4 Easy Zero Waste Lifestyle Updates

Although I don't think I'll ever manage to be 100% 'zero' waste (just not wholly possibly where I live), I have been trying to make continuous small changes to reduce my contribution to landfill. Some changes are a lot easier than you'd think and often save you money, rather than costing a lot to implement. Here are some easy changes that are affordable too:

1. Reusable drinks cups
This change is quite obvious and this probably isn't the first time you've heard about it. Using a reusable drinking container just makes sense. This is something I've been doing for years and I have multiple containers for slightly different uses - although this totally isn't necessary. I love my 24Bottles Thermo bottle for taking ready-made hot drinks out of the house with me as it keeps drinks hot or cold for hours on end and the stainless steel means it never holds on to smells. I used to take a coffee with me on the drive to university at about 7am and I could only just sip it at about 9:30am... so it works! I've never attempted to get this filled at a coffee shop so I can't speak too much on that but its 500ml capacity makes it possible. I have a plain old university-branded thermos mug that I use for this and then of course, I also use reusable water bottles.

2. Shop more secondhand
This one is probably something you occasionally do already but I try to source almost everything secondhand before I commit to buying something new. I love to browse for clothing in charity shops and online on sites like eBay and Depop. Depop is primarily for clothing but eBay is great for almost anything secondhand and if you're looking for home bits, try asking around friends and family first because you never know what people have lurking about their lofts.

3. Switch to bar soaps
We use liquid soap for a lot of things; shampoo, shower gel, shaving. A lot of these unneeded plastic bottles can be avoided by trying to incorporate my bar soap products into your routine. Unfortunately shampoo bars don't seem to work for me but I love using interesting (palm-free) bar soaps instead of shower gel and they're also super handy for travel as they don't contribute to your liquid allowance! Some of my favourite places for bar soaps include CoutiverLiving Naturally, and Odylique.

4. Make your own
Making your own stuff is underrated - and this goes for food as well as beauty. Not only is it fun, but it saves money and packaging. I enjoy making my own salad dressings, and sauces and storing them in up-cycled jars that I have kept to reuse. I also occasionally experiment with making my own powdered cleansers, deodorants and other products. Most recently I've made a deodorising foot powder for shoes and sugar hair removal wax.

What are some of your favourite 'zero waste' swaps?

3 Exfoliating Masks for a Brighter Complexion

When I first got into more natural skincare, I always imagined that I would have to give up my new found love for chemical exfoliation. I was heavily attached to the iconic Alpha-H Liquid Gold and what it did for my skin. Unfortunately, not only are Alpha-H not up to my anti-animal testing standards, but Liquid Gold's ingredients aren't up to scratch either.

Fortunately, chemical exfoliation also exists in the natural skincare world and I continue to favour it over physical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants are much more suited to my combo/oily skin type and they offer quick (but also longer lasting) results without the risk of micro-tears. Of course, you still need to proceed with care with chemical exfoliation but as long as you are careful, it's a safe and relatively easy method for seeing quick results.

I use chemical exfoliants relatively often - maybe 2-4 times a week - but I have oily/acneic skin and skin types like mine are naturally more resistant to over-exfoliation. If you have more normal or dry skin, I would suggest only using them once a week. However, oiler skin types can still get damaged and it is important to follow product instructions and pay attention to how your skin reacts. If you've never used a chemical exfoliant before, it is common practice to start with lighter use (maybe 10 mins once a week) until your skin is used to it and you know your own limits. A patch test is never a bad idea either. It's also EXTREMELY important to religiously use SPF if you use chemical exfoliants as they do temporarily affect your skin's sensitivity to the sun (but you should really be using SPF anyway).

So what is a chemical exfoliant?

'Chemical exfoliant' refers to any product that uses 'chemicals' as their method of exfoliation as opposed to physical particles such as oats or almond meal. These chemicals usually consist of acids like lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or a combination of a couple. Each acid has a slightly different effect on the skin. I've haven't had much experience with lactic acid, but I find glycolic to be mainly brightening & resurfacing and salicylic to be de-clogging and calming on acne.

Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask*

This beautiful Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask from old favourite Herbivore Botanicals is true luxury. The inclusion of blue tansy gives the mask and absolutely stunning blue colour and a spa-like scent, whereas the aloe vera base makes for a cooling and soothing texture. This mask's formulation is more liquid and so you only need a thin layer to see it working. I find this one to be gentler than the others but maybe overall more effective as this means I can apply it for longer and more often. This mask uses salicylic acid (in the form of willow bark extract) and various fruit acids and I find it most effective at calming cystic acne breakouts and healing them without any major scarring. This mask is great if you have skin prone to acne that can be sore and inflamed. 

Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask*

The Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask* is a great option if you prefer something easy and low maintenance. It's easy to wash off quickly and the small packaging and squeeze tube also makes it great for travel. In my experience, this is the middle ground when it comes to these masks. It is a little bit stronger than the Herbivore mask, meaning I don't usually leave it on longer than 15-20 minutes as it can be irritating. However, it's super effective at loosening up skin cells and my face is also super smooth after using it. This mask uses lactic acid and it's great for tired skin, ageing skin, or just when you need a little glow.

Bravura London Salicylic Acid 2%

Last but not least, we have the Bravura London Salicylic Acid 2%. In fact, this is the strongest of the bunch and can be more accurately described as a peel rather than a mask. This option is not strictly natural meaning that the acid involved is highly potent (and also highly effective). I turn to this when my skin is seriously playing up and calling out for a good de-clogging. This water-like formulation can be used in a variety of ways. It is marketed to be left on for about ten minutes and then washed off, but I have also used it as a leave-on spot treatment to great success. However, with this one I definitely suggest sticking to the instructions if you're a beginner and definitely patch testing if your skin can be sensitive. As mentioned this is truly calling in the big guns and works well on skin that is congested and/or acneic. 

