Sunday, 22 September 2019

Fashion Week Tea From London Fashion Week SS20

It's day one of London Fashion Week SS20 (Spring/Summer 2020) and, on a foot with a potentially broken baby toe (I fell down a stairs the night before in my friend's apartment as it was incredibly dark and the stairwell is next to a very narrow landing), I rush in for my first show of the season. I somehow make it with fifteen minutes to spare – an eternity in the fashion world where things nearly always run late – and join the dishearteningly long queue but I don't think about it too deeply, as surely they know best about how many people to invite? Wrong. They, in fact, do no know best, as we quickly realise when the one, very small and sweet and polite young woman being sent to man the ever-growing queue tells the majority of us that the show is at capacity and none of the rest of us will be getting in. Unwilling to observe people with egos berate this lovely woman who is only doing her job, I immediately duck out of the queue and into a nearby cafe for a nice breakfast. What's the point in being annoyed? It's not going to change anything and it's just fashion, it's not that serious. Lining my stomach with delicious food will make things infinitely better.


Models at the Nensi Dojaka SS20 presentation.


Next, I hit up a presentation in which models in very cool and daring lingerie-inspired dresses wander the room, selfie-sticks in hand, looking listless and generally reflecting a message of caution towards contemporary behaviours and attitudes in a digital era. One of the models carries bundles of printouts of photos of another model that are spewing from a printer in the corner. I register this peripherally as I am at work trying to get “the shots”, on a time crunch. I do not register the model approach me, something that I have never experienced at a presentation before (A/N: presentations are an alternative to fashion shows in which models are dressed in the collection and allowed to roam a space for several hours, either simply posing or acting in some way to adhere to the theme of a collection). She comes at me with a print-out and I gasp-scream before chuckling in embarrassment (no one makes eye contact or laughs with me, despite the fact that I am surrounded by other attendees of the presentation) and meekly accepting the page. The model, God bless her, is a complete professional and doesn't even blink in surprise, continuing on her merry way. Thankfully, I have an out as I need to get to another show, so I scamper away.


Gayeon Lee SS20.


At said other show, I have trouble finding my seat, which is odd, as there are finite, labelled options of seats and I can read. I go back and forth along the row of seats before asking for help. The sincere and lovely young attendant that I ask, however, quickly proves to not be very good at her job. She is as lost as I. On an amusing note, when she gets her hands on an i-Pad to look up the seating arrangement, I notice that I am listed in the database with a picture of the television broadcaster by the same name.I fail to get a photo of this but it makes me laugh and I wish I had. (They must have just googled my name and not looked into it to make sure they had the right Colette Fitzpatrick?) Eventually, it becomes apparent that someone has stolen my seat. Another attendant, who is much more on top of things, tells me to do the same so I squeeze in between two people and ensure I get my hands on a giftbag – look, I was given a front row ticket and there was a damned cute hat in the bag, I was simply getting what I was promised.


Sharon Wauchob SS20.


Upon leaving the show, I make my way to Foyle's, the famous London bookstore, for my next show. I try, and fail, to resist the temptation of being in a bookshop and buy three books to add to the stack of books in my room that I have yet to read. When I get to the show itself I am immediately surprised by the increase in the number of people with zero fashion week etiquette, including professionals. It's always been an issue that bloggers, students, and randos invited along don't get the etiquette. They don't seem to grasp that everyone is there trying to get their shot, that a lot of the people are there to work, and that they need to get that shot in order to get paid. I see lots of people hogging prime spots to have a chat, which is simply rude. The etiquette, as I've observed it, is to wait your turn, get your shot as quickly as possible and then to step aside for the next person to do the same. The number of people ignoring, or ignorant to, this, seems to have increased exponentially since last season. I also observe similarly rude behaviour among the photographers this season, which is surprising. They're normally the very people that you can count on to get it! I don't know if it's because the market is so saturated and getting “the shot” makes it easier for you to sell your images over another photographer or if there are just more photographers that are very green getting involved but it was sad (and very frustrating) to witness. Irritated as I am, I leave once I've seen everything once, even though the usual bonus of a presentation is being able to carefully take in pieces and all their details. Rudeness is my Kryptonite so I have to split before I get so huffy (because, of course, I won't actually say anything), I knock myself out from a lack of oxygen.


