After getting rid of some of the expensive chemical products in our house that we clean with, I wanted to start getting rid of chemicals we put all over our bodies. I will tell you that this was an easy transition for me personally, but not as easy for my husband or children.
I have always been one to enjoy experimenting with new products, even on my own body. I’m not allergic to anything that I know of, and I don’t have very sensitive skin. It allows me some freedom with testing out new products and routines without worry of causing any serious problems on my skin or hair. I will, however, only share with you my favorite things that I have discovered that I continue to use today. Please keep in mind that I tend to have dry skin, not oily or greasy at all, and because I have dry, curly hair I don’t shampoo very often at all. I do, however, need to make sure my hair stays well hydrated.
1. Face Wash: Because of my dry skin I have almost always had some skin flakes on my forehead, which, let me tell you, are not cute. If I rub my forehead in winter it looks like it is snowing from my face. Ew. I have always used a gentle exfoliating cleanser to help take care of this, followed by a rich moisturizer. After experimenting with a few different natural exfoliants (and even eliminating them from my routine) I settle on a baking soda paste. Yes, baking soda. The stuff that keeps your refrigerator smelling fresh. When mixed with a bit of water to form a thick paste, I use about a half teaspoon or less each morning. I rub it all over my face, then rinse off with warm water. It is not as drying as other exfoliating washes, and it is very gentle on my skin. After drying, I use plain coconut oil as a moisturizer.
In the evening I do not wash my face again, but rather just remove makeup. I rub a tissue in coconut oil, then use that to remove all the makeup from my face. Yes, even mascara and eyeliner if I’m wearing it.
2. Hair Care: For shampoo I have tried using the same baking soda paste, but with poor results. Although it doesn’t dry my skin out too much, it leaves my hair feeling like straw. I have never been pleased with that. Instead I use a homemade shampoo/baby wash (it’s basically tear-free).
I combine 1 part baby mild castille soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s brand) with 1 part water. I usually add some kind of essential oil; lavender is my favorite for this. I use this no more than once a week to wash my hair.
Every time I shower, though, (which may not necessarily be everyday) I use apple cider vinegar to condition my hair. In an empty shampoo bottle I’ve combined 1 part ACV with 1 part water, plus an essential oil. I have been using rosemary oil lately, not for it’s smell but because it helps to soften hair while making it stronger and grow longer. I’ll use 2 tbsp – 1/4 of this mixture in my thick, shoulder length hair after it’s wet. I leave it while I wash my body, then rinse it out. I have always been surprised at how soft my hair feels after using vinegar in my hair.
3. All Over Skin Care: To wash I use the same shampoo/baby wash that I use to wash my hair. In fact, the girls and I all use it. It’s much easier to make only one product for four uses than to make four different products. I also find that it works well to clean hair gently while not drying it out. In another post I will talk about baby/childcare homemade products and more about why we share the same shampoo/baby wash.
Instead of lotion I love using coconut oil most of the year. In the winter, though, I often need some extra moisture. I hands especially get so dry they crack and bleed. For a winter blend I love using:
1 part shea butter, melted, with 1 part coconut oil, melted. I allow both to cool nearly to room temperature, and I whip them together in my mixer (hand beaters would work, too). When the mixture is almost whipped to a fluffy consistency I add in essential oils. For winter, my favorite combination is cedarwood and vanilla essential oils; cedarwood is known to help moisturize dry skin.
Although there are other homemade products I could make (like toothpaste, for example), I have yet to find recipes or methods that I enjoy using enough to share with others.
Tune in next time for baby/childcare natural products!