Friday, 17 July 2009

Aarghh! (aka, Skincare part 2)

I always knew this no plastic thing wasn’t going to be easy, but that little voice inside me kept on hoping it wouldn’t really be that complicated when it came down to it.

Firstly, The Soap
This is disappearing far too rapidly for my purse strings to keep hold of, so no matter how nice it is I won’t be buying it again. I visited two of my three local health shops yesterday and had a good peruse of all the different products and came out with a soap produced by a company called Faith in Nature. I’d never heard of them before, but it didn’t come in a wrapper, it smelt nice, it was a reasonable price, and it’s got aloe vera in it, so I figured it would be a good bet, and it seems to be quite nice so far, although I feel very squeaky after using it. Yet, following my tutor’s revelations about product ingredients (see below), I’ll be looking into what actually goes into my soaps before I buy any more.

Secondly, The Deodorant
A Transition Period. Yes, there certainly is a transition period. I don’t really smell nasty, but there is definitely something different going on under my arms. Over the weekend they started to feel a bit funny, and then a bit more funny, and then last night they developed a full blown rash. Yuck. I blamed the new deodorant straight away, deciding I’d have to try one of the other ones Lush has on offer. But first I was a bad girl - worried about going to work with no deodorant on, I succumbed to temptation and put on a little bit of my old antiperspirant. I know I shouldn’t have, and I felt guilty about it all day, but I really didn’t want to smell.

After work, I went back to Lush to look at their other options. One of the girls came over and started talking to me, so I told my sorry tale. What did she say? ‘Transition Period.’ She suggested that it’s more likely to be the exiting toxins causing my rash than the deodorant. I said maybe she was right, seeing as it wasn’t an immediate reaction, but anyway I found the deodorant block I had been using to be really hard and difficult to apply, as it has a sort of crust on it (yes, not too pleasant, I grant you). Apparently, though, you’re supposed to slice this bit off to reveal a fresh, smooth inside.

I should persevere, she said. Ok, I said, but until my rash goes away I want something else to interchange with the block. I came out with deodorising ‘coconut powder’, which is a bit like talc. But then comes more guilt, because of course talc needs to be kept in a little pot. It’s a cardboard pot, so that’s something, but it’s got a plastic top and bottom. I told myself I can reuse the pot for something else when it’s empty, and that I really needed it, and that I’ll find something else for next time. And it is really nice, and feels soft on my skin, but now I’m telling myself it should only be a one-off purchase to ease this sticky transition. Because packaging is packaging at the end of the day.

And then, to add insult to injury, when I get home there’s a comment from my college tutor, S, subtly hinting at the fact that maybe Lush isn’t the best way to go. Yeah, thanks S. She’s absolutely right, though, because a little investigation led to the discovery that a lot of Lush’s products use something called Propylene Glycol. And what’s propylene glycol? No, not a plastic. But it is a petroleum derivative. That means oil. Maybe the main idea behind this whole exercise is to be plastic free, but what’s the point in being plastic free if the products I use are bad to the environment in other ways?

Thirdly, the Suncream
Only one of the three companies I emailed about my suncream search has got back to me so far. Thank you Love Lula. Lula recommended a sun lotion her website sells that is made of organic and natural ingredients, plus it comes in a glass bottle. Yippee! Right?

Lula’s sun lotion, as lovely as it sounds, is a whopping £28.50 a bottle. Now, that might possibly be worth it if it was a normal sun-cream sized bottle. This one, however, contains so little actual lotion that I’d probably use the whole thing up in just one sunny day. Maybe when I win the lottery… And I’m assuming, by the lack of response from Spiezia and Lavera, that they don’t have the right answer to my question. Hence the aarghhh.

Right now it seems to me that nobody does the whole package when it comes to ethical skincare: all the right ingredients without the packaging and at an affordable price. This is only the beginning, though, so I’m going to try and stay positive. There are a couple of other companies on my radar that I’m going to check out, and I’ve decided to not buy anything else like this (unless I have to) until I get to The Big Green Gathering – I’m holding out hope that there will be lots of things to choose from there that will meet all my needs. Please?

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