I’m running out of shampoo. And conditioner. And daily SPF moisturizer, night cream, toothpaste, hand soap, deodorant, mascara, mouthwash… I think you can see where I’m going with this, right?
What products are in your bathroom right now? Go ahead and look. I’ll wait. Take a long hard look in your shower, your medicine cabinet, your bathroom drawers.
It’s shocking how much stuff we can gather in the smallest room in the house, isn’t it? It seems like every part of our body needs at least one product all to itself.
Eye cream? Check. Cuticle oil? Check. Elbow buffer? Uh-huh.
I need all my products to be my best self!,” we scream.
Really? Or have we just been subjected to so much advertising that we don’t know where we end and decades of slogans begin?
The Heavy Hand of Marketing
Quick, name the brands:
- “Because I’m worth it”
- “Maybe she’s born with it”
- “That’s my style”
- “Easy, breezy, beautiful” (what the hell does that even mean?)
Most beauty companies spend around 25% of their budget on marketing and we eat it up, to the tune of $160bn a year worldwide.
That’s $160bn worth of plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and bags, most of which ends up in landfill. Not to mention a whole host of harmful chemicals and some well concealed animal-testing processes.
Even if you only buy the expensive “all-natural”, “organic” brands from your fancy health food store, chances are you still have a pile of stuff you don’t use or don’t need to use. One British study (to be fair, it was by Vaseline, so not exactly objective) found that women waste 75% of the beauty products they buy.
What Do You Really Need?
Take another look in your bathroom. What stuff is there because you need it and what stuff is there because someone on TV told you they could make your cellulite disappear and that your eyelashes are too short?
Even the most ubiquitous products might not be right for you.
For example, my husband stopped using shampoo. He didn’t replace it with anything. He just stopped washing his hair. Didn’t tell me for months.
Guess what? I didn’t notice. His hair is the same as it always had been, except that where he’d once had problems with a dry, flaky scalp, now his scalp is just fine. The industry had convinced him he needed their specialized dry scalp remedies and he tried them all. None of them worked because all he really needed was to stop using their products entirely.
Now, I’m not saying we should all stop washing and grooming and wander around like apes. I like smelling nice just as much as the next girl.
But I have slowly been cutting products out of my life. Things I thought were necessities are now gone, with no perceptible change in my level of beauty — I’m still astonishingly gorgeous ;).
One Less Product (At A Time)
I’m running out of shampoo. This weekend, instead of buying a new bottle (with all the plastic and weird chemically stuff that involves) I’m going to get a nice bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap and start using that for my face, my hair, my cuticles, between my toes, and everywhere else.
Here’s your challenge. Pick one of your products and just let it run out. Don’t replace it. See what happens. Do people look in horror upon your ghastly countenance? Or do they not notice a damn thing?
Share the results of your experiments below!
Hi, I’m Jane, founder and chief blogger on My Five Acres. I’ve lived in six countries and have camped, biked, trekked, kayaked, and explored in 50! At My Five Acres, our mission is to inspire you to live your most adventurous life and help you to travel more and more mindfully.