Tag Archives: DIY

The Shampoo v. “No-poo” Compromise

I’ve been on the crunchy lifestyle bandwagon for a while now. My mission to live a sustainable lifestyle has taken some unexpected turns. One of my favorite things to do has been replacing my beauty items with sustainable, homemade versions. In fact, I have a batch of homemade body butter cooling in the kitchen right now.

I’ve tried the so-called “no-poo” method (i.e. baking soda and water as a replacement for shampoo). Can I just take a moment to say what a horrible name that is!?! Okay, end rant. I tried the standard baking soda and water shampoo replacement method. Long story short, for whatever reason, this method did not work for me. I can’t pin the failure on the water, my hair type or the environment, or just the plain fact that it doesn’t work. My hair just felt thick and dirty, never that fresh and clean feeling. However, my fellow sustainable bloggers swear by it. It just did not work for me.

This failure spurred a desire to fix it. I could not simply go back to shampoo. I had to find some answer to a healthier method to cleanse my hair than the chemical-laden cocktail that was sold at the store. Organic versions are better, yet expensive and still don’t fix the problem of using detergent on my hair.

I am advocating against washing your hair with conventional shampoo. Why? Here are my reasons:

  • Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils and moisture. Our hair actually produces its own natural oil which acts as a conditioner and moisturizer;
  • Conventional shampoo is toxic, see an article here; I don’t want to spread toxic chemicals that are known carcinogens onto my scalp each and every day;
  • It’s unnecessary. Before 1930, we didn’t even have what we now know as shampoo.

I have now been washing my hair with my “compromise” method for a few months. To be perfectly honest, I was skeptical and not sure if I would stick this one out. I think the method I have designed is a nice compromise between using organic shampoo and the baking soda method.

This method does take some getting used to. You will more than likely go through a bit of a greasy phase. If you experience this, have no fear, there is a natural dry shampoo method found here. Use this dry shampoo during the transition phase.

This is my compromise recipe:

Shampoo

  1. Fill and 8 ounce squeezable bottle with water, leaving some room at the top. You can also re-use an old shampoo bottle or any other suitable container.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of organic shampoo. I use this kind.
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
  5. Now shake to combine.

To use:

  • In the shower, I wet my hair thoroughly and massage my scalp to loosen any oil or dirt
  • Next, I squeeze my alternative solution onto my roots and scrub, scrub, scrub
  • I wash my face, allowing the mixture to remain on my hair for a few minutes
  • Then, rinse while massaging my scalp.
  • I’m still working on an alternative to conditioner … so stay tuned.
  • I then use my homemade body wash.

Let me know how this works for you! Everyone’s hair is different, so tweak the recipe as needed.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

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DIY: All-Natural Toothpaste

For about a year now I have been making and using my homemade toothpaste. Most people cringe and wonder if it works. I am here to tell you that it does. I have never had a cavity, and my dental hygienist says my teeth and gums looks great.

Why did I stop using store-bought toothpaste? The answer is simple. I figured if the label says “do not swallow” and “if swallowed contact poison control” that it probably wasn’t a good thing to be putting in my mouth. It seems like a pretty easy task to keep our teeth clean, brushing and flossing and mouthwash isn’t too complicated of a routine, so why did toothpaste have to be complicated? Why does it have to contain sugar … something that causes tooth decay??? seems counter productive. Why does it have to contain nasty chemicals that can poison me? Why would I put that in my mouth? Okay, you get my point.

diy toothpaste

(this picture is from the first sample I made myself)

I’ve researched different toothpastes and tooth powders, tried some differing variations, and I have no concrete “recipe” to share with you. But here is my go to toothpaste ingredient list:

I usually make a large batch (a couple jars at a time), sometimes I make some to give to my friends to try. But here is my general method:

  1. Melt some coconut oil in a small bowl or right in your glass jar. If this is your first batch, just make a little bit to try it out, a few tablespoons will do.
  2. Now add enough baking soda to the toothpaste to make a paste. (the paste consistency will be determined by the temperature of your house. In the summer the toothpaste can be more liquidy due to the heat, and in the winter very hard due to the cold)
  3. Now add 10-20 drops of peppermint essential oil. (Obviously, more or less depending on how much you are making)
  4. Now add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil.
  5. If you need to make it sweet like the store bought kind, this is where you add the xylitol or stevia to your taste. I made mine sweet at first when I was transitioning to natural toothpaste, now I leave it out completely.

