Tag Archive | plant oils

My Thoughts on the Zero Waste Sustainable Lifestyle

I don’t know if you are aware that these days a new movement is starting to take the world by storm. It’s called zero waste, or a zero waste sustainable lifestyle.

Basically, what living a zero waste lifestyle means is using no packaging in all the products that you buy and use. Or at the very least only recyclable packaging.

Zero Waste Products

So people who have jumped onto this bandwagon usually use solid cleaning items such as solid soap, solid shampoos and solid conditioner.

They don’t buy or store food or anything else in plastic containers, preferring glass, wood, metal or any other natural material over plastic.

For the most part I support this movement.

Certainly I am all in favour of limiting your use of synthetic chemicals and plastics as much as possible. Not only are you reducing the toxic materials you bring into your home or consume, thus leading to a healthier lifestyle.

You’re also contributing to reducing all the garbage that spills out of our landfills and filling these landfills instead with organic materials that can actually decompose, rather than sitting there intact for thousands of years.

We all know that an excess of toxins is a scourge in our society and is one of the factors behind the growing numbers of cases of cancer.

I myself try to use glass, metal, wood and paper as much as possible. I go shopping with cloth bags. My all natural skin and hair care routines include mostly solid shampoos and natural plant-based oils.

I even make my own soap from scratch, by hand. Not a pour-and-melt affair but real, actual lye soap.

But sometimes I think this fanaticism for going all out zero waste just gets so absurd. And I got started thinking.

Why is a zero waste lifestyle supposed to be so good?

Is it only because it’s become fashionable and a lot of people are jumping onto this bandwagon now?

So many people do things, especially alternative things, just to be rebellious. Or just to look good in front of their friends. Or just because it’s what’s in at this moment.

So is a zero waste, sustainable lifestyle really so much better than a conventional one?

Or is it just some sort of hippie, rebellious, anti-establishment trend?

So many people do things without questioning them, just because other people told them it’s good, or that they should do it.

Why is it supposed to be more sustainable to use paper, wood or metal instead of plastic?

Of course it FEELS better, because it’s all natural as opposed to plastic which is not natural. Plastic is artificially created and comes from petroleum.

So I imagine it would be more HEALTHY, because you’re not using any kind of synthetic chemicals and thus you’re avoiding toxins.

But I don’t really see how it is more SUSTAINABLE.

For example, take metal. How is metal supposed to be more sustainable?

You have to send these poor, helpless men deep into these unhealthy mines where they risk their lives and sacrifice their health every day to mine metal.

What’s so sustainable, humane and healthy about that?

Metal isn’t recycled. Metal isn’t organic so it doesn’t degrade or decompose in landfills.

How about wood and paper? Yes they are healthier for you and they are all natural. And they do decompose naturally.

But think of all the trees you have to cut down to get wood and paper.

Although one YouTuber I saw said, “Actually, using wood causes MORE trees to be planted in my country, because in my country (which was of course some healthy Scandinavian country, Scandinavians are always ahead of the rest of the world, but I don’t remember which country it was) whenever a tree is cut down we plant TWO trees to take its place.”

Ok so maybe using wood and paper is sustainable in his country.

But so far this does not happen in the rest of the world, as far as I’m aware. And paper is recycled (in theory), but like everything else I doubt most of the paper is recycled here. Most probably just goes to landfills.

I do admit I haven’t done my research and I don’t have the faintest idea what happens to the garbage in my country or in my city. But I have seen in documentaries (vague documentaries that unfortunately I can’t cite because I don’t remember which documentaries they were, if you’re a stickler about people always revealing the source of everything they write about in blogs) that in most places around the world countries and municipalities don’t recycle.

(By the way if you’ve got some sort of physical evidence that I am wrong and that in fact most countries around the world do indeed recycle scrupulously, by all means, please, I’m completely open to you leaving a comment about it and showing me your evidence. If not, please refrain from leaving snide or picky comments about how I don’t document my blog posts accurately or cite the sources of my information. Your comment will not be approved. This is my blog and I write what I want in it. If you don’t agree with me you are free to not read it. Ok rant over.)

As I was saying, even if you do live in a country that recycles a high percentage of its rubbish, you still have to take into account the fact that the vast majority of the world doesn’t. So although as an ideal for a future utopian world, I don’t think it’s very sustainable or feasible at this point in time for most of us.

Then you could say that, well, paper is organic so even if it isn’t recycled at least it will biodegrade in landfills. Well I guess looking at it that way that could be true.

Still, when you buy something wrapped in paper, what do you do with the paper? You still throw it away, right?

