Tag Archives: essential oils

waste-free holiday gifts that won’t break the bank

Christmas is around the corner and it’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to buy the perfect gift during the holiday season.

Let’s face it, Christmas can be suuupper stressful.

AND when you’re trying to be more mindful of your waste and plastic use, it can be even MORE stressful.

I’ve been doing some research (and trial and error!) recently and I’ve found some pretty cool, low-waste, inexpensive gifts for family and friends.

Some of these are more general ideas, others are more specific options. Here are a few questions to ask yourself while Christmas shopping this year:

  1. Why am I buying this person a gift? Is it out of obligation because they’re more of a distant relative that I’m not super close with, but I’ve gotta show up with SOMETHING for them to unwrap on Christmas? Or is it someone that means a whole lot to me?
  2. What’s important to that person? What do they value/talk about often?
  3. What are their hobbies? And what can I give that will be practical?
  4. Can I make them something?
  5. What will be something they will actually use?

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with…

ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: PARENTS, FRIENDS, GRANDPARENTS, SIBLINGS…

dcb_1351I’m not saying to go out and buy a brand-new book (although, you could do that if that’s more up your alley, or better yet, buy one second-hand!). I’m talking about actually giving one of your parents or your best friend a book that’s been super influential to you.

I truly believe a used book is full of magic. Within the pages of that book, someone’s imagination and creative mind is seeped into the fibers of each page. Someone else was wrapped up in the same world you’re reading about… someone else was feeling the same overwhelming excitement you felt as you read those same words. There’s something raw and important about that. There’s some sort of deep connection between people who share a book — I don’t know how to explain it but I swear it’s gotta be true.

Share your favorite books with the people you love! You won’t regret it 🙂

HANDMADE JEWELRY FROM A LOCAL ARTISAN/SMALL BUSINESS

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: MOMS, GRANDMAS, SISTERS, FRIENDS, COWORKERS, RELATIVES….

dcb_1373These earrings are made by my dear friend Maggy and her husband Evens. They run a business called Haitian Shore Beauty and all of their jewelry is made from sea glass from the beaches of Haiti. You can find their Facebook page here.

Check out some small businesses near you that sell artisan-made jewelry. Or check out some fair trade stores like Ten Thousand Villages or Mata Traders for some super trendy, quality jewelry (and other goods!)

MASON JAR CONCOCTIONS

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, SIBLINGS, COWORKERS, RELATIVES, BOSSES…..

dafe (2 of 10)The options are pretty much endless when it comes to packing things into mason jars. The jars are glass, so they can be reused or recycled, and you can really customize these jars to fit whoever you’re shopping for. Remember to buy items in bulk when you can!

You can find lots of different sizes in mason jars, especially at second-hand stores!

Pinterest has more ideas that I could possible fit in one blog post, so check out Pinterest for some specific concoctions. But here are a few ideas….

Hot chocolate mix
Cookie or cake mix
Candy or chocolates (buy bulk!)
Recipes using dried ingredients

Hand soaps (buy a foaming pump and use Castile soap, avocado oil, essential oils and water and you’re all set!)
Homemade candles
Homemade face mask/beauty products

Homemade lotions
Snacks
Tea (buy loose-leaf and in bulk!)
Coffee
Popcorn (bulk)

QUALITY BEAUTY PRODUCTS

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: MOMS, AUNTS, SIBLINGS, COUSINS, FRIENDS, COWORKERS, BOSSES….

Below are some of my favorite companies where you can find quality products with sustainable packaging…

Meow Meow Tweet*
Fat and the Moon
Burts Bees*
Plaine Products
EarthHero products
Pacifica*
Shea Moisture * (Shea Moisture is black-owned, B-Corp!)
Dr. Bronner’s* (a B-Corp!)
Elate Cosmetics
Beautycounter (a B-Corp!) – a little pricey!
Zao Organic Makeup
*available at Target for easy shopping

If you’re looking to purchase some “treat-yo-self”-type gifts…. check out these guys! They offer plenty of face masks and lotions and lip balm! Lots of their items come in sustainable packaging, too!

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: LITERALLY ANYBODY

f1057e8e-17c0-4e1a-b747-09412ec7ccc4One of the easiest steps in limiting your waste is using a reusable water bottle and coffee thermos. Hydro Flask and Klean Kanteen are two top rated brands on the market. They’re meant to last for YEARS. They’re a bit pricey, but totally worth every penny. They come in different colors and sizes, too!

