on toiletries and traveling

Posted by susan on April 13th, 2011. Filed under: go green, travel tips.

This is a guest post by Alexis Bonari, who is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching golfing scholarships as well as military grants. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

In this post, Alexis shares a fantastic tip about traveling light, and traveling green – two things I know I’d like to get better at. Enjoy….


Packing light, leaving the laptop behind, and braving the world sans eye shadow have given me a sense of independence and freedom I hadn’t known before I’d heard of the concept of minimalist packing. 

There’s a confession here, though: the last phase of my travel habits to go minimalistic was hygiene.  It got to the point that my toiletry bag took up more space in my backpack than did my clothing and shoes, which I’d narrowed down to 3 shirts, 1 pair of pants, and flip flops.  Most of my friends were getting away with a single bar of soap in Vietnam, and since half of them were girls, I couldn’t use the “Hey, I’m a girl” excuse.

I’m proud to announce, however, that I’ve finally overcome my obsession with being clean.  (No, this doesn’t mean that I’m “that girl” on the airplane that makes the whole row smell like B.O..  Shivers.)  Instead, my answer to packing light on toiletries coincided with new insights made in being eco-friendly.

Dr. Bronner’s, I love you.

A friend of mine who travels to India annually suggested Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap to me last year, citing its vegetable-based, fair-trade, organic, and biodegradable properties as perks.  To boot, the bottles are 100% post-consumer recycled (the paper, too!), and you won’t find any funky foaming agents or preservatives in a single one.  The basic ingredients are as follows:

  • Water
  • Saponified organic coconut, organic palm, and organic olive oils (with retained glycerin)
  • Organic hemp oil
  • Organic jojoba oil
  • Essential oils
  • Citric acid
  • Vitamin E

After learning about the potential ill effects of parabens, PEGs, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other ingredients commonly found in cosmetics, I began making my own shampoo and body wash using Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap as a base.  The soap is multi-purpose, and because it comes infused with beneficial oils (as well as essential oils like lavender, almond, rose oil, and more), it doesn’t strip my skin or scalp of protective moisture.

Generally, I like to have at least two types of Dr. Bronner’s soaps with me when traveling.  I buy a big bottle of the stuff and pour it into one or two travel-sized bottles, depending on my schedule.  To use, I dilute it with one part water for each part soap and use for anything between the shower and the washing machine (well, the sink).

The tea tree oil soap does good things for my face and body, which can break out due to travel stress (I absolutely detest flying).  Meanwhile, the eucalyptus variety clears my sinuses when I use it as body wash or shampoo.  If you’re not too crazy about essential oils, you can try the baby mild version, which has no fragrance.

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