personalcare

5 eco Sunscreens (that you don’t have to DIY)

While there’s a lot of great natural sunscreen brands out there creating alternatives to the hormone inhibiting chemicals found in most standard brands, sadly a lot of them are still produced in plastic packaging. Below are some sunscreen brands I’ve discovered that are both natural and safe enough for our skin and coral reefs, but also packaged in biodegradable or reusable materials.  

Avasol Responsible Suncare

These guys haven’t cut corners, using cardboard or metal packaging, as well as reef safe ingredients. You’ll find an all natural and water resistant SPF 30 sunscreen in a metal pump bottle on their site, along with refillable pouches so you can continue using the same bottle.

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Butterbean Organics Suncare

These mineral based sunscreens are produced in Florida and made with fair trade, and organic ingredients. Their range features sunscreen sports sticks in cardboard packaging, or metal refillable packaging with refillable packs available. I love the fact that they ship using recyclable materials. 

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EIR NYC

With a shout out from Vogue under her belt, EIR was developed by former extreme athlete and surfer Jun Lee. Understanding the perils of trying to remove zinc from your face, Jun came up with an all-natural and hydrating zinc remover that also acts as an after sun cream. Her products aim to have a minimal impact on the planet with her zincs packaged in cardboard or a metal tin.

Dirty Hippy Cosmetics

Ticking all the boxes, these Australian made sunscreens are vegan, cruelty and toxin free, organic, fair trade and ethically sourced and to make it on this list, they’re also eco-friendly and entirely natural. For those looking for plastic free makeup, they also sell mineral foundation and plastic free mascara too. Check out their range of zero waste skincare here.

All Good Water Resistant Sunscreen Butter SPF 50+

Safe on coral reefs and made with only six ingredients including Zinc. Find it here.

Aesop have announced they'll be using 97% post-consumer recycled PET plastic in early 2019

I thought going plastic free meant I couldn’t use my favourite Aesop sunscreen anymore, but I was wrong!

I adore Aesop, I love the packaging, the way it smells and the way it works. I discovered their mint flavoured sunscreen and their deodorant spray with vetiver root and coriander seed last year, both of which worked really well. These products are on the higher price point, but most natural sunscreens are around the 30-40 dollar mark, which is how I justified the spend. The deodorant also lasted me about 6 months and kept me smell free unlike other natural deodorants.

In an effort to continue using these beautiful smelling products, I decided to jump on their site and ask the little chat box lady ‘Grace,’ if they use post consumer plastic and to my delight, this is what she said:

“Aesop is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our packaging, and we minimise the use of outer cartons on our products and our preference is to package our products in glass, aluminium or PET (which is the most recyclable type of plastic). Regarding post-consumer plastic, we are aiming to introduce 97% post-consumer recycled PET in our product packaging in early 2019, with around 81% of our 500ml bottles and 100% of our spray deodorant bottles to be made from 97% post-consumer recycled PET.”

So there you have it! In 2019, Aesop will officially be okay to use for those of us that care for the environment. That’s only a few months away now too.

If you’re finding the plastic free life to be void of the nice quality things you used to use, I’m releasing a guide very soon with all my favourite eco-conscious brands, who also hold active ingredients high on their list of values.

Personally, I find the plastic free skincare brands out there to be a bit too ‘earthy’ and lacking in the ingredients that I look for, say Hyalauronic acid moisturisers, or vitamin C cleansers.

Anyway, if you want to be notified when the guide is released, add your email below and I’ll send one to your inbox. I don’t like unwarranted pointless spam either, so at most I’ll send a quarterly newsletter and you can opt out if you get sick of hearing from me.

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the pitfalls of a shampoo bar

For those that saw my review of the Voi shampoo bar, here’s a slightly anticlimactic update:

It straight out ruined my hair.

Even months after I stopped using it, my hair formed waxy dreadlocks at the nape of my neck that took me back to the old days, when mum tackled my knotty pre-schooler locks with a strawberry scented de-tangler spray and a fine tooth comb (agony). Even now, after using nasty deep cleansing shampoo as a short term solution, my hair’s not quite the same. As someone who always had silky hair it feels a lot drier and still more prone to knots.

