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

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!

Coffee grounds + Castile liquid soap = basic coffee body scrub.

We packed a bottle of Castile for dishes, clothes, hair, face, surfaces, etc. We also packed a gold mesh filter so we could buy local coffee and make our own fresh brew on the go. These two products enabled me to make a body scrub while traveling. After a few days of camping in the harsh Aussie desert, it was nice to feel sparkly clean again with this simple recipe.

Note: This makes a mess. Our hotel shower had its fair share of coffee grounds. Only attempt if you don’t mind making a mess 🙂 This should not replace body wash. Use soap afterwards to remove any coffee stains on your skin.

This is just a basic version of the scrub. For the full recipe: add sugar, cinnamon, essential oils and coconut oil. The full recipe is creamier and doesn’t create as much mess.

I love that zero waste has allowed me to be creative within my limitations. And I believe that staying pampered is an important part of rewarding new zero waste habits.

DIY Coffee body scrub on the go
DIY Coffee body scrub on the go
DIY Coffee body scrub on the go
DIY Coffee body scrub on the go

Low-waste dental floss

When my partner bought disposable tooth flossers over a year ago, I was mildly disgruntled. We bickered about its wasteful design vs its ease of use. At the time, I preferred extra minty floss packaged in a plastic case. That was all before we decided to quit plastic altogether. Fast forward to today and I’m pleased to say that we have finally used up every last flosser. I’ve been inspired by the plastic-free options that are available and happy to finally try them out.

According to @zerowastehome, you can floss with pure silk thread, but I have found it impossible to find plastic-free thread at @lincraft and independent sewing stores. It’s really shocked me how much polyester and plastic packaging have taken over the sewing segment. Sadly, I can’t DIY this, even though it should be easy.

Instead, I’m trying @noosabasics charcoal dental floss. The unboxing was a little confusing, with two threads and a bit of unpacking to get it right (swipe for more). There’s only a teeny tiny bit of plastic which I assume is for hygienic purposes. Their postage was also plastic free. As a floss, it’s pretty good. Seems to be just as durable as the big brands. It’s not minty but it does the job. I do like the black colour as it helps show plaque more clearly on the string. A little part of me has gotten used to the convenience of flossing back teeth with a handle (Much ease!). And after my initial disgruntled response about wasteful plastic, I think I’m going to miss the handles. This string is going to take some getting used to. Either way, this is a great low waste option that is as good as the regular brands of floss. I bought this online, via their website.

Tinted zincs.

A quick comparison of tinted zincs. @invisiblezincau = Great product, a waste of non-reusable plastic packaging. = Terrible product for a cooler climate, clumpy when warm enough to be spreadable, a strange grey-tan colour, great reusable packaging. @dirtyhippiecosmetics BB Cream = excellent product, creamy powdery finish, the golden tone was perfect for me, excellent packaging. This one wins. And after several months, my search is finally complete. .
I wish all these brands had darker options. I am on the darker side of pale skin so I imagine it would be even harder for my chocolate sisters. If you recommend brands for darker complexions, I’d love to hear about them 🙂

Doing it yourself

Apart from its zero waste benefits and affordability, I find DIY is therapeutic and allows me to defragment my mind after a stressful week at work.

Where do I find the time to DIY?

– On a Sunday morning, about an hour before everyone else wakes up, I make 1 or 2 things that are running low.
This includes frequently used cleaners and toiletries, and sometimes a new experiment. I am an early riser so this is my “me time”, a time for creative play.

– I have a drawer in the kitchen cupboard filled with multipurpose ingredients such as baking powder, coconut oil, cornstarch, xylitol, Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, soap blocks, liquid Castile and a couple of essential oils. I bought all of this package free from bulk stores like @thesourcefitzroy@ceresbrunswick but they can also be ordered online or purchased in larger containers if bulk stores aren’t available to you.

– I deliberately choose simple yet effective recipes that take only a few ingredients. They must be easy to make, even in my sleepy state.

– I make a large batch and store it at the top of the bathroom cupboard and refill smaller (often travel-sized) containers when I need to top up.This ensures that we always have supplies and gives me plenty of opportunities to clean the small containers that get regular contact.

