The greening of the bathroom: Spa products for the almost vegetarian

Last month, I took a break from food and did a series on green, organic, or downright healthy items for the skin and hair and face. Like formaldehyde-free nail polish and sodium laurel sulfate-free shampoo and ... well, go on back to June if you want to read more.

And while I was doing my research, I found all sorts of healthy products to make your own home spa.

So, this week, I want to talk about greening the bathroom, from organic towels to soy candles to some incredibly luxurious soaps.

Because what we put in our homes is just as important as what we put in our bodies.

Today, I am going to introduce you to two companies you probably have never heard of (at least, I hadn't until I started researching this stuff) and some sweet products from each.

Sweet Grass Farm
The name reminds me of the sweet grass baskets I saw being made in Charleston and didn't get while I had the chance and totally regret it.

Ah well.

Well, there are no baskets at this New Hampshire-based company, but there is a stack of soaps pretty enough to pile into a basket for display. For example, the sweet rose orange cinnamon soap, an olive oil soap with cinnamon and orange essential oil, is a lovely treat.

But the real find here has got to be the fragrance sticks. These are wooden sticks that come with a glass jar which you fill with the included fragrance oil. You then put the sticks into the jar. The sticks absorb the oil, the oil works it way up the sticks, and when the oils hit they air, they evaporate, releasing their fragrance.

Now, these come in all sorts of scents, from lavender to New England Woods, but if you want a nice, light touch (which I do) for your bathroom, then a good one to try is the soft Warm Vanilla Milk.

So, let's say you are vegan. And, let's say, you are looking for products for your home. Well, as an almost vegetarian, I find life tricky and product lists daunting. But if you are a vegan, with stricter boundaries, life is even harder. So this line is a good find for all of us because it is certified by the Vegan Cosmetics Organization.
(Of course, you are smart enough to ask who the heck the Vegan Cosmetics Organization is. Well, according to their Website, they are "administered" by a division of Essential Wholesale. Essential Wholesale is a manufacturer of organic and non-organic cosmetic bases. So, this is sort of like one cousin vouching for the other; not exactly a disinterested party.)

Now, this company has something very similar to the fragrance sticks. They have a Lavender Natural Reed Diffuser.

It works exactly the same as the sticks, from the bottle to the oil. In this case, however, the sticks are made out of natural rattan reeds and the bottle from recycled glass. Good stink and very pretty!

But now that you've got your home spa smelling pretty, you need some candles to set the mood.

Now, the concern with traditional petroleum-based paraffin candles are the noxious petroleum wax pollutants they can be putting into the air (an even bigger problem in a small, enclosed room, like a bathroom). To avoid this, one option is soy-based candles.

Their soy candle is biodegradable and non-toxic and made from homegrown soybeans. And they have a longer burn time, so go ahead and linger in your tub.
(By the way, how do you light your candles? The whole wet matches thing is a bore and those cheap plastic lighters from the corner store are just landfill fodder. I go for the Zippo candle lighters. They come in a regular size, but the mini version is probably best for the bathroom. They're sleek and available in colors with such fun names as cabernet, pearl, pink and sea foam. And, best of all, they are refillable so they will not come to a landfill near you anytime soon.)

Next up, the sweetest soaps and a some really nice, absorbent, and super thick organic towels.