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My Life Without Oil: A Bathroom Revolution

10 April 2020 | By Marie Legivre
Tips and tricksWaste management

With a title like that, you might think that this article is about sustainable transportation. Nay! Today, I’m talking about your bathroom and cosmetics (the connection with oil comes later, I promise!).

Staying at home is a great opportunity for change…

The stay-at-home measures aren’t all bad – we’re all catching up on the backlog of New Year’s resolutions, #naive. But once you’ve started exercising again through Facebook Live, stopped smoking thanks to online hypnosis sessions, and prepared your seedlings (after watching all of Netflix, of course), what do you do with all this time?

… And now for an inward journey

Deep inside yourself, or maybe just inside your apartment, no need to get too intense!

I’m going to ask you to think about the products you buy, especially those you use in your bathroom. A previous post talked about a plastic-free bathroom. I’m going to add to that, with a personal reflection on the products themselves and the infinite DIY possibilities.

And this goes, whether you are a man or a woman. This text is not gender specific because we all use commercial products for our personal hygiene. Am I wrong? How about Q-Tips?! There, we’re on the same wavelength now…

My “switch” to a zero waste bathroom started a few years ago. My former roommate was much more advanced than me in the subject matter and offered me reusable cottons pads. Now, when you try to make a change, there’s usually a mental barrier that appears. In my experience, it’s been, “But how do you keep them clean all the time — as clean as store-bought cottons pads?” Ah… the cleanliness of new things (sigh). A myth that’s not easy to debunk. But the truth is that YES, reusable items can be just as clean (or event cleaner!) than a product manufactured at the other end of the world, with components that are not always great for your health, then transported and distributed for a large number of people in wide range of places.


Homemade cosmetics — next stop: zero-waste bathroom!

I then started looking at the products I used: face and body cream, mascara, shampoo… all commercially available products, with a lot of packaging, whose ingredients are usually pretty questionable.

Mascara, for example, usually contains petrochemicals. When I realized this, I thought, “Ok, so I actually put oil on my eyes every day. The same fossil fuel that you put in cars. Sure…” Of course, it is not refined in the same way, but still, do I need to use a non-renewable resource to make my eyes like Cleopatra’s?

When I was in high school, I really liked chemistry, especially mixing elements to create another one. So I started doing my research on deodorant, body cream, and mascara. And, most importantly, I stopped buying these products and instead switched to buying raw ingredients which allowed me to have custom-made products, made by and for me.


The advantages of homemade products

of all, the savings are incredible. Of course, you have to invest in buying the ingredients, but once you have them, you can generally use them for several recipes and they will last a while. I am thinking in particular of coconut oil, shea butter, and baking soda. A good body cream that costs $15 with 4 quality ingredients — I dare you to find that in stores! And let’s not even talk about the price of a DIY deodorant that costs about $1… Ah yes and the time savings are incredible: 15 minutes and 5 ingredients to make a mascara, isn’t it magic?!

Over the years, I also removed my face cream from my bathroom and replaced it with natural oils. Yes, natural oils! This moisturizes the skin much better because it acts more like the sebum that the skin secretes. I looked up natual oils, their properties, their uses. A new world of (ancestral) knowledge opened up for me.Today, I also make my own sunscreen and shampoo.I have also invested in reusable tissues — the pouch is just wonderful! And the famous reusable Q-Tips too!

All that’s left is toilet paper, the Holy Grail of the lockdown era! But I’ve invested in a bidet attachment (yes, yes!). It’s a small investment (90$) but it’s really worth it. Highly recommended! To sum up, I would recommend pay close attention to your daily routine, and not put too much pressure on yourself. Then, do your research. Be careful not to overdo it at first, which can be discouraging. But little by little, you’ll be able to make the change. And before you know it, bam! Your bathroom has gone completely zero-waste

So go for it young Padawan. You’ll see. The light’s at the end of the (lockdown) tunnel.


Advisor — Waste Management

Marie Legivre

After travelling for several months to Chile and Argentina a few years ago, Marie is making a shift for the environment in her professional and personal life. Curious by nature, she loves discovering new DIY cosmetic recipes, and is striving to live a zero-waste lifestyle. She also enjoys cycling (even in the winter!) and hiking in nature.

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