Tag Archives: natural

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

 

Hearty Chickpea & Veggie Salad with Tahini Dressing

I have said it before and I will say it again: I hate salads! I don’t really know why … they taste good. I suppose it is because I find chomping on a bunch of leaves less-than satisfying. Thus, I have been on a very serious quest to make a salad that I want to eat … not just something I “get through.”

My Sweetie has always told me that I have to put fun toppings on it so I will eat it. Well, I took his advice and swapped it. I have created a salad that is MOSTLY toppings with salad leaf sprinkles… yeah … you read that right. My creation could have a hundred or more variations to suit your tastebuds …

What you will need:

  • a giant bowl
  • a can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use an extra-large can – or you could use two cans if you like chickpeas as much as I do)
  • avocado, chopped
  • a large tomato, chopped
  • a large cucumber, chopped
  • kale, spinach, or you leaf of choice
  • fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro
  • goat cheese crumbles to garnish
  • flax seed to garnish
  • other yummies: broccoli, seeds, nuts

Tahini dressing:

  • 1/3 c. tahini
  • 4-6 T. of olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 c. water
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • other yummies (a pinch or two): cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, garlic powder, cayenne

Assembly:

  • Whisk tahini dressing ingredients together in the bottom of the giant bowl.
  • Add chickpeas, avocado, cucumber, tomato, and herbs.
  • Tear small pieces of kale on top. (I used purple kale – YUM!)
  • Toss. Add goat cheese and flax seeds.
  • Boom! Salad of many toppings with a little bit of leaf. MAGIC!

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I find this recipe to be hearty, satisfying, and filling. It is also versatile because you can take what ever your favorite salad toppings are and turn them into the main event. Have fun salad-ing!

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

Eco Emi January 2013 – Unboxing

Check out what I got in this month’s Eco Emi box!

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

~Sharon

At-Home Natural Spa

Hi folks! This is a quick mid-day blog post for you!

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite at home DIY skin-care. I like to make up a few of these at home for at-home spa night. 068

(Yes, I had to include some goofy photo of myself in a mud mask … enjoy!)

Olive Oil/Sugar Scrub:

This is an old stand by for me. I simply mix a tablespoon or two of sugar with enough olive oil to moisten the sugar. You can also make a larger batch and keep some in your bathroom or shower.

To use: I prefer to use on a dry face to slough off dead/dry skin. I simply put some in my hand and start gently scrubbing in small circles, focusing on any problem areas. Then simply rinse with warm water and pat your face dry with a towel.

It’s nice to leave the olive oil on your skin as a natural moisturizer. The molecules in olive oil are too large to clog your pores … so don’t worry about it making you break out. This also makes a great all-over body scrub, too! (I’ve been doing this since I was in high-school!)

For acne prone skin, use salt instead of sugar.

Note: The finer the granules of salt/sugar are, the finer the scrub will be. This is good to note if you have sensitive skin as you may want to use a finer granule.

Oatmeal mask:

I will pulverize a handful of oatmeal in my food processor until it is a fine powder. I then mix the oatmeal with enough milk (soy milk/almond milk) to moisten it to create an oatmeal paste.

To use: cover face with the paste and leave on for at least 10 minutes or until dry. Rinse with warm water.

This mask is a great anti-inflammatory/calming face treatment. It is helpful for when you’re having outbreaks or a skin rash.

Mud Mask:

Take a tablespoon or two of bentonite clay and mix with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, you may need more vinegar to thin out the mask if it is too thick to apply. Mix to combine. Apply to face. You may feel tingling at first, this is the clay doing its work to remove impurities from the skin. Allow to dry and remove with warm water and a wash cloth.

I always follow up by moisturizing my face with olive oil or coconut oil. Ahhhhh …. I feel so refreshed, don’t you?

What are your favorite at-home spa treatments?