Surprisingly for me, my partner favours my minty fresh toothpowder over other recipes/products we’ve tried. It’s only 3 ingredients: 2 tablespoons xylitol, 1 tablespoon baking soda and 4 drops peppermint essential oil. Put in a jar and shake like maracas until mixed thoroughly. This morning, I transferred the remaining powder to a clean jar and topped up our bigger jar within a few minutes. Topping this up was easier than going to the convenience store.

Zero waste boy stuff

Zero waste boy stuff! My partner loves how minimal everything is now. The adjustment period was tricky because it required a level of organisation that we previously took for granted. Rather than going to a convenience store to get more razors on the day that he needs them, he’s got to buy a set of blades in advance. Now, after the transition, it’s simple and easy to manage. The cupboard is decluttered and the system works really well for his daily routine as well as travel.
What’s he got? L-R top-bottom:

1) Gentle post-shave moisturiser. Great for bald heads plus I want to see if I can refill the tube with bulk moisturiser. While I’d love if @burlyfellow sold this in a glass, I reckon this tube has huge potential for long-term use
2) @uppercutdeluxe toothbrush is our all-time favourite wooden toothbrush
3) Beeswax deodorant in an old jam jar (recipe in bio). He adjusted to natural deodorant fairly quickly over Winter
4) @beautyandthebeestasmania beer shampoo which we also use as shaving soap. Keen to try @ethiquenz shaving soap as well
5) Nail clippers
6) @themisterbrand razor for face
7) Second-hand electric razor for a bald head. He was initially looking for this brand new. A little bit of patience paid off and we found this second-hand for only $6. Works perfectly. Electric razor saves water and prevents any chance of nicks and cuts on the back of the head.

I say “boy stuff” but many of these items are shared to reduce our toiletries even further. I love the traditionally ‘masculine’ aesthetic and perfumes of many products that are marketed at men. Getting lots of ideas for myself in the lead up to Father’s Day

Toothpaste jar from Zero Waste Beauty Australia

Handwritten notes make my heart melt and build loyalty to a brand. This personal touch tells me that customers are truly valued by the company. @zerowastebeautyaustralia has created astounding loyalty. Look at this gorgeous message! Not only do I feel excited about this product, but I want this company to succeed.

As far as a zero waste goes, the packaging is mostly glass and can be returned for them to reuse (tick!). The flavour is lovely and minty fresh (tick!) and the texture is smooth and easy to apply (tick!). The toothpaste itself is similar to what I’ve been making at home with the addition of shea butter and arrowroot powder (I assume to improve the texture and reduce oiliness). Shea butter is a welcome change but I’m not sure about the arrowroot. It coats my mouth in powder after brushing. Does it have dental benefits? I don’t normally rinse after brushing (aside from mouthwash) but the addition of arrowroot makes rinsing essential. I wouldn’t mind this if I knew it was good for my teeth.

All in all, this is a good product. I would recommend it for those that want to make the switch to reusable packaging. Just might take a little adjustment to the texture and application.
I’m so pleased to have companies like @zerowastebeautyaustralia who are helping to drive change in Australia. I look forward to seeing them extend their product range even further.

Homemade balm

Homemade balm!! This is so easy to make. A little dab of the multipurpose balm is great for smooth skin, lips, nails and hair. It can also be used for wood and leather treatment. Simply melt 1 part beeswax with 5 parts olive oil. Pour into a jar and wait for it to set. It smells amazing too! For my vegan buddies, I’m yet to try vegan beeswax but looking forward to testing this out.

I see great potential for this balm. I’ve been looking for a non-coconut oil base to maintain its consistency throughout Australia’s fluctuating weather (0-44C / 32-111F). Preferably, something that can travel well, doesn’t melt on a warm day and isn’t rock hard in winter.

I’m excited to try this as a base for DIY sports remedial balm, deodorant and maybe even peppermint toothpaste!?
Travelling to the arid desert of Uluru & tropical rainforest of Darwin will be a great test for me in a few weeks.

What do you think?  Am I loco? Got any other uses for multi-purpose balm?