For my readers not from South Africa, you may not be aware that Cape Town is currently having a record water crisis and may soon run out of water. We went past the level 1, 2 and 3 water restrictions and now every few weeks the government has to invent a new level. (Where are we now, 6B or something? I've lost track.) As things currently stand, residents are limited to 87 liters of water per person per day, reducing to 50 liters per person per day from 1 Feb (although the water-conscious are already using < 50 liters). However, only about 40% of Cape Town residents are using less than 87 liters and so our water is running out. Fast. By the beginning of April, our taps are getting turned off and we'll go full-on disaster mode, lining up to get our allocated water rations.
For now, all we can do is try save as much water as possible.
Obviously, by now we've (unless you're a major asshole) stopped watering our gardens, topping up our pools, having full baths, bothering to keep our cars shiny and generally using large amounts of unnecessary water. We've stopped flushing our toilets with drinking water and instead use grey water collected with buckets in our showers and sinks. We wash our dishes and clothes less, have ridiculously short showers and generally try to save every single liter we can. I thought I'd share some of the products I'm using to help keep my water usage as low as possible.
(A note to add that while Cape Town is currently the water crisis poster child, many parts of the country have water restrictions to some degree. No matter where you live, we can all stand to be more aware of both our water usage and our environmental impact.)
Obviously, number one should go without saying: dry shampoo. I have straight, fine hair and combination skin, which adds up to hair that needs to be washed every day. (And now with the drought, I can confirm that my hair isn't the type that "adjusts" to only getting washed twice or three times a week.) Nevertheless, I can stretch washing my hair to every third day with Batiste dry shampoo (and probably further if we have less water and I have to just get used to not having beautifully clean hair). My all-time fave is the tropical scent. Be sure to lift your hair and spray at the roots, as well as not not spray too close (i.e. follow the instructions on the can) to make sure you don't get a white-grey precipitate of rice flour in one place.
Now that my hair is so long (tailbone length) eliminating greasy roots is only half of the problem. My hair needs daily conditioning. Since rinsing out a traditional conditioner every day is out of the question, it's leave-in conditioners to the rescue! My two faves at the moment are the L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Oil-in-Cream and the Matrix Biolage Keratindose Renewal Spray. After using my dry shampoo, I add one of these two to the lengths and ends of my hair, put my hair in either a bun or a braid and let it do it's thing. (I mean, you could leave your hair loose, but long hair plus Cape Town summer wind is a no-no unless you love brushing knots out!)
For facial cleansing, I've tried lots of makeup remover wipes but I find them drying. I much prefer using a micellar water. In the morning (if I'm not showering), I use Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for sensitive skin and at night I use the oil-infused version to effortlessly dissolve makeup and gunk.
BONUS: Use micellar water to spot-clean your makeup brushes so you don't have to wash them as often. Simply swirl your dirty brushes on soaked cotton pads until the cotton no longer changes colour.
At the moment, I've having stop-start showers (more on that at the end of the post) every second day. I spend most of my time inside and don't do much activity on non-shower days. To stay fresh in between however, I go old-school and use a washcloth and a small bowl of water. However, if there is no water, baby wipes are the way to go. I relied on these so much last year when I went camping in the middle of nowhere with no running water! Make sure you stock up before day zero hits. Also, ensure you buy fragrance-free, alcohol-free baby wipes (look for ones branded "sensitive") if you are going to be using these anywhere near your lady bits!
(Oh, and don't forget some good old-fashioned antiperspirant and deodorant. Why do so many of those viral whatsapp messages seem to make it sound like we need to invent alternative deodorants??)
Then of course, cut down on the number of times you open a tap by switching to hand sanitizer as much as possible. I carry a mini bottle with me at all times. My favourite is the Oh So Heavenly brand as they smell lovely (especially the variety pictured) and don't dry out my hands. If you do find that your hands dry out with repetitive use of hand sanitizer, make sure you use a nourishing hand cream like Helping Hands from Lush.
And finally, some bonus items. A spritz of facial mist really helps keep my face feeling hydrated in this hot weather and I am still in love with the Vitamin E Face Mist from The Body Shop (my bottle is almost finished, so I better go get another one stat!). And for pure vanity: L'Oreal Magic Retouch. My hair is naturally dark blond but I dye it dark brown. And I doubt with the declining water supply that there will be enough water to wash dye out of my hair every 6 weeks for the foreseeable future, so there are going to be some roots hanging around. Although I don't have any grey yet, blonde roots plus several days of dry shampoo does look rather unattractive after a while. This little spray is great for covering up roots, even if your natural hair is grey. A little spritz on the hairline and/or part and no-one will know!
And that's it for now! Let me know in the comments section what's your favourite water-saving hack!
Oh, and about those 90 second showers: people keep asking me how I can wash my hair in that little time. Obviously, buy a water-saving shower head if you haven't already. Then, embrace the stop-start. I like that my current shower head lets you turn the flow off on the shower head itself, since I have separate hot and cold water taps. I get into the shower, turn on the water and take 30 seconds to get my hair properly wet. I then turn off the water, lather up my shampoo (roots only, no lengths!) and lather up my body with shower gel and wash my face. I then turn the water back on and rinse for 30 seconds. I then apply my conditioner, detangle my hair (makes rinsing a lot easier!) and shave before a final 30 second rinse. All-in-all, the process takes about 5 minutes but I only have the water on for 90 seconds instead of leaving it on the whole time.