Simple & Sustainable Personal Care

As part of my “simple and sustainable” posts, I’m going to start with “me” by delving in to personal care and cosmetics. I’ve been making an effort to simplify personal care for quite a few years now—before I had a household, child, or even partner to consider. When I first started learning about all of the chemicals and toxins in cosmetics and personal care products, I was horrified. Read more here. I set out to ensure that I was avoiding harmful ingredients.

My Goals:

  • Use fewer products
  • Use simple, natural, sustainable products free of harmful chemicals and toxins
  • Decrease waste (especially plastic)
  • Save money
  • Support eco-conscious businesses

Over the past few years I’ve been great at using fewer and more natural and sustainable products. The next challenge I’m giving myself is to move to products with less/no waste. Even though we recycle all of the packaging we currently use, it’s still better to not use it in the first place.

Natural Skin Care

I’ve always had ridiculously sensitive skin, and I’ve struggled to find skin care products that don’t cause my face to break out. I’ve finally discovered an easy, inexpensive, and natural skin care routine that works well for me.

In the morning and evening I cleanse my face by using a Norwex body cloth, followed by raw honey. After removing any makeup with oil (jojoba/coconut/olive) I love using the exfoliating side of the cloth to cleanse and gently exfoliate. I slather and massage my face (still wet) with raw honey. I soak a regular facecloth in hot water, wring it out so it’s just damp, and place it over my face until it cools—this part feels ohhhh so good! Then I wash off the remaining honey. Why honey? It’s naturally antibacterial and also helps to regulate our skin’s natural oils and pH. You can also eat it… so that’s cool too.

After cleansing, I apply my homemade “toner” (witch hazel & lavender essential oil) with a reusable makeup round. I just buy a bottle of witch hazel (make sure to get a pure version without any alcohol added) and add a few drops of lavender oil.

I moisturize with a small amount of jojoba oil or my homemade aloe moisturizer, depending on how dry my skin is. I’ll typically use jojoba oil at night and the aloe moisturizer in the morning.

For a nice deep cleanse, once per week I apply a Calcium Bentonite Clay mask. I buy the “Indian Healing Clay” brand and mix it with Apple Cider Vinegar (I find that it works better than water). I especially love applying this mask and popping my head in to the room to terrify Ryan… hehe.

Hair

I have long and incredibly thick hair. I stopped dying it and went au natural about 7 years ago, mainly because it was expensive and inconvenient to maintain while traveling. I’m so happy I stopped, because my hair has been much healthier since—plus I don’t have to spend a fortune on it.

I tend to switch up my shampoo and conditioner regularly, and I’ve tried countless natural, toxin-free products. My current favourite is the Attitude brand shampoo and conditioner. They are EWG verified, and I love how soft, shiny, and healthy they keep my hair. They’ve also started selling their products in bulk, recyclable packaging to decrease plastic, which is awesome!

I’d like to switch to a natural “bar” shampoo and conditioner to cut plastic packaging altogether, but I’ve yet to experiment with any (aside from LUSH products I used while traveling). Right now I have my eye on these two from Boreal Folk and Life UNpacked

…but I just got some of the Attitude shampoo in bulk, so I’ll have to wait until that’s almost gone!

Body

Cleansing & Moisturizing

To cleanse, I buy natural soaps (most made locally), and I use a soap exfoliating bag. I also make my own body lotion (the aloe moisturizer recipe above) and oil. When I was pregnant I made my own “belly oil,” which I also use to moisturize if my skin needs some extra TLC. I mixed the following oils (in who knows what for quantity…): jojoba, avocado, vitamin e, and argan. I also love my bamboo dry brush!

Deodorant

For deodorant, I used to use Saje spray deodorant, which worked well throughout the winter, but it did NOT suffice when I was pregnant last summer. For me, Native deodorant seems to work the best. I’d still like to explore deodorant options with more minimal packaging…

Shaving

I have yet to try out more sustainable plastic-free razors. I have my eye on a few, but haven’t committed yet. I have a few more razor cartridges to go before I need to make my decision. These are two I’m considering:

I’m afraid I’ll end up cutting myself with these though! Haha… I’ll keep you updated on this one.

