Boyfriend Reviews - Life With An Eco Warrior

In the beginning was the shampoo bar. And Bryanna said that it was good.

At first I wasn’t so sure. Before the beginning, there were all sorts of different shampoos and none of them looked like something you’d hit a burglar over the head with. There was Head and Shoulders. There was Suave. In those times, washing your hair was a simple affair. You popped down to Tesco, picked up whichever giant plastic bottle was most on offer, jumped into the shower and did your thing. Rinse and repeat at (mostly) weekly intervals.

But then I shacked up with an eco-warrior and the world changed.

My name is Tim, and this is my review of living with Bryanna, the voice behind The ecoLogical.

You couldn’t any longer just grab the first shampoo on offer. Oh no. You had to look at whether or not it had the sulphur beans, or the trimyltriptites, or if there were any plastic free alternatives – like, I don’t know, a bar.

And this process doesn’t only apply to shampoo. It’s how I ended up spending a month brushing my teeth with a weird clay mixture that resided in a tiny glass jar, following it with a mouthwash that looked and tasted like heavily watered down Ribena. I begged and I pleaded and at last I was allowed to return to proper toothpaste, which might now be a weird charcoal black rather than fun stripes, but which at least squeezes nicely from the tube, rather than coming in chunks. And I once snuck a hip-flask sized bottle of Listerine into the house in my backpack (the burn tells you it’s working, right?).

Blogger Note: despite Tim's dramatics, this toothpaste is actually fantastic. In fact, it landed my top natural toothpaste pick of 2018!

Truthpaste Natural Toothpaste

Other oddities from life with an eco warrior turned blogger include the boxes. Some of them empty, some of them full – but always piled up on tables, chairs or the floor. The postman knows us by sight, and even the delivery drivers recognize this is a house that surely keeps them in business.

But it’s not all bad – not once you’re over the initial shock. Far from it. You see, the shampoo bar did turn out to be pretty good, just like Bryanna promised. She doesn’t think it should be used by rubbing it straight onto your head, sure (and this does mean that it ends up with your hair stuck all over it), but my method definitely gets results. I have, however begrudgingly, to admit that after I’d used it for the first time my hair felt smoother and cleaner than it ever had. Maybe the idea that a shampoo needs to turn into a lather before it can do any good is just an excuse for the companies to fill our home (and the wider environment) with all sorts of harmful chemicals. Wow.

Blogger Note: Tim is hesitant to use anything that costs more than the "normal" version, so Friendly Soap was a huge win and that's his main source for shampoo and shaving now!

Friendly Soap Shampoo Bar
Photo from Friendly Soap

And the shaving bar was an object of much scepticism before I finally relented and gave a go at incorporating it into my daily (sort of) routine. The funny thing about my doubt is that it’s not like I have a huge degree of success with the traditional gels and creams. It’s funny how easily the word ‘traditional’ attaches to something in a pressurised metal and plastic container, like that’s what the men of yore have used throughout history… It’d be a rare day that I didn’t come out of the shower without my face looking like I’d just come out of a knife fight. I think the sight of me coming back into the bedroom that time we were staying in Paris is still seared into Bryanna’s memory.

But suddenly, the combination of the expensive metal razor and the luxury shaving bar that she got me a couple of Christmasses ago meant that nicks and cuts fell to a minimum (and on the very rare days where they do still happen, I have a app weird stick thing for that too). 

I’m writing this at her parents’ house in America and I forgot to bring my current shaving soap with me, resulting in a trip to Walmart and the purchasing of a corporate shaving foam. The ‘It’s been x days since our last accident’ counter was reset a couple of hours after getting back to the house.

Blogger Note: The shaving soap was at the bottom of his bag... Which I found and shared within 30 seconds of searching. *sigh*

EcoZone Soap Nuts

It’s not only with soaps and shampoos where I’ve followed Bryanna on her eco-journey and been very pleasantly surprised by the results. I did not put much faith at all in the Ecover plant-based toilet cleaner – surely it would just be way more expensive than double-action bleach and way less effective. I mentally prepared myself for going back into Norwich the day after to get the stuff that would actually work, following a smug “I told you so” (in my head). But, well, it got the job done to a higher standard than anything I’d bought before… I guess plant-based doesn’t have to mean ‘This won’t do anything’. 

