Why should I shop more mindfully?
The short answer is - because you deserve it!
The long answer is because we all need to make some changes. The human race has become incredibly busy. All the time. We are used to grabbing products off of supermarket shelves without really considering how they are made, where they are made or what the heck is in them, and unfortunately our wonderfully planet is suffering and unable to cope.
We need to start thinking more about supporting small businesses in the UK whilst reducing our waste and use of non recyclable plastics. We need to start caring about what we put on our skin or spray in our homes. We want washing your hair, or even shaving your legs to become a bit of self care, a part of your day to give yourself a few minutes to pause and take it back to basics. Natural ingredients and more simplicity. We even think cleaning is much more enjoyable when you know you are helping save the planet as you do it!
Here are some helpful hints and a bit of extra information and guidance if you are thinking of making some easy eco swaps.
Where to start?
We think it is a good idea to start small. If you are new to eco friendly alternatives then start with the smaller, easier things and build up. Toothbrushes and sponges or cleaning cloths are a great place to start, they are low cost, last a really long time and are very similar to what you would already be used to!
Another great way to gradually ease yourself into a more sustainable life is to swap items as you use them up. Coming to the end of some of your cleaning supplies? Swap them for eco alternatives. Shampoo bottle near the end? Time to try a solid shampoo bar! This is a great way to keep costs down as well, rather than buying huge bundles of stuff and drastically overhauling your home (although some do like to go all in!) small changes here and there have a huge impact over the course of a few months.
Using the products
Nearly all of our products harness the power of nature, using essential oils and natural ingredients. So give them time to work their magic! When using natural shampoos and conditioners, don't wash them off straight away like maybe you would with your usual products, leave them a few minutes and bask in their scents and smells.
Less is often more - the majority of environmentally friendly products are much more concentrated than products you may already be used to. Manufacturers have a habit of pumping their products with water to bulk up their volume. A shocking 80% of most high street brand shampoos are just water. 80%! Which makes little sense when you use running water on application anyway....
The same is seen across skin care and cleaning products. With the products we stock, you will find that you need a lot less of them to be effective and so whilst the initial cost is sometimes more than you would see on your supermarket shelf, they are often better value for money overall.
Care for your purchases - some of the products will require a little bit of TLC to keep them working for a really long time. Soap bars, solid shampoos and conditioners etc benefit from soap rests to ensure they fully dry out. Caring for your purchases and investing a little bit of time in them means you really will get the best out of time and make your money stretch further, all whilst becoming more eco friendly!
Using a safety razor
Because of the minimal packaging, the Zero Waste Safety Razors do not come with instructions. But have no fear! If you are new to the world of safety razors (I was!) then here is a handy little guide on how to use it. The main thing is to remember they are called safety razors for a reason!
- Take the razor and the box of blades out of the box. Get one of the blades out carefully, avoiding picking it up by the sides (they are individually wrapped in tissue paper for safety)
- Unscrew the head from the handle. A safety razor comes in three parts - the handle, the head and the comb. The head covers the blade and the comb sits between the handle and the blade.
- Insert the blade between the head and comb, making sure it lines up. Then screw back on to the handle.
- To use, prepare the skin for shaving with some sort of lubricant - a soap, shaving soap or gel etc. You do not need to press down! The weight of a safety razor is heavier than a disposable, so the weight of the razor does all the hard work.
- Its all about the angle. The head of the razor is curved to help guide you on the best angle to use. Around 30 - 40 degrees is best, which makes it sound very technical but it really isnt. You will be able to see if it is working, if it doesn't seem to be working well, then adjust your angle properly. There are a wole heap of Youtube videos which I found useful too!
- Looking after your razor - dry after use and replace the blades when they start to feel like they need changing and not performing as well.
Using Solid Shampoos
Solid shampoos are a really great eco swap, the shampoo bars will last a really long time and they really are much more effective. If you are new to using solid shampoo's or a shampoo containing only natural ingredients, you may experience a "transition" phase, depending on what product you were using previously and how your scalp reacts to its new found freedom!
Most shampoos contain SLS and parabens, which completely strip your hair of its natural oils and they leave behind synthetic chemicals and residue. These build up so the natural shampoo has to start working away to remove them, plus your scalp may overproduce oil to compensate for all the years of oil stripping thats been happening.
Your hair may feel oily and tacky. I promise this is only temporary! For some people it is just the first fe washes, for some it can be longer. That's when you know your hair really needs the swap!
There are a few tricks that people use to bypass this transition phase, it is all about removing the built up chemicals.
- Mix a couple of teaspoons of bicarb of soda in 500 - 600ml of water and pour onto your scalp whilst giving it a scrub. Use your solid shampoo as normal.
- If your hair is still transitioning then next time try a simple Apple Cider Vinegar rinse (The bicarb shouldnt be done more than once a week) Mix a few tablespoons of ACV into a cup of cool water and apply to hair after washing with your natural shampoo. Massage in, leave for a few minutes and then rinse with cool water.
Most people do not need to do the above, it depends on your hair. Please do not be tempted to switch back to your old shampoo "just for one wash" as it will put you back to where you started.
Things to remember
- Only use a natural/solid conditioner bar with a natural shampoo
- Make sure your hair is properly wet, all the way through. As there is no water added to the bars, it is important to have fully soaked hair. You will find your own technique on how to use the bars, some people like to lather it up in their hands first and put the lather on and some people like to rub it directly onto their hair. There are no lather inducing chemicals in natural shampoo so you need to work it properly to create a natural lather and work it into your scalp. You may use more shampoo during your transition phase and then gradually find that you need less.
- Don't forget your crown - its easy to remember the roots at the front but paying particular attention to the crown of your head can help with the transitioning phase too.
Your hair really will be much stronger and healthier, plus the added benefit of no more plastic bottles!