Lark & Berry rings.


On the second day of London Fashion Week, my true love gave to me...sorry, no, wrong song, different tune. But I do get a free ear piercing at Lark & Berry, which is pretty good. Some fashion week glamour rearing it's expertly groomed and styled head. The brand is really interesting, using cultured diamonds and gems (i.e. Lab-grown, did you know that was a thing? I didn't) and maintaining incredible transparency about their practices. Their gold is ethically sourced, too, and they plant five trees for every piece sold. They also treat me kindly, even though I'm aware (as fashion week consistently reminds me), that I'm a nobody in the industry (that's fine, I'm a somebody in my free time so I can't cope with a little bit of ego-testing). At the very next thing I go to, however, I'm booted from my seat in the frow when a more important person arrives late. I'm not the only one it happens to and I don't take it personally but it stings a little. The collection is v good though, I just wish I asked the name of the girl I was chatting to before being escorted to my new (much less good) seat as it's rare enough to talk to someone nice at fashion week, someone who isn't trying to figure out if you're important enough to waste their time on.


Riona Treacy SS20.


The middle section of day two flattens and, aside from the Riona Treacy presentation, nothing is especially memorable. Fashion week is one long clamour of thousands of voices to be seen and heard and, unfortunately, not everyone can be. It's an exhausting energy to be around and makes me feel sad for people who place too much of their self-worth in it all. I also manage to go to the wrong show when I'm pointed the wrong way but manage to figure it out at the last minute and grab my seat. This time I'm not kicked out of the front row and the THISNORTHAT collection is a wonderfully cool palate-cleanser after a rather forgettable afternoon.


Simone Rocha SS20


Summer returns in full force for day three and I am forced to abandon the outfit of lace and velvet that I had packed specially for the Simone Rocha show. I battle through the hot underground and am glad I chose to change; when you're a regular pleb, there is too much use of public transport to allow for the perfectly turned-out looks of street style fame. The first show of the day is another that I don't find especially noteworthy, something that increasingly weighs on my mind as it feels more and more important not to put our planet under the burden of making things that aren't necessary or extraordinary. There is no longer room for that which is just "okay". The mad schlep out to Alexandra Palace for the Simone Rocha show exemplifies this. These are clothes that needed to be born. These clothes make the world sparkly and magic. These clothes are works of art that were well-worth the panicked combo of tube-train-bus and hour-and-a-half-commute-that-many-of-us-thought-left-us-with-plenty-of-time. We were wrong. More fashion week sweating ensued. But, as I say, it is worth it. I quiver with excitement throughout the whole show. Afterwards, Galway Now's very own Blathnait, who I haven't met again since a brief encounter years ago and not since beginning working with the magazine, and I finally reunite. We bump in Sinead Burke and, somehow, we end up talking about Peig Sayers on acid. The meeting and the show leave me buzzing so much that the next, once again, somewhat underwhelming show doesn't stop me from having trouble falling asleep for all of the ideas racing around in my well-stimulated brain.

Finally, I finish with the Paul Costelloe show, as is often the case for me, sadly missing Katie Ann McGuigan and Colin Horgan's shows as I don't plan to stay for the Tuesday. It's a fashion week rule: if you stay the extra day, nothing is on. If you leave, you miss something exciting. Thankfully, though, Paul is a great note to end things on. The collection is joyous and, of course, at the show teeming with fellow Irish folks, there is no shortage of kindness. I actually manage to miss my show at half eleven but there is another at twelve and the attendants all wave it off as nothing, assuring me they'll squeeze me in. They do just that and though the party vibes and social atmosphere border on rude at times (lack of that etiquette again; three ladies chatting on the runway had to be told to sit down after the lights dimmed and music cut out and everyone else cleared the way), I can't help be glad of the guaranteed kindness of this show to ensure fashion week always ends on a very positive note for me. In this case, there is no more tea to be spilled, and, sure, isn't that as well? Tea is to be savoured, with good people, not wasted.


