Easy Swap No 3. - Natural soap bars

Have you ever looked at what's really in your commercial shower gel? True, they smell lovely, have eye popping, attention grabbing colours, or their bottles are designed to make you feel like you're missing out if you don't buy right there, right then. They create lovely lather that make you feel like a fluffy little cloud first thing in the morning, or last thing at night.

But look more closely. Put your glasses on if needs be. I have to so I get it. When you start reading those tiny little letters compounded together you will realise you don't even know what they mean. That's because they're all man made, made up so to speak. Everything in your shower gel will be synthetic and petroleum based and a lot of the ingredients are allergens and some are pretty nasty, like parabens and SLS.

I have had so many people telling me their list of no-go shower gels is ever increasing because their skin reacts badly to them. Some people have skin conditions that actually mean they can't use soap at all. And these are your culprits. The gorgeous fragrances are synthetic and often very allergenic, and that lovely lather? Perfect for drying your skin out so that you start needing a moisturiser and that creates more revenue for people who put you in this position in the first place!

That's before we've even mentioned the commercially produced palm oil which has incredibly devastating effects on the environment. And it doesn't go just into the shower gel itself but also the packaging. And the carbon footprint of manufacturing and recycling the bottles is enormous but only a small fraction of them will actually be recycled.

Do you remember the days before shower gels were invented? No? Lucky you! I do. Or perhaps coming from a land ruled by communist dictators, they did not reach me as early as they reached you, but I do remember what using a bar of soap was like. And it was absolutely fine, it was easy and most importantly, we all survived it.

But if you think that turning to commercial solid soap bars to reduce your plastic use is the ideal answer, you may wish to reconsider. That's because all these contain the same synthetic ingredients minus water, plus they're mostly wrapped in unrecyclable plastic. Organic soaps derived from all natural ingredients are cold pressed from natural oils, plant products and essential oil fragrances and are much kinder to your skin as well as the environment, and come in no plastic packaging. And they look and smell absolutely delicious, and last far, far longer than any commercial gels or bars. One of the large bars that we have has lasted since June, it's March now!

So even if it is a bit more expensive, it works out a much better deal in the long run while doing something good for your skin and the planet. But have you noticed how if you buy cheap shower gels because you're fed up forking out for expensive ones, you actually end up buying new ones more often? That's because companies compete like crazy for your custom among themselves, and many of them think that we're so disinterested in what we buy we just grab the cheapest stuff. But to make it cheap, they have to cheat on ingredients, so this means more water so it just runs off you rather than behave like a true gel,, less active ingredients, not a lot of lather and not the most pleasant of smells. And when you run out after a week, you're back for more, so really they get as much revenue from you as the more expensive brands that last twice as long!

So why not opt for an all natural, organic soap hand made by lovely artisans who do this because they care about the environment and do not have their profits

as a priority? This really is the easiest and most pleasant swap.

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