There are certain things that multiply when you have kids: toys in the living room, your grocery list, and laundry. Former prop stylist Sacha Dunn was thinking about the way we Americans do laundry–or at least, how we buy detergent–during a trip back to her native Australia. While washing clothes at her mother’s house, she was reminded that using refillable pouches of detergent is more common there than it is in the U.S., and realized how wasteful it is to buy jug after jug, or even pouch after pouch of detergent. It would be much simpler and greener to refill cleaning supplies the way you might refill a bottle of olive oil. So the Willamsburg mom made that idea come to life this past November when she introduced Common Good, her line of refillable, biodegradable household cleaners to Forager’s Market in Dumbo.
Common Good offers dye- and phosphate-free dish and hand soaps, laundry detergent, and an all-purpose cleaner at the moment, with bar soap and candles to come. Her products are also at Marlow & Sons, and her second refill station is coming soon to Brooklyn Kitchen, with other stores on the way. Each product comes in an unscented version, and all but the detergent offers some type of essential oil fragrance like lavender or bergamot. At the refill stations, the products are available in plastic bottles or in bulk, with empty glass bottles at the ready if you need them. All are priced competitively with a brand like Mrs. Meyers: the detergent, for instance, is $15.99 for 64 oz., or $12.16 if you buy the same amount in bulk. Of course you can find similar but slightly cheaper cleaners like Seventh Generation, but Common Good allows you to stop buying plastic bottles, which is far more energy-intensive to recycle than other materials like glass.
Bath time is another activity that rises exponentially with kids, and a new store, Shen, supplies the widest, most unique range of bath salts, soaps, shampoos, and beauty products for women and their babies, toddlers, and tweens. Two local moms–one a longtime beauty journalist (Julia Stringer), the other a former Vogue stylist (Jessica Richards)–opened the Carroll Gardens shop on Court Street last fall, and they already have a few favorites among kids and parents. Babo Botanicals are totally organic, all-natural hair and skin products made on a farm upstate. The line includes an Oatmilk Calendula baby shampoo/wash and baby lotion, which are sold on their own and in a gift basket for new moms, and the popular Rosemary Tea Tree Lice Repel shampoo, a preventive measure that can keep one child lice-free if, say, a sibling brings it home.
Shen also carries products geared toward tweens like the hair and skincare line Ottilie and Lulu, and Dermatologia Clean Start skincare to ward off early breakouts. And then there’s the back corner of the store that girls love. Many stop in Shen on their own, and spend their pocket money on things like donut-shaped pots of lipgloss, or rainbow-colored bath salts that you can pour into a glass, sand-art style. (If you went nuts for those Village Lip Lickers in the gold tins, you can imagine what this section does to little girls.)
Of course, once you buy a bottle of Piggy Paint–toddler-safe, all-natural nailpolish that peels off–you’ll likely be tempted to treat yourself to Kate Logan’s Juniper leg spray (a favorite of the nurses at the nearby hospital) a Kahina argan oil moisturizer, or any other hard-to-find, bespoke product that Shen stocks. I picked up something every sleep deprived woman can appreciate: an organic, super moisturizing concealer from rms beauty.