Switching from liquid, aerosol, and plastic-packaged products
has never been easier as we move into new markets for soaps,
shampoos, and deodorants. What do you use?
We live in a society of excess plastic, and packaging is a huge problem these days as we try to be more environmentally conscious. The books I’m currently writing are set well into a future that has abandoned plastic, and along with the vast amount of scientific evidence revealing the damage we’re doing to our planet right now, it’s inspired me to change my ways. Reducing the use of plastic has become a big motivation to change many of the products I use.
I talk about plastic, its origins, and its future in my blog post Plastic – Polluting our Oceans – and we need to change. I also, touched on several ways to become more environmentally friendly in our lives in How to be Greener – and Save our Planet. We can all do something, even if it’s something small, and the most important thing is to recognise we need to change and begin.
One of the things I was determined to change was my use of antiperspirant. I’ve used Dove’s solid antiperspirant for years and didn’t want to change – I struggle with change – but I wanted to be rid of the plastic container. Natural alternatives are deodorant, not antiperspirant, so it requires a change that can take time for your body to get used to.
I discovered creams in tins and solid deodorants in cardboard push up packaging. Due to sensory issues I chose the cardboard push up option, and bought Grapefruit and Lemon Natural Deodorant from Earth Conscious, a small business based on the Isle of Wight. I loved it, and it smelled heavenly. On the expensive side, £7 plus postage, rather than around £3 for my usual supermarket Dove, but prices are more likely drop when products become more mainstream. It worked well, but needed reapplying on hot sweaty days, which was to be expected, as deodorants work differently to antiperspirants.
The thing you need to be aware of when switching to a natural deodorant is that it takes time for your body chemistry to change. The two products antiperspirant and deodorant work in different ways and your body may react to a new product within a few weeks. After three weeks of easy use I got a slight red underarm rash, I stopped using the deodorant letting the rash clear up, and within another three weeks, I could use it again with no problems. Don’t go back to your old product, but let your body adjust. I read two great blog posts from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve which explained the whole process and made the transition to natural deodorant easy to understand – Transitioning to Natural Deodorant Part I and Part 2. You will also find you need to use less than you think, and the smaller weights will actually last much longer.
I’ve been using a shampoo bar – no plastic bottle, no parabens, silicones, and additives – for many years now, and my preferred bar is Seanik from Lush. My hair is thin and bottled shampoos were heavy leaving my hair limp and dull from additives. Using a natural bar has lifted my hair, encouraged less frequent washing, and is the best for my hair. I’m currently going grey and embracing my silver, and a shampoo bar still works beautifully. Shampoo bars are well known for lasting much longer than a bottle of shampoo, and are easily kept in a tin or soap dish by your bath.
We’ve also recently switched from bottles of liquid soap to old-fashioned soap bars. It took a while for me to embrace this change, concerned about pH values and sensitive skin. I found a great article from Lisa Bronner – Skin Health, pH, and Dr. Bronner’s Soap. She does the science and even water alters the pH balance when you wash your hands. We tested out soaps in bar form and it hasn’t affected eczema or dried out our skin. My current favourite is a lemon soap from Bio2You, which I bought at discount from TKMaxx. It smells delicious!
So what else can you switch? Try moisturising Bars – instead of hand creams etc in plastic dispenser bottles – try Lush or Etsy or local handmade bars mine is Turkish Delight from Naked Sister. I recently bought Lush’s Each Peach (and two’s a pair) massage bar and its citrus scent is beautifully invigorating! I’ve also used Soft Coeur too, which is lovely.
I’ve been using The Body Shop’s Love Etc solid perfume for years too, but I haven’t seen any new ones lately, and I don’t think it’s still available, which is something I believe they should rethink. Solid perfumes are great to carry in tins, just like lip salves.
It’s important to also add that there are myriad recipes online for botanic and natural soaps, salves, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes etc… you don’t have to buy brands. You can try to make your own, or buy from experts on Etsy or at your local craft fair. Give it a try.
It’s difficult to radically change our lives, so working on one thing at a time is better than ignoring the peril our planet is in. Generations in our future are depending on us to eradicate excess plastic; they will already need to deal with the fallout from the amount of plastic already here, but we should be trying not to add to it.
Most of us are working on becoming better people – more aware environmentally, socially, and consciously. Becoming environmentally aware and active is a process and every single change for the better is a step in the right direction.
What have you been able to do?
What products have you switched to and can recommend?