One of my biggest eco-sins is my love for baths -- the bigger the better! Throw in some jets, bubbles, essential oils and maybe a friend, and I'll give up a night out for a night in anytime. But traditional bathtubs need around 30 gallons to fill (that's equivalent to about two ten-minute showers), and the giant modern tubs can range from 40 to 60 gallons per dip -- or more.
You're not just using a lot of water, but also quite a bit of energy to get all that H2O hot and steamy. With so many states under drought warnings this year, and global warming exacerbated by energy production finally an accepted reality, it's a good time to consider cutting back on baths.
But being eco-friendly doesn't mean that you should feel deprived. If you're responsibly reducing tub time, showers should get an upgrade from the utilitarian. One of my favorite tricks is to get the bathroom all warmed up while you wash your hair and face, and then turn off the water and start scrubbing with a salt or sugar-based exfoliator. The grainy sel or sucre will remove dead skin, while the all-natural essential oils will absorb into your winter-parched skin. Since both sweet and salty are totally biodegradable, what you wash down the drain won't do any damage to water supplies, and your skin will be so soft from the combination of scrub and fragrant oils you won't even need post-shower moisturizer.
Trillium Organics makes one of the delicious scrubs that are in my shower right now. The Minnesota-based company's salt-based body polish comes in a vivifying and delicious pink grapefruit scent, as well as others like clove, lime, lavender and clementine (and unscented too, so you can go sans aromatherapy, or add your own oils at home).
Take a vacation to Hawaii (but avoid the carbon-producing flight) with Malie Kauai's edible-sounding body polishes in sugarcane ginger, seasalt coconut, jasmine rose, and my favorite, coffee macadamia. Made with real organic coffee, this scrub will wake up your skin in more ways than one; besides removing dead skin, the coffee is said to stimulate skin and break up cellulite.
Nature Girl's I Love Organic body polish is not only made with organic Brazilian sugar and organic jojoba, calendula and sunflower oils, but the essential oils are harvested from plants from small family-run farms or are wildcrafted. (Wildcrafting involves harvesting uncultivated, unfarmed ingredients from the wild. When done sustainably, usually only parts of plants are removed, like the flowers or stems.)
Get in the holiday spirit with a sugar and spice combo from Aura Cacia. Warming cinnamon and ylang ylang essential oils are mixed with organic, fair-trade sugar, shea butter and Vitamin E.
I hate to run out of LUSH's Ocean Salt scrub, but I often do, because it's so tempting to use it for scrubby fun every time I shower (it can be used on the face and the body). Concocted of fine and coarse sea salts, fresh grapefruit and lime infusions, avocado butter, seaweed and coconut fat, this stuff smells like you're on the beach, covered in coconut tanning oil with a margarita inches from your nose. Serious yum.
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