Zero Waste Bathroom Hygiene
I’m finding that some of the easiest first changes to make towards a zero waste lifestyle are in the bathroom: deodorant, menstruation care, dental hygiene and shaving. The last post I wrote was about my homemade deodorant; today I’ll give a quick update on that and then hit on changes I’ve made in the other three categories.
OK so first of all: the commercial deodorant detox is. very. real. I stunk to high heaven for a good month (maybe longer) after switching to my homemade deodorant. I think the process was intensified because of my running and because I used Moroccan clay in my deo, which pulls toxins out of the skin. Anyway, the phase does pass. The only other problem I had was the dark deodorant staining my lighter clothing. I’m going to make a batch with kaolin clay, a white clay, as the base and have both on hand so I can just match the top I wear that day.
After doing some reading online about options for a non-disposable razor, I decided to look around town for an old one for two reasons. First, buying used is a great way to reduce consumption as the product has already been made and second, the older ones are supposed to be better quality. I visited a few antique shops around Cambridge and after having zero luck I was about to give up but decided to check one last shop. Low and behold, they had multiple safety razors. I selected a Gillette (Made in England) that looked to be in good condition. After doing some digging on the internet, I am pretty sure this razor is from circa 1915. A hundred years old and still servings its purpose!
I wrote a blog post a few weeks back about how I am using only bar soap for all my shower needs, including shaving gel. So after watching some more videos online on how to use a safety razor without going Sweeney Todd on myself I opted to also purchase a badger brush and small stainless steel bowl to create a foamy lather with my Savon de Marseille. After using the safety razor and bar soap combo for a few weeks, I can say it’s not too different than using a disposable razor/can of shaving cream. Once you get the hang of the right pressure/angle to use, it’s really very similar. I will say that it doesn’t seem to be as close of a shave — I don’t know if that’s because I’m not using enough pressure, or because it’s only one blade. All in all, I’d say it was a painless switch. Oh yeah, one thing that took me by surprise was the stink of the badger brush the first few times I used it. It does fade away after a few uses but it is not a pleasant smell. Also, they don’t kill badgers for their hair; it is harvested similar to a sheep’s wool. Which is good, because LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS:
Now for dental hygiene. I switched to a bamboo toothbrush with nylon bristles. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a toothbrush that is 100% plastic-free, but some plastic bristles are better than an entire plastic toothbrush. Today I ran out of commercial toothpaste and mixed up a batch of homemade toothpaste. I used baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint essential oil. The result is a little salty, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
And finally, everyone’s favorite topic: menstruation. I know I’m a bit behind the times on this one, but I have officially switched to the Mooncup. My first period using it was leak-free and comfortable. It is tricky figuring out how to maneuver it at first, but it’s pretty easy to learn. The bonus is it can stay in all day, or longer, depending on your flow rate, unlike the tampon which should be changed every four hours to avoid TSS. I survived my daily bicycle commute, a presentation on my thesis at a conference and a trek to London all without thinking about my period and/or Mooncup. Success! If you are a woman and have questions about switching to a Mooncup, Divacup, etc., feel free to PM me.
That’s it for now! Next on the list: finish my dissertation, move back to the USA and then tackle plastic (and food) waste in the kitchen. Over and out.