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How to Use Shampoo Bars

How to Use Shampoo Bars

We’ve had shampoo bars in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop for a good long while now. They’re a great zero waste alternative to shampoo in plastic bottles. There are four really great bars to choose from in the shop that are all organic, vegan, palm oil and SLS free, and come wrapped in flower seed paper that you can plant to grow wild flowers! I feel like this is an essential zero waste blog post, and I apologize for the delay in writing it. If you’ve used a shampoo bar, I’m sure you’ve realized it can take some getting used to. I’m excited to share with you my own tips and tricks for making the transition to natural shampoo bars.


How to Use Shampoo Bars

How to Use Shampoo Bars

Steps for Using a Shampoo Bar

  • First step, soak your hair thoroughly. You will want your hair to be pretty drenched, because shampoo bars don’t lather like normal liquid, bottled shampoo.
  • Make a lather in your hands using your shampoo bar. Again, you’ll notice the lather from a shampoo bar isn’t as strong as that from conventional soap. That’s because most liquid soaps are full of chemicals, especially SLS – a foaming agent, that make a really rich lather. A lot of foam is absolutely not necessary for clean hair, so don’t worry. *Note: if you have really short hair, feel free to rub the bar directly on your head. I don’t recommend this method for longer hair though because it’s harder to rinse it out.
  • Scrub the soap into your roots and scrub well. Conventional shampoos contain chemicals that strip the oils from your hair but shampoo bars do not. In this way, it’s important that you scrub and massage your scalp really well to break up the oils and then rinse it out really well.

How to Use Shampoo Bars

How to Use Shampoo Bars

 

Transition Period

I’d say the number one issue that arises when starting to use a shampoo bar is the transition period. Not everyone goes through it, but many people often do. Your hair is used to the chemicals you’ve been using from conventional shampoos which are intended to strip the natural oils from your hair. When you first make the switch, your hair might continue to produce those natural oils at the same rate as it was with your previous shampoo but now you aren’t stripping the oils from your hair… which can cause your hair to look greasy. Your hair will need to get used to your new method and accommodate to the new, more gentle cleansing routine you are using.

To counteract the greasy hair look you might have in the first few weeks or months, you can use an apple cider vinegar rinse to help balance the pH of your hair. Dilute about 2 tablespoons of ACV in a cup of water and use this to rinse your hair after using your shampoo bar. Do this ACV rinse about once per week.

Still Not Working

So you’ve been using your shampoo bar a few weeks now and your hair STILL looks oily. There’s a possibility your hair hasn’t gotten used to the new routine yet or it could be your water. Shampoo bars don’t work so great with hard water. The soap reacts with the high volume of minerals in your water and sometimes that creates build up on your scalp. You can counteract this again with an ACV rinse or you could also purchase a shower head filter to help soften your water.

Words of Wisdom

My personal advice is to just experiment around with different shampoo bars until you find what works best for you. Everyone’s hair reacts differently to shampoo bars and sometimes it requires a little trial and error to find a bar that you really love.

My friend Amber over on the Zero Wasted blog and shop said, “my advice would be for people to give the switch to a shampoo bar time. Give your hair a few washes and see how it goes. Also, look for an unpackaged shampoo bar or one in paper.”

Please feel free to share any advice or questions of your own about shampoo bars in the comments. Would love to hear more about your own experiences! 

 

 

 

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cloth diapering 101

cloth diapering 101

Cloth Diapering 101

If you haven’t already heard the exciting news, we are expecting an addition to the Tiny Yellow Bungalow crew very soon! Baby boy’s expected arrival is mid-February, and we are thrilled to start the cloth diapering adventure soon. I’ve been experimenting with the zero waste lifestyle over the past few years and would like to continue keeping things as waste and plastic free as possible even with a little one in the house. I think cloth diapering is a great place to start!

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my Instagram friends for all of their cloth diapering wisdom and advice. I want to thank everyone for sharing! I’ve compiled their responses here not only to help myself get organized but also in hopes of sharing with any other new-to-cloth diapering parents out there. Starting out with cloth is pretty overwhelming but I am so thankful for all the information shared by my knowledgeable Insta friends. I myself am totally new to the cloth diapering concept (this is our first baby) but I plan to learn as much as I can along the way and share it with you all. I promise I will write another post in a few months time when I’ve tried out cloth diapering first hand with our little guy.

How Many?