*


Friday, 6 September 2019

5 Minimal Waste Cruelty-Free Irish Beauty Products That I'm Loving Right Now

As I mentioned a while back, I have had a wild ride of utterly reevaluating consumption, blogging, and my personal responsibility to the environment. Stepping back and really looking at how I'd been going about things and taking stock for a moment made me realise that beauty blogging and fashion blogging, in the traditional sense that I had grown used to, were no longer possible for me. 

Basically, I stopped shopping except when necessary, shopped the stash of untouched products that had piled up in my house instead of going out for anything when possible, and made sure that I bought only sustainable, minimal waste items when I did need to get something. I replaced my toothbrush (once it was at the end of its life) with a wooden brush (three times by now), stopped buying traditional toothpaste (those tubes are not at all recyclable), switched to a reusable razor for shaving, and slowly changed everything that was on my bathroom shelf.

The biggest change, though, was simply not buying things. And this meant that I no longer had things to review all the time. Ergo, no real beauty posts for months beyond the less glamorous and more practical articles I have written about the experience of switching to more sustainable basic grooming options. Until today, when, after around half a year, I have finally accumulated five (the necessary minimum number for any listicle worth it's salt, obvs) beauty products worth talking about. All are cruelty-free (a pre-existing stance when it comes to products that I have maintained for years now), all are Irish (to reduce my carbon footprint and air miles), and all are made of either entirely, or almost entirely, recyclable materials. I still prefer refillable products when possible (brands, can you get on this?!) but these guys are the next best thing given the market we're in. Here are 5 Minimal Waste Cruelty-Free Irish Beauty Products That I'm Loving Right Now...


1. We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir, 75ml, RRP €35.00

Look, I won't lie, this guy is pricey and I was totes initially suckered in by the packaging. That being said, I swear by hair oils and this is one of the better ones that I have tried. As someone who cannot go a day without washing their hair, I need the extra moisture and not only does this deliver that, but it also leaves a nice glossy finish and a lovely warm and sweet scent. It is also: "Clean, 100% toxin-free, organic + natural extracts, vegan, 90% plastic-free, paraben, perfume free, cruelty-free, ethical + sustainable, gluten-free, synthetic fragrance-free, eco-friendly, mineral oil-free, SLES + SLS free." And, as they note on the packaging, a little really does go a loooong way. Plus, come on, that's some damn cute packaging! Although I've gotten a few weird looks at the gym for pulling out what looks like a hip flask in the changing rooms...


Admittedly, with this bad boy and it being a face mask, I haven't used it for the consistent two month minimum required before I normally talk about skincare. However, it's great! It calms the skin (and mine is currently super cross and covered in hormonal breakouts in the chin region), balances it out, moisturises, and leaves your face feeling soft and springy. Made from powdered seaweed, it comes in a small jar (no plastic in sight) and you take one teaspoon of it and add either add one teaspoon of water, natural yoghurt, or honey. I recommend honey for the consistency (water makes it very watery indeed) and to improve the experience as, I'm not gonna lie, it doesn't smell pleasant when you have it on but, if you get a little in your mouth (as I am prone to do) when it's mixed with honey it doesn't taste half bad, which makes the whole thing less unpleasant. 


I actually met the Cloon Keen gang in their Galway store at an event a few years ago and got this candle as a press sample and fell in love with the warm, spicy, masculine scent. That candle was quickly used long, long ago and I decided to buy it again a few weeks ago as it had been over a year since I'd bought or had a scented candle. I allowed myself the treat and, boy, am I glad I did. My room feels instantly more elegant and cosy with this sucker going in the background. An Irish candle, rather than one that had to be imported, handmade in small batches, and packaged in glass and cardboard, it isn't going to leave too much of a mess behind or too much of a carbon footprint either comparatively. Excellent all around.


