Doctor, entrepreneur, mom and social activist, Dr. Mugdha Joshi, a lactation consultant and paediatric nutritionist is one unstoppable woman. After the birth of her son, she found the need to create a more sustainable environment for the future generations, and thus started her own initiative called Greenmoms India.
From choosing a plant-based lifestyle for herself to opting for cloth diapers for her baby, Dr. Joshi is quite an inspiration. Through her own journey of discovery, this superwoman has found a way to live an extremely sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle and it now extends to her beauty routine as well.
This International Women’s Day, As we celebrate women for choosing the path less travelled, we got Dr Joshi to tell us everything she does to maintain this sustainable lifestyle on an everyday basis…
But before that, we really want to find out what sparked the idea for Greenmoms India? “I am basically a lactation consultant and a paediatric nutritionist as well as the mother of a four-year-old now. It was only after my baby was born that I realised I needed to choose natural and healthy products for him as opposed to the chemical-laden ones usually found in the market. After a while, I started this practice even for myself because even as adults, we don’t realise the amount of chemicals we end up putting on and inside our bodies. I eventually started a Facebook group called Greenmoms India and landed up added a lot of parents to it thanks to the fact that I interact with them on a daily basis due to my profession. I use the group to share what I do for a more sustainable and greener approach to not just parenting, but also self-care.”
But switching to a greener routine, especially when it comes to beauty, couldn’t have been a cake walk. Dr. Joshi says, “For me, beauty is not restricted to putting on some makeup; it is about really being happy because that always shows. Honestly, I don’t apply too much makeup regularly (although, I would be lying if I said that I never liked makeup). But I obviously do take care of my skin. I simply use a moisturiser and some lip gloss. Since I don’t own or use any makeup products, I am automatically reducing waste caused due to plastic packaging.”
But she did mention a skincare routine, right?Wouldn’t you end up creating some waste even if you’re just using skincare products? “Well, my skincare routine is very simple and fuss-free. I use coconut oil to moisturise my face and body twice a day. After I massage it in, I then take a shower. It is a great way to retain moisture in your skin, especially if you have really dry skin.”
But you surely must be using a basic shampoo and conditioner. I mean isn’t that what everyone does? Well, looks like Dr. Mugdha has found a solution to this as well. “I have completely given up on packaged shampoos and conditioners and started using shampoo and conditioner bars. Because every month we end up using one big bottle each and that adds to up to so much unnecessary waste. For my hair oil, I mix two drops of lavender essential oil with coconut oil and massage it into my scalp.”
But being a mother, wouldn’t it be difficult to source all-natural, zero-waste products for her baby? Do they even make stuff like that at all? “Even when it comes to my child, I swear by 100% naturally-sourced cold-pressed coconut oil. I have stopped using chemical-laden moisturisers, soaps, shampoos, etc. This oil, if it is completely natural, won’t have any smell and the innumerable healing properties are amazing to maintain the health of your child. While using a soap or shampoo on babies is not a necessity, whenever I do feel the need, I use the same cold-pressed soaps and shampoo bars that I use for myself, and it works really well for him.
Additionally, I completely switched to cloth diapers. Instead of using branded rash creams, I used to apply the same coconut oil and that has worked wonderfully for him too.
Don’t these natural and cold-pressed products leave your hair in particular feeling dry? “I really think my skin and hair have improved a great deal since I have given up on using chemical-based products. I feel like my skin feels a lot less dry. Yes, initially my hair felt oily and frizzy, but once it got used to the zero-chemical cleansing and moisture, I felt a lot more soft and manageable.”
Surely, she must have some beauty indulgences, that are not always 100% natural or sustainable. What does she do then? Well, turns out, she doesn’t back down even there, “Yes, I do give into an occasional spa session. But I only stick to oil massages and request the place that I go to to use natural cold-pressed oils only and avoid single-use products. Also, although I know of people who follow the greener lifestyle to have given up on waxing, it’s not something that I have been able to do. But I go to a parlour that uses completely natural wax made of sugar and honey and they use reusable cloth strips instead of the use-and-throw ones. And believe me; it is not unhygienic at all.”
Are there any other beauty swaps she’s made in her routine? “One of the biggest beauty swaps that I have made is switching to a bamboo toothbrush and a natural tooth cleansing powder. Our ancestors have been using neem and salt for centuries, and the world today is recognizing their benefits. I have also switched to sourcing 100% natural and sustainably sourced cold-pressed soaps. The best thing about approaching people who make these soaps themselves is that they sell it package-free, if you request them.
Also, when I choose my beauty products, I make sure to choose natural and organic alternatives, but another thing that I try sticking to is plastic-free packaging. I ensure that my beauty products come in metal or glass containers as this then leads to zero waste. I have also completely given up on hand santizers around the house. For everyone who would come to visit us after my son’s birth, I would urge them to wash their hands using some natural soap and water.”
Are there any natural ingredients that she swears by to take care of her skin and hair? “A year ago, I had severely dry and cracked feet and to heal that I applied organic and natural kokum butter to the area. Other than that I dry orange, lemon or any other citrus fruit peels (wrap them in a muslin cloth and sundry them for a couple of weeks), grind them to make a paste and use that in place of a bath soap. They’re not just really good at cleansing your skin, but also leave behind a fresh, 100% natural fragrance. I also rub fresh papaya skin on my face before bathing, and the vitamin A in it leaves my skin supple and glowing,” she adds.
Well, that is some level of commitment. If you think switching to a greener lifestyle is really difficult, then here’s what Dr. Mugdha has to say to you, “Always do your own research. Read about the brand, the product as well as the ingredients being used in them. This will give you an in-depth knowledge about what goes into the product and decide if it will work for you.
Secondly, be a part of local groups that support and follow a greener lifestyle. Thanks to being so digitally advanced, this is has become so easy.
Honestly, switching to a greener lifestyle requires commitment as you will end up devoting time to it. But if you do choose to commit to this cause, I assure you, you will really enjoy this process as you will definitely feel immense satisfaction, especially when you see zero waste in your dry waste bin,” she concludes.
Picture courtesy: Instagram