In the last year I’ve made some significant changes in my personal hygiene routine, particularly the products I use. After doing research I was concerned with the various toxins in products as well as the overall cost. I wanted to find ways to use products that would be healthier for my body, but also less expensive. I discovered that many of them could actually be found in the grocery store. While my husband is all for saving money, he thinks this whole process has also made me a little weirder.
Coconut Oil: This has become my moisturizer of choice, as well as a great diaper rash cream. It is greasier, but if applied sparingly works quite well.
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For now this has been my go-to winter nighttime moisturizer. I don’t usually use it during the day because it is heavier.
I have been somewhat concerned about the lack of SPF in these natural moisturizers so at least in the warmer weather when I’m outside more I’m consider substituting the California Baby SPF lotion, if I can find a more budget friendly price on it somewhere.
The Oil Cleaning Method– Mix any favorite essential carrier oil (such as Extra Virgin Oil Oil or Almond Oil) with Castor oil. Apply to face. Wet a wash cloth with steaming water, ring out and apply to face. Let wash cloth sit on face until cooled. Repeat and wipe any residue off of face. My husband still laughs at me when I do this, but I’ve found that it actually works rather well. The whole process of deliberately putting oil on my skin seemed counter intuitive after years of acne issues, but this doesn’t seem to cause any additional acne problems (though it is a little hard to tell during pregnancy) and my skin is definitely less dry than when I was using acne washes. I’ve stuck mostly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it is easy to find at our regular grocery store and relatively inexpensive. For more on the oil cleansing method check out this article on Simple Mom and the included links.
HoneyWash– Ideally I should be using raw honey or some other organic equivalent, but instead I grabbed what I had in my cupboard which is quite old. I had to dilute it just to get it into a manageable texture so I’m probably not getting the full benefits of this wash. I apply it to my face and then rinse off and dry with a wash cloth. But I alternate it with my OCM and it leaves my skin feeling dry in a few spots (which, frankly, every single face wash I’ve ever tried has done), but mostly gives my skin a nice texture. But if I leave any on, it does leave sticky spots.
No Poo Method
When I first heard about this I thought it was crazy. But I decided to give it a try. It was a process of trial and error that certainly wasn’t helped by my pregnancy hormones. (My hair gets very strange during pregnancy, including a very flaky scalp that even strong dandruff shampoo can’t get rid of).
My current method is to boil two cups of water and then add 1 TBS of baking soda. I let it cool and make sure it is completely dissolved before I pour it into bottles to store in my shower. I discovered that our hard water makes it necessary to boil the water while mixing in the baking soda, otherwise it leaves awful white residue in my hair. I still get flakes sometimes, but it’s mostly the result of my pregnancy scalp or if I measure wrong when creating the mix. Sometimes I experiment a little bit with the mixture to see how it affects my hair.
I started out using lemon juice as my “conditioner” because I thought vinegar would make my hair greasy. But as my hair adjusted I began using diluted white vinegar, and now finally diluted apple cider vinegar. I still use white vinegar if my hair has gone too long between washes other wise I’ll end up with greasy hair. But I find that the apple cider vinegar helps prevent flakes and gives my hair nice texture and color. I currently wash my hair every two to three days. This is a huge breakthrough for me, since I was lucky to be able to go 24 hours without washing my hair before. But it has been a long road. There were definitely times when my hair drove me crazy during the last year or so, and a few times I wanted to give up. I occasionally alternated my routine with California Baby Tea Tree oil shampoo, since it’s non-stripping and sometimes I would still wash my hair every day. But the vast majority of the time I’m pretty happy with my hair now, assuming that the flake problem continues to improve postpartum. I didn’t struggle with any hair problems during my No Poo method transition that I wasn’t already dealing with. The current dandruff shampoos weren’t working. Other shampoos didn’t leave my hair clean for longer than 24 hours. So I figured I might as well stick it out, since I was saving huge amounts of money (especially considering the supply of half full bottles of shampoo in my cabinet that I abandoned during the last few years when they stopped working, including the lovely smelling Organix tea tree oil and peppermint shampoo. Unfortunately it worked no better than the others). For more info check out Simple Mom and her recommended resources on this topic.
So there it is. Most of my toiletry products are now purchased as basic ingredients at the grocery store. I haven’t bought myself traditional shampoo or conditioner in over a year, even longer since I purchased moisturizer and I haven’t even had to repurchase any of my new greener ingredients, though I’m about to buy more apple cider vinegar, which is quite inexpensive. It has definitely saved money, probably made my body and household a little greener and to my husband’s credit, perhaps made me a little weirder too. But I think I’m OK with it. After all, after transitioning to cloth menstrual pads, it doesn’t get much stranger than that.