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Health & Beauty

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Top Eco-Friendly Hygiene Products

eco friendly bathing products

I’ve fielded a lot of queries lately about my washing and cleaning routine.  And not because it’s questionable!  It’s to see if I can recommend some good eco-friendly hygiene and bathroom products.

I thought I would share what we are using right now.  Not by way of saying that what we are doing is perfect.  But simply in the interests of satisfying reader curiosity!

Our Eco-Friendly Hygiene Products of Choice

Let me share with you my favourite eco-friendly products and methods:

Shower

We have switched from using liquid shower gel in plastic bottles for a plain old bar of soap.  I thought I would miss shower gel but actually, I am quite enjoying using bar soap.  I have found both Faith In Nature soap* and Suma soap* unpackaged at my closest health food store for little more than a pound a bar so it’s a fairly economical switch.  You can also check out my guide to sustainable soap brands, for more inspiration.

If bar soap isn’t your thing, then if you can afford the upfront cost then buying a bulk bottle of liquid shower gel is another option. I have done this before, and my pro tip is instead of shower gel to buy a 5 litre carton of shampoo*. This means you can use it on your hair, as well as on your body. I also use it as bubble bath, and as handwash too. I just decant into smaller bottles for ease of use.

Scrubbing

When it comes to giving myself a good scrub, I just use a plain old flannel.  It’s not fancy but it does the job effectively.

If you want to be a bit fancier, there are a few different options that aren’t heavy on the plastic.  Natural ramie shower puffs* are a natural alternative to those nylon/plastic shower puff things.  They are made from natural fibres for a biodegradable clean.  Alternatively, you can buy little bamboo bags* that you pop your bar of soap into for a bit of an upgrade from a flannel.

You can buy soap pebbles, which are bars of soap wrapped in a felted wool cover. This cuts out the need for a flannel or shower puff. I bought one out of curiosity and have regretted that purchase ever since.  I’ve personally found it makes for a really unpleasant showering experience.  I’m using it up because I don’t want it to go to waste but it’s safe to say I would not repurchase.

Bath

eco friendly bathing products

My kids love a good bubble bath.  Trying to find a less plastic version has been difficult, and the best solution I have found is from Lush.  Lush sell solid bubble bath bars, and my kids’ current favourite is this packaging-free bubble spinner. This is a solid bubble bath bar that spins around under the tap as it releases soap.  Let it spin round under the tap for 1 minute, and then dry it off and store it away for next time.  One spinner lasts for up to 10 baths, and the wooden bit can just go in our fire or the composter once it’s finished.

The ingredients and the shop aren’t perfect. However, when you’re walking a fine line between trying to live a little more lightly, keeping your kids happy and not spending a fortune then this wins for us.  My kids, who aren’t always on board with reducing waste, adore this bubble bath, so it’s a keeper.

Alternatively, try my bulk shampoo tip, above.

Hair

Since the start of the year, we have been on a mission to switch to a solid shampoo bar.  This has proved to be tricky as not all of them perform how we would like. What’s more, I’ve found some to have been very expensive.

So far we tried a Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS free) Soapnuts one. However, sadly none of us got on with it.  It left our hair greasy (even the kids) and with what felt like a nasty residue in our hair.  Let’s also just say it doesn’t have the nicest of scents.  It has since been relegated to use a soap for washing our body as I’m keen not to waste it, but even then it isn’t my favourite to use.

I have struggled to find other shampoo bars that have good reviews and are effective and affordable.  I have heard good reviews of this one but it’s £10 a bar (plus delivery), and with four heads to wash on a regular basis it’s not going to happen!

As such, we are currently using Lush solid shampoo bars.  We have tried a few different ones but so far Montalbano has been our favourite.  One bar lasts the four of us around a month and costs £6.50 a pop.  It lathers up really well and does a great job of cleaning our hair. But, boy, I wish they would remove the slice of dried lemon from the bar!  Towards the end of the bar, you end up with bits of lemon pip and pith in your hair, which isn’t the best!

Conditioner

My hair requires conditioner otherwise it becomes a dry tangled mess. Therefore I have also been using Lush’s solid conditioner bar. It smells divine and does the job adequately.  It did take me a little while to get used to it. This is because it can be hard to gauge exactly how much conditioner you are using. However, now that I’m more accustomed to it I am really enjoying using it. I’ve also put together a wider guide to plastic-free conditioner that you might find useful.

Again, in both the shampoo and conditioner bars the ingredients aren’t perfect. However, for us, the choice has been a more affordable packaging free product that works and everyone is happy to use, or switching back to shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles.   We’ve made a compromise here, but are still on the lookout for an affordable and effective shampoo bar. If you have found one then do let me know!

Perhaps the most sustainable option would be to stop washing our hair.   There are many advocates of this no hair washing movement, which is called the No Poo method.  I know – what a name! Talk about selling it to you!  I’m not ready to make that leap yet.  Call it a hunch, but I don’t think this one would go down that well with the rest of my family either!  One for the future, maybe…!

Face

A few of the eco-friendly hygiene products questions I’ve fielded lately are on how I wash and cleanse my face and remove my makeup.

