Previously, we covered showers – specifically, that besides saving water, skipping showers will actually help make your skin healthier, and using less water will reduce your water bill. So you don’t have to be the titular “dirty hippy” to drop your showering to every-other-day. But what about other general hygiene practices? What does their virtual water footprint look like?
Shampoo is about the furthest thing from natural you could put on your body. I don’t even know what these words mean, but Wikipedia tells me that shampoo is made by combining sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate with cocamidopropyl betaine and water. Luckily, a 22 ounce bottle of shampoo uses 17 ounces of water. So it’s fairly decent in terms of its virtual water footprint, but not necessarily the greenest option.
However, if you don’t shower often, you could use dry shampoo: simply sprinkle it on your hair and comb it out. Like “wet” shampoo, dry shampoo combines a ton of artificial ingredients, like aerosols, solvents, and fragrance. Luckily, you can make your own DIY dry shampoo with baking soda, corn starch, and baby power. A note of warning, though: if your hair is dark-colored, this shampoo will make your hair a grey-ish color unless you mix in some coco powder to darken the mix, which unfortunately, has a massive virtual water footprint.
Soap is made of rendered animal fat, which can add up to major water usage. If you’re a meat eater and you have a jar of grease sitting in your kitchen, you can make your own soap from the drippings you’d normally just throw in the trash. If you’re a vegetarian and don’t have that grease lying around, you can also use plant-based oils - just make sure to check the virtual water impact of the nut, vegetable, or plant the oil is made of. If you’re not the DIY-type, you can look for specific types of soaps sold in stores, like Castile soap, which is made of olive oil.
Eco-concious people can get a bad rap for being, well, dirty hippies. Making planet-concious decisions doesn’t have to mean going dirty, however, and these tips will help you stay clean, healthy, and water-friendly.