The general consensus on how many cloth diapers you should have in your stash is… it depends. Yes, it depends on how often you want to do laundry. My cloth diapering Insta friends mostly have between 20 and 30 diapers on rotation. If you don’t have as many, you simply need to wash diapers more often – no big deal. However, before you run to the store and grab 25 cloth diapers, a great tip mentioned was to start your stash small!

I was really hoping I would be able to buy 25 cloth diapers in one single brand before mid-February, because I like to be prepared. However, it seems that honestly cloth diapering is something you have to try out first hand and learn along the way. Apparently, each family and baby is different and will prefer different brands and styles of diapers. So starting out your stash small is a great idea, because you can learn which diapers you prefer and build your stash from there. I’m SO glad someone mentioned this to me before I went out and bought a bunch of diapers.

Favorite Brands & Styles

As I mentioned, every family is different and has certain  preferences when it comes to cloth diapering. If you’re like me though and have no clue where to start, it might be helpful to learn some brands that are zero waste parent tested and approved.

BumGenius

Thirsties

 

Rumparooz

 

Alva

 

FuzziBunz

You can find all of these style diapers online brand new or if you’d like to go extra eco-friendly, look for these diapers secondhand. Several Insta friends mentioned buying their gently used cloth diapers on Craigslist or Facebook. Buying secondhand isn’t only better for the environment but it’s also significantly cheaper.

It seems like most cloth diapering parents prefer organic cotton prefolds with waterproof covers or AIO diapers. It’s best to splurge on liners and purchase cheap covers. Most of my Insta friends prefer natural fibers like cotton or hemp for their cloth diapers, and snaps rather than velcro.

If you really don’t feel comfortable buying a few diapers to experiment with when baby comes, I learned that some online companies offer cloth diaper trials. This way, you can try out several different brands without the commitment of purchasing your own to see what works best for your baby.

Newborn Diapers

I had a variety of useful recommendations for newborn diapers and I still haven’t quite decided what my plan will be.

Option #1: Purchase cheap flour sack towels & covers for the newborn stage. Using flour sack towels is very affordable.

Option #2: Buy a stash of newborn cloth diapers used on Craigslist or Facebook. You can use these for the short newborn stage and then sell them again when you’ve moved on to the one size diapers.

Option #3: Just start with disposables for those first few weeks. In the beginning, baby poops meconium which will stain diapers. Also, baby legs are often too small for cloth diapers and you might have a lot of leakage. You’re already so exhausted in these first few weeks, make it a little easier on yourself by starting out cloth diapering at about 3-4 weeks old.

Night Time Diapers

Night time diapering is an experiment all in its own apparently. Several parents recommended wool covers for night time use over fitted diapers with bamboo & hemp inserts. Also, some parents like the Grovia O.N.E. diaper for night time since it is very absorbent!

Grovia O.N.E

Other parents simply suggested using disposables at night to prevent constant overnight leaks. You’re already washing diapers regularly do you honestly want to be washing baby sheets regularly as well??

Wet Bags

You will need two large wet bags to keep soiled diapers in. One will contain the dirty diapers while the other is in the wash, then you swap them out. You also need a small/medium wet bag for cloth diapering on the go. This smaller size bag can hold a dirty diaper or two that you will wash when you get home. According to my cloth diapering friends, cloth diapering on the go isn’t as difficult and yucky as it sounds! I’ll get back to y’all on that one 😉

Cloth Wipes

You can use small wash cloths for wipes with water in a hand soap pump to wet them. You could also repurpose an old flannel sheet as cloth wipes by simply cutting it up into small squares. One person recommended Under the Nile Cloth Wipes as her preferred cloth wipe choice:


If you are looking for a cloth wipe solution recipe, The Zero Journey has one to share which I definitely want try when baby arrives!

Washing

Just as each family has a different cloth diaper style preference, each family also has a preferred cloth diaper washing system. Some parents prefer unscented organic detergent for their diapers while others say you can’t beat the effectiveness of Tide powder. Tide does come in a cardboard box so at least it is plastic free! Another mom mentioned using powdered Gain and borax for her diaper stash. The brand Charlie’s Soap is also cloth diaper tested and recommended. You can purchase a diaper sprayer/bidet to remove some of the poo from diapers, or some parents prefer to use the laundry room sink. You will need to prewash diapers on warm/hot and then main wash on warm/hot. Some parents soak diapers while others do not. Most cloth diapering parents agreed that diapers should hang to dry when possible or dried on low heat. To help remove stains, some moms sun bleach their diapers. When it comes to washing diapers, I honestly think it’ll be something you have to try out for yourself and see what works best with your washing machine and diapers.

