5 every day beauty items I've ditched for more eco-conscious options

It has been a work in progress to begin reducing our waste and carbon footprint as a family. In 2016, when this blog was "Mommy in Milwaukee,"  I started the MIM Mindfulness project that shifted a lot of our habits as a family, but I knew I needed to do more. After some time, I continued to search for resources and other parents that have been doing this kind of conscious and ethical living work too. It was around that same time, I began searching for graduate programs in the area and shortly thereafter became enrolled. I think we all know how that changed!😆 But my goal of becoming low waste and eco-conscious has remained the same. 

More recently, I knew  I could no longer make excuses for my behaviors (fave of mine: "but it's so time-consuming 😪"), and that if I began replacing the products that I relied on heavily, then I could start making a real difference. To be completely transparent, I am the one that wastes that most in our home. I write that because I do all of the shopping and know the ins and outs of the majority of the products we buy.  I am also the one that uses the most products at the moment too. B has always been very conscious of his waste habits, and it is truly a reflection of his own internal work too. Over the years, our growing conversations about spending and waste has allowed us to draw closer as a couple and make changes together. 

I mentioned on my Instagram the other day that B is finally almost done with residency-- so excited! That means, he has one year of fellowship and then we will be moving in the next year (2020), which has also allowed me to double-down on the things we need to begin releasing as a household too. We're also in a position to think about how eco-conscious our future home will look like; more on that in the coming months. Back to making changes, it was B that asked me if I wanted to try one of his stainless steal razors, because the blade can be exchanged. I said yes, and that was the beginning of me reassessing the beauty and wellness items I used for every day. 
Now for the fun part!😜 Here are the five every day beauty items I've ditched for more eco-conscious options! *Affiliate links used ahead.

1. My razor

I have probably gone through hundreds of shavers throughout the years 😣! I used to use the plastic  disposable head ones, which when added together, are very wasteful. I never really got a close shave either! I have also tried going shave less and that was not for me. When I tried B's, I loved it and ordered one for me immediately. These shavers are meant to last forever. I keep mine in a dry spot; not in the shower. I do a lot of my self-care rituals on the weekend, and that's usually the only time I shave, and it lasts for about a week. I have found that I get less ingrown hairs too! You can buy the shaver here, the stand here and the safety razors here.

Tip* These shavers are very sharp, and you don't need a lot of long or repeated strokes to get a close shave. Short strokes are what work best, otherwise, you have a higher likelihood of getting nicked. I lather using soap, and make sure to turn off the water before shaving. Also, make sure to keep these out of reach of little hands!

2. and 3. My make-up remover cloths 

Y'all, I was faithful to my makeup remover cloths for years. And even though I had to toss thousands of cloths over the years, I was hesitant to replace them. I knew I had to make a change, however, because it was too much waste for me to accept. I started using a washcloth with my face wash and found that I still had some mascara residue behind, that's when I began adding organic coconut oil as a makeup remover first and it worked like a charm! I recently came across Abuelita handmade's Etsy shop, which is WOC owned, and am using these reusable facial rounds, which are more gentle around my eyes and lips and can be handwashed too.
Tip* When using coconut oil as a skin care product make sure that it is not food-grade. Food grade coconut oil is not as refined or the kind that you should be using on your skin. Remember, our skin is the largest organ and everything that we put on it gets absorbed. I have used this organic coconut oil for years, and it is also WOC owned and fair trade. It works as a great moisturizer and 'shaving cream' too!

4. My exfoliator

Exfoliating is such a huge part of my skincare routine. Exfoliating is not only removing the dead skin from your body, it's also allowing for whatever product that you lather to be fully absorbed. I love using a clean cotton washcloth to bathe and when I wash my face. Alongside my washcloths, I also exfoliate with my dry brush. Dry brushing is a technique that has been praticed over centuries in various indigeneous and ancient cultures. It is an excellent way to remove toxins, dead skin and promote circulation and lymphatic function.

Tip* Remember to clean your washcloths and dry brush weekly! I use a mild soap and hang dry.

5. My menstrual cup 

Out of all of the small and big changes I've made to reduce my waste, my menstrual cup has been the most life changing. I grew up using pads, because the idea of having something inserted inside of me was big no for my very sheltering Pentecostal mami, and I don't blame her, she was limited in her understanding. I actually used my first tampon in my mid-twenties! It wasn't until my 30's that I learned about menstrual cups. I started learning more about how our ancestors bled into the earth, because there were no such things as pads and tampons. I also had to overcome the stigma that my period was something "dirty" that needed to be hidden. I learned that, instead, it is a time to be celebrated; a time where I can look within and tap deeper into my intuition. Also, cups are more clean because they sit right below your cervix to collect your flow.

Last year after much research, I decided it was time to use a menstrual cup. I did some research and took the plunge and bought this cup. It took a few tries to get used to it, but once I got the hang of it, I never looked back! I have always been able to follow my natural rhythm to become pregnant, which I know is not everyone's experience, trust me. And until recently, this has allowed me to follow the moon cycles. I integrate a lot of my spiritual practice with the moon cycles, because it allows me to be more intentional with my journaling and overall intentions for my life. I am currently synched with the full moon, which happened over the weekend. It's interesting because my cycle shifted more than a week, from the new moon to the full. It also happened to be a the time where I experience a huge internal shift, and it's all felt very special and powerful to me. Changing to a menstural cup has empowered me, and I feel that I am healing my future generations because of it. You can learn more about which cup is the best fit for you here!

It's very important to note that in low-income areas where for various historical reasons are populated by majority BIPOC [Read: not all BIPOC live in low-income areas], not only are negative environmental factors found at higher rates but stores that carry menstrual products only offer limited options. These options are often rife with chemicals and invisible dyes that over time impacts the epigenetics of marginalized populations. Why? Because these items are cheaper and less regulated. You can learn more about environmental justice via one of my favorite Geographers, Laura Pulido's website, who has researched this topic extensively. So, if you are deciding to donate an item to organizations serving low-income populations, consider speaking to the org director about donating menstrual cups.

Tip* I strongly suggest to insert the cup in the shower for the first few times, until you get the hang of it. I also sterilize it by boiling my cup in hot water for 15 mn at the start and end of my cycle. In between steralizing, I wash it with a mild soap. You can leave it inserted for 12 hours.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and that you are able to implement some eco-conscious changes too! As always, if you have a question, feel free to aske me in comments. And let me know of what changes you've made and/or if you have any tips too!

Have a great week 💗


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