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Minding our own beeswax and surviving bad hair days...

We’re really enjoying reinventing our lifestyle to a more socially conscious and environmentally sustainable one, but when it comes to replacing plastic wrap and shampoo and conditioner, we’re stumped.

There are some really nice beeswax wraps out there that replace plastic wrap beautifully, like these sold by Grove Collaborative. I think they are a great solution, and this site is an extensive resource for all kinds of eco-friendly products but it just doesn’t fit our budget. My solution was to make them at home. After all, they would be nice gifts to share with friends and family.

Our daughter Natalie was excited for the project, so we teamed up. We got the materials together, took a day and set to it. I washed and tore down an old sheet into two different wrap sizes, she made a fetching whale image into a rubber stamp that would mark them as ours. We hand-grated pounds of beeswax and sprinkled it over the cotton squares on cookie sheets and popped them into the oven. As batch after batch melted, it filled the house with the lovely warm smell of beeswax. Sheet after sheet, we hung them on a drying rack to cool. Unfortunately, in the end, they just weren’t soft enough to do the job. You could wrap a sandwich or cookies in them and they’d stay fresh, but the they were kind of crunchy and just wouldn’t work as bowl covers or for cut fruits and veggies.

We’d read that the simpler recipe we followed to make the wraps works just fine and that you don’t need the extra ingredients in the more complex ones. We found different. Here’s what I think might be a winning recipe for the beeswax wraps. It calls for pine rosin and jojoba oil, which should make them more flexible. I hope to get back to this project one day, but in the meantime, let us know how it goes if you try it.

The next item eluding us is shampoo bars.

They seem like the perfect solution to eliminate some plastic bottles in the bathroom, but we haven’t found a good one yet. We’ve tried four or five different bars by now, a couple were locally made, which is a nice thing. All of them were palm-oil free too, very important to us in light of the deforestation that is caused by palm plantations in South America.

Our friends like the Lush brand bars (not locally made); they are beautiful and handmade but pricey.

On top of that, in order to for me to use the bar shampoo, I need to keep a (plastic!) bottle of cider vinegar in the shower as a hair rinse. Without it, I just can’t pull a brush or comb through my hair. This search has left me with an unending bad hair day. (With his short hair, Rich is fine with them.)

So frustrating!

We’re not giving up on either idea. If any of you have sources or recipes, shortcuts or breakthroughs with these or any other little life hacks, we’d love to hear about it.

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