Makeup

Ugh – this is the area that I really struggle with. I’ve had a hard time finding a more natural makeup that I really love and that isn’t ridiculously expensive. I’ve just come to terms with the fact that if I want to buy and wear makeup, I will have to pay more for a quality product. I’m currently using mostly Mineral Fusion, with a few products from BareMinerals. If you have any natural makeup recommendations I am all ears!


I’ll definitely keep you up to date with my goals and I’ll share any awesome new products or ideas with you in regards to simple, natural, and sustainable personal care. I’d love to know YOURS as well! Drop a comment below, or DM me on Instagram to chat.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts that will focus on simple and sustainable for household and baby!

Living Slowly, Simply & Sustainably

Having a child changes you in so many ways. It has certainly prompted me to examine my life and see everything in a new light. Every day we’re making choices that impact her life and the world she’s growing up in. I feel a tremendous obligation to be informed and to make the best choices I can, for us.

“Minimalism” is a buzz word right now. People are pushing back against consumer culture and are opting for a simpler life. “Slow living” has also emerged as a movement—challenging society’s “norm” of living a busy, fast-paced, stressful life. In line with these two movements is sustainability: living our lives in a way that conserves resources and lessens our impact on the natural world.

After examining what I value and the dreams I have for Ellie and for our family, I’m making an conscious effort to live more slowly, simply, and sustainably. Many aspects of our lives already reflect these concepts, while others need some work. I’ll share my thoughts, experiences, and tips along the way, and I’d love to hear about yours as well!

Living Slowly

Time.

Some days it seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, while others flies by in the blink of an eye. For me, living slowly is about taking time to be present in the moment, focusing on what brings me joy, and dedicating more time to what makes my heart full.

I’ve always gravitated towards a “slower” life. I’m an introvert and a “homebody.” I enjoy my quiet time at home—reading a book, crafting, playing board games, or cooking and enjoying a meal together. We’re also lucky to live in a rural area, removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, and surrounded by nature—a constant reminder to slow down and appreciate life.

Even though we live a fairly calm and “slow” life, I am a dreamer with a busy mind. I constantly find my mind wandering—reliving memories, making a mental to-do list, worrying, or planning for the future. If there’s anything we can learn from children, it is to be present in the moment. Countless times throughout the day, Ellie will reach her chubby, dimpled little hands up to my face. She loves to feel every part of it and just stare into my eyes. In these moments—as she’s pulling my cheeks, scratching my eyelid, or grabbing my nose—I am fully present. I’m not thinking of anything; I’m in that moment with her. I live for those little moments, and they remind me that whatever I had on my “to do” list really isn’t that important. We are her world, and the most important thing we can do is be fully present with her as she learns, develops, and explores her world.


Living Simply

Stuff.

Most of our homes are filled to the brim with it—hidden away in drawers, stuffed in overflowing closets. Even though we make an effort every few months to have a good “clear-out,” I know we still have too much stuff. I might need to re-watch some Tidying up with Marie Kondo for inspiration on this one.

One of my current reads is Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne. As I read, I find myself constantly nodding my head thinking: yes, this makes so much sense! His premise is that our busy, fast-paced and stressful lives, filled with “too much stuff, to many choices, and too little time,” are interfering with the space and freedom children need to explore the world and develop.

His ideas about simplifying our lives certainly extend beyond just simplifying and de-cluttering our spaces; He also discusses things like slow living, creating rhythm in our daily lives, and limiting exposure to media. I’ve only read about half of the book so far, but I’m loving it. When I’m finished, I’ll definitely be discussing it more in depth on here.

Living Sustainably

Impact.

There’s so much overlap between living slowly, simply, and sustainably. Embracing slow and simple living steers us away from simply relying on what is fastest, cheapest, or most convenient, and urges us to reflect on the impact of our choices.

This is an area I definitely need to work on. There are so many things we already do well (cooking healthy meals, eliminating chemicals, using cloth bags, using natural products, etc.), but I am definitely still working on a mindset shift—Amazon Prime is just way too convenient for me.


I’m looking forward to diving deeper into these topics as we try to apply them to our lives.

I’d love to hear from you: what are some ideas and tips you have for living more slowly, simply, and sustainably? Are there particular areas you do well/struggle with?