General ramblings

My plastic free shower…

August 7, 2013

I blogged last week about my issues with trying to find an alternative to plastic bottles of shampoo.
I failed miserably on my two attempts at shampoo free hair, despite numerous attempts at different ‘fail-safe’ homemade recipes.
But then I discovered Lush, and their Shampoo Bar.

At the same time, I decided to order some good old-fashioned soap, to experiment with as a replacement for shower gel, and the numerous bottles of handwash dotted around the house.

Soooo, at the weekend, I had a plastic packaging free shower! Oh, the excitement πŸ™‚

Instead of these:


I used these:


Faceballs-homemade and not stored in glass jar in our shower room

Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar from Lush
I was a little dubious (as was hubby) that this would work and would lather up enough to be able to wash my hair with it.
But it worked!
In fact, I may have ‘over-lathered’ a little.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy to use and effective this was.
I am converted (as I think is hubby:) )

Honey I Washed the Kids Soap from Lush
Having used shower gel for years and years, it felt a little strange going back to soap, and I think my skin was a bit drier afterwards, but not so dry as to cause any kind of irritation.
Again, I am now re-embracing soap, and will not be replacing the shower gel supplies once they are used up

So, now I feel inspired to tackle the rest of the bathroom!
I am going to try: making my own face cleanser; using coconut oil as a moisturiser; and ordering some Bamboo compostable toothbrushes for the kids (we use an electric toothbrush, so there is much less plastic wasted when changing the heads of this)
Any ideas for packaging or plastic free toothpaste?!

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  • Reply Plasticification… | My Make Do and Mend Year September 23, 2013 at 8:01 am

    […] And then one more thing. And then one more thing after that. (For some ideas, see my posts here on a plastic free shower, and Plastic Free […]

  • Reply Hazel August 23, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Having had a revelation about homemade deodorant (it even worked camping in French heatwave- hence lack of comments and replying to an old post) I am looking at toothpaste next. I’ve been researching toothpaste and toothpowder- think I will have more success getting the rest of the family on board with toothpaste.

    My eldest child has awful teeth, partly genetic, but they’re so weak the dentist thought she must have been really ill as a baby. She wasn’t and also had a really good diet, so I have no idea why they’re so bad. There is a lot on the net about remineralisation of teeth, which I am pretty sceptical about, but some bloggers I respect have claimed it worked for them and their families, so I’m figuring if it does no harm…
    Part of it is the claim that the glycerine in commercial toothpaste prevents the enamel from hardening. (This is where I’m a bit unsure- I’m not sure if they’re implying the teeth should absorb dietary minerals and the coating stops that?)
    Anyway, it’s easy enough to make glycerine-free toothpaste, so with a few easy/cheap dietary additions (I think if I suggested the full Paleo diet there would be a rebellion! No toast?!), packaging-free toothpaste it is! Will let you know how I get on…

    And I’m going back to soap too. Would like to have a go at making some soon so it’s cured ready for Christmas…

    • Reply Jen August 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

      I’m keen to try soap too-on the hunt for a stick blender as I understand that you can’t use the same one for food and soap!
      Let me know how your toothpaste experiments go.
      Glad you liked the deodorant!

  • Reply julietwilson August 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I’ve never been a fan of shower gel and have always used soap. As for shampoo I’ve just discovered a place that refills the bottles of the shampoo i use, so I’m going to try that, as it will mean i don’t use any more plastic with my shampoo. I may try the shampoo bar though. I like Lush products!


    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Refill bottles are a great idea-what brand do you use Juliet?
      Would definitely recommend the shampoo bars-work really well!

  • Reply treadingmyownpath August 9, 2013 at 7:13 am

    ps I love that we’re all ‘rediscovering’ bar soap – what would our great-grandmothers think of us?!

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

      I know, the world has gone a bit crazy hasn’t it?

  • Reply treadingmyownpath August 9, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Make your own toothpaste! Dead easy! Use either glycerin or coconut oil as the base (glycerin tastes more toothpaste-y but is less ‘natural’ than unrefined virgin cold pressed coconut oil, but of course coconut oil will melt in your mouth), add sodium bicarb, and I use 8-10 drops peppermint oil so it tastes minty, also 1 drop clove oil. Just using bicarb may be a bit too abrasive for your teeth. There’s loads of recipes out there though!

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

      Thankyou! Do you worry about the need for fluoride? Have you been using this long? Does it work..?!

      • Reply treadingmyownpath August 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

        I’ve been using it since February but I have friends that have been using it for years. It seems to work…although I am trying to book a dentist appointment (routine one) so maybe I should report back after that! As for fluoride, it’s a poison and I don’t want that in my toothpaste!

  • Reply beautytherapystudent August 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Knew you would love the soap πŸ˜€ try the “New” bar when the jumping juniper is done – it smells like christmas! Also if you want a soap that is more moisturising why not try Sultana of Soap next time from Lush πŸ™‚ Also… where do you stand on using Lush products with packaging when they have the option to return your black pots for us to recycle and reuse? (you also get a free facemask for every 5 you return!)

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:22 am

      That’s a great idea. Lush sound like they have thought it all through!

      • Reply beautytherapystudent August 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

        They might not be perfect but they do sure try hard and I always love to see people bringing back their black tubs – I seen 15 returned yesterday alone! πŸ™‚ Next step is going 100% preservative free!

        • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

          That’a ambitious πŸ™‚

      • Reply beautytherapystudent August 9, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Im not sure about the rest of the world but the UK and Ireland will be having a preservative free Christmas I believe with all gifts being made up of preservative free items πŸ™‚

        • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:23 pm

          Great news!

