Plastic-Free Living - Easier Than You Think
Over the last month, I’ve been reviewing a variety of environmentally friendly lifestyle products. From soaps to shampoos, and toothpastes to deodorants, here are my thoughts on whether or not all of these products are worth your money.
The items I reviewed were: vegan deodorant (vanilla-lavender), toothpaste tablets (cola, mint, and lemon-lime), a bamboo toothbrush, two different bars of soap, one bar each of shampoo and conditioner, and a roll of bamboo toilet paper. Until one week ago, I was oblivious to the fact that toothpaste tablets or bar shampoo and conditioner was a thing. Needless to say, these were the first things I tried out.
If you’d have told me that I’d be able to brush my teeth by grinding a cola-flavored Altoid between my molars, I’m not sure I’d have believed you. That’s a good thing too, because that isn’t really how Lush’s tooth tablets work. Close enough, though. They’re as easy as popping one in your mouth, crunchin’ it up, and then brushing your teeth to make the dissolved tablet foam up. First up, was the lemon-lime mouthwash tablet: crunch it up and take a sip of water, and you’ll have mouthwash! It was quite pleasant, and left my mouth feeling clean and fresh. The next one I tried was the cola toothpaste tablet, and it may have been one of the most bizarre oral-hygiene experiences of my entire eighteen years of living. Imagine brushing your teeth with warm, powdery cola. It was a lot better in practice than it sounds on paper, but it was still really odd. The minty tablets were more like conventional toothpaste, but both of them were equally fun to use. They took a bit of getting used to, on account of the fact that they’re slightly powdery, but they were oddly refreshing in a way conventional toothpaste is not. Maybe it’s just the novelty of the idea, but I enjoyed using them quite a bit. The fact that they use no synthetic preservatives and also come in recyclable packaging is also a tremendous plus. They’re good for you, and the environment too!
Throughout both my campus and my office, I’m famous for my hair. I don’t mean to brag, but my lush, magnificent curls cause many to stop and stare, particularly when I untie them and let them flow down my shoulders. As a result of both its length and volume, I tend to burn through shampoo and conditioner faster than the average person. Much, much faster. I was really excited by the prospect of shampoo and conditioner in bar form; I figured it’d last longer and that I’d be able to save some money and plastic by using them. The shampoo itself smells quite pleasant. I’m not entirely sure what it’s supposed to smell like (Lush has named this one “New”), but if you’re a fan of “spicy clean smell” then I’m sure it’s a good fit for you. It worked like a charm, lathering up my hair in no time at all.
The conditioner was… interesting. It didn’t really feel like anything was happening for a couple of minutes, but it kicked in eventually. This one was a “Jungle” scented bar, also from Lush. If you don’t mind your hair smelling like sweat, leaves, and mud, I highly recommend it. I’m just kidding, it smelled absolutely wonderful. I even asked a friend of mine how my hair smelled: “It’s fine, I like it,” he said. A ringing endorsement if ever I’ve heard one! Truth be told, both products functioned identically to the bottled stuff. I definitely see myself making the switch in the near future. I see no reason not to, given how easy these are to use, and how much better they are for the environment. My hair did feel a little coarser, but that’s something I can live with. I did quite like the scents I used, and there are several more available online as well.
Man, oh man. The one product I was most hesitant about reviewing was the Vanilla Bean + Lavender deodorant stick by Gaia Guy. Labeled as organic, vegan deodorant, I couldn’t help but think about that one joke from The Dictator about how vegan deodorant never works. If I’m being completely honest though, I was quite pleasantly surprised. It smells wonderful, and it did its job pretty well. However, I can’t say that it’d smell that great if I had been working out or otherwise sweating. The smell of sweaty vanilla-lavender doesn’t sound like anything I’d willingly experience. It’s also worth mentioning that the deodorant stick left a huge stain in the pit of one of my shirts. It did wash out though.
Up next is the Coconut Milk and Sandalwood bar soap by SoapBox. I really don’t have a bad thing to say about this one. It’s a pretty big bar, it’s petrochemical free, and it smells fantastic! My skin has been feeling much more soft and fresh coming out of the shower for the last couple of weeks that I’ve been using it, I must say. It isn’t overpowering in the slightest either. I definitely see myself making the switch to bar soap. I also used the unscented castile soap bar by Dr. Bronner. It was quite strong, maybe even a little too strong if you ask me. It’s hard to really describe, but I wasn’t too impressed by this bar. It was a tad too harsh on my skin for me, but that might just boil down to my personal preference. Dr. Bronner’s is also made naturally, and is marginally cheaper than the SoapBox Soaps bar.
A Small Difference
The products I’ve highlighted in this post are all simple variations of commonplace bathroom items. Soaps, a toothbrush, toothpaste tablets, shampoo and conditioner, and deodorant. These options aren’t that much more expensive than more conventional products, but they have tremendous potential to go a long way in alleviating the burdens faced by our natural world. Perhaps it may seem daunting, the responsibility we as a species have to care for and protect our planet, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is for a single soul to make changes as small as these, and when enough people do that, progress will be made. This is a collaborative effort, and it starts with you.
(Cover Photo: ecohustler)