I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that I am really trying to make huge strides towards living a more sustainable life, but I have received lots of feedback that going green is hard, it's too difficult to change an entire lifestyle, and that people just don't know where to start.
Never fear! It's #SustainableSunday and this week, I'd love to share with you some of the easiest possible ways for you to start living a more ecological (and chemical-free) lifestyle! Yes, friends, I'm talking about your health and beauty routine.
About 6 weeks ago, I accompanied my mum on some weekend errands and found myself perusing the aisles of various drug and grocery stores. It was on this adventure that I decided to probe a bit into what actually goes into the products that are being marketed as "natural," "organic," or "eco-friendly." What I found, totally astounded me. I couldn't pronounce over half of the ingredients in any of the shampoos, lotions, or face washes that I examined. What the heck, right? This, of course, lead to my getting sucked in to the black hole that I know as Pinterest, to find the best homemade, totally natural bath and beauty products that are not only chemical free, but are also totally sustainable (and work!)! After months of searching, creating, and testing, I've rounded up my faves for you here:
: Coconut oil : Obviously, I have to start with coconut oil. Social media over the last year or so has been huge on giving us all the benefits of using coconut oil, not just for cooking, but as part of your health routine. I've given oil pulling a chance and I'm not totally convinced by it yet, but I will say that I love to use coconut oil in place of a body lotion, it's great to condition your hair, and it's a key ingredient in the face wash that I've also listed here.
: Essential oils : I won't say too much about these, since there is information all over the place about how wonderful essential oils are. All I can tell you is that since I got my diffuser, I've been sleeping a lot better. Click on the link up there ^ for a handy chart on some easy ways to use essential oils instead of a ton of medications and chemical products.
: Natural luffa/sea sponges : It's no secret that sponges are useful, but can get to be downright nasty... and the once we buy the most often are made out of plastic polymers. Ick. Swap out your old shower loofahs (and kitchen sponges) for natural luffa or sea sponges. They are a natural way to exfoliate as luffa/loofah is actually a plant, as are sea sponges. Be sure to let your luffa/sea sponge air dry so they don't get moldy, and you're all set with a simple and sustainable lifestyle swap.
: Apple Cider Vinegar toner : Just like with my face wash, when I realized how many unpronounceable chemicals were in my toner, I knew that something had to change. As luck would have it, Homegrown Collective was kind enough to send me some natural and organic goodies to use to make home cleaning products, so I had some fabulous, pure apple cider vinegar on hand when I found this crazy simple recipe for toner. All you need is equal parts ACV and water (though you can start with more water while your skin adjusts). These two totally natural ingredients work together to clear out the bad stuff, shrink pores, and leave skin looking and feeling fresh.
: Coffee scrub : Yes, friends, this one is my guilty pleasure... this recipe is a dupe on the famous Frank coffee body scrub, which I have never tried, but I can tell you that I love this recipe. All you need are coffee grounds, brown sugar, and olive oil! It's kind of messy and your shower might need a little rinse post-shower, but the grounds are crazy exfoliating, the caffeine in them will wake up your skin and can help improve the look of cellulite. I don't know about ya'll, but I'm totally sold on this one!
: Reusable Pads : Ok, ladies, this one is for you... Never did I ever think I'd be openly discussing Aunt Flo in a universally public forum, but here I go... I recently read that that average woman goes through 300-400 tampons/pads in a year and not only does all that waste end up in landfills, these things are hella expensive! Cue reusable pads. There are tons of people who make and sell them on etsy, but if you click through that link up there ^, it will take you to my new main gal, Tikva's shop. She makes the most adorable (once again... not a word I ever thought I'd use to describe feminine hygiene) reusable pads in all sorts of sizes, colours, and thicknesses. They are made of hemp and organic cotton, filled with a waterproof membrane, and covered in adorable Indonesian batik fabric. They're comfortable, much softer than their disposable cousins, and can be soaked and tossed in the washing machine.