This post has been languishing as a draft since 2018. So i finally decided to publish it before I could overthink it.
It all started with my hair..
In September of 2016 I read Bea Johnson's book Zero Waste Home for the first time. I had been researching Tiny Houses in Canada and had found an interview with a BC tiny house owner (sorry.. forgot the name of the article.. x_X) that mentioned Zero Waste and Bea Johnson's book. I had no clue about Zero Waste or Bea Johnwho but as always, I immediately hopped onto my Public Library website and looked for the book! To my delight, it was available at my local branch so I rode off my bike to go and check it out. I brought it home, read it cover to cover and got really excited about going Zero Waste. I've always been interested in environmental protection, and have had several friends who are passionate about it, but the side that also appealed to me most was the frugality, ability to save money and to travel lightly! (Because I travel alot) I jumped in wholeheartedly with both feet and the first thing I tackled was my shampoo consumption. Travelling with shampoo is always a pain (carry on liquid is so limited) I went out to buy my first soap bar and made sure I had Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in the pantry for my rinses. October was a crazy busy month for me because I moved overseas to Asia. Before I left I happily took a trip to Whole Foods to stock up on their Good Soap bars (package free!). The price was right (3 for 7$) and Bea Johnson had mentioned them on her Instagram a few times as her bar of choice. So off I went, I hopped on the plane and moved across the world very pleased with myself.
About a month later, my hair was absolutely AWFUL! I knew the stories that the transition period would be difficult and my hair would look bad for a while, but this was a whole new level of gross. Greasy, sticky, even after a shower it still felt wet. It was pretty gross. After scouring the internet for answers, I realized that using traditional soap bars on your hair is usually a no-no. For some people it works (like Bea) but for most people its too heavy on the hair and leaves your hair in a sticky mess. So here I was in small town China with no idea how to wash my hair! Again, the internet comes to the rescue. I turned to the very popular method you often hear about, baking soda! Many people wash their hair with Baking soda (diluted in water) and followed by an acid rinse (usually ACV). However, I hated the baking soda method! It left my hair feeling like straw and I found I had white flakes on my scalp whenever I would wash my hair.. I would in the washroom at work and when I looked in the mirror I saw snow! That left me feeling very self conscious. I found a method called the egg rinse.. I was very skeptical but I tried it.. you rinse your hair with a raw egg yolk! Seriously.. I can't make this stuff up haha. After many methods, many attempts at improving my hair I finally asked my family to send me a shampoo bar from home. Using a shampoo bar has been the best thing for my hair so far. It cleans it well and my hair feels light and i have good volume afterwards. I know some Zero Wasters who don't use anything to wash their hair (water only) and swear by it, but for me it doesn't seem to work.
Unfortunately when I moved to my school in August, my hair has gone downhill again. I suspected the water was the culprit, and sure enough when I shower outside my hair is much better. Hard water can have a big impact on your hair as well, so keep that in mind. I'm hoping to try out using Rye Flour as shampoo in the next few weeks! Shampoo bars can be quite expensive and I thought it would be fun to try a more natural method.. I'll let you know how it goes! :)
When I moved I didn't bring any of my old products with me (only took 1 suitcase) so I started off moisturizing my face with olive oil. It worked fine! But i didn't love the olive oil smell and I don't think it absorbed as well. Now I make my own all purpose balm which I use as a lip balm and general skin/face moisturizer. Easy and cheap to make anywhere in the world!
I make my own toothpowder. Initially I just used straight baking soda (so versatile!) but I found it a bit harsh on my teeth over time (but some people love it!) so I started to use this recipe which is a mix of bentonite clay, Xylitol and baking soda.
This one is a bit of a struggle at the moment.. I've been trying several natural methods but still haven't found one that works super well for me. This is one of the downsides of going Zero Waste.. it can be frustrating to find what works for you, and tempting to go back to buying plastic. No one likes to stink!
I use Mascara from Elate Cosmetics, a super awesome Canadian company with sustainable packaging. I still have leftover lipsticks from before my Zero Waste days, still use those.