Made in Cork, these lovely soaps are handmade by the owner, Louise, in an old cowshed on her family's farm with environmental impact firmly in mind. This lemon scented one is super-fresh smelling and is what I use in the shower, now that I have long-since abandoned shower gels and their plastic bottles.


Going even more local, this lovely and super-clean smelling soap is 100% natural, hand poured, and hand cut using traditional methods in Dublin. It also boasts the finest natural ingredients sourced in Ireland, such as Offaly goats milk, Donegal seaweed, beeswax from Meath and Irish spring water. The Achill sea salt inside is designed to gently exfoliate. All in all, a kind of dream team combo of Irish products to make one rather excellent soap.

So, if you're trying to do your bit for our planet, you may need to slow down the consumption and make some changes but you don't have to miss out on little luxuries entirely, just be conscious and source them carefully. And in Ireland we're pretty damn lucky as there are plenty of people making some great beauty products with the earth in mind.



Monday, 10 June 2019

I Bought My First Bikini* - Why That Matters And Why It Doesn't



(*in a long damn time)

A few months ago, when talking to my best friend about my fitness journey, I casually noted that I previously had been deeply ashamed of my body and I saw her sharp intake of breath in shock and her eyes fill up with utter sadness and hurt. I thought nothing of hating myself but she, being one of the people who loves me most, was incredibly pained by the cavalier way in which I talked about being cruel to her best friend. It gave me pause to acknowledge how fucked up my way of thinking had been and made me love her a little more for how much my suffering clearly affected her. I mean, obviously, I already loved her but the people who cry for your pain as if it is their own are the real keepers in life; remember this.

In many ways, when I started out with tackling my on-going issues with how I looked, I was going about, and thinking about, things in completely the wrong way. My value systems were completely messed up and favoured aesthetics and societal pressure over taking care of the only vessel I have, or will ever have, to occupy in this life. As time went on and I moved on from eating slightly better and walking home from work everyday, to mild exercise, to being able to run 5km in under thirty minutes, to running and doing circuits multiple times a week, I felt my body change. Firstly, my anxiety chilled the fuck out in a serious way. Then I felt more energetic. Then I noticed muscles I never knew I had. Everything got easier. I was fit for the first time since I was an actual child and it all became about being fit, about being strong, about being able to do all the things I wanted to do, and about being healthy and investing in myself and some longevity. 

However, it's not like I suddenly forgot all about wanting to look different and I'd be lying if I didn't enjoy the reappearance of my cheekbones, my clothes fitting better, and not having to worry about people seeing the hidden shame that I felt my torso to be. But that was all just a bonus. What did really change was how I weighted the importance of, and how much less brain space I devoted to, worrying about how my body looks. I still don't have a "perfect" body and do you know what? I don't give a shit. I recently went running with my dad on the roads around our family home and as I am pretty much an (less determined, less innately kind, less good) exact little replica of him, I'm also a serious sweater when I exercise. So, as it was a hot day, I (me, yes, me) went running in public in a (double-layer because my tits came in real strong at 13) sports bra and leggings. I didn't cover up with a baggy hoody. I knew that I still have some belly fat that I'm self-conscious about, that won't budge, and, yet, loves to jiggle around, but I said, "Screw it." I don't owe it to anyone, including myself, to have a "perfect" body. Pretty much everyone else but me cares very little about how "perfect" my body is. And it was hot and I sweat a lot. So, fuck it.




In a similar vein, I recently bought my first bikini since that one time in college I had an aneurism and I thought that the high-waisted bikini sets advertised so appealingly in American Apparel would make me suddenly skinny and hide my multitude of sins with their high-waistedness. Spoiler: They did not. And so the suit was relegated to the bottom of my bra drawer. Since then, I have worn one-piece suits exclusively and felt very uncomfortable even with their relative and comparative amount of cover/protection/safety blanket. As a person that partially defines themselves by their sense of style, clothes have always been a shield but swimsuits have not allowed me to make the edits and flourishes with my body where I want to. Swimsuits don't play by the regular rules of the game of hide and reveal of clothes. But now, now that I care less about owing it to others or myself to look a certain way, and now that I am proud of how I have honed my body through time and sweat and commitment, and now that I don't feel the desperate need to hide myself like some dirty secret, I bit the bullet and thought I'd try it one more time. I still got something simple, functional, made out of recycled polyester and made for swimming and climbing and jumping and not just posing but it bears a flash of very noticeable shocking whiter-than-white Irish skin around my torso that can't be missed. 