You can also add other cleaning agents. I have heard of ground sage and bentonite clay being added. Also, you can leave out the coconut oil completely and make a toothpowder. People add sea salt to some tooth powders. It’s all about experimenting to see what you like and can tolerate.

To use, I just dip my brush head into the jar and get some on the bristles. I also use an electric toothbrush. I feel like it does a better job of using the grit from the baking soda to get my teeth nice and clean.

I will also be putting up my recipes for mouthwash and retainer/denture cleaner!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

 

DIY Beachy-Hair Mist

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Ahhh Springtime. So close to summer. Time for lost clothing, shorts, hikes, and camping. It’s also that time of year for beachy, flowy hair. One thing that just makes me laugh is when people buy “Beach Spray” for their hair. Don’t be fooled! You’re buying salt water (with perhaps, a little hair spray) in a bottle – this is a very sneaky scheme. It’s easy to get scammed into buying that beautiful bottle of stuff that promises to make you look like you just returned from the beach.

Well, I have a surprise for you!!! You can make your own for pennies on the dollar.

You will need:

  • Spray bottle (use one that you already own by washing it out and reusing it instead of buying a new one.)
  • Water
  • Salt, natural sea salt preferably
  • Hairspray (try this natural DIY version)

Simply dissolve a teaspoon or two of salt into some warm water, add a little hairspray if you choose, shake, spray! Yes, that easy.

For me, I have stick-straight hair. I spray this on my dry hair and scrunch it up with my hands until the spray dries. It gives my hair a little more texture than it normally has. The more natural texture you have, the more wave you will see. Be careful though, the salt will dry out your hair. Be sure to properly moisturize your hair so you don’t damage your hair. Just because it is a natural product, does not mean that it will not damage your hair.

Have you ever made your own beach mist or hairspray? What have your results been? What kind of recipe did you use?

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

5 things I’ve been loving lately

Me, on a hike with my family at Castle Rock.

Me, on a hike with my family at Castle Rock.

Life catches up with us … sometimes, it feels like life is moving in fast-forward. At least for me. If you’re busy … you know what I’m talking about. But it’s OKAY! We can still be healthy and green even when life is spinning out of control. It takes a little discipline and the drive to be healthy, but with a little effort, we can reap what we sow.  Below is a list of the five things I have been loving during the whirlwind I call “my life.”

#1 – Book stores!

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live the local book stores are meeting their end and succumbing to the digital era. It is unfortunate to watch one of the great legacy’s of our  time whither and die, but I suppose it is a part of the cycle of life.

I have an absolute love for collecting books … I may do a little more collecting than reading, but who is keeping score? In my collecting spirit I took advantage of an offer from one of my friends to meet her at one of the book stores that is closing in our area for their 50% sale. I picked up some wonderful books about gardening and herbal medicines. I am very excited to add them to my collection. I have always fancied myself as an apothecary…

At any rate … go check out your local book store and find some great deals on books about subjects you want to learn more about.

2. Homemade deodorant!

Okay, so people look at me sideways when I tell them I make my own deodorant and that I am wearing it at the present moment. I think they are wondering if I smell and if they should take a step back. To be honest, I was apprehensive at first, but I was sick of using the commercial stuff that I knew was slowly poisoning me … I got to the point where I would rather smell bad than die. Logical, right?