COMPOSTABLE PHONE CASE

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: AGAIN, LITERALLY ANYONE. BUT ESPECIALLY SIBLINGS AND YOUR NIECES AND NEPHEWS

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Pela case is a compostable phone case company. I’ve been using my case for months and it’s holding up great! Obviously it’s not going to give the same level of protection as an Otterbox… but I’ve dropped my phone a few times with this case on and my phone doesn’t have a scratch (knock on wood!).

ESSENTIAL OILS + DIFFUSER

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: AGAIN, LITERALLY ANYBODY

I personally use Young Living oils. Just remember, essential oils aren’t the most sustainable product – but they have serious benefits! Use them sparingly and aim to find oils that are made as ethically and sustainably as possible.

HEATING PAD/WARMING PILLOW

A GOOD PRESENT FOR: LITERALLY ANYBODY

dcb_1386My local health food store, the Health Hut, sells these flax seed heating and cooling pads. You either warm them up in the microwave or cool them down in the freezer. They’re made with sustainable cloth and come pre-wrapped.  An item like this will last a while and it could be good for your family or friends who often get aches and pains. A standard heating pad is always a good option too!

ADDITIONAL IDEAS FOR ANYBODY

UncommonGoods: This is one of my favorite stores to buy birthday and Christmas gifts. First of all, they’re a B-Corp. Second, they support other smaller businesses who create quirky, nichy items. Third, you can just about guarantee your gift won’t be like anyone else’s 🙂 They have a whole section dedicated to gifts for under $25. And there are options for more expensive gifts you could partner with others to give.

An experience!: Consider buying someone an experience. Date nights, concert tickets, museum memberships, etc. Buying someone an experience doesn’t produce waste, and it’s something they’ll actually enjoy.

Fair trade options: Check out Made Trade and Ten Thousand Villages for some dope fair trade gifts. From jewelry to decor and clothing, they’ve both got awesome options.

Etsy printable: Etsy has some awesome artists that allow you to pay a few bucks to print the picture out yourself! Grab a cheap frame from the thrift store and you’ve got a cheap and unique gift for someone.

For kids: Crayons and coloring materials; wooden toys (check out EarthHero for some dope options!); an experience like a membership to the Children’s Museum; secondhand toys that can be easily sterilized at home.

Sustainable beauty supplies: EarthHero is one of my favorite shops for all things eco-friendly. Check out their items here. Also, they’re a B-Corp – double win! Items like wooden hair brushes, bamboo tooth brushes, organic cotton hair ties, etc….can make great stocking stuffers.

Bamboo or wool socks: Two sustainable options for socks that you can find online on EarthHero, Etsy, Package Free Shop, and others.

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BANGS Shoes: This company sells awesome shoes. 20% of the proceeds go to Kiva, a company that invests in entrepreneurs around the world. Instead of giving people free shoes, this company supports the thought that if you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day, but if you teach a person to fish, you feed them for a lifetime. And it’s supporting entrepreneurship and creativity!

Wool scarf: Package Free Shop last year added alpaca wool scarfs to their site and they’re awesome.

Tote bags/reusable bags: Reusable cotton produce bags make awesome gifts. They can be used for, obviously, produce, but they can also store other things too! Or, they’re even cute as a wrapping paper alternative. My friend Agnes from Andinda Design makes all kinds of cool products using second hand cotton! She makes cotton rounds, bento bags, produce bags, pouches and lots more. Check out her Etsy shop here.

Quality blanket: Everybody could use a good blanket! Look for some that are made sustainably or with recycled or eco-friendly materials.

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Leaf cuttings: Trim off a few cuttings of your monstera or pothos and stick it in an upcycled jar with some water. It’s a fun little gift to give to someone looking to up their at-home jungle vibes 😉

Loose-leaf tea + strainer: This is definitely a gift I’d LOVE to have. You can find some really great loose-leaf tea at the grocery store — or a local tea shop — and pair it with a strainer. Loose-leaf tea tastes better and it’s much better for the environment!

French press; coffee bean grinder; bamboo or stainless steel straws; to-go cutlery (check out EarthHero!); quality cloth + glasses case for those who wear glasses (anyone else struggle to keep your eye glasses clean!?)….etc.

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DIY foaming soap: Buy a foaming pump (unfortunately I got mine off Amazon) and add it to a smaller lid mason jar. Add castile soap, essential oils and some oil of your choice (I like avocado because it’s moisturizing!). Fill it with some water and you’re good to go!

