Disclaimer: There are links to other products we think that will help with your low-waste self-care routine. These are not sponsored. We, at Sylvia’s Sudsery, only recommend what we have tried personally. If we haven’t used it, it will be mentioned and explained why it is recommended.
Let's disect the one of the most intimate rooms in the house. Okay, not the bedroom, but your bathroom. This area is where most self-care routines take place. It's where you bathe, and its where you escape from everything that is going on in your life. It is your sanctuary.
Close your eyes and picture your bathroom. What do you see first when you open your shower curtain? Usually it is body wash, shampoo, conditioner, a razor, loofah, and if you are into taking baths you would also see a form of bubble bath. What do all of these things have in common besides getting you "clean"?
Plastic! More than likely they are made out of plastic and their ingredients contain synthetic chemicals that leave your skin "squeaky clean". The truth is that feeling is from the chemicals stripping out all of the natural oils from your skin and hair. Your body and your environment deserve better.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. – Edward Everett Hale
These chemicals may well contain carcinogens and other toxins, such as Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). One of these chemicals, Propylene Glycol, is the main ingredient in making anti-freeze! Yep, you heard me. Not only is a strong skin irritant but the EWG, Environmental Working Group, states that it provokes allergic reactions in those who have eczema and other skin allergies. These chemicals are considered on the moderately hazardous spectrum, but keep in mind with these symptoms that's up to you whether you want that on your skin.
Both are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are known as heavy duty degreasers. Remember when I was talking about that "squeaky clean" feeling? SLS is tricky ingredient to watch out for because it hides itself with over 150 different names! It has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption. No, thank you.
These are examples of only two ingredients found in most bathroom routines, but think of all of the multitude of ingredients combined into one product.
I have been using EWG for years to determine what ingredients are safe for my skin and the environment. They give you a good bit of information and sources so you can do more digging. Even though they aren't the only source I go to to learn about various chemicals this website sure comes in handy. They give a scale rating to determine their safety and also what effects it has. You can check them out here.
Life will be so much simpler by reducing your waste. Your self-care routine, your bath time, will be so much simpler. You don't have to pollute the environment, but be a caregiver to the environment instead. It's odd to think that if you reduce the amount of plastic in your life things will change. I can tell you it is true and worth it.
In my life, I can't tell you how many times when I threw away the "empty containers", I would see leftover goo oozing out of them, and start to wonder what was happening with them being mixed with everything else that was in the trash. I knew I needed to act, not for my own sake, but to be a good steward to this planet.
No more knocking over bottles and tripping on them when you get out of the bathtub. No more harming the planet you live on. It’s another step to a simpler life. This can actually happen, and you would be doing your earth justice as well.
Many of us seek simplicity in our lives while making a positive impact on the planet we live in, and that is a reason why the zero-waste movement is at large. We can make a difference. Small acts, when multiplied by millions, can transform the world.
How can we do this with our self-care routine? There are simple swaps that can make a difference. Simple swaps can be:
An Exfoliating Brush or a Real Loofah (it’s a plant!)
I personally have an exfoliating shower brush made out of wood that I got from a garage sale with the tag still on it. I’m not ashamed!!! They work great and can be used for dry brushing if you would like to exfoliate your skin and get rid of dead skin cells.
The other option is a loofah. They are actually a plant, not from the sea. They are hard when dry, but after adding water they become softer. If you currently have a plastic one, keep using it until it loses its life, then swap! If you are looking for seeds to grow them, don't be surprised if you get odd looks from the store staff. That didn't happen to me at all (clears throat heavily).
Switch to a Safety Razor
They are known to be easier to work with. You only need to replace the blades when they are dull, which are recyclable. It is an upfront cost depending on the safety razor, but it saves you money in the long run and saves the planet from another disposable razor in the landfill.
We recommend going to EarthHero. They are a hub for all things low to zero waste. In order to sell items on this website, EarthHero goes through extensive steps to make sure a company follows their guidelines. This guarantees that you aren't purchasing from another drop shipping company. I do not personally shave, but I do have friends who recommend getting their safety razors from EarthHero.
