One of the horrible habits I picked up when I moved out on my own was storing food in the fridge without any covering. Stretch-tight/clingwrap was just an extra expense that I never deemed necessary when I was living on my own in Boston. I also never had a ton of room in my apartments for a lot of storage containers and most of what I had was used for meal prepping. And since I meal prepped, I knew that avocado in the fridge would be eaten for breakfast for the next 4 days so is it really necessary to wrap it up? Or, if I couldn’t find a lid for a storage container, eh. It’ll be eaten in a day or so anyways. No big deal.
My mom, who I have been sharing a fridge with since around the beginning of COVID, would disagree!
If you follow my on Instagram, you’ll know that a few weeks back, I tried to do a quick review of my favorite low waste, clean beauty products that I use for winter skin.
The “quick” round up did not go well. Instragram kept freezing and skipping on me and it took a lot longer than I planned and didn’t get to include nearly as much information as I wanted. SO, I’m including it here as well. These are my top 5 favorite product for dry skin:
Oneka Unscented Lotion: I love this product for a number of reason: it has clean ingredients, it’s unscented, it’s non-greasy and I can buy it in bulk at Cleenland in Boston. I keep mine in a repurposed body lotion bottle. For those not in Boston, you can purchase it here as well. Because it’s non-greasy, I like to use this after a morning shower or as a hand lotion if my hands start getting really dry from too much hand washing. #thankscovid
Oneka is also a Certified B-Corporation, which I want to point out because March is B-Corp month! B-Corps, in short, are for-profit companies that “are using business as a force of good”, according to the B-corp website. These are companies that meet a high standard of transparency, accountability and are trying to make a positive change environmentally and socially. In other words, they don’t put profit over people or the environment. B-Corp is a global, independent certification and companies have to qualify to get their stamp of approval. If you are looking to support companies that are making a positive impact, companies that are Certified B-Corp are a great place to start!
Homemade sugar scrub: This product is great because you can make it with what you already have in your home. This particular one is the vanilla pumpkin spice. It has sugar, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla- no essential oils or anything strange. Pinterest is made up of about 80% sugar scrubs recipes so there is definitely something there for everyone, depending on what you have in your house. Keep it simple and #shopyourpantry!
Ethique Butter Bars: The packaging on these butter bars is great. They come in recyclable or compostable paper boxes. I tried the travel-size ones in Sweet Orange and Coconut Lime. I find them a little greasier than the Oneka Lotion so I tend to save these for at night. They are hydrating and still smell great. One of my favorite routine is doing a workout on Sunday night, taking a hot shower and using my homemade body scrub, moisturizing with Ethique and putting on comfy leggings. The next morning, I wake up with super soft skin and can start my week feeling really good. These also travel really well so one less liquid you have to worry about packing.
Sorry the pictures for these aren’t great. All the products on here are well loved and used! The mini butter bars are actually heart shaped when they arrive.
Ethique is also a B-Corp, cruely free/vegan and donate 20% of their profits to charity!
Beautycounter Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm: This is my absolute favorite beauty product right now. I swear, every time I use it, my face looks better. Because this is a balm and not a soap, you take a small amount and massage it on dry skin. Take a warm, damp face cloth and wipe off product. The balm removes make up and dirt and leaves your skin feeling so, so soft but also clean! It’s made up of tons of hydrating oils like jojoba, avocado and apricot, along with other hydrating ingredients like shea butter. You can also put it on and leave it on overnight as a hydrating mask but the balm is so thick I worry it would clog my pores so I haven’t tried that out yet. I use this strictly as a cleanser in the evening.
As for packaging, the balm is in a glass jar. The jar and lid are both recyclable. The jar comes in a box, which is paper and recyclable. Beautycounter is supposed to be rolling out refills this year for their products so I’m keeping my eyes and ears open for that and will let you know when those are released.
Ironically, I was very reluctant to try the Lotus Balm. My beautycounter consultant at the time had to recommend this to me three times before I finally tried it. I had previously tried Lush’s Ultrabland Cleansing balm which is similar to this- massage balm into skin, wipe off with damp face cloth- and I hated it. It left my skin feeling greasy and dirty and I was so hesitant to spend money on another balm. But I love the Beautycounter one! And Beautycounter offers a 60 day return policy if you are hesitant to try it. I actually like their products so much I signed up to be a consultant this year so let me know if you have any questions!