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Check out second-hand stores! This might sound like I’m just trying to be cheap, but I’m really not. Second-hand stores can have incredible stuff! I’ve gotten lots of friends and family members gently-used books that look like new! You can find toys and clothes with the tags still on. You can even find some pretty quirky items, too. Stop by your local thrift store and see what you can find 🙂

Note: This story was updated Nov. 2020 with additional information.

deo update: fat and the moon keeps on slaying

I wrote a post several months ago comparing two of the best zero waste deodorants on the market — Meow Meow Tweet and Schmidt’s. And I still standby the fact that they are two great brands, with pros and cons to both of their deodorants. Check out that article here.

But, I’ve come to find my favorite deodorant. Dudes. It’s perfect.

I don’t smell, it’s all-natural with incredible ingredients, and the company is wonderful.

No surprise, the deodorant is made by Fat and the Moon — my favorite company.

Before I delve into why I’m freaking out over this dope deodorant, this is REALLY important to understand about natural deodorants…

you can’t switch overnight

Here’s why.

For years you’ve been bathing your pits in antiperspirant garbage. Your underarms have grown accustomed to what you’ve been lathering under there. You’ve gotta give your pits some breathing room. They’ve gotta detox.

People detox in several different ways. PureAndRadiant.org has an incredible explanation of why and how to detox your pits. Check out the blog post here.

Buuutttt, I didn’t do it their way. They tell you to make a spray (using essential oils *check out why I choose Young Living here* + apple cider vinegar) that you spritz on your armpits morning and night. And that’s a great idea and something I’d recommend, honestly!

What did I do? I simply didn’t wear deodorant for a few days.

Yeah…. I know… I’m foul. But I’m telling you, it worked well for me.

I didn’t wear deodorant for about a week and during that time, I would really exfoliate my underarms while I was in the shower (just using gentle, natural soap, like Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, and a wash cloth).

Typically within a week — though it can take shorter or longer depending on how your body feels — you’ll be able to use your natural deodorant.

That’s a big issue people run into with natural deodorants — they either get rashes or irritation or they think they just simply don’t work because they never gave their pits some time to breathe.

natural deodorants don’t have antiperspirant

I’m a big sweater. I’m one of those people who spend 20 minutes outside and get red-faced, dripping in sweat and smelling less than desirable.

In middle and high school, as well as college, I was super self-conscious about it. I remember when I would literally put paper towels underneath my clothes before going to school in the morning because I was petrified of having sweat stains.

Now, I look back and laugh. I was so self-conscious (about my weight, my skin, my sweating, my voice — everything!) and it kept me self-consumed and self-destructive. I was unhealthy in so many ways back then — especially mentally.

But now I don’t feel worried about sweating. I don’t care that I get pit stains when it’s warm. I don’t feel restricted to just wear baggy clothes all of the time because my BMI is less than ideal.

Sweating is healthy. It’s our body’s way of cooling itself down. Deodorants that clog your pores and claim to stop you from sweating aren’t actually doing your body any favors! They’re just fulfilling a false standard of beauty that our society has thrown onto us.

Sweating is good, not bad or ugly!

Natural deodorants may not stop you from sweating because they lack antiperspirant. Antiperspirant may be linked to hormonal issues…. so you’re better off without it!

But if you find the right natural deo, they should tame your B.O. and keep you feeling fresh, even when it’s hot as heck out and you’re sweating bullets.

fat and the moon’s deodorant cream to the rescue

Fat and the Moon sent me this deodorant to try and let me tell you what, I was so surprised at how good it worked I almost didn’t believe it. I actually had my husband smell me to make sure it wasn’t in my head.

I put some on before work and was impressed I didn’t smell bad all day. It wasn’t hot outside, so I was thinking maybe it was a fluke…

So then I put it to the REAL test. Hot yoga.

If you’re not familiar with hot yoga, it’s a yoga class in a room that’s jacked up to 80-90 degrees. You’re essentially doing a vinyasa flow in a sauna. And it’s HOT. So hot that everybody sweats in places they never knew they could sweat.

Knee caps sweat? Well they sure do at hot yoga.

I was driving home after my yoga class and thought, I wonder if this little cream worked at all?

I smelled my pits and… smelled… nothing.

I laughed. There’s no way this all-natural, zero waste deodorant actually held up during hot freaking yoga.

I got home and asked Mike if he smelled anything. He didn’t.

I was immediately sold. This is the best deodorant — not just “natural, zero waste” deo, but deodorant in general — that I’ve ever used.

let’s take a closer look at this deo

The cream comes in a glass jar with a metal lid (sustainable A.F.!). I reuse these containers constantly for diys. They’re the BEST.

