So far I have predominantly talked about food in my challenge. Although I need to say that good quality food is in fact the area I usually spend most of my every-day money, there are some other things remaining, people once in a while need or wish to consume – to make us look neat and pretty for instance.
I am talking about the bathroom and cosmetics section.
Mine is rather minimalistic nowadays and most things I use, last for quite a long time or are self-made, so that I don’t need to buy new stuff each month. This definitely is one of the reasons why I don’t feel particularly restricted or overstrained while living on 30 bugs a week and this is also why I didn’t need to spend money on it so far. I don’t have a huge make-up bag, conditioners or any perfume selection, which needs to be restocked.
However, it hasn’t always been like this. I used to have more stuff, tried many different products that promised beauty and perfectionism and there were days on which I spent more time in a drugs store than in a grocery shop. I certainly haven’t been always immune against the persuasive power of the cosmetics industry.
But step by step, I uncoupled myself from its influence and I figured out that a few items are absolutely sufficient, even for a woman who still cares about her appearance and does not look completely wasted (well, at least no one ever complained on that issue).
I guess this is the right moment to introduce you into the secrets of my current bathroom shelf (not 100% correct though, as some of the items are placed in my bedroom; but we aren’t so fussy):
- A piece of soap (palmoil free) for washing body and face
- Shampoo bar for my hair
- Coconut oil as body lotion alternative (twice a week is enough), for removing mascara and sometimes for my face. I also use it for cooking.
- A very new item is a self-made cider vinegar-facial tonic (great if you tend to sensitive skin and/or impurities), which I apply with self-made pads from old cloth; however, no facial tonic works for me as well.
- Almond oil for my face
- Lip balm (palmoilfree) – although coconut oil works good as well, so I probably won’t rebuy extra lip balm in future
- Self-made Deodorant
- Toothpaste (I haven’t tried a self-made version yet, but I definitely want to give it a go soon)
- Toned day creme
- Blemish stick
- Red nail polish (probably the most unecological thing in my whole flat, but I still use it now and then…)
- Mineral based sun lotion
In terms of completeness, I don’t want to keep quiet about still having a half-full bottle of hair spray standing around, but I stopped using it months ago. So I wouldn’t really count it.
For some people this list might appear small, but certainly some of you even need less (especially the men among us who quite rarely use mascara). There are also still some products I’m personally trying to get away from, since it’s not good for the environment or because I’m convinced that it’s just another habit, I don’t necessarily need. Toned day creme and nail polish would be such instances.
However, currently I feel good with the list above – and feeling good shouldn’t be underestimated. If you force yourself to do (or not to do) something, because you think you must change it – or worse – others tell you so, but you don’t actually feel comfortable or happy with it, then there is no chance you’ll maintain it. But if you feel good after changing something, because you see the benefits and it actually convinces you, then it’s easy to integrate it into your daily life. In many cases, like it was for my up-to-date beauty list above, this is a step-by-step process.
If I had done such a green low budget challenge five, two or even just one year ago, it would have been far more difficult for me than it is now. It wouldn’t be as green as well.
In fact, this is a significant point this challenge shows me: It is not as difficult as I thought it would be, because I’ve already made some important steps towards frugality and contentedness – and this is the very way I want to continue. It provides confidence that many other steps will follow and this makes me feel even better.