And, you guessed it!! Beautycounter is also a B-Corp. Their ingredients are clean, ethically sourced and they are very big advocates for clean beauty. In the 8 years they have been around, they have helped pass 9 pieces of legislation involving clean beauty.
Lush Let The Good Times Roll exfoliant: This has been a favorite product for years! I may have hated their cleansing balm but Lush does have a lot of other winning products and this is definitely one I continue to buy. The exfoliant is maize flour (aka no microplastics here!) and it has corn oil which leaves your skin so smooth. It also smells like vanilla/popcorn/cinnamon/caramel depending on who’s smelling it but all those are wins in my book.
The packaging is Lush’s black pot which are made from 100% recycled plastic and which you can return to the store and they will clean and reuse. If you bring back 5 black pots to one of their stores, you get one of their fresh ingredients face masks for free. Those are delightful! Especially since they also come in a black pot so you are well on your way to getting 5 more to bring in. I love companies that take responsibility for their packaging.
Beautycounter Resurfacing Peel: If you aren’t feeling the Lush exfoliant (it smells delightful but I know not everyone loves sweet smells or they prefer an acid peel), the overnight resurfacing peel may be more up your alley. I use this twice a week, Monday and Friday (you know I love a routine!), and it helps remove dull skin and shrinks pores without leaving my skin feeling tight or dry. Plus, it does all the work while you sleep which is my type of beauty product. This is probably one of the top 3 products on Beautycounter. I got a mini sample size and it has lasted me months!
Packaging is a paper, recyclable box and a glass, recyclable jar.
Beautycounter Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream: This is the only product on my list which I wouldn’t recommend for all skin types, which is why it’s in the Bonus Section. The Supreme Cream is from BC’s Countertime line which is super hydrating and helps with fine lines. I use this at night after the Cleansing Balm.
This is anti-aging but they’ve gotten rid of the retinol which can make skin irritated and sensitive to the sun and replaced it with bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose, both plant-based.
Packaging is a paper, recyclable box and a glass, recyclable jar.
Bee Balm / Booda Butter : I use these two chapsticks interchangably. They are both made with minimal clean ingredients and both are in paper packaging with no plastic. Bee Balm, I think, is made in the Boston area but I can’t find a website to confirm that. I bought mine at Cleenland. Booda Butter was purchased at the Williamantic Co-Op.
Switching to a clean, sustainably packaged face routine has been a struggle in my 30s. I’ve talked a little about this on my IG but I swear, the moment I turned 30, I went from having oily, acne prone skin to dry, combination skin over night (at least that’s what it felt like!). My prior face wash which I loved and had been using for years, Lush’s Aqua Marina, was now way too drying. I tried a few Lush cleansers after but never really loved them like I did Aqua Marina.
With that in mind, I decided to try Meow Meow Tweets Tea Tree Charcoal face bar rather reluctantly. My first introduction with Meow Meow Tweet was their Rosemary and Avocado shampoo bar and I didn’t like it at all. The smell was too strong for me (the only other option from them was lavender and coconut bar and there’s no way I could walk around with lavender in my hair all day. That’s a 24 hour headache is what that is). Though my hair looked clean, it left my scalp and hair feeling dirty somehow. Honestly, if I hadn’t been placing an order already on Package Free and just run out of face wash that day, I probably wouldn’t have tried this cleansing bar.
Thankfully, this product worked MUCH better than the shampoo bar. The tea tree and the charcoal balance my skin really well, keeping any random acne spots at bay without leaving my face feeling dry. It lathers nicely in my hands and it doesn’t smell too strong.
The product packaging was super sustainable since it arrived naked! No box here. As for shipping, it shipped from Package Free Shop, which ships with no plastic in recyclable cardboard. Even the packing tape is plastic free so super sustainable!
As for the company, Meow Meow Tweet was founded in Brooklyn in 2009 by Tara Pelletier (she/they) and Jeff Kurosaki (they/them). The team started by making soap and have now expanded to deodorants, face care including oils, cleansers and toners, shampoos and conditioner, sunscreen, bug repellent, etc. All their products list out the ingredients and almost every ingredient is natural and clean. Every product also details what to do with the packaging after you are done, including sending the pumps from their bottles back to them so they can recycle them with terracycle. They do offer bulk in some items. For those items, Meow Meow Tweet takes back the entire bulk containers, sanitizes and reuses it. So, if you try a smaller size and realize you love it, you can keep your regular container, order a bulk products and refill your container a few times before sending the empty bulk container back. When purchased in bulk, the product tends to be 15% less per oz. I haven’t tried this system yet but I love how thoughtful this company is with their packaging and looking to keep as much as they can out of landfills.
