When I started this blog, I had big plans of putting awesome peer reviewed, scientific literature into each and every post. PhD school is too real ya’ll, and that’s not going to happen. I will be writing solid scientific posts weekly or biweekly, depending on how things go. I have some good topics planned, and I think you (and I!) will learn a lot. In the interim between those posts, I’m going to post some content structured around one of the oldest green concepts: reduce, reuse, recycle. The focus will be on the first two because, for reasons I will explain in depth later, I think these are the most important. Each of these posts will be about things I've done, and my reasoning for doing them.
Back story. I showed up to my new graduate program fresh off of three previous years of crazy (getting my Master’s Degree) and a 2 month long camping/road trip…so basically I looked a little busted and I didn't care. There is a well documented relationship between time in graduate school and how much you worry about how you look (view the graph here), and all these fresh faced new graduate students looked SO nice. What happened? Did they not get the memo? In any case, years of social conditioning dictated I step up my personal up-keep regime. Jokes aside, it needed to happen anyway, and it has made me feel good to actually look in the mirror in the mornings (I literally hadn't looked in a mirror in weeks while writing my M.S. thesis).
|My uniform for the summer. Not pictured, my buddy's socks|
and sandals combo (she is also a graduate student)
I’m still a make-up minimalist, but over the past month or so I have managed to throw a little moisturizer, blush, and mascara on in the mornings. After about a week, I added “eye make-up remover” to the grocery list. That Saturday, post farmer's market, I found the item in the grocery store and DANG. I know I haven’t purchased this product in years but when did it get so expensive? Then I looked at all the ingredients. What the heck was some of this stuff? I have really sensitive skin and a really thin pocket book, so I passed on the store bought stuff. The older I get, the more I realize that a lot of my “green living” decisions also save me tons of money.
So, what makes homemade a greener option? Let’s look at what goes into this project, then revisit this question at the end.
Homemade Eye Make-up Remover (based on these original instructions)
|Really, this is all you need!|
2 T Witch Hazel
2 T Witch Hazel
2 T Olive Oil
2 T H2O
2 T H2O
Small bottle for storage
Instructions and Tips:
Literally, just put all the ingredients in the storage vessel of your choice, shake it up, dab a bit on a wash cloth, and go for it just like normal eye make-up remover. The hardest part of all of this for me was cleaning out my old travel conditioner bottle. I found I have to let it sit on my eye for a little while longer than store bought versions, but it leaves the skin around my eyes feeling soft as opposed to overly dry. It passed the ultimate test of make-up remover in my book when I got out of the shower, dried my face, and did the obligatory “under the eye towel swipe,” there was no mascara residue. Score. I’ll mention two things that might go without saying. First, oil separates from water, so you have to shake this up each time you use it. Second, getting oil in your eyes can suck, so make sure and wash off your eye area with warm water to remove excess oil.
Note: You can use any oil you want in this recipe (almond, jojoba, etc.) but I chose olive because it is cheap, and I can use the rest to sauté veggies and what not.
So, why is making your own product greener than buying something in the store? Number one in my mind is the fact that homemade products generally require less plastic. You will see in this tutorial that my version of the eye make-up remover was not plastic free. However, I needed olive oil anyway and I am lucky enough to be able to buy olive oil in bulk from my food co-op (next time I won’t forget my reusable glass container). The witch hazel did come in a plastic bottle, but I will use this same plastic bottle to make countless batches of eye make-up remover (as opposed to having to buy a new bottle every time I run out), and then use the plastic bottle itself to hold other homemade goodies after the original contents are long gone.
Homemade solutions also allow you to purchase the basic ingredients for products and learn about where those ingredients come from and how they are manufactured. For example, my olive oil comes from a local grower! It’s a lot easier to find out the methods used to produce simple products with few ingredients (e.g.: olive oil!) as opposed to complex, chemically laden products where finding out where and how each ingredient is produced can be impossible and unduly stressful!
Final Word: I hope you guys like these lifestyle posts. I’m going to use them to identify topics that I want to discuss in more depth. In just this post, I see I need to talk about the importance of plastic reduction, why buy local matters, why reduction and reuse are more important (in my opinion) than recycling, and (maybe) graduate student fashion. That last one could be more painful than it is really worth, and the ecological relevance is shaky at best.
What do you think? Are there any opinions/claims I've expressed in this post that you would like to know the ecological/scientific basis for? Will you be trying this DIY project? Tell me how it works for you!