It is a goal for us, at Sylvia’s Sudsery, to one day be a part of EarthHero. We truly agree with what they stand for.
A Bar of Homemade Soap
You will thank yourself for making this switch. I know I did, and so have many of my friends and family. If made naturally, soap can be used on face and body. Please do not use a store bought commercial soap on your face. Just don't. The face is extremely sensitive and does not like store bought soap. I'll leave it at that. This is why companies have created cleansers. It is another way to add to consumerism.
Handcrafted soap makes all the difference on your skin. Personally, once I switched to it, my skin has been soft and smooth ever since. Even when I was working in retail, I no longer had to waste a container of lotion. That blew my mind because when you are constantly working with your hand, they become rough and dry. If you are looking for a simple, but beautiful bar, try here:
One thing to keep in mind is what you stand for. Do you want a soap that is made out of palm oil? Palm oil, if not harvested correctly causes deforestation in the rain forests. We will discuss this on our next blog. You can also choose sustainably made.
Ask yourself whether you want organic and raw materials used. We, at Sylvia's Sudsery, make palm-free soaps and strive to use organic and raw ingredients.
Grab a Shampoo Bar
Shampoo bars are great alternatives so your chemical ridden bottle. They take some time to get used to when first switching from a commercial shampoo to a shampoo bar, but it is well worth it. Your hair won't be used to it in the beginning because it is in the routine of being stripped of all its natural oil. Hair needs to be trained. You are the trainer. For some people it takes a couple of weeks, but it really does depend. You have to keep trying and your hair will benefit from it.
Another factor is how often you wash your hair. Everyday hair washing is not necessary. Before I went low waste, I used to wash my hair twice a day. Yea, twice. I felt like one of those greaser guys from the 50s. A part of that was the chemicals in commercial shampoo were stripping all of the natural oils to the point where my hair is trying to replenish itself. By training your hair to wash it a few days a week will help fight back the grease.
I can guarantee you though, if you use the right shampoo bar for your hair type, then your hair will become healthier. We recommend Chagrin Valley. They specialize in shampoo bars and have them categorized depending on your hair type. Their guide on their website for what ones would work best for oily and dry hair is extremely helpful.
If you want to see what one works best for you, you can always order their sample sizes. Not every person’s hair is the same type, so you have to play with them to have the right one for your hair type.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Instead of Conditioner
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinses are used in place of conditioner. When using a shampoo bar your hair follicle is roughened, but by using apple cider vinegar it becomes smooth and adds shine to the hair. If you only use the shampoo bar without an ACV rinse, your hair will then more than likely feel straw like. To make this concoction you'll need to:
- Combine 1/2 to 4 tablespoons of raw ACV with "mother" with 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle or other containers
- Adjust to find the right dilution for you. We are all unique and so is our hair!
For the rinse, you can use it every other day, twice a week, or each day you wash your hair. It depends on if you have dry or oily hair. Usually your hair likes less of it if it is dry, and more if it is oily.
Personally, I enjoy putting essential oils in my rinse. I usually put a couple of drops of rosemary essential oil for antifungal properties, and eucalyptus essential oil to help relax my body. There are so many different combinations you can come up with from lavender, to witch hazel, to even calendula. Pick what sounds good to you and learn more about your ingredients.
Plastic Free Bath Truffle or Bubbling Bath Bar
Self-care is very important, and you can still treat yourself without using plastic. It is about your self-care experience. How you take care of yourself is crucial. Sylvia’s Sudsery has bubbling bath bars and bath truffles packaged free from plastic. This takes away from the annoyance of having plastic cling to your hands, and you are respecting the environment while treating yourself. My personal favorite truffle is our Big Drop O’ Sunshine, which is scented completely with essential oils.
Start the swap when you are getting low on an item that way you aren’t adding to your waste basket.
Overall, self-care is not focused on the things, but on the experience. Enjoy every moment and delight in the experiences. You deserve to treat yourself while keeping nature beautiful!
Danielle is the business owner of Sylvia's Sudsery. She enjoys living a environmentally conscious as possible, painting, making soap, and having a good bubble bath. Follow her on Instagram @sylviassudsery .