I have written a lot in the past about greening our homes, but it is only in the last few months that I started thinking about my personal care routine and how un-green it is. Not only are a lot of the products and their packaging incredibly detrimental to the environment, but I am also starting to believe that they are possibly detrimental to my health as well. When you think about the fact that your skin is your biggest organ (and medicines are often absorbed via a dermal patch), and that the average women ingests between half a kilo to a kilo of lipstick over their lifetime, then it becomes even more important to think what you are putting on your body and whether it is green and healthy.
It's all well and good to decide your beauty and personal care routine needs to be greener, but where do you start? While it would be great if I could have dumped the contents of my bathroom in the rubbish and start from scratch, that was not an economically feasible option for me. Instead, I decided to prioritise what and how I would replace my products.
- Focus on products with the biggest impact
Every week I would put money aside in my grocery budget to replace a product with a better one. My priority was on replacing the products that had the potential to be the most harmful. So, toothpaste was a big one for me and my family. My three years of med school left me with the knowledge of how quickly drugs could be absorbed through the oral mucosa (think heart pills tucked under the tongue, or even cocaine rubbed on the gums) and my recent self-education in natural therapies made me concerned about fluoride and other nasties in regular toothpaste, so this was the very first thing I replaced, even before I had finished our tubes of toothpaste. The next items on my list were the kid's body wash, followed by my skin care items, lipsticks and body creams.
- Replace products as they finished
This step is the most obvious and the easiest to do without feeling guilty since you're not tossing out half-full or nearly full bottles! As a product ran out, I would replace it with an organic/natural/eco-friendly alternative. Shampoo is an example of this, and was the first thing I replaced since I was right at the bottom of my bottles when I decided to make this change.
- Purchase the rest as budget allows
As the above items were purchased, and money freed up in my budget, I moved on to the items that were not a huge priority healthwise and would take a while to use up. This included most of my makeup; things like eyeshadow and blush were unlikely to be absorbed into the skin so I was content to wait until I had replaced the more important items.