And as she’s been moving over the last couple of years to make her ecological journey increasingly holistic, we’ve been finding an increasing number of vegetarian or vegan places to eat in our home city of Norwich and beyond, along with meat substitutes to mix into our favourite dinners at home. Some of them are delicious. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan myself, but I don’t think that should be an excuse for needing meat every single meal-time, and as long as something tastes good, I want to try it. One massive reason for me never going vegan is cheese – it’s just too good – but over the last few months I’ve been discovering an incredible selection of vegan cheese that’s actually incredibly good, often thanks to places like Norwich’s Little Shop of Vegans or London’s The Fauxmagerie. I remember when vegan cheese shouldn’t have been legally sellable as a food product, it was that disgusting. I remember looking at statements by vegans on the Sheese and Cheezley websites proclaiming that, thanks to those respective companies, they could enjoy high-quality artisan cheeseboards just like they’d done before The Change. I remember wondering what on earth was wrong with them. But those days are long gone and there’s now an increasingly number of vegan cheeses that I genuinely look forward to eating as much as any dairy product. (Just so no one wonders in turn what’s wrong with me, the vegan cheese hierarchy is clear: soy, coconut, cashew… Look out in particular for Nuts About Cheese and Kinda Co.). Like the toilet cleaner, it is a bit more expensive than a regular block of dairy cheese, but it’s worth it. And if you told me a few years ago I’d be comparing toilet cleaner and vegan cheese and not meaning anything by it, I’d never have believed you. 

La Fauxmagerie Vegan Cheese Shop London

Then there’s the stuff that smells really nice, like the finest threads of jasmine and gossamer, that come in the candles or in the sprays that you get suddenly attacked with right before bedtime. Or the potions that make your bath like a spa. And the treatments that come at inconvenient times but make your eyes look like you actually slept. They’re all good too.

Blogger Note: Some of his favourites are the Lavender & Chamomile spray from Tisserand, Madara Smart Antioxidants Anti-Fatigue Eye Rescue Cream, Kiss the Moon Dream salts, MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion, and Inner Senses Tranquil oil.

Inner Senses Tranquil Oil

So, as a result of living with an eco-blogger, my life has been transformed: in terms of the products I use on myself, the stuff I use to clean the house, and the food I eat – all for the best! This shouldn’t really have surprised me as much as it did.

I’ve always believed that in general you get what you pay for and as the price of a product goes up, so does its quality. A philosophy that I’ve tested chiefly in terms of whisky, true (though when it comes to Johnnie Walker, is Blue really better than Green? Leave your comments BTL). But I think I had a weird blip believing this when it came to products targeted at people who’ll buy them primarily for ethical reasons. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because this is what the corporations behind the lesser, mainstream brands want you to think – like it’s just snake-oil for people who can afford it as an expensive way of feeling better about themselves. But I’ve found out pretty consistently that the ethical products I’m getting to try as a result of Bryanna’s eco-journey combine eco friendliness with a higher quality than the products made by companies that don’t give a crap about their environmental impact.

I guess this shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was. The people behind these products make them because they care about the planet, so it makes sense that, as people who care, they’re going to care about the experiences of the people who take a chance on their products – that they’ll want them to have as a good a time with them as possible. If they wanted to make a cheap buck at the consumer’s expense, there’s plenty of easier ways they could do that. 

So I’ve learnt to put my doubts aside and embrace eco-consumerism. Mostly. Just don’t ever mention the tooth-paste.




2 comments

  1. Well done Tim! And you Bryanna :) Yes, living the natural & sustainable life comes at a bit of cost and has a learning curve, but it is well worth it.

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    Replies
    1. agree well worth it! and a long journey, especially for those not initially the ones interested, but it becomes a matter of habit so quickly x

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