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Life & Style

Home and Garden, Life & Style

Buying Non-Food Essentials During a Global Pandemic

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Today I’m sharing a little Etsy love. In case you’ve not heard of Etsy, it’s an online marketplace for independent sellers. Right now times are tough for their independent sellers, many of whom are one-woman businesses, and I want to support them and their #StandWithSmall campaign in this time of crisis. Etsy extended a huge amount of love and support to me last year when I went through some bad times, and devoting some space to them at this time feels like the very least I can do to show my gratitude for that.

Also, shopping for what we need right now is tough. Reports of online shopping companies are circulating where staff may not be adequately protected from risk – see exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C.

When we can afford it, buying the non-food essentials we need that we can’t get locally from smaller sellers, such as independent Etsy sellers, feels like a safer option. These independent sellers may be more able to practice social distancing, and by the very nature of their business, are more likely to be one-person operations. And more than ever, independent sellers need our support.

It goes without saying, the term ‘essentials’ will vary from person to person – there’s no one size fits all approach. What might not be essential to you may be essential to someone else, so I have taken a broad approach.

Face Mask

Face mask from Etsy

At present, face masks aren’t compulsory in the UK, but it could well go that way.

Owing to PPE shortages, medical-grade face masks should be reserved for NHS staff and care workers only. Other professional types of face masks are in short supply, so for the general public, a fabric face mask is the best option. I have heard that pocket type masks, where you can either insert a charcoal filter, or failing that, an additional fabric layer into the pocket can provide an additional layer of safety, so this double pocket washable face mask from Etsy may help, provided you follow instructions on how to use a mask safely.

It’s important to bear in mind that just because you’re wearing a mask, it doesn’t grant you immunity or will protect you completely. From what I understand, the masks are more to help asymptomatic people spreading COVID-19 before they are aware they are carriers of the disease, rather than to stop people contracting the disease. There are also a lot of other measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19 beyond wearing a mask, such as frequent hand washing, staying at home, social distancing, and self-isolating if you or anyone in your household develops symptoms that are just as important to follow too.

Washable Sanitary Towels

Washable sanitary towels from Etsy

We’re all trying to head to the shops as little as possible, and that, my friend, is the beauty of reusable sanitary products. No need to pop to the shop when you run out of towels because you can just pop on the washing machine instead. My favourites are these ones, from LilahPads.

If you’ve been worried about trying reusable period products due to leakage, then lockdown could be a great time to try them out.

Make-Up Remover Pads

Make-up Remover Pads from Etsy

Rather than using disposable make-up wipes, again, now is a great time to try out washable make-up pads. These ones from Artichaut Creations come in fun patterns, and can be used time and time again.

Reusable Kitchen Roll

Reusable kitchen roll from Etsy

Back in March, you couldn’t get hold of kitchen roll in the supermarkets for love nor money. I don’t use kitchen roll, so I wasn’t affected by this, so if you want to be shielded from future shortages then reusable is definitely the way to go. This reusable set, again from Artichaut Creations looks lovely.

Soap

Soap from Etsy

I covered soap just the other week, but if there was ever an essential right now then it’s soap. Soap Daze sells some lovely vegan and palm-oil free and cruelty-free soaps, like the cedarwood and grapefruit bar pictured above, that I really rate.

Shampoo

Shampoo bar from Etsy

Looking to ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottles clogging up your shower? You could try switching to this 2 in 1 solid shampoo bar. This one has no transition phase and doesn’t need an acid rinse after shampooing, as some bars do.

The Multi-Tasker

Argan Oil from Etsy

Looking for something to condition your hair, remove your make-up, moisturise your face and moisturise your hands? Argan Oil, like this one from Conscious Skincare, can do all of these things brilliantly.

Conscious Skincare’s products have been fully approved by the Vegetarian Society, PETA, carry the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free logo, and their products are vegan-friendly too.

In terms of keeping sellers safe, if you’re not in a rush for items, you can pop a note to the seller when you check out on Etsy, telling them to only post the item to you when it is safe to do so, or that you are happy to wait if they are only doing a weekly trip to the post office.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Remedies for Washed Out Hands

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I don’t know about you, but in our household, all this extra hand-washing is really taking its toll.

Whilst handwashing is one of the best preventative measures against infection, as well as staying home if you aren’t a key worker, constant washing is tough on hands. Here are some of my favourite moisturising soaps and moisturisers to help washed out hands in these dystopian times:

Dook Soap

Packed full of organic coconut oil and richly moisturising raw shea butter, Dook’s soap bars are a treat for dry skin.

Their credentials are pretty impressive too – with all of their soaps being free from palm oil and parabens, as well as being cruelty-free and plastic-free. Going that extra bit further, all their soaps are packaged in 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and card.

Dook’s soaps are made up of 50% salt, which sounds drying, but I’ve certainly not found this to be the case – each wash delivers a creamy lotion-like lather.

Whilst this is the most expensive bar in this roundup, at £9, owing to the salt content Dook’s soap bars are hard and very long-lasting. Some soaps go mushy after a week or two of use: not this one!

Little Soap Co.

We are using Little Soap Co’s, Eco Warrior Moisturising Hand & Body Bar (£4.50) at the moment to hydrate our hands, and it’s a hit with all of our hands – from the littlest to the oldest.

Made with 99.5% naturally derived ingredients and free from detergents, SLS, sulphates, alcohol, parabens, sorbates, silicones and synthetic preservatives, Little Soap Co’s range is also vegan and plastic-free, and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. I would prefer it to be palm oil-free too, but at the moment Little Soap Co appears to be making steps in the right direction.

Soap Daze

Soap Daze is a long-standing favourite of mine. I’ve always found their handmade soaps to be rich and moisturising, and this unscented Oatmylk Soap (£6.50) is a great choice for sensitive skins. Oatmeal is known to be an anti-inflammatory and can help calm skin irritations. What’s more, Soap Daze soaps are palm oil-free, cruelty-free, plastic-free and vegan friendly. An unpackaged bar is available if you wish to eschew packaging, and will save you £1 on your purchase too.

Hand Creams

To give dry and washed out hands a boost the product I swear by most is Skin Food by Weleda.

I’ve been using Skin Food for years and years and years (this post in which I first declared my love for it stems from 2013!), and I swear it’s magic in a tube. This incredibly rich and moisturising cream makes it a great choice for a facial night cream, but is equally great on elbows, knees, and, you guessed it, hands subject to a lot of washing. I tend to have a tube on me at all times.

Packaging wise, it’s packaged in a recyclable metal tube and a cardboard box. Please note, Skin Food contains beeswax, so it isn’t vegan friendly. If you’re after an effective vegan hand cream then do try this Weleda one.