Ever since I have become more interested and invested in producing less waste to reduce the impact on our environment, I have realised just how much our daily choices matter, but also just how simple our daily lives can be if we consume less and have to think and worry about less.
Let’s take beauty and hygiene products – oral care, skin care, make up, body care, hair care – it’s quite common for us to have a whole shelf full of products, and I certainly did for many many years. These products can be very personal choices, and with the huge number of products that we can choose from, it’s still a work-in-progress for me to swap to more ethical and environmentally-friendly products completely, and to also not buy into the temptation of new items.
These days, when choosing a product, I think about these kinds of questions:
What is it made out of? Is it biodegradable or at least recyclable? Is the product refillable? What is the product to packaging ratio like?
What are the ingredients? Does it include chemicals that I am unfamiliar with (Check out how to avoid the nastiest ones HERE)? Are the ingredients harmful for our health and/or the environment? Are the ingredients organic (Read more about the importance of organic production methods HERE? Are they sourced ethically?
What are the brand values? What do they do around sustainability? Do they test on animals? Is it an independent brand, or is it owned by a large corporation? Are there alternative brands that I can seek out if I take the time to look a little further? Here are some helpful links to see whether your chosen brand is ethical, considering various factors:
The Good Shopping Guide: https://thegoodshoppingguide.com/ethical-make-up
Do I really need this product? Do I have something similar at home already? Am I supporting a good cause by making this purchasing decision? Could I make it myself?
My current most simple go-to items are package-free bar soaps to wash face, body, and even sometimes hair. When I wash my hair with soap, I follow with an apple cider vinegar rinse to get the Ph balance back – makes it super soft and silky. I moisturise face, body and hair with coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Going one step further:
Recently my “sustainability friends” and I had a workshop where we made our own body butter and lotion with simple ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, essential oils, etc.
It was such a great way to get together, and it was also super easy and fun to make. You can find many home-made recipes online (a quick guide can be found from my friend’s website, with whom I made the body butter! Or here is also a simple three-ingredient face toner), and I recommend finding one that works best for you.
I’m enjoying the trial and (sometimes) error of finding a recipe or product that suits me and the environment well.
Every little decision can make a big impact – what one thing are you going to change?
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Mona is a deadline-ridden consultant during the week, and a yoga teacher on some weekends, providing bilingual classes to an international community of all levels. While she doesn’t spend too much time making her social media jazzy, you can reach out to her on Instagram @m0namona and on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/m0nayoga/ to find out about upcoming classes.
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