My search to buy local, reduce plastic and stay natural for decent quality toiletries at an affordable price turned far more difficult than it should be.
Thankfully, I tracked down some options in my western Canadian world.
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First let's define the parameters. What works for me, may not be suitable for you.
Local: Preferably western Canadian made
Plastic: Preferably packaged in glass or tin which can be recycled at community facilities
Natural: Free of parabens, SLS, chemicals and other nasties
Price: Not unreasonably cheap, but not outrageously expensive either. I look for value.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Until recently, the shampoo bars I tried have been a disappointment. I have long hair and after a few washes, most bars left it feeling as if a waxy residue took over.
That all changed with the Unwrapped Life shampoo and conditioner bars. In particular, the Stimulator line works particularly well for my naturally wavy, fine hair. Their recent 30% off deal for Earth Day was perfect for stocking up.
Note: Unwrapped Life are based in Calgary, Alberta and are a Canadian-owned company.
How many times have I found a natural toothpaste, SLS free, fair price but darn-if if it isn't packaged in a plastic tube? Too many times, I say!
Then I stumbled on this Tooth Oil by Riverstone Naturals. It seemed a little pricey compared to a regular tube, but considering you only use 2 to 3 drops at a time, the bottle should last a long time. The taste is really quite nice and cleaned up my teeth nicely. Top marks for quality.
Available in 15ml or 30ml glass bottles.
It is also worth noting that the product comes with a plastic lid. The company is quite transparent about their packaging and try to avoid plastic if at all possible, but not everything is possible yet. For more, their webpage explains what each part is made of and how to recycle it. When I questioned the black plastic lid - which most recycling facilities in Canada cannot handle - they responded, "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Moving forward, we will replace all future bottles with white caps so this is no longer an issue. We really appreciate your input."
Kudos for proactive customer response and action!
Note: Riverstone Naturals are based in Craik, Saskatchewan and their customer service was fantastically speedy
While normally I am a big fan of Mac Cosmetics who takes back their empty, used, or expired product packaging - they still use primarily black plastic. So I searched for alternatives.
I switched to Elate Cosmetics' pressed eye colour (as eyeliner) and concealer (Revealer). Their products fit in bamboo cases and offer a bamboo travel eyeliner brush which works great with the shadows. So far, everything is long lasting and works brilliantly.
My order came in a tiny box with no plastic tape, nor excess packaging. Everything was; however, protected and in perfect condition when it arrived.
Note: Elate Cosmetics are made in Manitoba and have their headoffice in Victoria, BC.
Nancy O'Hare has lived and worked across five continents and travelled to over eighty countries. Her writing shares insights from her travels and musings about the world around us.