Do you ever think about how what you use on your body affects the environment and your body chemistry?
Toothpaste - To be honest, I didn't switch to Tom's of Maine toothpaste because of the environment. I switched because it is one of the few toothpastes that doesn't contain pork. But they manufacture products in a way that is not so detrimental to the air quality in the area and they use recycled materials when possible.
Antiperspirant/Deodorant: I quit using antiperspirant deodorant about 10 years ago, but had to go back cause I was stankin! LOL! But I kept trying brands until I found one that worked for me. Why give up antiperspirant? Because perspiring is natural. Also, there has been much speculation about the connection of antiperspirant to breast cancer, mainly because of the aluminum in it. The National Cancer Institute has a great page, that shows how inconclusive the research thus far has been. For that reason, I am erring on the side of caution.
I gave up relaxing my hair for several reasons, but mainly because I felt it was a contradiction to my lifestyle of caring for myself and the environment. But finding hair products with ingredients I could name was damn near impossible. Carol's Daughter has worked great for me and baby girls hair. It's a whole 'nother post to detail it but I may do that one day. The BEST part is that it is a Black woman's company. (With Black celebrity financial backers).
The same attention should be paid to your soaps and lotions. Look for ingredients that you can read and recognize.
I know some women have given up paper sanitary napkins and tampons because they don't degrade and contain bleached paper. But Sister P has to draw the line.....right....HERE! I'm down for the cause but, this, I need some time to digest. Cloth diapers yes, no baby wipes, sure. But this is hard for me. My mom and mother in law often tell about how they kept a bucket in their closet during "that time", for soaking of cloths but they were born in 1939, I was born in 1969. I have considered that I'd be saving about $6 each month which is $72 per year which could pay for a trip to the zoo or aquarium for our family. Or could buy enough gas to go to Detroit one weekend! Anybody try this...if it's not too personal.
Challenges: All of these products are a bit more expensive. Sometimes I can afford them and sometimes I can't, so I do the best I can. I keep other deodorant under my bathroom sink if I run out of Tom's and am cash strapped, but I put it away as soon as I can. Natural hair is time consuming unless you wear it short. I'm trying to grow mine out and 3-4 inches of previously relaxed hair is tough to style unless I keep braids, which really aren't my thing (locs either).
Sustainability: I think I could maintain most of this lifestyle indefinitely. The hair though...I'm taking one day at a time!