Here are the ingredients:

coconut oil*
baking soda (aluminum free)
arrowroot starch*
beeswax
essential oils of black pepper*
clary sage*
bergamot*
tea tree*
grapefruit*
(*Organic)

You take a little bit of the cream onto your finger (about a pea-size) and rub it on your pits. If you haven’t used a cream deodorant like this before, it may feel a little weird at first, but within a couple uses you totally get used to it. I don’t even think about it anymore!

Something important to note: some folks notice redness and irritation when they use products with baking soda. I haven’t noticed that with this.

They also have a sensitive pit cream option, but the normal version works a lot better for me!

Also, my friend used this deodorant cream and got a little red under her arms. She kept using it and about a week later her body was used to it!

Go with your body and what works for you. If you’re experiencing irritation, you may be allergic to baking soda. Or, there’s a chance your body hasn’t detoxed enough from traditional products.

When in doubt, play it safe and trust what your body is telling you!

it may be a bit pricey for some folks

So… this deodorant isn’t cheap. But you get what you pay for!

With this product, there are three sizes: 0.5 ounces, 2 ounces and 6 ounces.

This stuff lasts months because a little goes a long way!

And the 6 ounce jar is really big. (It’s the one I have in my pictures.)

My suggestion? Try out the little 0.5 ounce tin and see if you like it! If you do, keep it for when you travel and purchase a larger size! And once you’re done with the little tin, you can reuse it or refill it with deo from your larger jar! :]

The majority of the ingredients in this deodorant are organic. Each product is handmade. Fat and the Moon is sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly, inclusive, body-positive, and female owned.

I’m in love with every single product I’ve used from them. Right now, their aloe lotion is doubling as a moisturizer and primer for me before I put my makeup on, and it’s THE BEST.

Check out my review of their brand to find out why I’m so obsessed with their stuff! You can read that review here.

what deo do you use? :]

what i wish i knew before using a safety razor

I got a safety razor last year because I knew it was the eco-friendly thing to do.

What I didn’t know was that safety razors are SHARP, they rust easily and there’s a bit of a learning curve to shaving with one.

I wished someone would’ve created a guide to owning a safety razor, from how to store it to how to use it and keep it clean.

As with many things throughout my zero waste journey, I’ve learned a lot though trial and error. And when it comes to safety razors… most of my knowledge has come from first-hand mess ups like rusty razors, dull blades, and cuts…

I’ve compiled a few tips I wish I knew before using a safety razor. If you’re considering investing in one, I HIGHLY recommend it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using a pink plastic guy. But it does take a little getting used to.

Without further ado, here are my tips and tricks for zero waste shaving with a safety razor.

What is a safety razor?

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A safety razor is an old-school razor. It was invented in the 1800s as a safer way to shave as opposed to using straight razors.

But once plastic became a big hit, people started buying plastic options and forgetting about our old-timey friend: The Safety Razor.

Thankfully, safety razors are becoming trendy again — especially for dudes who love grooming their facial hair.

There are loads of different kinds of safety razors on the market right now. Here are a few good brands to check out:

*Albatross

(also check out Package Free Shop… that’s where I got my Albatross razor)

The Art of Shaving

West Coast Shaving

Leaf Shave

*I personally use a butterfly safety razor from Albatross and I love it. It’s definitely more of a classic safety razor feel and style. But it’s 100% recyclable, the company prioritizes the environment and ocean, and the packaging is zero waste. Pretty dope!

I’ve heard great things about The Art of Shaving, West Coast Shaving and Leaf Shave… but I haven’t personally tried those ones.

What I do like about The Art of Shaving is that they have lots of great shaving cream products that have pretty decent ingredients and that come in reusable containers.

The Art of Shaving specializes in the old-school shaving brush method to apply your shaving cream. I’ve heard INCREDIBLE things about it, but I make my own shaving cream instead. I’m cheap, my option works great and it’s more eco-friendly.

Why would I use a safety razor?

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It’s much better for the environment. As opposed to a plastic razor that you use for a month or two and then throw away, a safety razor lasts for years, it’s recyclable and the blades are recyclable, too.

Also, the shave is excellent once you get the hang of using it!

How do I use this thing?

So you essentially use it the same way you’d use a plastic razor. You lather your leg (or underarms or face or whatever) with shaving cream/soap and press the razor lightly onto your skin and shave in an upwards motion.

Here are a few suggestions….

