I had some talks with friends who were like ‘living with less, living a more minimalist live, having a lower environmental impact, I would love to do that but where do I start?’. Most of them told me they are overwhelmed by the information and options and what is good and what not. But also, overwhelmed by the thought of committing to a major lifestyle change.
So I started writing this post, as a kind of step by step guide. I think it’s good to start in one area of your life, where you think you can actually change something and go through with it.
Not good for your mental health, not good for the environment
Setting goals that are out of reach for you is not good for your own mental health because it causes pressure and pressure causes stress. It’s also not good for the planet because if you give up, we are one down in the fight for our future and we can’t afford that. (Sorry, this alarmist last sentence may cause stress as well but in this case, you should be alarmed. That’s why we’re here together on this blog, trying to do better, right?)
So, let’s start with one part of your life or, in this case, of your apartment: The bathroom.
I used to be a total sucker for little things for the bathroom. Where other people shop for a new shirt, I went to the drugstore to see if I can treat myself to a new nail polish or a new body lotion. It was like a force that dragged me in to ‘just have a look’ and never let me come back out empty handed. At this point: Guys, keep on reading, the changes I am about to mention are also good for you. Mr. Comfypants went through with them as well, just ‘men’s edition’.
Because I don’t even use a lot of nail polish or make up, I gave myself a theme for 2018. This theme was ‘finish stuff’. Since people new about my obsession with things from the drugstore, I always got shower gels, body lotions and shampoos as presents. And at the beginning of 2018 I took a good look at everything I had in my bathroom shelf and, believe me, it was a lot!
I made a promise to myself that I would finish the things I already had before I would buy something new. Plus, my mom makes natural cosmetics from herbs and plants she grows in her little piece of forest so, why do I go to the drugstore at all?! Not ‘having to go’ there was weird at first but after like 4 weeks it was absolutely liberating!
It took me the whole year to finish almost all the bottles that I had and I am still working on some lotions. So, what changed in my bathroom since then?
Shower Gels – Bars of Soap
First I swapped shower gels for soap bars. This does not only avoid the plastic from the bottle but is also better for the environment since soaps are generally more natural. Of course, there are also deodorized ones that can be bad for sensitive skin but usually, if you buy natural soap, you’re fine.
Using bar soap is a bit odd at first because you get this squeaky feeling on your skin. That’s actually how it should feel, that’s your natural oil layer without the chemicals of liquid soap. You can have a drying effect due to a higher pH level in the soap. Most bar soaps though, contain glycerine which is actually good for dry skin and eczema (find more info here). Also, there are a lot of bar soaps out there, if one doesn’t fit, try another one. You would do the same with shower gels, right?
Shampoo bottles – Hair soap
I am specifically not saying shampoo bar here because a shampoo bar is just shampoo in a bar. It’s not more natural or anything, not for you, your hair or the environment. Your shower water can also infiltrate into the groundwater for example because of leaks in the pipes. Therefore it is best to use the most natural things we can.
We actually made this switch when we went on holiday in Thailand and Myanmar and didn’t want to carry a lot of luggage and bottles around with us. Back than I got a shampoo bar from Lush which was nice to have on the trip but didn’t really work for my or Mr. Comfy’s hair. It got puffy and dry and we both went back to our old shampoo for a while.
Then my mom started to make hair soap and that’s what I’ve been using since then. It may take some time for your hair to get used to it because it goes through a detox from the regular shampoo chemicals. But after 2-3 weeks you should see and feel a change. For Mr. Comfy those worked better from day one already. If one doesn’t work for you, maybe try to find another hair soap. Honestly, this needs some patience but once you found your brand, it’s totally worth it.
Plastic Razor – Safety Razor
After I learned about safety razors, I was absolutely sold. I mean, look at how fancy they are! But it’s not just that. They are also plastic free and safe you an awful lot of money. The blades are super cheap, it’s usually around 0,15 € per blade or even less and they come in packs of 10 or even more. Also, if you like to travel, especially with hand luggage, then this is YOUR razor. You can just take the blade out and buy a new pack wherever you are going.
Those blades are available everywhere, especially in developing or emerging countries because people still use razors with blades there as other razors are quite expensive.That’s not just handy for shaving legs but also for those who want to keep their beard in line while traveling. Mr. Comfy says the most important addition you may need if you use this kind of razor is an alunite or alum stone which stops the bleeding immediately just in case you do hurt yourself.
Just, be careful and make sure you get a razor that doesn’t open at the top, where the blade is. That’s what mine does and I got a bad injury from it (check my Instagram if you wanna know more). I think it’s best to get a one-piece butterfly razor* which you can unscrew at the bottom. Those seem the least dangerous to me. And I know, this sounds scary but I am also a clumsy person and if you are more careful than I was, you’ll be safe.
Even though the injury, I still love my safety razor*. And boy, it shaves! My legs are smooth like a baby’s, seriously!
Commercial Deodorant – Natural Solid or Cream Deodorant
Now, this was quite a difficult swap for me because I am a bit of a sweater. Sorry if that’s too much knowledge about my bodily functions for you but I guess there’s more of you out there and I want to be honest.
I am trying different natural deodorants for years already and actually I have just found the one that works for me very recently. I am using a cream deodorant from Walde (not sponsored), a Tyrolean (that’s in Austria for those who wonder) family business making soaps and natural cosmetics for over 200 years already. Their deodorant cremes are just absolutely perfect! A light smell but not too much, good for sensitive skin and they last forever, even on a sweater like me, haha. Except for their flowery smelling type, I think all types are also good for men. At least Mr. Comfy is using them as well since they have a very light, unisex smell.
I also still have a Lush Teo deodorant bar which is solid and nice for traveling. It doesn’t work as well for me though, only on lighter sweating days (hah, sorry, I don’t know how else to write about this).
More in Part 2
I decided to break this up in 2 parts because… I have so many tips I guess, hah… and a hard time keeping it short… I will post the rest later this week. I hope you enjoy the read for now and please let me know if you have anything to add or if you have any questions.