My routine is really simple.  It’s probably as simple as it gets. All I do is use a bar of soap (the one from the shower – no need for a separate bar of soap) and a flannel. That’s the full extent of my face washing/makeup removal/cleansing routine.  The flannel acts as a gentle exfoliant, removing the need for a separate exfoliant, and it removes all traces of makeup.

I’ve been using this method for year upon year and haven’t found anything better.  Even beauty expert Sali Hughes swears by the flannel so I know I am on to something good.  I keep a stack of them in my bathroom cupboard, use a fresh one each day, and then chuck it in the washing machine in the evening.  Simple, quick, cheap and effective.  What’s not to love?

If you are after something more like a cotton wool pad then you can try this reusable cotton wool pad pattern.

Sink

handsoap recipe

I keep a bar of eco-friendly soap beside my kitchen sink for handwashing.  I tried this in the bathroom too, but what I found was that my kids aren’t keen to use bar soap.  The other thing I’ve found with bar soap by the bathroom sink is that even in a soap dish the soap sits in a puddle all day.  This makes for a soggy soap that isn’t pleasant to use. 

Instead, I make my own liquid hand soap – delicious scented grapefruit and ginger foaming hand soap – pictured above, that you can find the recipe to in Fresh Clean Home on page 90.

Making hand soap sounds like a time-consuming and difficult process. The reality is it takes approximately 5 seconds to make, and just a handful of easily sourced ingredients!  There is nothing more involved than mixing a few liquids together!

If you have any other questions or have any eco-friendly hygiene products recommendations on what’s working for you then do let me know. I’d love to hear!

Arts & Crafts, Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Glitter

eco friendly glitter alternatives

Since this eco-friendly alternatives to glitter article was written in 2017, new research has come to light. It has been found that eco glitter is as damaging to the environment as standard glitter.  Therefore it is something I no longer recommend.  Please see here for more information.

Today let’s talk about eco-friendly alternatives to glitter.

I don’t know about you, but I had been trying to keep my head in the sand about the environmental impact of glitter, of all things.  Much like tea bags, I didn’t want to believe that something so fun and seemingly innocuous as glitter could be harbouring a dark secret.

Why A Ban On Glitter?

However, it is indeed true: scientists are calling for a ban on glitter.  Why?  Most glitter is microplastic – fragments of plastic less than 5mm in length.  This microplastic can easily be swallowed by marine life, proving fatal to them, and could potentially enter the food chain.

More worryingly, in the same article it goes on to say that “most glitter is made of aluminium and a plastic called PET… PET can break down to release chemicals that disrupt hormones in the bodies of animals and humans“.  This is not good.  Therefore a ban on glitter, much like the ban on microbeads for the same reasons, would be very welcome.

This ban would mean a world without glitter.  Some nurseries are substituting glitter for lentils or rice for use in craft projects as an eco-friendly alternative.  However, it’s not quite the same, is it?  And sticking lentils to your face at festivals may not produce the desired effect, and may cause people to give you a wide berth!

If you can’t live in a world without glitter, but don’t want to damage the environment then fear not.  The future is not lentil based because I have found six eco-friendly glitter alternatives for all your glitter based cosmetic and crafting needs:

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Glitter

eco friendly alternatives to glitter uk

EcoStarDust

Bristol-based EcoStarDust, whose clever slogan is “glitter without the litter”, sells biodegradable glitter in all the colours.  And when I say all the colours I mean all the colours, in varying sizes from chunky through to fine.  Their eco-friendly glitter alternative is made from plant cellulose and is reasonably priced at £3.50 a pot.  Delivery is free when you spend over £10 and 10% of profits are donated to environmental projects.

Eco Glitter Fun

Eco Glitter Fun sells biodegradable, cruelty-free, and vegan glitter from £3.50 a pot, again in all the colours and sizes you could possibly need.  Their glitter is made from a certified compostable film that will biodegrade in soil, compost, or a wastewater/ocean environment.

Fulfilled Wishes

The UK-based Fulfilled Wishes sell biodegradable glitter via their Etsy shop.  Prices are £4 for 5-gram jars, and they specialise in more chunky eco glitter.

The Mermaid Cave

The Mermaid Cave sells a beautiful range of eco-friendly glitter alternatives, with all their glitter named after endangered ocean species.  This is the place to go if you are looking for zero-waste and plastic-free biodegradable glitter as all glitter is sold in glass vials with cork stoppers.  Their glitter is vegan friendly, made from plant-based materials, and the glitter will biodegrade in soil, compost, wastewater, and ocean water.  It’s priced at £5.99 for 8 ml of glitter or £9.99 for 20 ml of glitter.

The Soap Kitchen

The Soap Kitchen specialises in microfine eco-friendly glitter alternatives, in a more limited colour palette.  Prices start at £1.50 for 5 g, but you can purchase in bulk bags, in bags of up to 500 g (a whole lot of glitter!) if you need larger quantities.  You can also get 5% off your first order when you sign up for The Soap Kitchen newsletter.

Wild Glitter

Finally, Wild Glitter sells EU-certified biodegradable glitter made from natural compostable plant-based materials.  A variety of colours and textures are available, from fine through to chunky.  Prices are reasonable too – they start from £2.75 for 3 ml and they can be purchased in recyclable pots or refill bags.

If you find any more eco-friendly glitter alternatives then do let me know in the comments below! Alternatively, if you find an altogether different alternative to glitter then I would love to hear!