  • Reply Truly Myrtle August 8, 2013 at 7:19 am

    You’ve totally inspired me. We already use old-fashioned soap but I’m keen to try your shampoo idea and I’ve got plans to make some moisturiser…

    • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm


  • Reply Katrine Boyten August 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

    There’s also “The Soapy Cauldron” which produce similar products to Lush and with SLS-free products too. Thanks for the inspiration Jen – I too will be looking at packaged-free products. I’m quite shocked at how much rubbish my household produces each week. Thank you!

    • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      It is quite scary when you actually stop and look at what you are throwing out each week. There are lots of really easy steps that can cut it down quite quickly though. If you search the blog for “waste watchers” you can read all about what we have done!

  • Reply Tatty August 8, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Lush do toothy tabs they are fab and come in a cardboard box kids love them

    • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Great, thankyou. Have had several recommendations for these now, will check them out!

  • Reply Su August 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I have started using coconut oil as my moisturiser and really like it, the trick is to use the tiniest amount, I also use either a coconut oil (homemade) cleanser or use the oil cleansing method, it depends what mood I’m in! I’m actually moving over to using coconut oil as my hand cream , lip balm and body cream too. I really like the idea of using one product to do it all, and so far it’s doing bit very well and although it’s not really cheap to buy, you use so little that it lasts ages.

    • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      That’s great Su.
      Do you use the solid coconut oil or the liquid? Care to share your homemade cleanser with us?!

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo August 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Well done, Im a huge fan of coconut oil (its the only body moisturiser I use), I use Rosehip oil or Borage on my face (great for older skin). Might I suggest trying other shampoo and soap bars which dont contain SLS or parabens (much better for you and your smalls all round). Try your local healthfood shop – they might also be able to point you in the right direction re toothpaste as well. Im currently using a SLS/ paraben toothpaste made by Kingfisher. It has no mint in it (mint dries out my throat which isnt good for my voice problem) and is flavoured with Fennel (YUM), but is in plastic tho. Apparently baking soda mixed with mashed up strawberries is supposed to work a treat ( I might have a recipie somewhere if you want it).
    Good luck with your quest.

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks Jo.
      Will do some more investigation re the soap and shampoo. I wonder if the holy grail of packaging free, SLS/paraben free, and palm oil free exists..!

  • Reply Zoe @ecothrifty August 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I did try using bicarbonate of soda instead of toothpaste for a bit, but it still has packaging and I was worried that it wasn’t as effective as toothpaste…

    • Reply beautytherapystudent August 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Try the Lush toothie tabs – they come in a box you can recycle after πŸ™‚

  • Reply Rebeca August 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Lush do (or maybe did) toothpaste pellets that you chew then brush on your teeth. I used to use them a lot because I am not a huge fan of mint. I don’t live near a lush so haven’t been in a while so may not still do them.
    Hope that helps

  • Reply Miss Elle August 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Lush have toothy tabs for toothpaste. They come in a cardboard box, you chew the tab and then brush!

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      I will investigate-thankyou!

  • Reply Erica August 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I ditched shower gel for soap a while ago but ended up back on shower gel because I couldn’t stand the soap scum in the bath and basin. Only bicarbonate of soda would shift it and I found that labour intensive and hard to buy apart from small pots for baking. Any ideas about this, or do I just need to be less lazy?

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Oh crikey, hadn’t thought of this!
      Can you wipe it round with a damp bicarbed cloth straight after a bath, to stop it drying on? Or keep a spray bottle with bicarb/water mix in it, or vinegar to spray on straight after a bath?

    • Reply jillhk August 8, 2013 at 12:14 am

      For soap scum: in a spray bottle, mix equal parts of vinegar and dish soap. Spray on. Let it sit. Wipe off. Rinse. Cleanest shower ever.

      • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm

        Great tip, thank you! Does dish soap translate into washing up liquid?

        • Reply jillhk August 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

          Yes. It makes the vinegar stick a bit longer. I usually use dawn but I think any will work.

          • Jen August 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

            Awesome, thankyou!

      • Reply Erica August 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm

        Great – thanks!

    • Reply Robyn August 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Bicarb can be bought in big (3kg) bags from Chinese Supermarkets if you have one you can get to. I get my white vinegar from there too – pay about Β£2 for 5l for it that way!

      • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

        That sounds really cheap! I don’t think we have a Chinese Supermarket near us-have had to resort to buying online so far

  • Reply heathercards August 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Jen, glad you like the lush shampoo, it’s great for travelling, no worries about leaks in your bags anymore. Not gone down the dry toothpaste route yet.. Let us all know how you get on with that one πŸ™‚

  • Reply Laura August 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Wow, what an interesting concept! And great for the environment! I may look into some of this later on. Also, LOVE the title of the ‘Honey I Washed the Kids’ soap… haha.

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks Laura. When I told hubby the name, he thought it was just for the ids, but I said we had to use it too. Smells lovely πŸ™‚

      • Reply Laura August 8, 2013 at 5:11 am

        I’m sure it does. With a name like that, it better be as good as it is hilarious πŸ™‚

        • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm


  • Reply kimroper2010 August 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Fab, well done. I use almond oil (same stuff they use in massages) after washing in the shower on wet skin. Lighter than coconut oil. Hope this helps. Kim

    Kim Roper 0778 653 8632

    • Reply Jen August 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Great, thanks Kim. Easier to get hold of too I think-have seen it in the supermarket-is it ok to just use this or does it have to be any kind of special almond oil?

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