I don’t think you’d reuse that tiny little piece of wrapping paper 100 times in order to be more sustainable, just simply because it wouldn’t last. It would soon tear or disintegrate.

Then how about wood? Wood is not recycled.

So if you throw away something wooden, which you will have to do at some point because wooden items don’t last a long time, at the most a few years maybe.

Maybe a wooden house can last several decades but in the end wood always deteriorates. So then what happens to the wood that you throw away?

Well once again zero wasters will say oh but wood is biodegradable so it will just biodegrade in landfills. Yeah but how long does that take?

So it is still not being recycled, even though it’s true it’s not as bad for the planet because at least it will biodegrade at some point.

But in the meantime, as you can’t recycle it, you still have to cut down more trees to create wooden objects to replace the ones that broke.

Then we’ve got glass. I like glass. I try to use it a lot because I like it.

Glass is recyclable and is probably one of the easiest things to recycle.

I don’t actually know the details about how glass containers are reused. But I imagine that the glass you throw away into the green coloured bins is being reused.

But most of the world doesn’t recycle. So you are only being zero waste by using glass if you live in a place where people recycle.

Or if you hoard up every single glass item that ever enters into your home in order to reuse it. But on the other hand, if you do that, you risk getting accused of suffering from hoarding disorder, as well as accumulating that other most undesirable scourge in life: CLUTTER! Gasp!

At any rate, even so, you are probably being more healthy if you use wood, paper, metal or glass, because you are not filling your home and your family with the toxic chemicals present in plastic. So you might want to say you are zero waste for health reasons.

But I don’t really see that it is more sustainable in the world we live in today. If the whole world recycled close to 100% of our waste and in every country they planted 2 trees for every tree that they cut down, then it could be sustainable.

In conclusion, much as I do in general believe in it and support it, I think it’s impossible to remove all the plastic from your life.

People say, well my ancestors lived for thousands of years without plastic.

Well, let me tell you, my parents were born over 90 years ago and they used plastic.

Just about everything that is essential in our lives is made of plastic. Most objects in our homes are made of plastic. Most of the things you can buy anywhere come in plastic containers.

Our food comes in plastic. Your mobile phone and your computer are made of plastic. The screen you’re reading this blog on is made of plastic or has a plastic support. You wouldn’t be able to read this blog if you didn’t use plastic at all.

Appliances are made of plastic. Medical equipment is made of plastic.

If you’re about to die from COVID-19 and the respirator is your only hope for survival you’re not gonna say, no don’t give me the respirator it’s made of plastic!

Buddhists say you should do everything in moderation. So yeah, I do think zero waste is good — in moderation.

And always respecting those who don’t agree with you.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Homemade Soap 

My Current Almost All-Natural Low Waste Hair Routine 

Shikakai: My Recent Experiment

Natural Skin and Hair Care Routine

This is my current natural skin and hair care routine.

I’ve written many posts on natural skin and hair care, and in this post I’d simply like to sum up what I myself do personally, what works for me and how I do it.

First off, I haven’t used a conventional store-bought cream on my face for over 13 years now.

But I am not all covered with wrinkles. Nope. On the contrary, people always think I am younger than my years, and I’ve got a few anecdotes to prove that. But more on that later.

Nope. Ever since I acquired a book on All Natural Skin and Hair Care the Ayurvedic Way (which unfortunately got lost in one of the 50,000 moves we’ve made), I’ve never picked up a jar of Ponds, Olay (well, except sunscreen, of course) or, G-d forbid, the one million dollar La Mer, again. (Not that I had ever tried out La Mer, I might add, fortunately for my pocketbook.)

My natural skin and hair care routine these days is the following:

I use oil to remove my makeup.

Now, I do have to add that I do use chemical, store-bought makeup. I do own and use all-natural mineral makeup as well as natural lead-free kohl, and I love it. But, you know, you get bored and you want to shake things up and try out new things, right? And much as I love, love, love kohl, the sultry, smoky, smudgy look really isn’t too work appropriate.

Well, as I was saying, getting back to my natural skin and hair care routine, I remove my makeup with just oil and some tissues to wipe the oil off. Then I rub my face a few times with a very hot, wet washcloth.

Later, I do my face in the shower. I shower at night, so it’s the perfect time to remove every last spot of makeup and go to bed with a fresh, clean face.

Once I hop in the shower, I rub oil all over my face again, then wash it off using all natural handmade soap. I have a whole bunch of them, which I alternate. And I’m always on the lookout for more every time I go to handicraft and medieval fairs, so I never run out.

But if I ever did run out, I could always resort to the all-natural handmade olive oil soaps—the original castile soap—which is made by local housewives here and sold in local drugstores.