As you probably gathered, I wouldn’t recommend this solution and truth be told, since my hair is still on the mend, I’ve appointed a couple more plastic bottles of shampoo until I come across a great plastic-free solution. Finding genuinely good alternatives has been my biggest challenge since going plastic free and it’s something I think it’s important to be transparent about, because I don’t want to go recommending things to people that simply don’t work. But as a newly mainstream movement, it’ll take time for better options to become available… and I’ll make sure you know when they do!

If anyone out there has found the perfect solution please comment, I’m all ears!

the truth about plastic free shaving

Never have I ever drawn blood when shaving... until I used a safety razor. That's the plain truth of it unfortunately. You might recall your grandpa with little squares of blood dotted tissue on his freshly shaven jawline — yes, the un-rightly named 'safety' razor is the same old school gizmo he used for his morning shave. 

So why on Earth would we subject ourselves to this kind of Sweeney Todd esque contraption? Because there's a lot of upsides and once you get the hang of it, you should be able to avoid cuts... most of the time. Safety razors are great for the environment (and your wallet) because you keep them forever... but the nature of the sharp single blade with no shock absorbers can leave you with shaving cuts here and there. But don't let this discourage you, I still use mine. If you persevere with these bad boys, eventually you'll get better at it. In fact, if you read this you should technically learn from my mistakes and avoid it altogether. Here's what I learned about using a safety razor:

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1. Lather and re-lather with lots of soap to protect your skin - the razor takes the protective film of soap off, so you'll always want to have a soap bar on hand to keep applying it before going in for a closer shave. 

2. Use on a 30 degree angle — any higher and you will cut yourself. Period. 

3. Let the razor do the work. Apply little to no pressure while shaving. 

4. Throw everything you know about shaving out the window; this is a different ballgame. Standard razors come with shock absorbers, built-in soap pads and multiple razors for a closer shave and admittedly, they are easier to use — but once you've got the hang of a safety razor, it's a little bit like going from a manual to an automatic car; not as easy but people often say they feel more in control of 'at one' with it...(in saying this, I've never driven a manual car). 

5. Don't buy one in a store because they're 60-80 bucks. I got a shiny perfect one from Ebay with two boxes of spare razors for $12 and it's exactly the same as the one's you'll find in a store with a hefty price tag.

6. Don't rush — think of shaving as a new form of meditation with an added incentive. If you lose focus you'll cut yourself, so it's like a forced mindfulness practice. There ya go! 

 

Review: Voi plastic free shampoo

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I’m currently documenting my real-time journey to eventually remove all plastic in my day-to-day life.

Looking for plastic free shampoo alternatives

A friend of mine recently transitioned to using apple cider vinegar and bicarb soda to rinse her hair every week or so. She has plans to eventually rinse her hair only with water. I asked her how she found it and she said “I like beachy hair, so I think it suits me quite well.” I felt her hair and it felt salty, but personally, I prefer silky hair. I tried following in her footsteps, but only lasted a few days, since I didn’t like the texture at all. I was told to persevere, but I struggled and decided to buy a waste free shampoo bar to tide me over.

Plastic free shampoo bar

I was telling a friend about this bar I discovered and she said it reminded her of Morocco, where perfumes and facial cleansers come in aromatic bars, and are sold in bulk. I liked the sound of that. The brand I found is called Voi (pictured). It comes in a tin with a screw cap and smells quite strongly of the many different oils in it. From cacao butter, avocado, argan and hemp seed oil — there’s about 12 oils in it. Plus extracts from kakadu plum, fig and goji berry. All the ingredients are organic.

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Washing my hair with it

The soft oily bar lathers and foams into your hands. The oil makes it spread onto the hair easily and it smells pleasant in the shower, but doesn’t smell too strong when it dries.

The results

I expected based on other natural shampoos that I’ve used, that this little guy would dry my hair out and I’d have to just put up with it. I thought that living plastic-free life, meant my days of lovely silky hair were over and I’m glad to say I was wrong. After washing, my hair still feels soft. In the past, I only used conditioner at the ends of my hair because it made my scalp too oily. I found the shampoo bar to conditioned the ends of my hair, without making my roots oily which I was kind of expecting.