So I saw this post for Primal Pit Paste … so I began reading about it. It looked like it would work, so I read the ingredients and was shocked when I realized I had all the ingredients in my pantry. And in my apothecary spirit I skipped to my kitchen to begin creating. I whipped up a small batch, poured it into an old deodorant container and began using it. I loved it so much I made some for my Sugar. And he loves it! In fact – the dark marks under his arms have disappeared (which I think were caused by the toxins in the commercial deodorant).

Honestly, I’m hooked. I’m going to be making some more for a friend soon – can’t wait for her to try it out!

3. Taking my supplements!

I don’t know about you, but I am the worst about taking my supplements. I don’t know if it just the pure rebellion bubbling up … but I always “forget.” In fact, I just now realized that I have two maca and a vitamin B complex in my pocket as I type this. Yes, I just took them out of my pocket and swallowed them. (Good girl!) When I do take them, I feel so much better.

Truth is … most of us are deficient in the nutrients we truly need from our diets. For me I like taking vitamins B and D, evening primrose oil, maca, spirulina, flax oil, safflower oil and borage  oil. Consult with your local homeopath or doctor about what supplements are right for you. Every body is different.

4. Information on Facebook!

Recently I have liked the following pages to keep me up-to-date on the happenings of our world:

  • NPR
  • Oh She Glows
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • DIY Natural
  • Wellness Mama
  • Rural Spin

And I have liked some our local businesses such as co-ops and raw food chefs. Check it out … there is a world of knowledge to be had!

5. Down time!

Wait, what? What is this so-called downtime?

I know, I know … I know. It is truly the last thing a type-A, busy college student, who is working has time for. However, we are animals, not machines. If we don’t take the time to rest and relax, we’re gonna break, and we’re gonna break hard!

In the interest of living past my 30’s I have decided that taking some down time is a good thing. So – what have I been doing in this down time?

  1. Writing this blog … I know, it’s been a while. 
  2. Joined a book club to re-learn the love of reading that college has destroyed.
  3. Naps
  4. Going outside … just to love the outside a little more. Nature is truly beautiful. If you want your mind blown about nature watch “Fractals” you will never look at a cloud or a tree the same. 🙂
  5. Talking to my loved ones … I know a lot of people might do this frequently, but I don’t live near my family, and I don’t have any time to talk that isn’t between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. It’s just nice to connect with the people you love the most and hear what is going on their lives.

What things have you been loving lately?

Until next time, I send you peace love and good energy!

~Sharon

 

Cornmeal & Honey Scrub

honey2Getting back to basics can be the best way to take care of ourselves inside and out. I’m always looking for natural ways to take care of my skin and avoid the processed and chemical laden store-bought products. This recipe is a great way to refresh your skin by sloughing off dry skin to reveal and fresh and dewy face.

This recipe is from Stephanie Tourles book Organic Body Care Recipes:

This product leaves skin smooth, soft, and very hydrated. Because this scrub can be a bit runny and sticky, don a shower cap or wrap your hair in a towel before use. 

What you will need:

  • 1.5 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients thoroughly and allow cornmeal to absorb the liquid for 1 minute.  Using your fingers, gently massage onto the face and throat, lie back, and leave on for 15 minutes. Rise with warm water to revel your new dewy skin. 

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Aloe Vera Toner

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t put up a tasty recipe in a while… I have been developing some new recipes for you and will post them in the very near future. In the meantime, enjoy another selection out of Stephanie Tourles’ book Organic Body Care Recipes:

aloe-vera2

Aloe Vera juice makes a great all-over gentle toner. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a bit drying if used routinely and is thus most effective for oily, combination, and normal skins in need of calming treatment and gentle handling. Aloe is extremely soothing and healing when used to relieve environmental irritations and the itch from insect bites.

Note: Aloe vera may irritate very sensitive or dry, dehydrated, sunburned, or windburned skin. You can lessen the irritating effects and still benefit for its healing properties by diluting the juice or gel 50% with distilled water. Store the mixture in a small jar in the refrigerator and shake vigorously before each application.

