Nicole Lutze has some more ideas to reduce your bathroom waste and spend less.
Last month we looked at why plastic bottles of cosmetics and toiletries are particularly difficult to recycle, and suggested some simple swaps to minimise our environmental impact, de-clutter our bathroom cabinets and save money in the process.
This month we complete the bathroom overhaul.
Ditch disposable razors
No one likes to feel duped. However, it’s with certainty I say we have been taken for a ride when it comes to disposable razors.
Since 1903 when King Gillette invented the first disposable razor, we have been conned into purchasing the overpriced and non-essential ‘convenience’ of disposable razors. It is estimated the global men’s shaving market will be worth $US18.1 billion by 2020. That’s right gentlemen, your facial hair, or lack thereof, is making one or two major companies billions every year.
Marketing campaigns have convinced us we need razors with up to six blades, when in fact, those multiple blades contribute to ingrown hairs by cutting follicles below the skin’s surface.
With this in mind, we either need to embrace the beard and learn to love our armpit hairs, or simply swap out disposable razors for a reusable alternative.
Priced from $40 a pop, reusable safety razors are designed to last a lifetime. So while there’s an initial financial outlay, the savings will pay off in time. Safety razors do take some practise to get used to, but it’s well worth the adjustment. As a bonus, your skin will probably become smoother as ingrown hairs disappear.
Shop around for replacement blades as prices do vary dramatically from about $1 per double-edged blade to as little as $10 per 100. For newbies, I recommend a blade kit which provides different brands to road-test. You can then pick a favourite and bulk-buy a carton at a significantly lower price than five packs.
Keep your used razor blades in a glass jar away from children, and when you’ve filled it, transfer the contents to a clearly labelled old tin and take it to a council resource recovery centre for recycling.
For a zero-waste shave without losing the lubrication of shaving foam, invest in a shaving brush and use pure Castile soap for shaving (see last month’s article for more about types of soap).
Swap out plastic bottles of moisturising lotion and face cream, and instead use multi-purpose oils. The key to using oils is to apply them to your body while it’s still damp from the shower so they absorb. Also try to buy oils in dark glass bottles, and store them in a cool dark place at home to prevent the oils going rancid.
Almond oil is great in the kitchen for salad dressings, but also brilliant in the bathroom as a moisturiser. It’s high in Vitamin E which prevents stretch marks, making it ideal for pregnant women or growing teenagers. Make sure you don’t end up overpaying for your oil though. Many health food stores now stock almond oil in the beauty section at an inflated price. Stick to the variety sold in the food section; it’s exactly the same thing.
Almond oil will also work well on your face, or try Rosehip or Jojoba oil instead. Apply the oils to a damp face, or make your own face spritz in an old bottle, and spray your face after applying oils for maximum absorption.
Oils are also great substitutes for hair masks or for removing make-up, and much less wasteful than disposable make-up wipes. Use a clean face washer soaked in warm water to remove the oil and make-up, or if you can knit or crochet, consider creating some cotton make-up remover pads.
Coconut, olive and avocado oil also transition effortlessly from the kitchen to the bathroom, and are great on your body or hair.
A quick search online will uncover ample DIY recipes for cosmetics and toiletries. Whatever product you are looking to substitute, always keep simplicity in mind. It might be nice to create a whipped body butter, but it’s not necessarily very simple or cost effective if you need to buy 12 different ingredients.
For those who feel uncertain about experimenting with DIY beauty solutions, consider attending a Biome workshop in Brisbane to give you confidence. Their workshops cost $35, and participants take home three products.