Plastic Free July product review

Bathroom blitz
The bathroom collects an astounding amount of plastic. For serious commitment to tidying our planet up, having a plastic recycling bin in your bathroom, in addition to a rubbish bin is a good start. However, giving up plastic all together is even better. Here are some products I picked up from a variety of stores in Wanaka that my family tried this week. (All items were selected and paid for by the editor)

Nature Body charcoal toothpaste

This charcoal toothpaste comes in a glass jar with an aluminium lid. It’s jet black and is incredibly salty so although it says peppermint on the front, it’s a stretch to describe it as ‘minty’. As a toothpaste it left my teeth feeling clean but I had to rinse five times to get rid of the black in my mouth, only to discover that the black clings to the ceramic vanity bowl so needs a lot of wiping down each time I brush, and if there’s a skerrick of toothpaste left on my mouth, my white towels went very black. I had to make my own mouthwash with water and a tonne of peppermint essential oil to rinse the saltiness away. So, all in all? The flavour is tolerable but not great, it has no fluoride, it creates one hell of a mess and it’s $24 a pop.  Two stars. 

Nature Body kids turmeric toothpaste
“This is revolting and tastes like poo” said Miss Eight. “It’s like broccoli. Don’t try it. It’s just gross,” said Miss Seven. Knowing my kids are the masters of exaggeration I thought I’d try the product to see how accurate their review was, only to discover that for once, they were being completely understated. It was revolting. More confusing was why someone would put turmeric, the king of staining-everything-yellow in a toothpaste? Isn’t that quite possibly the worst possible ingredient to scrub your teeth with? Turmeric may have other healthy benefits, but I don’t believe cleaning teeth is one of them. At $24 a pottle, it’s not one I would ever buy again. 
One star (and that’s just for the packaging). 

Eco Easy toothpaste tabs
My beef with the toothpaste alternatives is that they have no fluoride — and as Wanaka’s water supply has no fluoride, that becomes a recipe for eighteenth century teeth that look like broken gingernuts. So, it was with glee that I purchased these off the internet (if you know where to buy these in Wanaka, please let me know). They come in a cute little tin with 180 tabs in each tin which for our family is a three-week supply. The kids LOVE them; pop them in your mouth, crush with your teeth then start brushing. No mess, no fuss. They also come in a fluoride-free option for those with that preference. 
Five stars.

Nature Body probiotic deodorant
I will admit I am perfectly happy with aluminium in my deodorant but, in the name of Plastic Free July I thought I’d try Nature Body’s ‘natural’ alternative as it comes in cardboard packaging, and the bergamot and jasmine fragrance smelt divine. With probiotics it claims to take away the pong, but doesn’t actually stop you sweating; so this is strictly a deodorant, and not an antiperspirant. As a writer, I am mostly sedentary so this product actually sufficed for a few days until I decided to haul my large arse through Sticky Forest and came out with very sticky armpits. True to the product’s claim, I didn’t actually stink but the wet pits felt gross. My personal jury is out as to whether this is a product I could permanently swap to. It smelt really lovely but was super expensive. If you don’t sweat or live a rather sedentary lifestyle, then this product has potential. 
Three and a half stars. 

Ethique lime and lemongrass deodorant
The Ethique brand has a great reputation but this is just a deodorant, not an antiperspirant so scepticism was high. I got Husband, who is a very active builder, to trial this for a week. Husband has often reacted to aluminium-based brands with a mild eczema reaction so he was very happy with this selection. As a deodorant it has a clean, bright, citrus smell and he left the house smelling great in the mornings. But with 10 layers of merino (I kid you not, he looks like the Michelin man when he walks out in winter) and a very active day, there was a definite pit pong by day’s end. But, compared to other aluminium-free brands that he has tried over the years, due to the eczema issue, this is one of the best. 
Four stars. 

Ethique shampoo and conditioner trial pack
My kids are at opposite ends of the spectrum: one has thick, greasy hair and the other has super-fine dry brittle hair. I have dry hair that has been colour-treated so I need a deeply nourishing option and husband is balding but with a tendency to grease—so trying to find a solution for the whole family, the Ethique trial pack was a perfect start. The Frizz Wrangler shampoo, and Wonderbar conditioner for dry hair worked fabulously on me and Miss Seven. Our hair felt very smooth and soft when dried. For Miss Eight, the St Clements shampoo and The Guardian conditioner was brilliant for her oily hair. The bar options require much more lathering to get the product going so for the kids, I had to do it for them, which was a slight downer. But when we went on holiday this week and took enough shampoo and conditioner for the whole family it took the size of a deck of cards — winning. 
Five stars.


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