I don't look perfect it in but I don't need to and I don't need to own that imperfection either. As Editor of Irish Tatler magazine, Sarah Macken noted in piece in the most recent issue of the aforementioned publication, it is great to see people who provide a beautiful alternative to the traditionally media and societal defined ideal "beach body", but some of us can also just have bodies that are ours and not a political statement. Some of us are out there changing the world but some of us can also just be. So, I'm going to be in my new bikini, around the people who love me; around a mother who is simply glad we are all healthy, a father who is proud that I've taken control of my life, siblings made of almost all the same stuff as me who don't give an eff about how I look. It's not going to be motivational or a statement (because who needs another white, middle-class, able-bodied, cis-gender, conventionally not unattractive woman in her twenties complaining about a little excess fat around her middle or trying to hijack the body-positivity movement that is far more needed, and better represented, by others?!), it's just going to be me on my personal journey, being. 























Friday, 24 May 2019

An Ode To Thinx

Unlike my mother, I didn't think I was dying when I got my first period. There weren't secrets and there wasn't shame in our house by the time I was growing up and I was well-informed and prepared when it happened. Although, I was cross that I had to wait the excruciatingly long period (hah) of a few years after I first asked what pads were at three before my mother would get into it all with me.

However, in saying that I was prepared, I tell a bit of a lie. I understood the mechanics. I knew what I would need to do but I was not ready for the familial burden of painful, heavy periods that would befall me. I was not ready for the trauma of publicly bleeding through white pants (I now own none as I cannot play that game anymore) far from clothes stores the second or third time I had my period and having to spend the rest of the family outing with a sweatshirt tied around my waist and my butt as close to walls as possible. I was not ready for the unpredictability of my cycle that made me and my first boyfriend constantly stress about the potential of my being pregnant (I never was and understood intellectually that I often skipped months or had cycle changes but ask any woman and that's the immediate thought she has if she's a second late). I was not ready for hormonal acne to take the place of teenage acne, ensuring that my skin has never truly been clear. And I was not ready for the hormonal changes in my twenties that have completely changed my cycle and symptoms a couple of times now.

thinx_cheeky

I don't think any of us are ever ready for these things but we have to muddle on because menstruation - no matter how messy, painful, or annoying - was never presented as an excuse (certainly not in my personal experience) not to get on with things. We still have to go to school, act half normal, go to work, be pleasant, and not talk about it or complain. Now that I'm a little older, I've kinda of said "eff that." I'm more open, talk about it all the time, and I'm determined to beat the squick about the topic out of certain men in my life because all of the menstruators around me know plenty about my trials and tribulations and mishaps and pain. I'm not embarrassed to toss pads in my shopping basket, or to leave them out in our bathroom (despite my sister admonishing me for potentially offending the sensibilities of my male housemate), liberally throw around the phrase "on the rag," or to turn down my Dad's offer of his running leggings as they were new and I couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be a "spill on aisle four" (he's the most precious about it all and is getting my most targeted normalisation campaign).

However, in saying all of that, there are instances where my personal beliefs and stances need to take a bit of a backseat. I currently work in an office in which there are only a few of us and I am the only woman. There is a professional boundary there and no public policies or established cultural tone on the topic for me to feel comfortable bringing things up or even to be relaxed about things. When I'm in agony for the first two days of menstruating, I kind of have to play it down. And I used to have to put pads in my pocket or behind my back going out the door to the bathroom because I don't want my preaching and personal beliefs to make such an intimate and casual work space awkward.

