“I dream on, in the border between reason and reality. I fly to you, in this reality that’s like a lie.”

I used a tea rinse on my hair tonight and it was messy but worth it. My hair has a beautiful shine to it. According to my mother my hair doesn’t look dirty, but it looks dull. I feel rather self-conscious about that now that I’m working, as I do every aspect of my appearance. I wouldn’t give up no shampoo though. I wouldn’t use shampoo again.

As I’ve talked about before, no shampoo has been a journey to new territory and it has really made me question my lifestyle and well, my relationship with the supermarket. Just how many of the things that are pushed on us are actually necessary? When I gave up shampoo I found myself skipping at least half an aisle in the supermarket, filled with must haves and should be usings. It makes one think.

I started to use reusable sanitary towels and liners and that was also game changing. I always wondered how mere cloth could absorb everything but as it turns out, a good cloth pad is better than any disposable. The good is the key part- a bad pad will be uncomfortable, not absorb as much and not come as clean. Once I found good brands I could rely on though? And got comfortable with the care of them? No going back. From there I started to notice what a big chunk of waste I was not producing, and I started to question just how much I was throwing into my black bin (I.e the one for the rubbish heap) I started sewing up reusable facial cotton rounds, and there was another chunk of stuff I wasn’t throwing away. I read some eco lifestyle blogs and felt excited at the possibilities but also aware that a lifestyle like that wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to start agonising over every little thing. I just wanted to do what I could and what I felt comfortable with.

Of course not all aspects of this journey have been successful and there is one aspect I have been struggling with: skincare. I really wanted to try using simpler, less synthesised products, preferably from UK based sellers. I have had great success with no shampoo, milk/oil based soaps, using plain oils as body care, sugar scrubs for exfoliating my legs before shaving. So I thought this would go well. And it hasn’t. I have found so many of the products I have tried- and there have been many- greasy in texture and yet my skin feels dry. Oil cleansers that won’t wash off, moisturisers that sit on the skin in a fatty layer, but never sink in. The only success I have had is in using rose water as a toner, and I have found a night cream I can tolerate. I feel like I’m using up too much money and messing around with my skin too much by this point, but I also feel unwilling to give up. Isn’t this supposed to be the better choice? I feel frustrated by it; I want it to work, to become another amazing, revealing step in my journey. Instead I find myself leaning towards the uncomfortable conclusion that maybe heavily synthesised products with lengthy, confusing ingredients may be better for me.

(I also hope I am using this right wording here. I refuse to say chemical free, because that’s nonsense, but even natural sounds wrong- there’s nothing unnatural about that in the drugstore, I can’t say that, so I’m going for the words simple to describe the skincare others may feel comfortable saying natural, and synthesised for the products you get in the chemists. Ok?)

Meanwhile, where to next? I am playing with crystal deodorant. I’ve been dying to give up my supermarket brand, but I thought the only other choice was that coconut oil/bicarb mix and I didn’t want bicarb anywhere near me. A bit silly – crystals seem a popular method that’s been around years. I bought a tiny travel sized one and am tentatively using it on the weekends.

I started to venture away from beauty and personal care. I tried to change up things in the kitchen and am now happily using reusable/washable dishwashing sponges and microfibre clothes for minor cleaning, but I find myself unable to bring myself to use clothes for heavy cleaning. I am using up my dish washing liquid and multi surface cleaner bought in the supermarket, and plan to replace them with a more eco friendly product from a small British company. I refuse to change anything in the bathroom- I will keep my bleach and won’t use reusable clothes to clean there. I still use the supermarket, even though I also buy things from the organic store.

In the end, I think it’s best to be doing something, no matter how small, than nothing. It’s about making the choices and changes you can afford and are comfortable with. It’s about awareness and a willingness to try (outside of the bathroom. I will be hypocritical in that way) and I guess, through my failure in that one aspect, because I think I’m giving up now, it’s about accepting your limitations and being able to say this isn’t working and give up or compromise (I’ll keep my night cream and rose water, but switch my day cream and makeup remover) I think. To be honest, on this journey, I am constantly changing my mind, becoming uncertain, questioning exactly what is it do I want? To focus on beauty and personal care, purely to see if it’s better for me, or also for environmental reasons? And do I want to take it further, to venture outside those subjects? Is this something I’m really interested in, or am I just letting myself getting dragged in because it feels I ought to – if I’m already giving up shampoo and using reusable pads surely it’s not right just to do so just for me, should I not be thinking of the greater consequences and issues surrounding these things? It’s all quite overwhelming really.

If there is just one certainty though- it’s that it doesn’t stop being interesting to question.