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

~Sharon

Natural Face Wash – Oil Cleansing Method

I’ve had clear skin, a few pimples, and hormonal acne … and most store-bought face washes just dried out my skin. For me, I think this dry skin contributed to the pimple outbreaks, and I needed a better solution to this issue. In a Facebook post by my friend, Sarah B., she mentioned she used oil to clean her face. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes sense if you’ve ever read about oil cleansing.

I thought I would give this a shot. To my surprise, it does get your face clean. I have fewer pimples, and my face feels moisturizerized … which is pretty good for living in the arid high desert.

What you’ll need:

  • A container
  • olive oil
  • castor oil
  • tea tree oil (optional)

I do a 80/20 mix. So 80% of the bottle is olive oil, and 20% is castor oil. I just eye it … measurements here. I then add a few drops of the tea tree oil (which helps clear up pimples). This will also take off your make-up. Win, win!

How to use:

  • Have a  wash cloth ready to use.
  • Before I wash my hair, I pour a quarter-size pool of the oil in my hand, rub my hands together, and then gently rub all over my face.
  • I take my wash cloth (with my eyes closed), and run the wash cloth under hot water, and place the wash cloth over my face to open up to pores.
  • After about 30 seconds, I take the wash cloth and start gently wiping the oil off my face.
  • There will be a light film of oil left on your face. This is a great moisturizer, no need to wipe it all the way off.
  • I then shower as normal.
  • I do this before I wash my hair, just in case I get the oil in my hair … so I don’t go out of the house with oily roots.

Are you willing to wash your face with oil? I would love to hear you thoughts in the comments section.

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

~Sharon

Natural Fabric Softener

Okay, I admit, dryer sheets smell awesome but, they are bad for us:

US National Library of Medicine: Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emissionshttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10872633

Since I’m not a scientist or doctor – you can read that abstract or google your little heart out to find out why they are so bad.

So what’s our option to those toxic sheets of anti-static magic? One word: vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and cleaner, and amazingly, it prevents static. Did I mention cheap? Okay – it’s cheap, too.

How do I use it? Add about a half of a cup to the rinse cycle, an old downy ball, or the fabric softener cup inside your machine.

I found a lot of great information about natural fabric softeners on DIY Natural’s website. They have great tips on how to use essential oils to help boost your laundry, too.

New twist! Whitening fabric softener!!!

As many of you may know – lemons have natural lightening properties. Lemon essentials oils are used as a natural bleach. Since I already had some lemon rinds steeping in some vinegar, I decided to see how well it worked on a dirty cream-colored jacket that needed a good washing.

I simply strained the lemon rinds which had been soaking for about 2 weeks in the jar of vinegar, and put the resulting liquid into an old bottle, and then filled it the rest of the way with fresh white vinegar. I labeled it so no one uses this on colored clothes, since it has the potential to ruin/bleach them.  I used a 1/4 c. of my natural laundry soap and about 1/4 c. of the lemon fabric softener for a small load.

The results? Awesome! The jacket that had black and brown smudges on it was clean and cream once again. The smell? Naturally clean. I promise you, your clothes will not smell like vinegar.

Give it a try! You might be amazed with the results, and all the money you have saved.

Let me know what you think in the comments section. How else do you use vinegar? I know I use it for just about everything!

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

~Sharon

Natural Laundry Detergent

I read a great line on DIY Natural’s blog the other day:”If they sell it in the store, you can make it at home.” This is SO true. In my quest to go all-natural, one of the easiest things to get rid of is that toxic crap they call laundry soap. It’s bad for you, it ruins your clothes, and destroys the environment. To add insult to injury, they charge ridiculous prices for it!

