Eco Living

GO GREEN: Top Eco Friendly Alternatives

My Eco Journey

As you know I’ve been documenting my eco journey on a monthly basis and this month I’ve decided to write about some eco friendly alternatives for health & beauty.

This is the first in a series of three posts. The next will be eco cleaning products including some make your own recipes. Following that, eco foodstuffs you can buy online that come in eco friendly plastic or paper alongside general ways to reduce waste when buying ingredients or preparing food.

All opinions about the earth friendly products I’ve sourced are my own. No sponsorship here folks!

Eco excitement

It’s been loads of fun sourcing eco friendly alternatives that don’t cost the earth (see what I did there? wink wink, nudge nudge). I never thought I’d get excited about the arrival of eco friendly dishwasher tablets and bamboo toothbrushes, but I really did, much to Phil’s amusement. Let’s GO GREEN PEOPLE!!!! (not like the hulk obviously…)

So here’s the first of three posts –

TOP FIVE eco friendly alternatives for health & beauty:

ONE: Eco friendly cotton cleansing pads…

I was on the lookout for some cotton cleansing pads that didn’t come wrapped in plastic. During my search I came across Ailsa Burn’s blog post 3 ways to reduce waste in your beauty routine on her website Frosted Feather. She really opened my eyes as I realised that simply buying disposable cotton pads that didn’t come in plastic wasn’t enough.

She notes that:

During the production of cotton cleansing pads, chemicals are used that will eventually leach into the sea, rivers and soil when the pad is disposed of.’

After reading this I began searching for reusable, washable face pads and came across these from pure nuff stuff:

Brilliantly, these are made of nappy leg hole cut offs from a nappy business, so as they say – double recycling! I bought one lot of six for £8.50 and am very pleased with the product. One downy side great for cleanser and one slightly rougher, absorbent side for toner.

The only downside is that instead of doing my usual 30 degree wash I have to wash these at 60 which is less environmentally friendly. Otherwise all the make-up stains don’t come off. On balance though I think the switch is worth it. 

To be honest, I need to buy another pack as, if like me, you tend to get a bit behind on the washing (ahem!) then it’s helpful to have more. I’ll be buying another lot packaged in paper only very soon – win!

TWO: Eco friendly floss wands

The first thing you should know is that I am useless at flossing my teeth with conventional floss. You pull the thin, white stringy stuff out of the teeny tiny box and wrap it round your fingers. You pull a weird face and try to get in there with the thin, white stringy stuff. You dribble everywhere. You try to get in between your back teeth with the thin, white stringy stuff. You dribble more. The thin, white stringy stuff gets stuck. Shit.

So I started using floss wands. I could floss my teeth properly now without getting covered in dribble. However, each floss wand is made from plastic. You use the wand once and you throw it away. Your pack of floss wands also come in plastic. I wasn’t happy with this at all. I therefore looked for eco friendly alternatives and as I was searching came across some alarming news about what your traditional floss is actually made of.

Thanks to Alexx Stuart on her website Low Tox Life for her article My dental floss is made from WHAT? Certainly an illuminating piece. Have a read by clicking the link above.

Due to my difficulty of using normal floss I decided that I’d stick with floss wands but wanted to find some that were biodegradable and made of more natural ingredients. I came across some 100% biodegradable charcoal infused bamboo floss picks sold by The packaging is 100% biodegradable and the floss itself is 100% vegan, cruelty free and eco friendly.

I love these little floss wands and I even got sent a free tongue scraper and a lovely personalised note from Luke at the white teeth box to say thank you for my order. The only slight downside to them is that the charcoal is softer than conventional floss which means they can split a little. Having said this, I’ve never had one break on me and I’ll definitely be buying some more very soon.  

THREE: Eco friendly toothbrushes

I admit I do have an electric toothbrush with disposable heads as I find my teeth need a far more intensive brush than a manual can provide me with. However, I also keep a spare, manual toothbrush in case the battery runs down on my electric toothbrush. I forget to charge it. Often.

Phil doesn’t use an electric toothbrush. He says he’s quite happy with a manual so this change was more for him than for me. I waited until our plastic brushes had seen better days and instead of buying another couple of plastic ones I went in search of some bamboo toothbrushes. I found these from the plastic free shop:

Each brush costs £3.99 which admittedly is dearer than some plastic brushes you can buy in supermarkets. However, they’re 100% vegan, use eco friendly fair trade production methods to make them and come in compostable packaging. They clean just as well as a plastic, manual toothbrush and I’ll definitely be buying more when the time comes.

FOUR: Eco friendly cotton buds

Oh cotton buds. How can I put on mascara without you? Seriously, I get it under my eyes and on my lids. I need something handy and small to wipe it away without getting rid of the concealer I’ve just put on. But geeeeez every single cotton bud I use has a plastic middle topped and tailed with a non environmentally friendly blob of cotton. Not only that, but they came in a plastic container. Something had to change, so I went in search of bamboo friendly alternatives.

Courtesy of the plastic free shop I found a recycled cardboard box filled with 100 bamboo and cotton buds which are 100% biodegradable. They are also vegan and fair trade friendly.

At £2.50 for the box they are more expensive than the kind I used to buy. However, what I’ve noticed is that because they are, and I have fewer in the box, I use them more sparingly. I now don’t use three or four each time I do my make up, but use one. It’s interesting to note this because I think we’re all guilty of using things we don’t need to because they’re there, they’re cheap and we can get more.

I really like the change in attitude that these little cotton buds has given me. I’ve found it’s spread to my use of other things. I’m suddenly thinking – do I need to use foil to cover these leftovers or can I just use another plate? Do I really need to leave the tap running when I brush my teeth? Do I need to put the heating on or can I just pop on a jumper? Funny how small things can provoke big changes.

FIVE: Eco friendly soap

I used to use bottles of handsoap in our ensuite and guest bathroom. They came in plastic bottles and goodness knows what was in them.

I decided that I’d go back to the more traditional barred soap and look for some that didn’t come in plastic. I also wanted to find a product that wasn’t tested on animals and made from synthetic ingredients. I found these lovely smelling bars by Little Soap Company for £2.50 a bar:

Their soap bar is free from detergents, SLS, alcohol, parabens, sorbates, silicones, sulphates, synthetic fragrances and synthetic preservatives. It is also suitable for vegans and not tested on animals.

They last for ages, smell great and hold their shape providing you allow them to dry out properly on the sink. My only problem is that I have very sensitive skin and I’ve found these aren’t suitable for my skin type. I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it to start with (I think I was lured by the lemon scent…), but once my current bars are used up I’m going to give this one a try:

Great company with a wonderful range.

Until next time...

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post about eco friendly alternatives for health and beauty. I’m still making changes. One change at a time. That’s my mantra at the moment. Next is make up products. It takes a while to switch over to totally green living but I’m loving the journey so far.

Over to you folks…. what eco friendly alternatives for health and beauty can you recommend? Feel free to pop comments below. I’ve love to hear your suggestions.

Watch this space for my next post – eco cleaning products including some make your own recipes and a disaster story involving bicarbonate of soda and vinegar…

L x

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