Lately we’ve given up on toiletry products. It struck us that soap dried out our skin so we had to use lotion and then lotion made us greasy so we had to use soap. Shampoo required conditioner which created buildup which necessitated shampoo. We felt scammed and wondered what would happen if we just stopped the vicious cycles. Well, since we live out in the country and work from home and can therefore go weeks at a time without outside contact to judge us if our hair became dreadlocked and we developed zoo animal like odors, we started to experiment.
Over the previous few years we’d been shifting to ‘natural’ hair and skin care products. Some of which had less chemicals, some of which were locally/independently made, most of which didn’t really do the job as well as traditional products. So we were starting from a somewhat lowered benchmark. We already didn’t use much soap in the shower, washing only our faces, armpits and nether regions because I had been told by a dermatologist this would help control eczema. But we stopped using all lotion, A stopped putting products in her hair, we stopped using any shampoo or conditioner, and we stopped washing our faces with soap.
Now, everyone’s skin and hair will react differently, but we found that after a few days (or weeks) of excessive greasiness our bodies evened out and found an equilibrium of not too dry, not too greasy. While complete removal of products was not practical, we found we could target the problem areas with solutions instead of treating everything equally and therefore causing more problems.
I use olive oil on wet skin when I get out of the shower for my dry skin. A uses sunscreen on her face for moisture as well as sun protection. We both use vinegar and baking soda on our hair every month or two to remove smells and build-up. A still uses deodorant religiously, prone to zoo smells as she is, but I only use it on special occasions. And I use a special lotion for scaly spots when my eczema flairs up. But that’s about it. Our shower is very empty of plastic bottles.
The reduction of bathroom products was motivated by a few things. It’s just simpler. We’re not trying to impress anyone, or even fit in, so we can set our own standards for beauty. Also, in small stores in small towns it is not easy to find the specific scent of specific product of specific brand of whatever that you’ve come to love. It was easier to just not need them. Plus, that saved us money. And finally, it was less strange chemicals and cleansers that we were putting down our drain and therefore into our water supply. And when things cost less, are good for the environment and take less work, we like that.