This will probably be shorter, just because we haven’t done as many switches. Also, one of the best ways to both save money and save the environment is to buy only a few items in bulk. That means that you run out rarely, and the replacement process is a lot slower. I’m generally pretty good about this: I only replace my soap or shampoo when it’s getting low, and I only have one of each in the shower. I’ll tend to just use up a product, even if I don’t really like it, just because I already purchased it. But I also have low-maintenance skin and hair, so I don’t have to worry too much about break-outs or reactions. If you find you have to experiment a lot, you could always see if your local shelter will take open containers of soap or shampoo.
I will also admit to something approaching an obsession with finding the perfect shade of red lipstick that sticks forever, doesn’t rub off on anything, and doesn’t dry my lips out. I have upwards of 15 different red lipsticks, all in a slightly different shade. Please don’t judge me.
The first and easiest toiletry change was getting rid of the loofah and changing over to washcloths. We got the washcloths along with the towels as part of a wedding gift, so fortunately, we didn’t have to spend any money on this switch. I tend to like rough washcloths because I like a bit of exfoliation with my showering, so any old cheap cotton thing will do. If you’re into a smoother buff, this might be one area you’d want to lay out for something nice. Keep in mind that they’ll last for years, much longer than the grocery store loofah.
Next was switching over to bar soap from liquid. Honestly, I haven’t really looked very hard because bar soap wrapped in paper is really easy to find and relatively cheap at the grocery store, but I haven’t really found a liquid alternative that comes in a sustainable package. The kind I get is about $4 per bar, and lasts about two months. I honestly can’t remember what liquid soap cost when I was getting it, but I feel it was roughly comparable.
The final big change was relatively recent. We switched over to bamboo toothbrushes from Brush with Bamboo. They are $20 for 4 brushes (or $5 each). We had been using pretty resource-heavy toothbrushes because I got hooked on the Oral-B Pulsar after doing a stint as a call service representative that handled orders for Oral-B. I still really like the Pulsar for what it does (vibrates, feels nice, cleans teeth) but it’s made of plastic, comes in plastic packaging, and has a non-removable, non-rechargeable battery inside it. There was just too much going on to continue to justify it.
The pulsar runs about $24 for 5 (or $4.80 each). For only a 20-cent difference, it made sense for us to switch. The bamboo toothbrushes are not completely biodegradable, because the bristles are still made out of plastic, and the interior packaging can only be composted in an industrial composting facility, but it’s better than what we were using so I’ll still consider it a win.
The next things I’m working on are moving to shampoo bars, a new facial moisturizer, and deodorant. My poor spouse gets to be the guinea pig for the shampoo bars because I still have the Costco-sized bottle of shampoo I picked up 3 or 4 years ago. I only wash my hair two or three times a week, and I have super short hair, so I’m expecting it to last another 3 or 4 years. Switching to a larger size and not washing my hair so often has saved I don’t even know how many shampoo bottles. The spouse still washes his hair every day though, so he goes through shampoo a lot more quickly. It’ll be interesting to see how far he’s willing to take this experiment…
Facial moisturizer has been interesting, and I haven’t really found a good replacement. I want one with SPF, because sun damage is terrible for skin, but while I have found non-plastic packages face lotion, none of it includes SPF. I suppose I could spring for those really expensive glass pots of face lotion, but I’m just not feeling that fancy. I still have a bit left, so I have some time to research.
I’m also finally (after several years) running low on the Costco-packaged deodorant that I picked up several years ago. I was actually surprised how many nice-looking options there were available. I’m thinking of going with Pit Stop through Etsy. They have cardboard containers, and look like “normal” deodorant. I will admit that the jarred or liquid deodorant puts me off a bit. Something about applying product with my fingers. I’m not sure why but I just don’t want to do it. I wanted something that mimicked what I was already doing.
The deodorants linked to above are $18 for 2, plus $3.75 shipping. However I also get 1% cash back from Ebates, so the total price would be around $21.50, or $10.75 per tube. What I had gotten before was a 4-pack of Dove from Costco for $17, or $4.25 per tube. In addition, the Dove tubes are 2.6 oz each, while the Pit Stop tubes are 2 oz. each, so the cost is significantly higher either per oz or per unit. Financially, we’re definitely losing by making this particular switch, however, I don’t actually use deodorant every day because I don’t get dressed up and have to interact with people every day, so it’ll stretch pretty far. I will keep looking for cheaper alternatives in the meantime though!