Note: elephant journal did not, in this case, receive this review item for free. In any case, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.
Last month, while riding together in the back of her car, my cousin lifted her left arm and instructed me to smell her armpit.
I leaned in with more resignation than anything—this was summer in San Diego after all, and she had just come from a full day at the daycare she runs out of her home. Surely I was in for some underarm funk.
Blessed surprise! I was met with not even a waft of… well, anything. She was entirely odorless, which is far more than I’ve been able to say for myself in months.
“It’s the deodorant I’ve been telling you about from Hippie Karma, and now they’re carrying it in biodegradable tubes like that one,” she told me, pointing at the cardboard tube of chapstick I’d just pulled out of my bag.
This particular cousin and I both tend to get starry-eyed over things like urban homesteading, organic meals, the dozen chickens in her backyard and, you know, the environment. It’s a lifestyle she tenderly refers to as “Hippie Lite.”
She’s familiar with my ongoing personal campaign to greatly reduce my daily plastic use, and likely passed on this tip for her sake more than my own; I’ve found that attempting to navigate underarm care is to wander through a trash pile of plastic-encased toxic concoctions, and I’d taken instead to not wearing any at all. (Remember Hippie Lite? In my case, it seems, we must scratch the “Lite” and affix “Dirty” to the front.)
And, so, I reached out to Hippie Karma to make a purchase via her Facebook page, and was reminded of all the reasons I prefer small business to a thundering corporation: the owner, Desiree, responded to me directly and walked me through her purpose and production.
Desiree is intimately familiar with all the ingredients in each of her products, and imagines, sources and blends them all herself.
“We use raw, ethically-traded ingredients from either women-owned or small-owned businesses, except for our cold-press coconut oil which we get in bulk through a reputable dealer that focuses on direct trade with farmers,” she told me in a message.
She carries a wide variety of personal care items (sunscreen, insect repellant, hair products, etc., packaged in cardboard, metal tins or glass), and I was grateful for her willingness to personalize my order. I’d asked her to put my deodorant in the biodegradable tube (which, she informed me, “will degrade in a healthy compost in less than two months or naturally in four months,”) instead of a glass jar so I could easily roll it on, but then didn’t hear back from her for a couple of days.
When she did get in touch, this is what she had to say: “Just did some small-batch testings to make sure it would hold up in this heat—if it does not, you let me know and I will get you some new deodorant! I have never done them in the 1-ounce tubes before but have taken them out with me every day this week to see how it holds up at the beach, in my purse, and being tousled by toddlers.”
I don’t imagine I’d have experienced the same if I tried to contact the makers of the Dove deodorant I used to use.
So clearly a new love relationship has been born. And I’m finding that—while this lifestyle is about things like plastic reduction, ethical consumption, pure products and more—the aspect that hooks me most is the awareness, the feeling of waking up to the impact of my own living. It’s a recognition and acceptance of the truth that our individual behaviors are what matter. It’s a hopeful looking-up to Rumi when he says, “Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”
So let’s support each other in this pursuit, shall we? Find (or become) an entrepreneur in your community who’s doing work you believe in. Vote with dollars. Share discoveries with neighbors and friends (and me—I’m currently on the hunt for a good plastic-free, cruelty-free mascara. Anyone?).
To that end, here’s a short list of other great plastic-free options I’ve begun integrating into my life: this toothpaste recipe (I add a significant pour of peppermint oil to counter the saltiness of the coconut oil, then store the mixture in a mason jar that I can dip my toothbrush in), these brilliant plastic wrap replacements and, of course, this, the Bible according to Beth Terry and the ultimate resource in plastic-free living.
How about you? Have you found any resources that make living green easier? Share in the comments below!
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Hippie Karma, Used With Permission