Very, very occasionally I will put on a turmeric masque or exfoliate my skin with sugar. I do that once in a blue moon, though, because I’m lazy.

After I get out of the shower, I do NOT slather chem-filled creams all over my face. Instead, I use OIL.

I’ve written a short little guide on several oils that you can use on your face, depending on your skin type and/or problems. Oils are the main part of my own natural skin and hair care routine, and you can easily incorporate them into yours.

I, personally, like to use a variety of oils, alternating between them. Once upon a time, I used to create my own facial cream by combining these same oils + vitamin E (wheat germ) oil, aloe vera gel and a few drops of sandalwood essential oil, for the fragrance. But one day I said to myself: what the ****. Isn’t it easier to just slather on the pure oils?

So that’s what I’ve been doing every day ever since. Now, every night, I choose between extra virgin olive oil (easy to acquire here in Spain, the land of olive oil), coconut oil (not as easy to get here, but I can always find it at the pharmacy), sweet almond oil and rosehip seed oil, depending on the mood and what my plans are for the next day.

I know that there are others available, but they either don’t go with my skin type, or are hard/impossible to find here in Spain, which like many European countries has not yet discovered the modern, new-fangled, natural, going-back-to-the-land trend yet.

(Nope, it’s still chemicals all the way for Spaniards. If you ask a Spaniard about natural skin and hair care they will think of The Body Shop. Or even Mercadona.)

I find that olive oil is the greasiest, so if I’m off to an early start the next morning, I usually won’t use it, since I’m not a fan of leaving home with an oily face haha. But I once met a man who used it every day as part of his own natural skin and hair routine, and claimed he was 62 years old and he didn’t look a day over 40, not a single wrinkle. So if we can trust him about his age, well, something’s gotta be up, right?

I find almond oil the most soothing. However, rosehip seed oil gives me the MOST INCREDIBLE GLOW and makes my face look about 30 years younger (so now you know I am at least over 30).

I only use coconut oil in the summer when I have an oily face because, paradoxically for an oil, it actually dries your skin a bit since, more than making your face oily, coconut oil tends to regulate oil production. Which could mean, it makes your face dry haha.

In the morning, I actually don’t wash my face. Okay, so that makes me sound like a pig haha. But really, my face isn’t really all that dirty in the morning. I mean, what could I have possibly done to make it dirty, anyway? Rub it all over my pillow? Well, usually my pillow’s fairly clean too, so not very likely to get my face dirty from that.

(It’s a little less clean now since my cat’s discovered that he loves to curl up on it, but you probably don’t have that problem with your pillows.)

(This is my cat, not that it’s very relevant to this post haha.)

Black Kitty Cat

Nope, in the mornings, usually most of the oil has absorbed, leaving me with a bright, healthy-looking, moisturized, glowy but not oily face. In the case that it should be oily even so—which sometimes happens when I’ve used olive oil the night before—I simply wash my face with hot water and a washcloth and problem solved.

I don’t even—blasphemy and heresy!—use face cream during the day. And my face doesn’t look awful. On the contrary, my skin has never been better.

Just as an anecdote (and cos I love to show off hehe), one day last year I was walking down the street with my son, and we passed a group of his schoolmates. They all started whistling and jeering at him (but in a good, fun-loving way): “Whoo-hoo, Ermenegildo*! Hey, look, Ermenegildo’s got a girlfriend. Who’s your girlfriend, Ermenegildo?”

My son looked at them and asked: “Who are you talking about?”

They pointed at me!

Well, he burst out laughing and told them: “That’s not my girlfriend! That’s my mother!”

Well, to continue with the anecdotes (even though they are totally irrelevant to this post, but I love to show off and they do at least give you an idea of what my skin is like as a result of following this natural skin and hair care routine for the past 13 years).

My son has decided to change high schools this year. So that, of course, led me to run around the city scouting out different high schools for him. Yes I know, he could do it. But does the youth of today ever do anything nowadays if you’ve got a mami to do these things for you?

So I entered into a high school to find out about the programmes that they offered, and the lady at the desk asked me: “Yes, are you interested in attending this school next year?”

Now, I nearly did a double take. I mean, this was a high school, not a university. And I haven’t stepped foot in a high school since…… well, let’s say people the age of my son hadn’t even been born yet the last time I attended a high school haha.

And one last anecdote, which I love love love. One day, I opened the door to—surprise surprise—a sleazy salesman. But unlike other sleazy salesmen, he didn’t plunge right into his boring spiel right off.

Instead, he stared me over, then blubbered out: “Young lady, would your mami or daddy happen to be in the house? I’d like to talk to them, if you don’t mind.”

