Self care is super important

This week, I picked native flowers for myself. They even match my tattoo. Gush! Aww, how sweet of me. I shouldn’t have… Romance isn’t dead.

Prioritise “nothing time” and let your brain juices flow

Drinking my coffee in the sun before another intense day at work. Working towards environmental conservation has made a martyr of me. I’m a busy-body. I work all day every day on three separate projects. It’s apt how unsustainable my routine is.

I tell myself that after a big launch in 4 weeks, I’ll claw my way back to a healthy routine. The reality is that this is me always. Working, working, working… What am I working for? Money, environmentalism, people; but mostly something self-fulfilling. I like working. It makes me feel helpful. It gives me purpose. It’s a habit. It’s an addiction.

I suck at self care. I am trying to take 5 mins everyday to do ultra-mega-boring things that are good for me. A little “nothing time” is great for busy people who need more brain space for creativity and processing. It’s not quite meditation and it’s not quite exercise. It’s deliberately dull and unappealing. Want to hear how boring I am? Here goes…

Hello my name is Zoe and I like to feel the wind in my hair, gentle walks in the bushland and:

  • Just standing there
  • Just sitting there
  • Listening to my heartbeat
  • Feeling my breath entering my nostrils
  • Staring out the window

Sounds dull huh? You’re probably too busy for this too, yeah? Wrong! Prioritise “nothing time” and let your brain juices flowwwww

Can I bury my face in your high tox shampooed hair?

Do you stink pretty? The further I go with diy and low maintenance beauty, the less perfumes I use. I now water wash my hair, moisturise with olive oil and wear a drop or two of essential oils on my wrists. Past Zoe would have a strong perfume associated with every beauty product. Today, I just smell clean.

I’ve noticed that I now have a visceral reaction to strong perfumes. If someone is wearing a lot of cologne, I get a bit squeamish and want to be as far away from them as possible. I never used to be this way but colognes can now make me cough, and if I’m surrounded by enough of it, a cloud of perfume can give me a migraine.

On the other hand, if someone has freshly washed sweet-smelling hair, it smells so damn good to me that I may hover in the air nose-first towards their delicious mane. Can I bury my face in your high tox shampooed hair? It reminds me of those old ‘Herbal Essence’ shampoos from the 90s. They might have been stripping my hair of its natural oils but it Smells. So. Good.

Rather than creeping out strangers on public transport, maybe I should invest in something to make me stink pretty? My first step is to add essential oils to my basic diy products. Let’s get smelly.

Curling hair with rags

Raggedy hair! I experimented with offcuts of fabric to curl my hair. It worked! I’ll keep this in mind for special occasions but I‘m waaaay too lazy to do this regularly. Ferk dat. The result wasn’t too far from my natural curls, just a little more structured. Kinda reminded me of my NooNoo’s frizzy curly hair in the 1930s.

Rags and fabric scraps have many uses. I have repurposed cotton rags for cleaning, hair curlers, filters and gift wrap. If big enough, I sometime sew a seam to make my own handkerchief. My mum likes to make patchwork quilts and cushions from offcuts of fabric. Got any other uses for fabric scraps? I’d love to hear more.

Pull packaging apart

Pull packaging apart. Explore it. Understand it’s construction. Reimagine it. Clean it. Rebuild it. Repurpose it.

This old bottle of @trilogyproducts rosehip oil has been the home of my homemade acv conditioning rinse for many moons now. No need to throw away. It’s still got years in it.

After the next bottle is used up, I’m planning to experiment with a locally sourced oil that can be bought package free. Olive oil for the face? I’m willing to give it a try. If it’s good enough for old mate Cleopatra, it’s good enough for me.

Zero waste sun protection

Are there any mates that can give me advice on zero waste sun protection? Particularly anyone with light brown to dark skin or tattoos. I am at a loss. I want a very high spf sunscreen that doesn’t come in plastic and isn’t chalky. Must be a reliable shield against Australia’s high UV rays.

Here’s a quick comparison:
Before I boycotted plastic, @invisiblezincau was my go to. It offers high protection and is non-greasy and ideal for face. It used to have ethical credentials on #shopethical but has since been marked down. Regardless of its credibility, the chalky residue looks a bit silly over tattoos and light brown skin. Even the tinted versions are very light. My winter skin is fair enough to wear this, but too dark to require it.

I’ve tried but found it offers very little protection and the colour is a strange brown-grey. It made me look dead inside. This is fine colour to match my corpse but while I’m still alive, I need something in the yellow-brown spectrum. Or ya know… just not tinted because one size does not fit all.

Many natural sunscreens don’t display spf. I like that tin packaging is on the rise but no spf makes me reluctant to buy… how can I be sure it’s going to get the job done? I gotta protect my tattoos.

Got a low impact sunscreen that works on dark/tattooed skin? Recommendations welcome. Know stuff about sun protection and nanoparticles? Teach me all the things!

Sometimes plastic really is fantastic.

A small sample of the items that keep my partner alive. Sometimes plastic really is fantastic. I look forward to a greater use of glass and bioplastics in the medical industry as we innovate toward environmental sustainability in all sectors. For now, we’ll take what we can get and favour recyclable packaging if the option arises.

Low waste hair care

My hair is the most manageable it’s ever been thanks to a bit of brushing, water washing, apple cider vinegar rinse, accepting my natural features and a monthly teaspoon of coconut oil combed throughout. Past Zoe would have been sceptical about these simple steps. It’s easier said than done, but my dry scalp and wild waves have appreciated the transition.

Not so dirty packaging from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics

Zero waste make up delivery!! I believe that make up should be optional for men and women. We are all entitled to wear and not wear make up. As a person who can’t stick to absolutes, I am inconsistent with the amount of make up I wear each day. Sometimes my face is clean. Other days, I have fiery red lips, tinted brows and shimmery blush. One contributing factor is that I get monthly acne even in my 30s. That monthly pimple is clutching onto my teenage youth. Wanna look young? Try being 5 ft tall with pimples. Takes years off! 😜

Thank you to @dirtyhippiecosmetics for gifting me this concealer and shampoo bar. This Australian small business has zero waste principles at its core. I’m in love with their ethos, products, packaging and all-round friendliness.

This concealer matches my summer skin tone perfectly so I can appear to have glowing skin on spotty days. I’ve been wearing their beetroot blush on my eyes and cheeks as well as tinted lip balm. I can return the tins for reuse and compost the paper. It’s all plastic free and vegan.

Also included in this pack is a little lemon shampoo bar which smells incredible and lathers really well. Wrapping it in newspaper is a nice touch.

Discovering DIY recipes has rekindled my interest in make up. My expectations of beauty brands has been enhanced by Dirty Hippie. Thank you Danni for all that you do. You’re a legend in my eyes.

Not so dirty packaging from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
Not so dirty packaging from Dirty Hippie Cosmetics


Relax, embrace change and seek balance.

“Relax, embrace change and seek balance.” That’s what these tattoos mean to me. I drew them when I was 19 based on the lunar cycle and Buddhist wheel. The pretentious designer in me is conscious that they look very 2006 tattoo art – a small inky amulet 🙂 Design nerd aside, I really love being reminded of this mantra as I work, play and plan ahead. When both exposed, they trigger a desire to sit in lotus pose (cross legged meditation pose with palms up). Thankfully, teenage Zoe got a few things right.

I tend to get so excited about the future that I struggle to be present. This year, we’re planning some big lifestyle changes. As we work through decision-making, I will try to chill the fuck out, embrace the change to come and seek balance as much as possible. This mantra has helped throughout my zero waste transition too.