Katie Vibes
low-impact & conscious lifestyle

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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?

Autumntal Bath Time with Living Naturally

Some months ago now I was sent some absolutely wonderful products by the soapnut-centric vegan organic brand, Living Naturally. They are a brand that's been on my radar for some time as I had been intrigued by their well priced, but luxurious sounding products. I was given the opportunity to try a couple and I've been suitably impressed. Many of the products contain ingredients derived from the soapnut, a naturally 'soapy' fruit. I'd heard of soapnuts being used as a laundry detergent alternative, but never in skincare! But what can I say, it works. Soapnuts are actually a great foaming agent alternative for those with eczema and/or sensitive skin as it's very mild and 100% natural. It also occurred to me that all of these products would be wonderful going into the autumn with their spicy and warm scents.

My absolute favourite product that I was sent was the Coconut & Chai Spice Bathtub Tea*. I'd actually asked to be sent this one because anything involving chai gets my spidey senses tingling. Coconut milk is also one of my favourite ingredients as I find it unbeatable at soothing the skin, especially for my eczema. The 'bathtub tea' is a gritty powder that you pour under a running bath. It doesn't completely dissolve, but it fills your bathroom with the most amazing spicy scent. Sometimes I can't help but to open the jar just to have a whiff. I've already used rather a lot of this and I have even decanted some for friends. I can definitely see myself repurchasing this next winter when I'm looking for something that bit interesting to add to my pamper sessions. 

I was also sent the Cardamom & Lavender Organic Sugar Softening Body Scrub*, which is, as it sounds, a sugar-based body scrub with a very light and non-offensive scent. This scrub definitely leaves a film on the skin (due to its thick base of castor), which although something I don't usually enjoy, is pleasant in the cooler months due to the fact that you don't really need to moisturise afterwards. My only issue was that the packaging leaks very easily - as you can tell from the picture above. This isn't the biggest issue as I tend to keep my scrubs standing in a cupboard, but I have had to clean up a few messes when it has fallen over or I haven't put it down carefully enough.

Finally, I tried the Rose Soapnut Soap*. To be honest, I don't really have much to say about this. It's a lovely, basic soap and thankfully, the rose scent isn't too strong. It lathers up well and leaves the skin really clean and smooth. I think it's a good size too as sometimes I can get a bit bored of a scent when I'm trying to use up a particularly large bar of soap. I have a lot of soap bars to use up at the moment but I do think I'd consider repurchasing as overall, this brand is just really brilliant value for money. In fact, everything I have spoken about in this post is £10 or under, which is amazing for a brand using 100% natural, vegan, and organic ingredients. 

Have you tried anything from Living Naturally?

Intro to: Savon Stories

Savon Stories are no doubt one of the most interesting brands that I came across during my travels around the Love Natural Love Organic/Allergy & Free From show this year. I was really impressed by their ethos, their packaging, and everything about their wonderful products. Savon Stories' speciality is traditionally-made and 100% organic castile soaps in both solid and liquid form. I was lucky enough to have a nice long chat with the founding family and I was amazed to hear that the brand is inspired by the founder's grandfather who lived to 115! He headed the family's century-old organic farm and eat fresh, raw, organic food in small portions. The family sum up the grandfather's ethos in the words "raw minimalism" and this is definitely translated in to the brand's products, explaining why Savon Stories consider high-quality raw organic ingredients to be of the upmost importance. Natural essential oils are added to a cocktail of nourishing base oils (virgin olive oil, coconut, castor, and hempseed), creating a delicious castile soap concoction. 

Funnily enough, my first encounter with the brand was actually in the show's pop-up toilets! A variety of soaps were available at the sinks and I was immediately attracted to the soap by it's truly beautiful packaging and lovely scents. And - thankfully - after testing the soap, I was astounded to find that my hands were super soft and moisturised! I often find that soap (and even natural soap) can leave my hands feeling really dry and tight. Obviously this can often be fixed by slapping on some hand cream but unfortunately, even this cannot undo the damage that drying soaps can do to my hands that are, like my feet, very prone to dyshidrotic eczema. These flare-ups can stick around for weeks at a time so I prefer to avoid all possible catalysts! So to sum up: their soaps are cold press organic, raw, vegan, palm-free, AND highly moisturising... Awesome!

I was lucky enough to be gifted a 300ml bottle of their Lime and Bergamot liquid soap* and I have been enjoying it so much. Although my Mum still uses regular soap around the house, I often have a natural bottle on the side for myself and Savon Stories has got to be the top contender out of all the liquid soaps I have tried so far. Lime and Bergamot is the perfect scent for me and I always find myself sniffing my hands after washing. The ingredients are brilliant (see below) and their liquid soap was even a finalist in the Natural and Organic Awards 2015 'Best New Natural Beauty & Spa Product' category. So, if you're looking for a new soap to try, please check out Savon Stories. They also offer natural shower accessories and now even a shampoo bar so they're definitely a brand to keep high on your radar.

Ingredients for the Bergamot and Lime liquid soap: spring water (aqua); organic extra virgin olive oil (sodium olivate); organic coconut oil glycerine; organic coconut oil (sodium cocoate); organic castor oil (sodium castorate); organic hempseed oil (cannabis satvia); organic essential oils of: lime & bergamot (citrus latifolia & citrus bergamia - naturally occurring citral, geraniol, limonene & linalool); natural fruit (citric) acid; wheatgerm vitamin E (tocopherol).