  1. Keep the blade at a 45 degree angle when shaving. You don’t want to press in too hard on your skin or you may cut yourself; but you also don’t want to put zero pressure on the blade because then you won’t actually shave any hair. It takes practice, but go slow and keep the blade so it’s gliding against your skin.dcb_9852
  2. Exfoliate. This is such a simple step that often gets overlooked. Be sure to exfoliate your whole body a few days a week. I have an eco-friendly loofah that I use to scrub my body. Not only will it make your skin softer, but it removes dead skin cells, helps blood circulate through your body and just gives you a better overall clean.
  3. Use a good shaving cream. I make my own shaving cream using Castile soap, water, avocado oil and essential oils.

Be sure to put the ingredients in a foaming pump container (I got mine from Walmart and Amazon. You can find them most places… just be sure it says it’s foaming!).I fill the container up about 3/4 of the way with distilled water. Then I add about 2-3 TBSP of Castile soap and 1-1.5 TBSP of avocado oil (you can use any carrier oil you’d like. Avocado is super moisturizing, which is why I use that one!). Then, feel free to add any essential oils you’d like. I use Peace + Calming and Sacred Mountain from Young Living. But you can also use Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, or whatever else you’d like.

You can also buy shaving creams if you don’t want to make your own. The Art of Shaving has many options that have decent ingredients (check out the Think Dirty app for the ingredients of tons of different products). What I like about the Art of Shaving one is that you buy a container that holds the soap and then just replace the soap. Love how sustainable that is!

Also, Albatross has some options, too, that seem awesome and totally eco-friendly! Young Living has options, too, though YL’s aren’t eco-friendly yet.

How do I store it?

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So when I first got my safety razor I kept it in the shower, just like I would with my plastic razors.

Yeah… bad idea. It’s metal. Metal + water = rust. For whatever reason I didn’t think about that. My razor got super rusty. I kept trying to clean it off but the rust kept coming back because I wasn’t keeping it dry enough.

I ended up getting a new one because I dropped mine and it broke (it was my fault, not the quality of the razor). But I needed a new one anyways because mine was rusty. Now that I’ve learned what to do and not to do, my razor is thriving!

  1. Keep it clean. After you use it be sure to rinse it off so that no cream or soap is on the blade or the razor itself.
  2. Dry it off. This is what I never did and is the reason mine got rusty. Once you rinse it off, take your towel and dry it off. Also take the blade out and dry that off, too. It will make your blade last longer and keep your razor looking brand new.
     
  3. Store it in a dry place. I used to keep mine by my bathroom sink, but then it would get bumped and fall on the floor, or water would splash on it from people washing their hands. Now, after I dry it off, I store it in the cupboard above my toilet with my other products. Every time I shave, I take the razor out of the cupboard, bring it in the shower with me and then return it to it’s little cupboard home once I’m finished.

It may sound like that’s a lot of effort for a razor. But I don’t even think about it anymore. It takes 30 seconds to wash it off, dry it and store it. Really. It’s so easy and it’s just become part of my routine.

What about the blades?

 

So your razor should come with at least ten new blades. I replace mine once every month or two, or when I’m noticing I’m not getting as close of a shave. You can order more online from whatever shop you got your safety razor from. They’re super cheap. Also, the blades are recyclable. But NOT in your curbside bin. I keep mine in a little container in my bathroom. Once it’s full, I’ll take it to my recycling company and have them properly recycled.

Replacing the blades of your safety razor is going to be different for each razor. Generally, you’ll have a razor and blades. My butterfly safety razor has a swivel on the bottom of the handle. I turn the swivel to open the top of the razor… it’ll open up almost like it’s opening it’s wings (i.e. the reason it’s named the butterfly razor). You simply place the razor blade in the space between the two “wings,” swivel the wings shut, and you’re good to go! Easy, quick, convenient.

OK, talk to me about price.

I got the Flagship Butterfly Safety Razor from Albatross and it’s $30. It comes with 10 blades. When you need more blades, they only cost $0.15 each. Yes, that’s it.

I’d also recommend one with the longer handle. Check it out here. For shaving legs, I hear a longer handle is better. It’s $10 more, but might be worth the investment. My first razor was the $20 one. It works great! But I like how easy it is to replace the blades with the butterfly option.

The Art of Shaving has pretty expensive razors, but they’re supposed to be great quality. Check out those here.

West Coast Shaving company has a range of safety razors starting from $30 and moving into the hundreds. Check out their collection here.

The Leaf starts at $79, but comes in a kit. I’ve heard great things because the design of the razor is a lot like a plastic razor. The learning curve isn’t as steep as a safety razor like Albatross, so if that’s a major concern for you, the Leaf might be your best bet! And there’s a lifetime warranty — so that’s excellent!

 

Do you use a safety razor? Why or why not? What’s holding you back?