Imagine your life with less plastic waste. Following last year’s ban on plastic plates, cups and bags, this year France goes further and leads the way to ban plastic and pollution build-up. That means plastic straws, cutlery, lids, styrofoam takeaway containers and cups, coffee stirrers, and even those long sticks tied to children’s balloons, will all be a thing of the past.
In order to reduce waste, the free distribution of plastic water bottles in offices will no longer be allowed. Food vendors will be obligated to accept containers brought in by customers in order to encourage re-use and move towards a strategy of zero disposable plastic in 2040.
I, for one, am overjoyed by the ecological initiatives to preserve nature for us and the coming generations! As a home organizer and in my personal life, I see how plastic has filled our living spaces, and how much we throw away. I have long been an advocate of NO plastic use for home cleaning and cosmetics. I know how hard it seems at first to change our habits to using products that are better for our health, and more planet-friendly. But take it from me – it is totally possible to eliminate non-degradable items from your household use. It’s so simple, easy and cheap, you won’t believe it!
For more details on what single-use plastics have been banned and when, check this handy chart from Zero Waste France.
Let’s get started. Here are my tips on how to ensure zero plastic in your bathroom by shopping in your kitchen for alternative products. You can put an end to buying plastic packaging by creating your own natural beauty and cleansing products. You already have the ingredients at hand to make organic face and body scrubs, soap, shampoo and make-up remover. Plus it’s fun!
Face scrub with sugar
Sugar from your kitchen, be it white or brown, is a good exfoliant. The grains are the perfect size to help you get rid of dead skin cells, which reduce tissue oxygenation. Mix together 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (olive, hazelnut, macadamia, or argan).
Apply water on your face, and delicately massage this mixture by making circles from the center to the sides of your face. If this feels too abrasive, tap your face with some vegetable oil or warm water. Rinse well with warm water, and dry with a towel. Do this maximum twice a week.
Body scrub with sugar and salt
Salt is also a good exfoliant and has a re-mineralizing effect on your skin. It can also be used on your face and more tender parts of your body if the grains are very small.
In a big bowl mix:
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of salt (small regular grains)
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (olive, hazelnut, sweet almond, macadamia, or argan)
Under the shower, wet your body with warm water, massage scrub onto your elbows, knees, feet and shoulders for several minutes, and finish with the rest of your body. Add some vegetable oil with your hands if needed. Rinse well with warm water, and dry with a towel.
You can use vegetable oil to clean your face, including waterproof mascara (sweet almond, apricot stone, olive, macadamia sesame or hazelnut). Or for a less greasy effect, make this mixture that you can keep in your fridge for 10 days:
For 200ml, in a pan simmer for 5 minutes:
- 1 small glass of full milk
- 1/3 of a cucumber grated (no peel)
- 1 tablespoon of liquid honey
Leave to cool. Filter and pour into a clean glass bottle with a funnel.
Use a cloth cotton pad to spread and wipe your face. It will remove mascara as long as it isn’t waterprooof.
Historically, eggs were used for washing hair; egg white contains saponin which is a very good cleaning substance. The egg yolk contains more fat; it will nourish your hair and act as a conditioner.
- For dry or normal hair:
Break an egg in a bowl, and beat it. Wet your hair, and towel-dry your hair slightly so it doesn’t drip. Apply the mixed egg on your scalp as you would with hair color. Then spread the rest on the lengths of your hair.
Massage your scalp, your lengths and the tips of your hair to help penetrate the active substances. Leave for a few minutes, without letting it dry. Because you don’t want the egg to cook on your head, don’t use very hot water to rinse off your natural shampoo.
- For greasy hair, or a greasy scalp and dry tips:
Because egg white holds most of the saponines (latin sapo=soap), it is ideal for washing greasy hair. So separate the white, beat it with a fork, and apply it to your scalp as you would with hair color. Massage your scalp to help the saponines. In another bowl mix the yolk you will apply on the rest of your hair as if you were combing your lengths with your fingers. Also, apply the yolk on your tips. Rinse out with tepid water so you don’t end up with an omelette on your head! (If you happen to have used water that was too hot, don’t worry. Just rinse and dry your hair. Brushing it will get rid of the last bits of egg if there are any.)
From time to time I make my favourite mix:
- 1 egg
- lemon juice
- white vinegar
- cinnamon powder (except if your scalp is irritated)
Hydrating face cream
This sounds like you are about to make a decadent cream made of French goodness- goodness for your skin!
In a bowl, mix:
- 1 tablespoon of very thick crème fraîche (crème fraîche épaisse), or fromage blanc
- 1 tablespoon liquid honey
Apply on your face and neck, leave for around 15 minutes. I love the freshness of it! Rinse off with water, and a towel if needed. This boosts the natural radiance of your skin, and hydrates it. Any leftover mix, I then eat as a treat!
Another option for hydrating your skin: vegetable oils such as coco oil or shea butter. Jojoba oil or apricot stone oil are great for greasy skin. Heat a small quantity in your palms, and spread on your face.
Rub a pinch of sodium bicabonate (bicarbonate de soude), also called baking soda, on your clean and wet armpits. Dab with a towel. I love mixing some in the palm of my hand with shea butter and applying it with my fingers on my clean and dry armpits. Bicarbonate is a great solution for reducing sweating and bad odors for hours.
If you want to go plastic-free but don’t see yourself making your own products, I highly recommend the the Austrian family-owned eco-friendly company Ringana. They provide high-quality products such as 100 percent plant-based toothpaste with mint, tinted face cream and bicarbonate-based deodorant creams in glass bottles that you can send back to be reused. See how to order these and more organic products by clicking here.
This is a subject I hold particularly close to my heart. I started making homemade soaps with the first lockdown. A creative and slow centuries-old activity, it did me so much good. If you’d like to know more, join me for a workshop on how to make soap chez vous. You’ll feel the difference on your skin, too!