How can I reduce the amount of toiletries I use?
We’ve had an email from Di:
Every week I have to buy more shampoo, more conditioner, more shower gel… for my family and want it to stop. It’s so expensive, all the bottles are such a waste and I hate the idea of all those chemicals. I don’t know if we’re brave enough to go no ‘poo but want to reduce our use all the same. Any ideas?
I’ve heard lots of good things about going down the no (sham)poo route but it does take some perseverance – the first few weeks are usually pretty horrible while the hair/scalp adjusts from being regularly doused in chemicals to managing itself. For some people, it quickly settles down and is better than it was before, for other people it takes ages to work itself out and sometimes never does.
There is plenty of middle ground though – try reducing the amount of times you wash your hair. I think we’ve been convinced that hair needs washing regularly by shampoo producers – I’ve spoken to older people about the issue and they think it’s madness that we wash our hair so often – they go for shampoo-and-sets once a week or even less frequently and that’s more than enough. (I suspect we also generally have a somewhat broken notion about what smells clean because we’re so used to perfumed soaps and the like.) After leaving my job to work for myself a few years ago, I halved the amount of times I wash my hair and I think there is scope to scale it back even further.
Cut down the waste produced by the toiletries by buying bigger containers of things – bulk-buy if you can and decant it into smaller, old bottles for ease of use – and consider swapping to solid shampoo & soaps instead – less bulk to be transported around. Of course, you can make your own shampoo, liquid soap and bar soap too – then you know exactly what’s it in and don’t need tons of packaging.
Any other suggestions? What have you done to cut back? What works? What doesn’t? Any particular shampoos that aid infrequent washing?