The troughs

There's a couple of downsides things I'd improve. Firstly, it’s $20 for a single bar and although I haven't used the whole thing — I have a feeling it won't last as long as a standard bottle of shampoo. For that price, I find this a little disappointing and would be inclined to look into making my own recipe at home. The other trough isn't too bad since it can be easily avoided. If you’re at home I suggest leaving the bar on a soap holder, but if you’re travelling, it sticks to the bottom of the tin and is quite hard to remove. I found myself spending a good minute slamming the tin into my hand to try and get it to come out. 

The peaks

It’s entirely plastic free, and so far leaves my hair feeling silky and nourished. It’s a good size for travel, especially if you only take carry on. You can also use it as a soap bar which is handy. All in all, I’ll continue using this and see how I go. 

 

Top 7 plastic free cleansers

Reading time: two minutes

I thought I was already pretty good at living sustainably being vego and the owner of various plastic free items like a bamboo toothbrush, keep cup and re-usable shopping bags. 

I knew enough about plastic in our oceans, overfishing and animal agriculture to feel passionate about it, yet when I really evaluated it, I still frequently purchased products in plastic. In bathroom alone; my toothpaste, shampoo, cleaners, makeup and razors were all plastic. 

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As I started making efforts to be plastic-free, I quickly discovered that most of the advice out their is either telling you to make-it-yourself, or recommending a product that doesn't appeal to me in terms of quality and aesthetic.

As someone that's educated about skincare, I wanted active ingredients like Hyaluronic acid in my moisturiser, not just shea butter or coconut oil.  I felt frustrated by the fact you couldn't just go to the store and buy top quality plastic-free skincare, so I did some research and uncovered 7 non-toxic cleansers to consider, with minimal to no plastic. Any plastic shown is bio-degradable:

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YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE — age prevention cleanser

This kale + green tea, spinach and vitamin infused cleanser smells like cucumber water and feels so fresh on the skin. It removes all makeup without stripping the skin. The nutrient rich gel is vegan, organic, sulfate-free and it also comes in a generously sized bottle with a biodegradable pump lid. Active ingredients include, aloe vera, vitamin A, E and C.  On a side note, their moisturiser is equally amazing and I'll be sharing a post about that soon. 

 

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drunk elephant — juju bar

Skin care fanatics will instantly recognise this skincare brand which has been on high rotation with beauty Youtubers and bloggers who have sung nothing but praises for their range. The Juju facial cleansing bar is one of their most popular products, it balances the skins PH, removes dead skin cells and heals with antioxidant rich marula.

 

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april skin — signature soap black

Made with French green clay to purify and coconut oil and shea butter to moisturize, April Skin’s slick black cleansing bar is also suitable for sensitive skin. They also offer a cleansing stone as part of their range for a deeper cleanse at night time.

 

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Alpha H Cleansing Cube for Face and Body

Crushed cranberries and 1% glycolic acid buff the skin and coconut oil keeps it moisturised in this compact cream coloured soap bar for the face and body. The Alpha H cleansing cube is more affordable than most, at just $11 a bar.

 

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Life Basics — Activated Charcoal Face and Body Soap

Acting to absorb dirt and impurities, the activiated charcoal content removes excess oil from the skin while olive oil and coconut oil softens the skin. This product is also Australian made, vegan, free of palm-oil and not tested on animals.

 

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Life Basics — Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge

When immersed in water, the hard black sponge turns buttery soft and removes hard to get, acne causing bacteria from the skin. Used in Japan for over 1500 years, they are PH neutral which keeps the skins natural acid mantle of the skin intact, while other harsh cleansers might strip this protective layer. The Konjac sponge helps protect the skin from environmental and bacterial damage and enriches it with minerals. You can use it on its own or with a cleansing bar to stimulate blood flow and cell growth.

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Aesop Parsley Seed Cleanser

With lactic acid for mild exfoliation, this cleanser comes in a glass bottle with a biodegradable top. Only half a teaspoon of the Parsley Seed Cleanser mixed with water forms a foaming gel. Clarifying liquorice root and blackcurrant seed will leave your skin feeling fresh and clean as a whistle.