Thursday, February 21, 2008

#178 - Your Face Will Freeze Like That

Changing Up My Nightly Face-Washing Routine

Despite my previously discussed pre-rinsing compulsion, conserving water is actually one of my favorite things to do for the environment. Water conservation changes are nice, immediate-feedback kind of changes. They're easy to calculate, requiring just buckets and measuring cups. And I love that I can visually see what I'm saving, rather than just talk about invisible kilowatts or therms.

So whenever I find an opportunity to make a little water change, I jump on it. In fact, I started instituting this face-washing change several months ago, but didn't have it tweaked to where it was a convenient enough that I was sure it would stick. Until now.

Let's say it's time for bed. What do I need to do? Well, I need to wash my face, put on astringent and my rosacea cream, then brush my teeth before hitting the sack. Now I already managed to save 76 ounces each day with my new tooth brushing routine, and I needed to cut down on the face-washing water waste as well.

The biggest problem I had was waiting for the water to warm up. For some reason, it takes a good 30 seconds or so before the hot water gets up to our bathroom sink. In the meantime, all this perfectly clean water is being lost down the drain. What a waste. Then, even when the water is warm enough, it's still running down the drain while I wet my face, lather up and rinse off. All told, it took 18 cups of water to wash my face. And I was repeating this process every. single. night.

So here are the issues I've been facing (pun intended) while trying to tweak my routine:

1. Washing my face with freezing cold water at bedtime? Not so much with the relaxing, getting sleepy feeling.

2. I have to use splashy water on my face. I can't use a washcloth because my lovely rosacea skin will have a nasty reaction to the scrubbing and I'll be the one googling scab terms.

So, bearing those two issues in mind I've come up with a workable solution. It's not perfect, but it's better than it was:

First off, I've mimicked my handwashing rountine so that now I don't turn the faucet on full blast and I shut the tap off while I lather up. That saves six cups.

Secondly, I switched my face-washing routine from bedtime to "get in our jammies" time, which happens at 7:00 pm sharp (I have kids, ergo, I have schedules). So now it doesn't matter if the faucet is spittin' ice cubes. In fact, the cold water actually helps me get through the rest of the evening without dozing off. So not waiting for the warm water saves another six cups.

The downside to all of this is that, being such an Anal OCD Annie, this means that I also have to brush my teeth at 7:00 pm because you can't wash your face and NOT brush your teeth. But, as it turns out, this is also helping me with the NO WASTE challenge, since it means I can't eat anything after this point.

So now with my every-so-tweaked face washing routine, I'm saving twelve cups of H2O down the drain - that's a 66% reduction in what I had been using.


From where I was six months ago: twelve cups per night! But, again, I've been working on this and tweaking it for a while now, so the true change from yesterday to today is considerably less. However, I like to accentuate the positive, so I'm going with the 12 cup figure and say that I'm saving nearly 275 gallons of water per year, just by changing my routine a tad.

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

Obviously, the difficulty in this change was devising the plan. Now that I've figured it out, it's as simple as can be. Just shows you what perserverance (and the ability to withstand frigid icewater being splashed on your face) can do.


Vera said...

That's not a bad plan! I shower at night, so I just wash my face in the shower. :-)

Wendy said...

I think saving water is the hardest thing for me. How weird is that? Last year, I was putting a bucket in the sink to catch the water while it was turning warm, but then I had all of this water in buckets and didn't know what to do with it. During the summer, I used it to water my garden, but then, we had so much rain .... I should really do better in this category than I do.

That said, my girls are really good at the "If it's yellow ..." - almost too good. I have to go through the house and flush all of the toilets every couple of hours :).

just ducky said...

I'm choppin' broccolaaaaayy...I'm choppin' broccoleeeee...Oh wait! That was yesterday's post...must be STUCK IN MY HEAD--thank you very much...

At first I had to chuckle when I read this post...I kept imagining you measuring water and giggling like a school girl--thrilled by your water conservation...then I thought about the movie Cheaper By the Dozen--the original from 1950 with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy--not the newer knock off version...I LOVE the original. The dad is an efficiency expert and performs experiments like that all of the time! So then I became increasingly jealous that you performed your own experiments like he did...

Now I'm thinking I need perform some of my own experiments...(to the tune of Choppin' Broccoli...I'm washing up my face...I'm washing up my faaaaaaaaaaaace...)

Green Bean said...

So nice when you can just rearrange something like that.

Our hot water takes, oh, about a week to reach the master bathroom sink but only about 10 seconds to reach our kitchen sink. Guess where I prepare for bed?

Anonymous said...

Oh my god! Washing my face in cold water would be a 5 out of 5 for me. And saving water is one of the hardest things for me too because I loooooooove a hot shower.

I actually don't wash my face. (Is it okay to admit that?) I think it gets clean in the shower, but I never wash it with soap. And my skin is in really good shape. Maybe I'm just lucky (as opposed to ducky?), but I find that washing my face causes it to dry out and get chapped and red.

So I don't waste water washing my face, and I use very little brushing my teeth. But the shower is another story...

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just realized I need to add that I rarely wear makeup. If I wore makeup, I guess I'd have to wash it off somehow. And I do wash it off with soap and water the few times a year it happens. Just so you don't think my face is full of dirty, grimy old foundation or whatever it's called.