Recommended Online Resources

Here are some links to websites and resources recommended by my super wonderful Instagram friends.

Fluff Love University

The Zero Journey: Cloth Diapering

Naturally Thrifty Mom Youtube Series

Thirsties Facebook Group 

Green Mountain Diapers

Baby Cotton Bottoms 

 

Please let me know if there’s any other cloth diapering wisdom you’d like to share!

 

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links that give us  a small monetary percentage if you make a purchase through them. Regardless, we do not advertise any products we do not love. We are not influenced by these links, and you can buy through them with no additional cost to you. These links help us maintain the growth of our blog. Thanks for all your support!

 

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zero waste halloween

Zero Waste Halloween Ideas

It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are finally cooling down in Georgia, and I am just itching to hop in the kitchen and start baking all my favorite fall treats. While stopping by the grocery store to pick up some baking supplies, I was reminded how much waste and plastic is involved with the upcoming holiday season, including Halloween. When walking in the grocery store door, I was bombarded with bags of candy and cheaply made kids’ costumes. Let’s talk about some things we can do this Halloween to avoid the trash that is typically involved with the holiday season. Who says we can’t celebrate without all the plastic, am I right?!

Decorations

Zero waste Halloween decorations are the easiest place to start. Think pumpkins, hay bales, and pine cones. There are some really interesting and beautiful pumpkin options out there other than just the typical round jack-o-lantern style pumpkin. Just this week, I saw some gorgeous green, squat pumpkins and even some white ones. Using decorations found in nature (seriously get inspired in your backyard!) are great, because they are not only pretty but most of the time free. Head over to Pinterest for ideas on how to arrange/design your DIY halloween decor.

Trick or Treat

You don’t HAVE to give trick or treaters candy, I promise! First of all, they are probably receiving a whole lot of candy from other door steps so don’t feel strange giving out a non-candy treat. Secondly, I’m absolutely certain parents will be thankful you went the sugarless route! Also, there are a plenty of kids with food allergies, another reason to avoid the candy.

As far as treat ideas, my favorite thing to hand out to trick or treaters is Throw and Grow Wildflower Seed Balls! It’s by far the coolest treat you can hand out. They’re simply recycled paper + wildflower seeds shaped into a small ball that can be planted to grow flowers to help support the bee population. Not just a fun project for kids, but it also is kind to the planet!

zero waste halloween

You could also hand out pencils, secondhand used children’s books, mandarin oranges (with painted jack-o-lantern faces on them for extra fun), or (I know this sounds silly) but money… No really, why not have a bowl full of coins ready for the picking. There are plastic free trick or treat options, you just have to get a little creative!

Costumes

Costumes can be a little bit more tricky, but I would say the easiest way to go about it would be to make a stop at your local thrift store for inspiration. A few weeks before Halloween, I like to browse the thrift shop in my town for clothing items I could use to create a costume. Usually with the combination of things I have at home and new pieces from the thrift shop, I can create a quick Halloween costume ensemble. Some ideas include 80s aerobics instructor, 60s hippie/flower child, Rosie the riveter, lumberjack, cowboy, etc.

Ok, let’s here it. What are your best zero waste Halloween tips to share?? Any unique costume ideas you’ve come up with on the fly? What about treats for trick or treaters in your neighborhood??

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my zero waste on the go kit

My Zero Waste On the Go Kit

Yesterday, I showed you guys what I carry in my handbag on a daily basis, as a zero waste enthusiast, in my blog post: What’s in My Bag: Zero Waste Edition. However, I mentioned that I don’t like to carry around a large clunky bag full of zero waste supplies regularly. I prefer to keep the essentials close by in my small purse, and I carry my other zero waste necessities in my car in my zero waste on the go kit.

Here’s a quick look at what I keep in the backseat of my car for all those unplanned zero waste moments, listed from left to right:

zero waste on the go kit

Mason Jar: If you’ve been trying to go zero waste for even a short amount of time, I’m sure you know how useful a simple glass jar can be. A mason jar is the perfect size to stash lunch leftovers, or you can use it for drinks on the go. So versatile!

