The Beauty in Saving Your Skin and the Water Supply

I have sensitive skin and so a while ago I went to a dermatologist for some over the counter skin care cleanser and spot treatment cream. When the labels said the products might bleach clothes, not to mention some other unpleasant side effects,  I paused and thought “wait this might bleach my face towel and yet I want to put it on my skin”? What am I putting on and ultimately onto my body? Moreover, how will these products affect the environment when they are washed  down the drain?

This is not to say that before this realization I was completely naive about skin care products. A couple of years ago I heard about this website Skin Deep and have since been trying to green my cosmetics, skin care products, shampoo etc.

The problem is I have sensitive skin as I mentioned, which is also problem prone skin, and lots of soap free natural products just were not cutting it, hence the prescription from my doctor

But after my “A Ha!” moment with the bleaching cleanser and cream, I was truly committed to greening my skin care regimen without spending too much money! So I’ve been testing several products and have finally found some that really work for me

So twice a day I cleanse my face with Avalon Organics Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk. Twice a week I use dermae’s Microdermabrasion Scrub. These can both be found in gourmet grocery stores here as well as health food stores and of course you can also buy them online. What is really remarkable is that you can get these products for pretty much the same price you would any mainstream cleanser and scrub as these both retail for $11.95 and $32.59 respectively. I used to use similar products where the cleanser would cost $7-$15 and the scrub $30-50 so my budget on these items is relatively unchanged.  However, you are not paying for ingredients you really don’t want to be putting on your face. There are a ton of ingredients you want to avoid in skin care products but the ones I look for and try to avoid are phthalates, parabens and petroleum based products as these can be linked to birth defects, cancer, allergies and other nasties.

There are approximately 3,700 cosmetics companies in Canada, most of which were small and medium-sized ones, producing more than 20,000 kinds of cosmetic products. The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) is the leading Canadian trade association for the personal care products industry. CCTFA members, which represent 80-90% of the industry in Canada are at the forefront of a $7.5 billion (retail) industry in Canada.  This means Canadians spend about $9 billion (retail) on cosmetics.  These products are usually removed using water and that water ends up flowing freely down the drains in our sinks and enters the water supply.  Scary thought.

Have you tried greening your cosmetics? What products work for you?


Online Textbook Rental –

I can’t believe how expensive textbooks are.  American’s don’t realize that Canadians, on average, pay 20-30% more for everything, including textbooks, than they do.  This is a primary driver behind our desire to participate in cross border shopping. As a result, that $150 dollar book ends up costing around $200 north of the border!  Outrageous.

Back when I was in school in the mid/late 90s, I was spending $700 per year for textbooks – about $350 per semester.  That was for 5 courses, so about $70 per semester textbook and upward of $150 for a full year text book.  Since I got a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology, I often had 15 or more books in a year.  Given inflation, I can imagine that students are spending over $1,000 per year on textbooks, especially if you are in a major, like science, where books are so expensive.

How Textbook Rental Saves Money

I wish I had textbook rental when I was in school.  Since I only used my book for one class, then sold it back (at 20% of the purchase price, if I was lucky). it would have been so much more beneficial if I could rent my books instead.  Now, companies like eCampus are renting them out for the quarter, and providing savings in the process.  The campus book store sure had quite a racket set up: sell over priced books, buy them back at a steep discount and then re-sell them for a tidy profit.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was checking out eCampus to find used books online, and I was in shock by the savings I saw for renting textbooks.  For many books, the savings for renting was maybe 50% of the cost of a new book, and 30% less than even a used book.  That is some great savings.  For example, there was is a Principles of Physics textbook, pretty standard, that sells for $214 new and $150 used.  It rents for $54 for the semester (even cheaper if you rent for the quarter).  Huge savings!

Another great feature is that shipping is free both ways on orders over $59.  They send you the book, and provide you a shipping label to send it back at the end of the semester.  This will save you a lot of money if you order many books at once.  I know I used to buy my textbooks all at once so this is a feature I would definitely take advantage of.

Finally, many books are now coming out in eTextbook, which offer even more savings.  You can save 90% compared to the cost of a new textbook.  If I had this while I was in school, I would have been paying $70 per year instead of $700 – very worth it in my opinion.