You will need:

Pure aloe vera juice or gel, commercially bottled or fresh-picked leaf.

(I prefer this aloe gel from Mountain Rose Herbs. My Sweetie uses it everyday.)

  • recommended for: oily, acneic, combination, normal, or mature skin that is not dry; sunburned, windburned, or irritated skin
  • Use: daily 
  • Follow with: moisturizer
  • Prep time: none
  • Blending tools: none
  • Store in: refrigerator in original container or store cut leaf in a plastic bag.
  • Yield: 1 treatment

If using commercial juice or gel, follow label directions regarding storage; it almost always requires refrigeration. If using the gel from a leaf or your own alow plant, cut off the amount you are going to immediately need and store the remainder of the leaf in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for about three days.

Application tips: Simply soak a cotton pad with the juice or gel and apply to skin as desired.

I don’t know about you, but I learned a lot about a lot from this recipe. I always thought aloe was a moisturizer … guess I was wrong! And now I know how to use it properly. 🙂

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Mellow Yellow Banana Cream Mask

I have been absolutely loving Stephanie Tourles’ book Organic Body Care Recipes. It is loaded with great information, an ingredient dictionary, and a whole bunch of simple and amazing recipes. I have chosen another one to share with you.

Bananas and cream will moisturize, hydrate, and pamper even the direst skin. Try to make this mask a healthy, yummy habit that your skin will relish. Note: Should a bit of this delectably scrumptious mask drip into you mouth, it’s fine to savor it!

What you will need:

  1. One 2 inch chunk of a very ripe banana 
  2. Cream, light or heavy
  • Recommended for: normal, dry, dehydrated, sensitive, sunburned, windburned, environmentally damaged, mature, or irritated skin.
  • Use: as desired
  • Follow with: moisturizer if necessary
  • Prep time: approximately 5 minutes
  • Blending tools: mortar and pestle or small bowl and fork
  • Store in: do not store, mix as needed
  • Yield: 1 treatment

Using a mortar and pestle or a small bowl and for, mash the banana with just enough cream until a smooth, spreadable paste forms.

Application tips: Safeguard hair and clothing prior to applying this potentially runny mask. Using your fingers, spread onto the face and throat, and recline for 20 to 30 minutes (mask will not dry). Rinse.

I hope you enjoy this all natural beauty mask!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

Honey Massage Mask

HoneyRecipe from Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles

This is a delicious, sweet way to soften, deeply hydrate, and moisture your skin. This treatment leaves skin with a rosy glow resulting from increased circulation.

You will need:

2-3 teaspoons of fresh, raw honey at room temperature

  • Recommended for: all skin types, especially dry, dehydrated, sunburned, windburned, mature, or environmentally damaged skin
  • Use: as desired
  • Follow with: moisturizer if necessary
  • Prep time: approximately 1 minute
  • Blending tools: small spoon
  • Store in: do not store, mix as needed
  • yield: 1 treatment

Application tips: Honey thins and get runnier as it warms to skin temperature, so be sure to wear a shower cap or pull your hair off your face and neck prior to application. Using your fingers, apply a very thin coat of honey to your entire face and neck. When the honey is spread evenly, it will bead on your skin much like water beads on your car after a rain shower. Leave on for 15 minutes or longer while you relax. Before rinsing, for about 5 minutes, begin to pat your skin lightly with your fingertips in quick tapping motions, as though you are playing the piano. Rinse using a very warm, damp cloth.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from the new body care book I recently purchased. I can’t wait to try out more recipes and share them with you.

Until next time, I send you peace love and good energy.

~Sharon

 

Holiday Tidbits Part II

Hello everyone and good morning to ya! Just a quickie post to show you some of the wrapping paper I made and to give you some design ideas. It was so much fun to sit down and color. If you don’t have any children … when was the last time you actually sat down to draw and color? It had been a while for me … but it brought back those warm and fuzzy feelings from 1st grade when you’re coloring your parents a picture for the refrigerator. I’m a silly kid at heart … what can I say!?!