I am going to show you the two recipes I’ve been using that are all-natural. The best part is they are EASY to make and SUPER CHEAP! I’ve read a ton of blogs and articles about making your own natural laundry soap; some are more complex than others. The point of this blog is practical ways to live healthy and green on a busy schedule, so without further adieu, here’s some stuff that will clean your clothes:

The Original Recipe:

I have a huge glass canister that holds this recipe, tripled. I use an old 1/4 c. measuring cup in there to measure out my scoops. This recipe does a great job cleaning our clothes, however, there is a downside:

The grated bits of soap don’t always dissolve, so sometimes, I will find little chunks of soap on clothes. I try to remedy this by putting the washer on a 15-30 minute soak cycle. I allow the basin to fill with water, add the soap (while it is filling), and once it is filled, I add my clothes. This extra time allows the soap an oppotunity to dissolve. 

The New and Improved Recipe

Use a funnel to put the borax, washing soda, and baking soda in the jug. Fill the jug 1/3 of the way with hot (not boiling) water. Put the cap on and shake to dissolve the borax and sodas. Now add the peppermint soap, and fill the rest of the way with cool water. Give it a shake, and it’s ready to go!

I like my new recipe much better. It is less work than the first one (grating soap can be tiring), no soap chunks, and it seems to clean better! I do use more of this, about 1/2 c. since it is a diluted mixture. Our clothes are always clean and fresh. Since there are no harsh chemicals, our clothes last longer and don’t fade. Win Win!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

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

~Sharon

Make Your Own Body Oil/Lotion

For most of my life I’ve been itchy … dry skin, allergy rashes … you name it. All I was ever told by a doctor was to not take hot showers, put on lotion twice a day, and avoid things I’m allergic to (food, insects, etc.). No one ever stopped to wonder if it was just the food allergies or if there was more to the story.

Now well into my adulthood I have finally stopped to wonder if there was more I could do for myself. Although I can attribute some of my skin itchies to food allergies, I think dry skin is mostly to blame. Despite eating very well, I still find I have dry skin. And no matter how much store-bought lotion I put on … it never helps. I had to figure something else out.

My Sweetie has me on wonderful supplements, I take flax seed oil and safflower oil daily … so I’m nourished from the inside. But what about the outside? Fortunately, there are relatively inexpensive all-natural ways to take care of that. I only recently discovered the magic in natural oils. I wish I had found them sooner!

There are many wonderful ingredients given to us by Mother Earth that are absolutely perfect for nourishing and caring for our beloved skin. Here are some to name a few:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Jajoba oil
  • Shea butter
  • Coco butter
  • Almond oil
  • Argon oil
  • Avocado oil

Recently, I’ve been messing around with different combinations for my skin. The one I’m going to share with you is a great combination of oils for my dry skin. It goes in an old lotion bottle that has a pump. I personally love the pump over a jar … much more user friendly. I find that this particular one is best used when you get right out of the shower when your skin is still hot and your pores are still open. I simply pump as much as I need into my hand and rub it all over. I wait a little bit before I get dressed so it absorbs into my skin and not my clothing. 

What you will need:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. jajoba oil
  • 1 T. of rose hip oil (optional)
  • essentail oils (optional)
  • funnel
  • double boiler (optional)
  • container for your product

Let’s get mixing!

  1. Melt your coconut oil. You can do it in the double boiler or the microwave. If you don’t know what a double boiler is check out how here. You simply fill the bottom pan with 1 inch or so of water, place the other container/glass bowl on top… and melt stuff in the top part.
  2. Remove from the heat. Add olive oil, jajoba oil, and rose hip oil to the coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  3. Now you can add the essential oil of your choice for scent … lavender, etc. I prefer mine unscented.
  4. Next, use the funnel to pour the oil into a container.
  5. Let it cool and it is ready for use!

I used these small containers just to show you as my lotion pump was already full. When I start to run low, I will use these as refills.

Note: this is merely one combination of oils … I’ve experimented with several different combinations. I personally enjoy this one because it will work in my pump bottle and it stays liquid. Anything with lots of the ‘hard’ oils in it … such as coconut or shea will harden when it cools. I will keep experimenting and let you know of any new discoveries!

What’s your favorite moisturizer? Leave any questions in the comments!

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

~Sharon