Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Plastic-free cosmetics

Note the heavy dependence on Lush...

Face wash: I'm using a great moisturising, exfoliating soap bar from Lush. It's really very good, and I have tried the whole gamut of skin care products.

Shampoo: Currently trying Lush's shampoo bar 'Squeaky Green'. It does the job - I'm not sure it's any better or worse than normal shampoo, really - but apparently you can get 100 washes out of them.

Conditioner: I've got a solid conditioner bar from Lush lined up, but haven't finished up my old stuff yet... watch this space

Anti-frizz hair stuff: Lush had a tiny metal pot of 'King of the Mods' hair gel but the larger version was in plastic. It is ok.

A friend very kindly gave me an aloe vera plant and I've been trying this as hair frizz stuff. I can't really decide what it DOES. I've tried it in dry hair and it's rather sticky and unpleasant on your hands, but not bad in your hair, but doesn't get rid of all frizz. Perhaps it's better as a holding gel on wet hair?

There's also this hair pomade: http://www.soorganic.com/product.php?productid=700 which looks good, but appears to be insanely expensive.

Concealer: no joy yet, but I haven't really been looking that hard. Not filling in my eye bags has led to several comments like, 'Have you just got out of bed?' but for some reason it's not bruising my vanity as much as I'd feared. In fact never wearing any makeup at all is extremely satisfying.

Foundation: the Clinique one that I used to be bothered to apply when I cared was in a glass bottle with a metal lid, though probably had a small plastic disk inside the lid.

Eyeliner: possibly the lack of this is also part of the 'just got out of bed' look. There must be eyeliner pencils with metal lids and no plastic on them. I think all liquid eyeliners will have a plastic bit inside. I'll look into this in case someone's interested.

Deodorant: Lush, again- it's called T'eo. I think it's brilliant (smells nice, works), but other past users I've been chatting to were distinctly underwhelmed. Perhaps they weren't putting on enough? The nice thing about this is it also doesn't contain aluminium, which has a *possible* link to cancer.

Finally: You can, of course, make your own soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc, from natural products, and I WILL post about this when I get round to it!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Lightbulbs, cleaning products, wonderful housemates

I've just moved into a new house which is GREAT. My new housemates have been surprisingly sympathetic on hearing about the plastic (perhaps they're just afraid...), although one of them gave me a plastic-wrapped gift today. Anyway, we've agreed that we'll refill all the cleaning products, but that if they want to get something that cleans more vigorously than Ecover stuff (I don't think you need such things, but each to their own), they'll buy/use it without involving me. Also one of them undertook to cook a delicious meal for seven people without using any plastic (making tomato and bechemal sauce from real tomatoes rather than tins and from milk in a bottle rather than a carton) which I find incredibly kind.

However, there are the usual issues that arise from moving into a new house. I needed an extension cable in order to plug in my computer, stereo and lamp. My office mate wanted to get rid of hers so gave it to me, but doesn't this still count as new plastic? Also, we wanted to replace all the lightbulbs with energy-saving ones. This change was definitely better for the environment but meant obtaining new plastic, although they were being given away for free...

Obviously I knew already that sometimes plastic is better/more environmental, but it's slightly annoying that it had to happen in the middle of the 3 months for which I'm giving it up.

The Sad Loss of Plastic/ Plastic needs

Largely through my own stupidity, my bag was stolen last night. In the bag (among other things) were:

-driving license
-6 library cards
-defrizzing hair cream
-eyeliner pencils

So without thinking I cancelled my phone, ordering a new simcard, and cancelled the bankcard, ordering another. THESE ARE MADE OF PLASTIC. I have a spare phone I think so don't need a whole new one, but I can't do my research without a library card, can't leave the country without a passport (one likes to always have the option), need a driving license at some point (those who've had the privilege of a lift might disagree on this one). I was hoping to avoid the cards/phone issue for the three months by not needing any during that time period... Perhaps I'll see if the library can come up with an alternative for me...

The loss of deodorant means I can try the one I bought from LUSH a while ago, and the hair stuff means I can have a go at aloe vera, so that is good.

I'm just now pondering if rucksacks always have plastic on/in them somewhere.

The makeup issue is seriously stretching my vanity. This may seem ridiculous but really, how can I go outside without smothering layers of filler into my eyebags?

Finland 2

Plastic used in Finland:
- the backs of luggage labels (and yes, flying anywhere doesn't make sense if you're giving up plastic for environmental reasons)
- a wristband for a museum we visited (I didn't think until it was on my wrist)
- insect repellant, borrowed from someone else, so less like using new plastic? I hadn't read Andrew's comment about sachets before I left, but I wonder if there'd be plastic in the sachet if it had foil in it? I also tried rubbing citronella candles on my skin, which had a negligible effect and smelled odd (not really like citronella), and likewise a plant whose Finnish name I can't remember that was traditionally good against mosquitos, which also didn't appear to work.
- food: I didn't eat any crisps or have yoghurt out of little pots, etc, but the bread and cheese and so on that we were given as guests had originally been wrapped in plastic. This is ok according to the rules but made me think the rules must be wrong.

I think you could actually lead a more sustainable life more easily in Finland than in the UK, although I suppose a fair amount of energy goes into their saunas. There appeared to be a great deal of food growing in the wild, though this must only be true in summer, and I managed to buy soap unwrapped and also food.

When I returned my yoghurt culture appeared to have resurrected itself, and tasted even better than before, which was suspicious, but now it is just a gloopy milky mess again.

I also tried brushing my teeth with ash!- see the original entry about toothbrushing for the full story.