This is a great project to do with your kids, family, or friends. Pool your craft collections and come up with some great designs!

Here is what I used to make my FREE wrapping paper:

  • paper bags from the grocery store
  • scissors to cut
  • crayola markers
  • a pencil
  • ink pads in green, red, and black
  • paint pens in white or black
  • glittery nail polish
  • twine/ribbon for tying

I used what I had on hand in my craft box … I didn’t go out and buy anything for this. Get creative and look around your house to see what you can use to make some fantastic wrapping paper from your loving heart.

And here’s what I came up with … you are only limited by your imagination.

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What are you going to draw???

Happy coloring and wrapping!!!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy. Happy Holidays!

~Sharon

Holiday Tidbits

Christmas tree 2012I apologize for the lack of posts. I have been sick and it is finals week. Needless to say, my free time has been spent sleeping and resting. (Wait! What is “free time???”) I have also been feeling quite sappy lately. Sort of “sad-for-no-good-reason.” I have little to complain about. I have a loving and kind partner, an amazing family, a great group of friends, a good job, and school isn’t too bad. I truly live a wonderful and blessed life. I could call this the “winter blues.” But whatever it is … I hope it ends soon – I have too much fun stuff to do!

Anywhoooo – I wanted to give you some ideas for the holidays … so here’s a post that covers a little bit of everything!

I have had enough extra time to put together some homemade holidays gifts for my loved ones. Living on a tight budget + having a lot of people you want to give to = homemade gifts. I will post how I made my gifts after the holidays – I don’t want to spoil it for those loved ones who read my blog. Trust me – these are gifts you can give for any occasion: birthdays, valentines, baby showers, bridal showers, mother’s day, etc. You can find some great homemade gift ideas here, here, and here. And of course … you can always follow me on Pinterest for more ideas.

One thing that I’m doing that won’t spoil anything for anyone is making my own homemade wrapping paper out of paper bags. When I forget my reusable bags for the grocery store, I always get paper since I will reuse them for so many things.  Wrapping paper can be  so dang expensive, only to be ripped off in the excitement. So why not save your money and make some wrapping paper with your love put into it for FREE! Here’s a great video on how to make your own wrapping paper. http://

For my wrapping paper, I went into my craft box and pulled out some stamps and ink pads for making my own designs. I think I have a paint pen, too. They are so fun and easy to use.

Another great gift idea is the giving of FOOD! Who doesn’t love food? You know you canned waaaaaay too much this summer, right? Well, I hope you did. You can take some of your extra canned jams, sauces, or veggies … Tie a cute bow around them and they make the perfect gift. The gift of your garden and hard work!

Decorating!!! Oh man, I love decking the house out for Christmas … rearranging the furniture to make way for the tree … hanging the stocking on the mantel. Too much fun! This year I took some of my extra ornaments and hung them on the tree by our front door. It adds a nice little sparkle when the Christmas lights are on at night, or in the day when the sun shines on them. I also took some empty vases and filled them with pine cones, fake fruits, ornaments, and whatever else I just had to make beautiful decorations/centerpieces for the table or book-case.


I’m not into the consumerism of Christmas. I think this time of year should be spent loving the ones you love … and then loving them some more. My family lives all over the U.S., so we get together and go skiing – no gifts, just making memories. Like the first year we started this tradition and my youngest brother got a bad concussion and was almost flown via helicopter off of the mountain. See! Fun memories! (He’s fine, by the way.) We also just sit around and play card games by the fire, or watch a movie together. If you must buy gifts, make them memorable. It’s not about the money you spent, it’s about the thought you put into what you’re giving. One year, me and my brothers got together and had some pictures taken, framed them, and gave them to our parents – they loved it.

Whatever you do for the holidays, whatever traditions you have, whichever holiday you celebrate – do it with love, do it with your heart, and do it with a smile.

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy. Happy Holidays.

~Sharon