to educate yourself and make decisions based on what you find and feel. I personally am super sensitive to smells and tend to prefer more natural based scents myself and have taken the time to learn how to properly dilute and use them, as most essential oils though generally are natural, are usually highly concentrated, and can be harmful if used incorrectly. With anything - educate yourself and decide what works best for you!
Essential Oil Perfume - I have been wearing essential oils as perfumes for the past few years as I am quite sensitive to most fragrances, depending on the quality. A solution I found was creating my own little perfumes combining my favorite essential oils with water in these little glass spray bottles.
Essential Oil Room Spray / Oil Diffuser - similar to my Essential Oil Perfumes, I do the same thing to freshen up the rooms in my home. For this I use these larger Glass Spray Bottles. I also diffuse oils throughout the day with my Oil Diffuser. It is important to use high quality essential oils, there should be little to no ingredients other then the main ingredient. My personal favorite brand for Oils is Saje.
I started my cycle when I was 15. I went straight for tampons, and occasionally used pads. Along with tampons, I used panty liners for back up, in case, nearly every period. I stopped using tampons about 2 years ago. Let’s do some math.
8 years of Tampon Use x 12 cycles a year - (about 9 - 12 tampons per cycle).
12 x 12 = 144 tampons a year,
144(year) x 8(8 years of tampon use) = about 1,152 tampons used in my lifetime.
This is not including Pads, or Panty Liners.
Think about how much packaging goes into one single tampon. You have the box it arrives in, then you have each individually wrapped tampon, contained in its cardboard (do they even make those anymore?) or plastic applicator. The actual tampon is composed of rayon / cotton mixes - and some are even fragranced - artificial fragrances literally being put into the hot body for hours. Additionally, the cotton and rayon commonly used in tampons is heavily sprayed with pesticides while it is growing and in production. These fibers are coated in toxic chemicals and then used in our bodies. On top of it all they are also packaged in a way that produces incredibly amounts of waste. “Tampons, pads and panty liners along with their packaging and individual wrapping generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, and they all contain plastic – in fact pads are around 90% plastic!“ according to OrganiCup.com. These plastics do not break down, and often will outlive their original user. To me, this is incredibly absurd, and could easily be replaced by a new system that is better for our bodies and the environment as well.
I could, and likely will revisit this topic as I have more facts and thoughts to share but I’ll save it for another post in the future, for now, here are some eco friendly alternatives I highly recommend every woman switch to for their health, connection to self, and the environment.
• The Cup - there are so many options out there on the Market nowadays, and for the most part, they are great. There are many options depending on your body’s shape, size, capacity etc. I recommend trying a few and deciding which works best for you. I switch between these two depending on how I am feeling. I switch it out morning and evening, usually in the shower. If I am out and about, I carry my water bottle with me and carefully wash it out if it is not a private bathroom, or carry a backup to switch between if needed. Usually, I am able to go 12 hours just fine. I have noticed huge physical changes with my cycle since switching, and would never go back to tampons.
• Reusable Bamboo Pads - if you prefer pads, there are many reusable or up-cycled pads being made as an option as well. Many of these products are linked with charities who in return send products to developing countries for woman and girls to have access to mensural products they can use through their lifetime.
• Period Panties - I have yet to use any of these products, yet, however would love to share my thoughts once I do!
My best friend told me about this little torture device. This is an epilator. It is a device that has teeny tweezers that pluck out your body hairs wherever you roll it. It hurts, of course, but with a little mind over matter, determination, and deep breaths, you will have hairless areas - with no razor burn. The effect is essentially like waxing, but you can do this with a single device, in the comfort of your home. The more you use it, the less it hurts, I promise you. This has been one of the best purchases I have ever made in my life. I know that is a bold statement, but I genuinely mean that. I RAVE over how after 20 minutes, my legs are silky for about two weeks. My underarms are bare, no stains, no rough bumps. And, bravely, my bikini line is beautifully managed. Another benefit - when the hair does grow back, its thinner, its softer, and the next time I epilate doesn’t hurt as bad.
And - the environment. Razors are plastics of various kinds, thicknesses, etc - then there is the blades, and accessories like shaving creams, soaps, etc. Full of scents and gasses. Not great you, bad for the environment. General use of razors or razor heads is 1 a month, thats about 12 a year, and that quickly adds up and ends up in the landfill.
Personally, I switched to this more so for my own benefits of loving how long I am hairless, but if you think about it it is definitely a switch that is a win for earth as well.
• I use this Epilator from Braun - as it was a good price ($45) to try it out and see if I could handle it before investing into a better version. However, after a few months and my first summer using it, I cant wait to upgrade to this Epilator Set from Braun that has a few better features such as a pivoting head, and a precision unit for the bikini line and underarms. Braun also makes a Facial Epilator for quick access to facial hair removal.
Clothes / Laundry.
I bought a clothes shaver and spent hours going through my clothes, removing peels, shedding, and lints from my clothes. Many of these items I would have considered donating or tossing before due to their worn look and feel, however with some time, your garment can look new again! I was so happy to revitalize many of my old favorites. Now, from time to time I will enjoy watching youtube videos, while shaving my clothes - exciting I know.
Why is this important? Like I mentioned in this post, the fashion industry and clothing is a huge source of waste in the world. I can get into it more, but we’ll save it for later. For short, rather buying new items, see if you can revitalize what you already have using tools available such as this Clothing Shaver, and Lint Rollers.
There are a few items you can use in your laundry process that help your clothes, and your laundry use.
• Wool Balls - these wool balls have many benefits. They help the clothes dry faster, which for us helps to only have to run our drier once, (without 2-3 times). They reduce static, and wool is sustainable material!
• Microfiber Ball - these balls collect the leftover microfibers that are left behind after our clothes are washed, preventing further tiny plastic particles to leek into the our waterways and ocean. Its essentially an additional filter that traps the plastic wastes from our clothing.
I hope this helped someone! If there are any products you use to be more Sustainable that I don’t have listed here, drop them down below in the comments - I would love to check them out!