Travel Coffee Mug: I keep a reusable insulated travel coffee mug in my car for those spontaneous afternoon caffeine pick me ups. I could easily choose to stay and have my coffee “for here,” at a local coffee shop, but I also like to keep my mug in the car, just in case I’m in a rush and need my drink to go.

Reusable Produce Bags: I keep a reusable produce bag in my purse, but I also like to keep a few extras in the car as well. They’re just such a great size for carrying anything really, and I like how lightweight they are.

Stainless Steel Container: I know any old lunch container will do, but I really love stashing my leftovers in my stainless steel lunch box. I get a lot of compliments on this guy, which is a super bonus to me, because that means I can easily talk to admiring strangers about zero waste!

stainless steel lunch container

Water Bottle with Filter: Stay hydrated friends! I keep a glass water bottle in my car so I never feel the need to use a single use plastic water bottle. I have a plastic free active charcoal water filter in my bottle that helps keep the water clean and delicious tasting. This filter lasts for about four months then I can give it a second life by burying it in the garden to add carbon to the soil.

active charcoal water filter

Canvas Tote: I have a canvas tote filled with other canvas totes sitting in the backseat of my car for impromptu trips to the grocery store. This way I can forgo single use plastic bags!

What’s in your zero waste on the go kit?? What are your essentials??

 

 

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what’s in my bag? zero waste edition

What’s In My Zero Waste Bag?

A pretty common topic fluttering around the blogosphere these days is “What’s in My Handbag?” Bloggers usually give a run down of all of their essentials, beauty and otherwise, that they carry in their bag on a regular basis. I, for one, do not like lugging around a heavy bag full of clanking mason jars and to-go containers. I keep a tiny purse with me for essentials, and I carry other zero waste essentials in my car. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a city where public transportation is accessible so keeping zero waste essentials in my car is the way to go for me. Tomorrow, I’ll give you guys a look into my zero waste to-go bag that I keep in my car!

I literally dumped my purse onto the floor this morning and here’s a run down of what I’ve got in my zero waste bag from left to right:

zero waste bag

Small Reusable Bag: It’s always good to have a small bag handy just in case I do shopping in town and need a bag to carry my things out. I choose to use one of my reusable produce bags, because it’s so lightweight, and I like that it has a drawstring closure. I can bunch it up and stuff it in the bottom of my handbag. Also, I don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of space.

Keys: Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, my current town isn’t public transportation friendly. Car keys are definitely a necessity in my bag. I love living at the farm, but I sure do miss living in Athens where it was easier to get around by bike or simply walking.

Eye Drops: Have yet to find a zero waste alternative to eye drops. I’m all ears if you have a solution!

Vegan Lip Balm in Biodegradable Packaging:  I can’t go anywhere without my lip balm… no really, I just love it and use it ALL day. I like that it comes in a compostable paper tube and isn’t full of harsh chemicals. You can find this vegan, organic lip balm in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop.

Vegan Organic Lip Balm in Biodegradable Tube

Handkerchief: I have allergies basically all year long so I’m happy to have this sweet little hankybook to carry around with me in my bag for my runny nose. When I first started learning about zero waste, I was a little grossed out by the idea of carrying a non-disposable tissue around… However, I have fallen in love with handkerchiefs, especially the hankybook. I like that you use a page of the handkerchief book then flip a page so you’re never having to reuse the same dirty part of the tissue. Plus, handkerchiefs are way softer than tissues!!

Wallet: I’ve had this wallet for a very long time, and I believe it originally belonged to my little sister. Secondhand goodies for the win, am I right?! I’d love to invest in a high quality vegan wallet at some point.

Phone: My iPhone 5 is still going strong at the moment. However, I know I will need a new phone in the next year or so. How do you guys dispose of E-waste? Any sustainable, eco-conscious options for purchasing cell phones??

Bamboo Utensils & Carrying Case: I keep my bamboo utensils close by. This way I can avoid using disposable plastic utensils that are sometimes the only option at some restaurants. I could stuff a stainless steel straw and set of chopsticks in here as well, but I really don’t find those absolutely necessary in my daily life. I use stainless steel straws for smoothies that I make at home but don’t really need them on the go.

Cloth Napkin: Who else is a fan of reusable cloth napkins!?! I found this cute cloth napkin at an estate sale last year. I have been carrying it in my bag regularly ever since. Not only do I use it in place of disposable paper napkins, but it’s also great to put put a snack in for on the go without the clunkiness of a mason jar.

What’s in your zero waste bag?? What are your essentials??