We initially experimented with going "no poo," i.e. using a baking soda scrub and then a vinegar rinse. We did this for quite awhile, but then ultimately started using a shampoo bar (JR Liggett's Herbal Formula) which we really like. It was just easier, especially for me and my hair. However, now that we have unlocked the mysteries of making our own soap (and the shampoo bar is really just soap but with different oils), we are using our own shampoo bar. That in and of itself will save us a lot of money. (The shampoo bars were not cheap.) Natural shampoo bars also are less stripping which means that my scalp oil has balanced over time, and I don't have to wash my hair everyday like I used to. I also invested in a boar bristle brush which helps distributes the oils along the hair.
I use a apple cider vinegar rinse (about a tablespoon of vinegar diluted in a cup of water). This helps remove any soap residue from the shampoo bar (which can be a problem), de-tangles my hair, and gives it a lovely sheen. Awesome. The vinegar smell goes away once your hair dries in case you were worried about that.
So I would say that I have combination skin. I have some pretty stubborn spots that would hang about forever. In the past, I used Cetaphil soap followed by an astringent (Neutrogena). Then I switched to a really pricey cleaner from Origins because it had friendlier ingredients. Nothing was really wonderful. I played around with the idea of doing the Oil Cleansing Method, but it seemed complicated and called for a bunch of oils that I didn't have on hand. Also, from what I read, there was a lot of trial and error involved to get the right "oil combination" for your skin type. In my internet search for natural face cleaners, I came across this Mothering.com thread. Basically, you just mix oat flour and salt together as a scrub and rinse. Easy right? I had both on hand, and I decided to give it a go. If it didn't work, I would just go back to my normal routine. But.....it did sort of work. I mean, it worked as much as anything else did. So for the past year or so, I give my face a scrub of equal parts oat flour and salt in the morning and evening and follow it up with a swipe of witch hazel as a toner. My skin is just as clear (if not clearer) as before but now I spend a lot less money and I know that none of the ingredients are problematic. My face is pretty clear expect for that joyous time of the month where all hell breaks loose. Then I get a persistent pimple or two. The recent change in my diet has helped with the acne as well.
For face lotion, I use California Baby Sensitive Skin Lotion. We use it for Finn, and I find that it works well for the face too.
O.k. Here is where I fail. I still use Crest. However, Mr. F. uses Tom's of Maine. I have tried the Tom's but guess I just like my toothpaste to be uber sweet and minty. Any suggestions for me to try in this category?
We have been using the same deodorant for the past two years. It is awesome. A couple of notes though: If you find it a bit abrasive, you can decrease the baking soda. Our current deodorant recipe, which we are quite pleased with, is 6 T coconut oil, 6 T arrowroot, 2 T baking soda and 15 drops of tea tree oil. I would also state that the tea tree oil is key. We have tried without it, and it doesn't work quite as well. Over the past two years I have noticed that 1) I sweat less and 2) I stink less when I do sweat. I am not sweating out roses, mind you, but it is not nearly as strong of a smell as when I was using deodorant (the super powerful kind, too).
Recently Mr. F. made a food grade seal for his sauerkraut pounder that consisted of bees' wax and coconut oil. We have since discovered that this makes an awesome lotion. Prior to that I played around using just coconut oil and other non-fragranced lotions that I picked up at target. The coconut oil didn't moisturize satisfactorily, and the lotions had sketchy ingredients. My next project is to make hard lotion bars which is basically a more legitimate form of our current lotion. I have most of the oils on hand already for soap making.
Mr. F. has switched from using shaving gel/cream to homemade soap and a brush. I was using a greener shaving lotion for awhile (this), but then found that homemade soap lathered up worked just as well and was perhaps even less drying--go figure. (Homemade soap is awesome in just so many ways.)
Personal Care Products
O.k. I totally fail here. I use conventional products. I have toyed with the idea of trying a cup or something but......I am scared. It just seems too foreign to me. Anyone willing to try to persuade me otherwise?
I deal with this by avoiding cosmetics altogether. However, I never wore a lot to begin with so this wasn't a huge change for me. At most, I wore makeup once a week. It also helps that Mr. F. views cosmetics as toxic sludge (which they are) so I am relieved of any pressure from that arena. I will admit that it would be nice to some "safer" options on hand for the rare moments that I do want to look especially nice.
On a side note, I recently read a post which talked about lead in lipstick.
"Why is lead still in lipstick? I’m sorry, have we forgotten that lead is a known neurotoxin? That there are no safe levels of lead exposure for children, and that pregnant women and women of reproductive age should be especially careful to avoid lead? This isn’t BPA in plastic bottles. There is no question, NO DEBATE. There is scientific consensus that people should not be exposed to lead. There are regulations for the amount of lead in gasoline, paint, toys… so WHY is lead in lipstick unregulated? We don’t want children to eat paint chips that may contain lead, but we can have women applying lead to their lips, multiple times a day, consuming the lead with every sip or bite they take, and letting the lead absorb into their skin. I’m seriously frustrated by this, and I don’t even own a single tube of lipstick."Good questions, good questions.
So there you go. More than you ever wanted to know about my personal care regimen. Have you greened up your bathroom? Any product/alternative that you really love?