There are five big lifestyle changes I’ve made in the last six years: Switching to organic cosmetics, becoming a minimalist, reducing my plastic waste, cooking vegan meals 80% of the time and buying my clothes second-hand.
Those lifestyle changes didn’t feel limiting or took 239 kg of willpower, and yet when I look at them now they do add up to a lot of change.
The first step to any lifestyle change
The first step is always to question the status quo, often by accident, say you stumble upon a documentary.
Step one: We become aware of a problem (plastic in our oceans, slavery in the clothing industry, factory farming). It makes us cringe.
Step two: We look away for a while because THIS IS OVERWHELMING but we can’t quite go back to ignorance is bliss. Maybe we become curious and start choosing pepperonis in a glass over the ones in plastic at the grocery store, dabbling with change.
Why switch to organic cosmetics?
Let’s take switching to organic cosmetics as our exemplary lifestyle change.
What does our personal status quo look like before the change? Owning bottles of potions with ingredients that you can’t pronounce, to shop any brand you like at the drugstore and never question that the ingredients in your shampoo might cause cancer or were tested on white rabbits.
Side note: If a product I’m going to put on my face has to be tested for safety on a rabbit first, I don’t see why it should be good for my skin.
Say you stumble upon the book No More Dirty Looks and you realize that all beauty products are loaded with ingredients associated with cancer, that creams are largely made of fossil oils (why on earth would I want to put that on my face, especially if that’s a resource we could make better use of in, say, cars?). You realize that the ingredients in cosmetics aren’t made to improve your skin. They are made to get you excited to buy them when you’re standing in front of rows of shampoo in the drugstore.
They sell promises, not good skin care.
Have you ever considered buying a shampoo that boasted about using almond oil, only to turn the bottle around and find that it only contains 1% of the promised almond oil? What’s with all the unpronounceable ingredients that make up the bulk of your shampoo?
If I want almond oil for my skin, I can go ahead and buy a bottle of pure almond oil and put it on my face. I don’t need those shady ingredients.
Anyways, my point is that lifestyle changes often start with questioning the norm.
After you’ve been playing with a certain lifestyle for a while, you start finding hacks that make the shift easier. You realize you don’t have to check the ingredient label on every product, you simply start shopping by organic brands and know one or two good certification labels (Ecocert, Natrue).
It’s actually relaxing to have 20 organic brands to choose from when you’re standing in the drugstore aisle.
Buying organic cosmetics is so mundane to me now that I don’t notice myself shopping organic anymore. That’s the beauty of it: Any lifestyle change goes from overwhelming and hard to easy and normal.
Have you ever made a big lifestyle change? Whether you’ve started working out regularly or reduced your waste or tried a capsule wardrobe, I applaud you for your courage to look at the status quo and take matters into your own hands.
Here’s to tiny changes!