thinx_cotton-bikini

Thinx have kind of fixed that problem for me. I just pop 'em on and everyone is none the wiser. In fact, sometimes I kind of forget about it myself. I can't believe I'm saying that and it blows my mind but: I often pull the underpants down, (after the initial two days of pain, obviously) only to remember that they're those special ones. I don't have a big thing wedged in my knickers, sometimes making sounds I'm not too keen on, as a constant reminder. I just have these comfy underpants that I actually really like the look of.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. If you've never heard of them, Thinx is a brand that makes reusable, washable cotton underwear with an absorbent lining in the crotch that allow you to go without using any other menstruation products. I had heard about them years ago but - and here's the only real catch - didn't have the funds necessary for the initial investment as they cost over 20 quid a pop and you need a few pairs, obviously. I was also wary about how effective they might be as that old bleed-through trauma lingers but call me converted! I cannot believe how good they are! I have not had a leak, don't feel uncomfortable or dirty, and get right through the working day no problem; hours of wear without a concern and, as I pointed out earlier, so comfy I sometimes completely forget that I'm on the rag.

thinx_hi-waist-3

The real selling point for me, however, was that I have been making a lot of changes in my life in order to be a better citizen of this planet and I could not stand how much waste this one part of my life was generating when I was doing so well in every other part. I had never been a tampon person so when a bunch of my friends started using moon cups a few years ago, I was jealous, but I just knew that if a tampon was a no-go, then a menstrual cup was utterly out of the question. Thinx are the perfect solution to all of my tree-hugging and comfort-loving concerns.

When I ordered my first batch (and I plan on getting some more soon), the postal service arrived at our office building (where I get everything delivered) so early that the mail room and security guys hadn't gotten to work yet. This sent my order to the nearest collection centre, which is about a forty minute walk away and a Dublin-is-not-well-connected-good-luck-finding-a-useful-bus-route-when-it-doesn't-even-exist distance away. In addition, it noted on the slip of paper that I had gotten caught for customs (amounting to the cost of another pair) for the first time in my life. To say I was annoyed is an understatement and I kind of regretted the whole affair. However, since getting my hands on them, I've been singing a very different tune. These guys are game changers. I'm obsessed and have ranted to every menstruator I know about them.

thinx_cotton-thong

Honestly, I really can't say enough good things about the brand. All of my qualms have been completely eradicated and I'm converted. So, if you've been thinking about making your life even more eco-friendly and you have to deal with periods, then you should check them out. I'm personally a fan of the black bikini brief sized up because I love me a good pair of granny knickers - although these are a pretty slick and fancy version.

Right, well I've probably overshared and will likely get told off by someone in my life for going into so much detail to strangers on the internet but, fuck it, they're just bodies doing what some bodies do. May you bleed safely and as comfortably as possible.







Monday, 4 March 2019

Bar Shampoo, Brushing Your Teeth With Dirt And Other Failures And Successes In Making A Zero-Waste Beauty Routine 2019

A few weeks ago I wrote about the changes that would happen on this blog and the ways in which I had changed, myself, in how I related to objects and consumption. I have drastically altered the way in which I buy and use beauty products, in particular, as I try to consume in a more sustainable and ethical way and it has lead to some ... interesting ... experiments, results, and failures.


I. Buying Less

This is the most important change in my routine and the most crucial for anyone trying to consume more responsibly. Buying less is the easiest way to be kinder to the planet as it uses less resources to make, package, and deliver products and leaves you with less waste afterwards. Many of us buy things without even thinking about it, not entirely finishing something before moving on to the next thing, abandoning one product for something we've seen used or advertised. However, in an attempt to correct my chaotic overconsumption in the past, I've been buying only what is absolutely necessary in my routine. This has also simplified my routine. No more random skincare items infused with the trendy ingredient of the moment or some gimmicky fad but, rather, only the basics: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, sun cream. And you'd better believe I'm cutting things open and using every last drop.



Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 18.42.21


II. Shopping My Stash

Continuing on from buying less, I've also been rooting through presses and drawers and rediscovering things I forgot I had and making sure to finish them all. Something I was already doing, it has been further bolstered by the inspiration of Estée Laundry's daily #shopmystash posts in which the self-described "anonymous beauty collective" shares followers' pictures of the products in their routines and how they are doing with their own journeys towards being more sustainable. Also, for independent, unbiased information about beauty brands, beauty news, discussion about diversity and ethics in the industry, deep dives into various trends and issues, and more, you should give EL a follow as they are one of the most important pages atm for anyone interested in the area.


oat-porter-soap-468x600


III. Bar Shampoo

I noted my attempts to switch out products for items with less or no packaging over on Bean a while ago. One of my first trials was the switch to bar shampoo from Palm Free Irish Soap. In theory, it's perfect, right? No packaging at all, relatively cheap, long-lasting, and it smelled nice. However, sadly, it was a case of something being too good to be true. 

Now, perhaps, if you have some sort of different hair texture, bar shampoo might work for you. Maybe if you wash your hair less often than me, if might work for you. Maybe if you're a more meticulous person, it might work for you. But from day one I hated the bar shampoo and it clearly hated me in return. On first use I lathered too much and I couldn't wash it all out. I thought I had been thorough in rinsing but the horrid, greasy mess I woke up to said otherwise.


Untitled

Moving forwards, I used less and less of the product with each wash and that yielded better results but it still drastically affected my hair. Prior to bar shampoo, my hair was incredible; soft, silky, and impossibly shiny. When I brushed it, my friends would marvel and say it was shampoo commercial hair. Only now is it returning back to that state, a month after abandoning my bar in favour of refillable shampoo in glass bottles from The Glass Dispensary

Great in theory, in reality bar shampoo just isn't an option for lots of us, particularly those with lots and lots of very fine long hair that requires daily washing. However, the Glass Dispensary's refillable bottles are a great alternative and mean that you still aren't generating any waste. 

Oh, and don't worry, I didn't just throw away the shampoo bar. It still smells nice so I used it as regular soap instead.



IV. Brushing Your Teeth With Dirt


Georganics, dental care, products,  2018


Okay, so I obviously wasn't actually brushing my teeth with dirt but another of my swaps was for toothpaste. Toothpaste tubes and the difficulty in recycling them really, really triggers my anxiety. I don't know why it is so especially strong for this particular item but it is. Therefore, it had to be one of the things I focused on finding an alternative for. 

Years ago, I used Lush's toothpaste tabs - which are little tablets you chew up and then add water to with a wet toothbrush - but I really hated the texture and never went back to them. In an attempt to find a better alternative, I tried Georganics' glass toothpaste pots. A natural toothpaste, the texture is a bit different to your regular toothpaste, more crumbly and drier. Pair this with the fact that I was using the charcoal variety in their range and you might be able to see why it felt as though I was brushing my teeth with dirt. It's great for whitening and does a decent job cleaning but I really missed feeling minty fresh while using it. Plus, I dreaded the texture and hated using it. It made brushing my teeth a real chore. I want to try the peppermint flavour next and see if that is any better but I have to say that it's not my favourite experience I've ever had, overall. With few better options, however, I guess I'll just have to learn to put up with it all. 



V.  Getting Rid Of Disposable Cotton Rounds

This, I think, has been my most successful swap. I have traded disposable cotton rounds for reusable ones and they're great. I've heard of others not liking them but I tried them anyway and I'm into it. I actually think they drink up less of my toner, allowing me to use more and waste less of it, stretching out the life of that product too. They are also pretty low maintenance and my pack of five is perfect for using a side each night and then throwing however many I've used in the wash with my clothes. I always having some clean ones lying about and never have to worry about running out. 



Progress(?)

All of this has been a bit of a learning curve for me and I'm always trying to find more sustainable options and do better. While some of the experiments that I have undergone on this journey have been vaguely disastrous or unpleasant, I do think I owe it to the planet to go through a little discomfort. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal or that much of a sacrifice. And, perhaps, you can use my experiences and anecdotes to help yourself get started too...except with some things to keep in mind and avoid.

Let's all do our best and try to be better!