I kid you not. This actually happened to me. And not such a long time ago, so it’s not like I’m telling you about something that happened in the twentieth century haha.

Well, I nearly leapt onto this salesman and hugged him. But I didn’t do that. I slammed the door in his face instead. Not because I was upset with him nor even because he was a salesman, but because I was so flabbergasted I didn’t know what else to do. A minute later, I wished I’d hugged him instead, though.

So, if you should just happen to be the salesman in whose face I slammed the door, or if you happen to be a salesman and someone (who apparently looked like a teenaged girl) once slammed the door in your face, please know that I’m sorry, and it had nothing to do with you as a person.

On the contrary, I’d love to hug you.

But back to this blog post on my all natural skin and hair care routine.

As I was saying, I don’t use face creams or day creams, not even during the day. Usually, the oils that I’ve dumped on my face the night before are more than enough to keep my skin wildly gorgeous.

Chemical-filled, store-bought creams have no place in a natural skin and hair care routine, or at least not in mine. And that includes the creams that you wear to face the world every day.

However, sun protection is a major issue in our life, and I don’t believe in skimping on sun protection.

Having said this, I know that chemical sunscreens are also a major source of cancer. I have a vague idea that there are studies out there that sort of prove it, although I can’t actually give you the references at this moment, because these are just the little tidbits of information you go along picking up as you go through life or browse around on the internet on a lazy day.

But we all know (or at least suspect) that chemicals are toxic and do at the very least often contribute to the development of cancer. So it only makes sense to avoid them in every way possible. And that includes in your sun cream.

I’ve never as yet found any brand of sunscreen which is 100% natural and also satisfies me and also works. I think the ones I liked best in the past were all the ones by L’Oréal, because they use Mexoryl, which is a broad spectrum sunscreen and when I used it, I didn’t tan at all. And it didn’t leave me all greasy.

But although Mexoryl has been shown in studies to be innocuous, the medium it’s in, which is, after all, a chemical-laden cream, is not so innocuous. Such creams certainly don’t fit in with the natural skin and hair care lifestyle. Hence I’d like to avoid them if possible.

I recently found a couple of brands of sunscreen which are made of all natural ingredients and which I can get in Spain (ie. I don’t have to order them from the US, which is both pricey in terms of shipping as well as taking a long time to arrive). As you might expect, since Spain hasn’t exactly jumped on the natural skin and hair care bandwagon yet, I do have to order them online.

These brands are Badger and DeVita. I just ordered Badger yesterday and I’ll let you know how I feel about it in a future post. (I ordered it from iHerb which carried it at the lowest price plus—the shipping was free!!)

Well, as I was saying, in my natural skin and hair care routine, I don’t use face creams other than sunscreen. However, I do use makeup, as I’ve described above.

Incidentally, aloe vera gel has an SPF of about 6, I believe it was (I read about it in some article on the internet but of course I didn’t take note of the source). Shea butter has an SPF of about 4-6 and coconut oil has an SPF of about 2. I’ve read some sites that say 4, but if you only use coconut oil you do tan, so obviously it isn’t keeping all the sun’s rays out of your skin.

Nonetheless, if you wish to continue with your natural skin and hair care routine all the way, you might wish to consider these for sun protection if you are only going to be outside for a few minutes. For example, walking from your car to your office, or running to the neighbourhood grocery store.

At any rate, it’s important to get your 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your skin every day in order for your skin to produce vitamin D, which is necessary to protect yourself from cancer. But on the other hand, if we go out all day, we’re in the sun for way more than 20 minutes. So then we need sun protection.

How I wash our clothes also came under bombardment when I jumped on the natural skin and hair care bandwagon. After all, you wear clothes every day, and they touch your skin every day.

I’ve now also switched over to using natural soap flakes to wash all our clothes.

I’d already been doing that for years, but other people were all swearing by their respective laundry detergents and I wanted to give them a try. Well, not only are conventional laundry powders and liquids expensive, they don’t even work as well as soap. At least not on our super dirty, male-dominated laundry.

So it’s back to soap flakes for me. Our clothes come out clean and spot-free, even when they’re very dirty. And it’s cheap, too. Well, cheaper than laundry detergent, at any rate.

Plus it’s all natural.

I’ve also started on a new no ‘poo routine. Which you’d only expect, seeing as I’m writing about natural skin AND hair care. You can read all about what I’ve been doing so far, here: Going No ‘Poo.

And while we’re at it, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out, here: Thrillers by Moi.

So how about you? Do you have an all-natural skin and hair care routine you’d like to share? Don’t be shy, tell tell! As you know, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

*not his real name

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

All Natural Skincare

Bentonite Clay for Hair

Going No ‘Poo

Thrillers by Moi