Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Small changes and some eco product reviews

I'm really trying hard at the moment to make some positive changes in mine and my family's lives that will hopefully have less of an impact on the environment. Environmental issues of all kinds are really very important to me, as they should be to everyone, and I don't think that one really takes much explaining. But as a young family some factors of our lifestyle will particularly affect the environment and those are what I'm concentrating on right now.

Here are my biggest concerns:

1. Disposable Nappies/diapers. The conventional sort are full of chemicals and take a very long time to break down in landfill. If one child can use an average of 8000 disposable nappies before they are potty trained, when four out of five mums that I know use them, that is A LOT of waste. Various sources claim they can take anywhere from 50 to 500 years to break down, depending on their make-up and the particular landfill site.

2. Our heavy usage of plastic. I have to say this one really gets me down. Sometimes I feel like we are drowning in this unsustainable, non degradable material. I know most plastics these days are recyclable but in my opinion it just isn't enough. When you have children you are suddenly surrounded by it, dummies, bottles, toys, toothbrushes, cups, spoons, bowls. Argh!

3. Toiletries cosmetics and cleaning products. Not to mention most packaging is plastic, a lot is animal-tested or paraffin based (you know oils, moisturisers and the like) or just plain artificial.

Now I'll tell you about some of the ways I'm trying to change our habits for good.

First up- nappies. Our living situation means that there is usually a queue for the washing machine, so whilst I desperately wanted to use cloth nappies it just won't be possible until we have moved house. So instead, I use eco disposables. They can be expensive compared to the dirt cheap deals you get on conventional disposables but the environmental difference is huge. They are all natural ingredients  (this also goes for the wipes and nappy sacks) they are completely bio-degradable and compostable. They take such a short time to break down that when I empty the outside nappy bin once a week the ones at the bottom have dissolved their nappy sacks and are falling apart already. It's great.

Plastics: obviously this one is particularly difficult. When you have a child, people buy them things. You can't just tell them no, or that they can only buy nice traditional wooden toys. You can gently encourage books and wooden toys of  sorts, but you can't keep them away from plastic toys completely, plus it kind of just feels cruel. But as parents we only buy one special gift for our daughter for birthdays and christmas, for example a baby trike for her birthday. Reegan just doesn't need that many toys, she has a lot of them and half of them she isn't even that interested in. Sometimes I give her a big mixing bowl and a spoon or a whisk and she will play happily for ages, the same with some wooden blocks or a cardboard box.
But things that I can control, I do try to make good choices. I have recently switched us onto wooden toothbrushes because I couldn't bear the thought of between six and ten of them (if you follow guidlines to replace every 3-6 months) going in the bin every year, just from the three of us.

So this is the eco bamboo toothbrush, which I found for a reasonable price on amazon. I bought myself a child's brush because  I have receeding gums, so I need soft bristles. Aside from the length of the handle I don't feel that the size has really been adapted for a childs mouth because the head is quite big. The bristles are nice and it's grippy to hold but the dry smooth wood against my mouth can sometimes make me gag, so if you have problems with gag reflex (hah) normally then do not go for the adult size (hah).

I also have a bamboo hair brush, which is barrel shaped for fringe styling. It's fine for purpose but you couldn't brush your hair with it normally because the bristles are extremely spiky and uncomfortable. I won't replace my normal (plastic) hair brush unless I absolutely have too, and then I'll switch to a bamboo one.

Finally cosmetics. You have probably heard me talk before about switching to cruelty free and small makeup brands, which is going well and I am also discovering some quite nice brushes (Eco Tools and So Eco). Eco Tools do a wonderful set of brushes for the eyes, and So Eco have a 'finishing brush' supposedly for blush and powder that is perfect for stippling on my foundation. It's feels all lovely and posh (get my fancy adjectives!) and the bristles are very soft. I used to use the Real Techniques stippling brush but the So Eco one is a lot bigger and softer so I am officially converted.