What are your favourite brightening masks? 

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Fitness Notes and Update

1. I quit the gym and joined an online fitness programme. With the end of my undergraduate degree, came the end of my access to my university's brilliant gym. As much as I enjoy a good cardio session or fitness class, I'm not sure if I can afford a brick and mortar gym at the moment. Therefore I decided to try an online fitness programme in the form of Vegan Aesthetics, a programme run by vegan fitness youtuber, Stephanie Moir. 

2. So... I started lifting weights. This particular fitness programme is weight-training based and so this is something that I'm now trying to do regularly. Due to my lack of confidence (and gym membership) I've been sticking to bodyweight and adjustable dumbbell exercises at home but I'm hoping to move things to a gym in the future.

3. I resisted the excuse to consume. With an increase in exercise, comes an increased urge to shop for new workout clothing. Thankfully, I have resisted this urge and stuck to using pieces that I already own. While my fitness routine remains in its early days, I shall be keeping my workout wardrobe small and curated. My only possible wish list piece is a new pair of ethical workout leggings from Gossypium

4. I've been taking care of my body. As good as it is for your body and soul, exercise does constitute strain and so it is important to care for those moving muscles. Two awesome natural beauty products have been keeping me going through my little fitness spurt - a good muscle relaxing body oil and a refreshing toning mist. Everyone knows that I adore Botanicals and the Muscle Ease Body Oil* has been doing exactly what it says on the tin, easing my aching muscles. I've even managed to score a free massage with it from the boy a couple times! I'm definitely considering a full size of this when this sample size runs out. The Evolve Beauty Daily Defence Moisture Mist* is a new product and a welcome break from the heat and sweat of working out. I love spraying this over my face, body, yoga mat, basically everything after a good session. You really can't beat the feeling.

Have there been any changes in your fitness life? Can you reccommend me any amazing ethical/sustainable workout clothing brands?

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Current Health & Beauty Favourites

1. Better Supplementation
My first favourite is that I've actually been keeping up with supplementation! It recently clicked that I should try a liquid delivery system(?) and it has really been working for me. They're a lot easier to take and a lot easier to remember to take. Liquids don't require water and I don't find that they make me feel ill even if I happen to take them on an empty stomach. So, with that in mind, I decided to replace most of my supplements with liquid versions. Enter the Viridian Vegan EPA/DHA Oil and Nature's Aid Liquid Vitamin D3

2. Hynt Beauty Sun Prep Broad Spectrum SPF30
For those who don't know already, Hynt Beauty is now stocked in the UK at Glow Organic and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite makeup brands. They're carmine-free, most of their products are vegan, and their ingredients are fantastic. Unfortunately I didn't have great luck with one of their Suite eyeshadow palettes, but this Sun Prep has become one of my new favourite products of all time. It's a super innovative semi-clear SPF that works as not only sun protection, but a pretty awesome makeup primer. I had originally planned to keep it for special occasions (it's a bit pricey) but I'm having serious trouble trying not to use it every day. Spoiler alert: I'm also loving their cult Duet concealer and have just ordered one of their Alto matte blushes.

3. Ere Perez Lash & Brow Aloe Vera Gel Mascara* (+ henna eyebrow tinting!)
You may have seen on Twitter recently that I've been getting my eyebrows tinted with henna. I've always wanted to try eyebrow tinting as my eyebrows are near enough non-existent, but have always been put off by those chemicals being so close to my eyes. Then, it hit me. People dye their head hair with henna so why not your eyebrows?! And after a quick Google search, I found someone local (Mirra Beauty in Essex for those interested) and I'm now completely obsessed. I've had it done twice so far and shall continue fitting it around special occasions and holidays. It's totally true that brows frame the face and that's even more important when you wear glasses. Here's a cheeky snap:

HennaTint.jpg

...and that ridiculously long intro was to introduce my next favourite, the Ere Perez Clear Mascara. As my eyebrows are now darker via tinting, I've only been needing clear mascara to keep them looking neat. This Ere Perez offering isn't the cheapest option (try Pacifica for something more budget friendly) but I decided to pick it up for one of my LoveLula blog posts and I've been really enjoying it.

4. Nanshy Buffed Base RO1 Brush*
I was recently contacted by a PR company who graciously gifted me some products by Sukin and Nanshy. Nanshy offer 100% vegan and cruelty free brushes at a really great price point and I was instantly attracted to the Buffed Base Brush as I've heard a lot about using a dense dome brush for applying liquid foundation. Well, I tried it with my HG Sappho foundation and I am very much impressed. I've found that some other brushes can make it streaky but with this brush the foundation applies flawlessly and lasts all day.

5. Walden Perfumes A Different Drummer*
You may have seen Walden Perfumes floating around lately as they are the new perfume offering from LoveLula. I was lucky enough to take part in the trial process for these perfumes and have been very excited about their launch ever since. A Different Drummer is my favourite from the launched scents and contains notes of pepper, cedarwood, amber, amyris, and sandalwood. It's a very unisex scent and offers something completely different from the heavy florals that usually appear within natural perfumes. Walden perfumes are a little pricey but I'll definitely be putting another bottle on my birthday list when it runs out. Check out the full selection of Walden Perfumes here. Alternatively, you can also try them all in a trial set.

What have you been loving lately?

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