I think the biggest seller for me on the Tea Tree Charcoal Face wash is that it lasts forever. I received this bar in July and it’s still going strong! I started using it twice a day and am down to just the morning with it. In the evening, I use the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm as it’s more moisturizing for the winter months. The comments on the website range from 6 months for those that use it religiously twice a day, to about a year for those that use it once a day. I’m at 7 months and, if I’m honest, probably have another 2 or 3 months left. That’s $12 for 9 months of a product! Any product that doesn’t make me have to replace it every month is a win in my book.
When I created this blog, it was so I could help people weed through the growing number of zero-waste products that were on the market. What items are worth buying and which aren’t? For the most part, I have had great success going zero-waste. I love shampoo bars, organizing my closet help me reduce the amount of clothes I was buying and I even figured out how to reduce my waste when it came to oral care, which was by far, one of the areas I was most worried about.
There haven’t been many fails on this blog but boy-oh-boy do Dryer Balls make that list.
I few weeks back, I shared with you the Bite mouthwash tabs which I really love. I use them everyday and they are such a great addition to my evening routine.
But, I was holding back on sharing the toothpaste bits with you. I know that’s kind of weird but I guess I see mouthwash as sort of a bonus point to your oral care routine. Your dentist never asks “So, how often do you use mouthwash?” They always ask about how often you brush your teeth and floss.
So, before I shared with you the toothpaste bits, I really wanted to make sure they checked out. I wanted to see my dentist first and see if they could tell I had made any switches. And guess what? They couldn’t tell and I was completely cavity free! Thank the Lord because I have had far too many cavities in my life!
Let’s get into it then! Bite is a female-owned small business created by Lindsay McCormick who was looking to reduce the plastic and harsh chemicals that come with traditional toothpaste. You might have seen her on Shark Tank, where she DIDN’T take the offers presented to her. Turns out she didn’t seem to need the offers because it seems like Bite is kind of killing it now!
You know when I review a product, I always like to start with packaging and true to their word, Bite arrived in plastic-free packaging- a recyclable cardboard box, paper tape and brown paper wrapping. The container is glass with an aluminum lid- both which are recyclable, if needed. The appeal of Bite, though, is instead of having to continuously purchase and ship glass containers, you can order refills. The refill pouches are also plastic-free, home compostable, and made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) managed forests.
To further help the environment, they do NOT offer overnight or rush shipping as that increased their carbon footprint, which I found super interesting. More about that here.
I chose to start with the small bottle of 62 bits to try them out first. If you do that, you will get a second glass jar that holds the full 248 bits when you upgrade your order. Keep the smaller bottle, it’s great for traveling!
I use the Mint bits. They are made without fluoride but Bite has recently introduced nHAp, which is a fluoride alternative that is supposed to be less toxic, reduce sensitivity and help build back enamel. As someone who had been using Sensodyne for years per a recommendation from my dentist, I can say for certainty that this does help with teeth sensitivity. I haven’t had any problems since switching to these bits, which I’ll be honest, I was worried about.
In terms of taste and texture, I like the flavor of the mint bits. I think it’s quite similar to traditional toothpaste. If you don’t like mint, they do offer a berry flavor, as well as seasonal flavors. So far, I have seen them release watermelon and champagne. You do have to order those separately as opposed to the subscription, though.
Texture-wise, this is bit different from traditional toothpaste. I use an electric toothbrush and that does mean the bits don’t foam up as much as traditional toothpaste. I know that electric toothbrushes aren’t common in the low-waste community, though. As someone who has had more than her fair share of cavities, it’s the one oral care item I haven’t been able to quit. Despite foam reduction, my teeth do still feel clean after use. If you use a traditional toothbrush like the Bite Bamboo toothbrush (which I use when I travel and I do like!), the bits do foam up better and it is similar to traditional toothpaste.
With that all said, I actually really like the Bite bits. Previous to these, the only solid toothpaste I had tried was the Lush Miles of Smiles which I hated. I can’t remember why but I didn’t even make it through my sample. I think they tasted weird, if I remember correctly, but don’t quote me on that cause it has been a while. The Bite bits are easy to use (just bite, wet your toothbrush and brush), they taste good and they really seem to practice what they preach in term of sustainability.
I like to follow the toothpaste bits with the Bite mouthwash to really leave my mouth fresh. Review of that can be found here.