Posts tagged "toiletries"

How can I get the last of the gel out of the bottle?

We’ve had an email from Sylvia in a similar vein to our “how to use the last of everything” post a few months ago:

I love Avon products but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get all of the gel out of the bottle when I can’t shake any more out!! Any suggestions??

Back in the day, I used to use a straw to get the last of my (apparently frizz-easing) hair gel out of the narrow, tall bottle – that was pretty messy but got a lot of the sticky gunk off the sides of the jar.

Depending on the gel’s use, you might be able to do the old add-water-and-swoosh-around trick used for shampoo — it’ll make the gel a little more watery but that’ll be fine for some gels.

If you’re losing a lot of gel, and the bottle is plastic, you might want to see if you could swap to getting it in flexible tubes rather than bottles – that way you can cut open the tube and scrap out the stuff left on the sides.

Any other suggestions?

How do you make sure you use the last bit of everything?

This is cross-posted to my new frugal/growing/making/cooking blog, The Really Good Life.

I’ve reached the end … of my shampoo bottle and our mayonnaise jar. And it made me wonder…

Every vaguely-frugal/green family has their own tricks for getting those last bits of gloop, sauce, oil or whatever out of jars and bottles – but what are your top tips?

Most bottles – from condiments to shampoo – are easily emptied by standing them upside down for a few hours.

Cooking sauces – jars/cans of tomatoes – are easy too: a little squish of water around to pull off the last of the sauce/juice then into the pan it goes to be reduced off.

Cooking oils bottles and jams & honey jars get left in a bowl of hot water to make the remaining contents a little runny and easier to pour out.

Metal squeezy tubes – like tomato puree and old school toothpaste – can be rolled up and squeezed, but the new plastic toothpaste tubes aren’t so rollable – cutting them open seems the only option.

What other methods do you use?

How can I reuse or recycle talc/talcum powder?

We’ve had an email from Anna:

Hi! I’ve just been reading how bad talc is (oh my god it’s bad!) and no longer want to use it on my body. Is there anything I can do with it instead?

I’m not an expert on talc – I’ve not used it for years anyway so not read up on it much – but from a brief Googling around now, it seems the main problems with it are an increased cancer risk (most notably ovarian cancer, often but not always related to the application of talc around the genitals) and pulmonary issues related to inhalation. The inhalation thing may limit the potential reuses – but does anyone know of any?

How can I reduce the amount of toiletries I use?

showeringWe’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?

Shampoo bottle jewellery

Shampoo bottle jewelleryStatement necklaces are apparently where it’s at fashion wise at the moment and Nancy from 21centurydressmakers made herself a fab piece to wear on New Year’s Eve – made from old shampoo bottles.

I love the different colours (such pretty blue and a lovely vibrant orange!) and the oval shapes – and how the curved shapes of the original bottles add to the finished shape of the necklace.

Awesome work, Nancy! Check out the how-to on her site if you want to make your own.