Real Techniques on the left, So Eco on the right

I have also been using a 'natural' deodorant for my underarms, after years of switching between Nivea and Sure roll ons because of my sensitive skin, plus after a little while I would seemingly become immune and smelly and so have to switch brands again. But this new stuff is great. It comes in a tin and you rub it in with your fingers like a balm, it's lavender scented and thick with little grains that feel exfoliating.

Putting it on in the mornings is a little ritual I quite enjoy and it feels nice on my sensitive armpits even after shaving. And it really works! It was about four pounds I think, and supposedly lasts six months, when I used to use one in under 2 months at £2.50 a pop! I got it from a website called Boobalou in case anyone is interested.

I'm still using E45 liquis paraffin cream on my face and body because it's the only consistent solution to my dry and sensitive eczeme prone skin. I use it as a facial  moisturiser morning and night and before makeup. If anyone can suggest an alternative I'd be grateful!


  1. WAHOO! GOOD FOR YOU! There must be something in the air. ;) I can recommend the Josie Maran Argan Oil products. You can find them on QVC for a really good price.

  2. Great changes! You are doing a lot more than most people!

    My tiny little brushes for my eyeshadow are also eco bamboo brushes. They are the only makeup brushes I have at the moment, I would probably make a mess iwth a big one!

    1. Those ones are so great! They're really soft and easy to wash. I never used to use a brush for foundation application, I used to run it in with my fingers, which is actually much worse for my dry skin. Just "patting it on" with the stippling method makes such a difference to clumpy dry patches! It makes me sad that some people just don't care about these issues as much, if everyone just made tiny changes it would make such a difference!

  3. Good for you! Too bad you didn't like the hairbrush. Have you looked into wooden boar-bristle brushes? Those are fantastic and won't rip out your hair, and they last forever. Lol I might look into your deodorant... I currently use nothing and my family's been complaining for a while haha

  4. I have heard of them, I was actually reading reviews on the boar beard brushes for my other half! Lol. Oh I totally recommend it, it's very mild smelling and does work :)

  5. Great points. I'm trying to cut down on plastic bags too. I use Eco tools brushes for makeup and I love them.

    1. Great! The eco brushes are great, I'm thinking of getting more of them.

  6. Late as usual to this debate, and good for you trying to make the better choices. I hate plastic hairbrushes and have been using the Body Shop's wooden ones (preferably with metal tines, though at the moment I think they are all plastic on sale) for a long time. They last for ever if you give them a frequent shampoo and are reasonably priced.

    I like Superdrug's own brand products, they are vegan friendly and my skin doesn't get bothered by them, particularly the Vitamen E body cream. However, I've never really thought about the packaging aspect - so much plastic now you mention it. I do recycle it all but really, it is a waste. I remember when the Body Shop first started you could recycle all your old bottles in store, a great idea.

    Anyhow that's my two penneth! Thanks for the food for thought.

    Jane (Breaking the Angel)

    1. The body shop hairbrushes sound good. Probably the only thing I could use by them as all their bath and body products irritate my eczema. I really like superdrug's own brand too. Thankyou for your penneth! I think more shops should simply have a service where you can refill your own containers!

  7. For your e45 replacement I highly, very highly recommend going to your local LUSH store and getting one of the sales assistances and ask them about a product called DREAM CREAM - its a natural version of the e45 . It soothes, calms, reduces itching and moistures - there are two versions. Self preserving with more olive oil if you like a cream that sinks in slowly ; or normal which sinks in faster leaving you able to get dressed quicker!

    They can pop some on your skin for you to try it instantly, and have a patch you;d like to try it on they should be able to provide you with a sample to try at home.

    All LUSH items are cruetly free - most are vegan - and they have a closed loop recycling system on all of their plastic. So all the pots are recycled and turned back into more pots of the same kind etc.

    Highly recommened, as DREAM CREAM has been many peoples swap from e45 diprobase and steroid creams ETC providing you arent triggered by anything in the dream cream of course!

    You can order online if you dont have a local lush, and if its not good for you there is a no quibble returns policy regardling skin conditions etc

    1. That sounds great! I will have to go and check that out, carefully though as most lush bath products make my eczema flare up but I don't get it on my face so it shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for the recommendation!