Over-consumption is one of the major problems these days. The amount of waste, both from the products but also from all of the shipping and packaging, we make each year has become unsustainable.
Sure, we can conveniently order things online and cure all the ills of our busy modern lives, but at what cost are we doing so? Could there be a better way? With the end of 2015 still fresh in our minds and fiscal measures, one of the largest global online retailers has published a list of top selling items last year. Amazingly, nearly half of the items are things we can easily make at home.
While many people are hesitant to join the DIY crowd, leaving that to a “certain type,” the truth of the matter is that it’s important for everyone. Not only does it save us all money, but it automatically reduces the amount of waste that we produce by buying 10 different products that serve all different purposes. If that wasn’t enough of a draw to consider DIY-ing, all of the products on this list can be made in under 15 minutes!
Currently, the cosmetic industry earns upwards of 30 billion dollars a year through makeup sales. Unfortunately, many of these products are filled with chemicals that, after being tested on animals, still actually damage the human body. There is a host of carcinogens found in different types of cosmetics: formaldehyde, BHA, BHT and many others. Other common cosmetic chemicals such as dibutyl phthalate, parabens, and triclosan have even been thought to interfere with our hormones.
Even so, makeup is a powerful status quo. Why would we keep supporting an industry that doesn’t value us (or the planet) as consumers? With just a few simple ingredients and a couple of minutes, it’s possible to whip up some all-natural homemade makeup. Shouldn’t everyone be doing that instead?
Cosmetics: Hair Care
Styling hair is something that we all — males included — do on a daily basis, which is how it has come to warrant 30-plus billion dollars a year from us. But, manufacturers are more focused on sales and “performance” of their products than thins like our health. Ethanolamines (MEA, DEA and TEA) are regularly used in shampoos, conditioners and shaving cream, even though they are linked to cancer and organ toxicity. Formaldehyde can even be found in baby shampoo!
However, the fact of the matter is that we can’t show up to work each day with unwashed bed head. Luckily, with only a few natural components, we can create DIY alternative hair care products to address our every hairstyle need, from DIY styling to DIY moisturizing.
Perfumes and colognes also pull in a healthy share — billions annually — of the profits, and it’s no wonder looking the price on a bottle of Fill-in-the-Superstar’s new favorite. But, as is the case with most cosmetics, the monetary cost is not the only price we are paying. Perfumes come with an abundance of synthetic scents, nearly all of which have toxins and carcinogens. Anyone who has dealt with aromas knows how profoundly they can affect us, our moods and respiratory system.
Nevertheless, a certain scentual level has become more and more important in modern life, a fact not covered up by the abundance of body sprays that arouse animalistic instincts in the opposite sex. But, we know what smells nice, and we can make DIY colognes and perfumes without putting our health at risk. Plus, the DIY lines are incredibly reasonable on pricing.
Personal Care Products
Personal care products include things for keeping the human body presumably healthier, as well as other appearance and smell concerns. As we’ve seen with other products, economics has played a bigger role in product development than has human safety: Harmful chemicals can be found in most, such as the fluoride (an endocrine disruptor) we are taught to seek out in toothpaste, and isopropyl alcohol, which weakens the skin’s immunity barrier, is found in just about everything meant to absorb into the skin.
Sure, we’ve got to take care of our teeth and skin, and these concerns can’t really go unaddressed. But damaging our bodies elsewhere to care for these things doesn’t make any sense, especially when its cheaper and safer to spend a few minutes making our own personal care products, especially DIY toothpaste and DIY deodorant.
As we can see, no less than half of the items that top the online retail giant’s best-selling list can be made simply and quickly at home for a fraction of the cost of and with much more care than what manufacturers are providing. And, let us not forget the lower impact on the environment we can make via using less packaging, shipping miles and synthetic chemicals (if they are harmful to us, what are they doing to the animals exposed to them?). DIY is good for everyone.
Lead image source: Homemade Invigorating Whipped Grapefruit Mint Scrub