01 March 2012

Shampoo? Toothpaste? Face wash? Who needs 'em!

I am all about the semi-recent movement from fancy, expensive store-brought products to healthy, cheap alternatives. It turns out most of the things we are raised to believe are absolutely essential to personal hygiene are actually doing the opposite of what we want them to! One by one I've ditched my once-beloved products and moved on to things that not only feel better, save the environment and save me a whole lot of money.

1. The first things to go were shampoo and conditioner. I stopped washing my hair with them about a year ago and I haven't looked back. I wash my hair maybe once every two weeks with baking soda and vinegar, and other than that I just rinse it well when I shower. Shampoo is designed to strip our hair of it's natural oils, which is not only irritating to the skin but is completely counterproductive. These natural oils are responsible for shiny (not greasy), healthy, protected hair. When they are stripped away, our scalps overcompensate and create too many oils, leading to greasy hair that needs to be washed more often. Conditioner is just there to replace the oils that Shampoo takes out... so really it's entirely unnecessary if you leave the oils alone in the first place.
 When I wash my hair, I use a combination of a couple tablespoons of baking soda (because I have verrry long hair) and hot water, poured over my head in the shower and lightly massaged in. This gets rid of the dirt and grime without irritating my scalp or stripping away too many oils. I follow this with a mixture of a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and hot water, which acts as a natural conditioner/softener and leaves my hair shiny, soft, and voluminous.
To read more about washing your hair without shampoo and condition, you can look here.

2. I just ditched toothpaste about a week ago. That might sound absolutely appalling, but toothpaste is actually a pretty modern invention. One of those ways corporations trick us into paying money year after year when we don't really have to, you know? Instead of toothpaste, which is full of all kinds of fancy chemicals that I can't even begin to try to pronounce, I use a combination of baking soda and sea salt. Baking soda. It's just so useful, isn't it? Not just for the back corner of the fridge anymore. I made a mixture that was probably about 75% baking soda and 25% sea salt and I store it in a quarter pint sized mason jar in my bathroom. The mason jar helps keep the mixture air tight and moisture-free. I just wet my toothbrush, shake out the excess water, then dip the tip into the powder. 

When I first tried it I was pretty worried about the baking soda flavor- I am not a fan of the whole baking soda/warm water heart burn relief method- but I pretty much just tasted the salt. This was no problem for me because lately I've tended to prefer savory over sweet anyways. The baking soda cleans and whitens teeth (my teeth are whiter than they're ever been with "whitening" toothpastes), and the salt gently scrubs and promotes the production of saliva which keeps gums healthy.

Honestly I didn't research this nearly as much as I first researched using BS and ACV on my hair, but I felt pretty confident today when I went to the Co-op grocery store on 4th ave today (a haven of all things super healthy... and overpriced) and found a small bottle selling for 5 bucks called "tooth powder". The ingredients? baking soda, salt, and a small amount of peppermint to give a minty flavor. If the co-op is selling it and touting its health benefits, I feel pretty good about doing it for cents in my own home. For more info, you can look here.

3. I haven't officially tried this one, but it's getting hype all over the blogosphere. The idea is to ditch your fancy shmancy 8$ face wash (or 30$ if you use proactiv, like I did when I was a teenager) and wash your face with oil. Yes, oil. It's the same idea as the shampoo thing. Face wash basically strips your face of oil, which contrary to popular belief is NOT the cause of acne. Acne is caused by changing hormone levels and dirt and bacteria that clog the pores. Face wash gets rid of the grime, but also the naturally created oils that keep our skin radiant and soft. Thus, our skin over-produces oil, making our faces greasy and more likely to get clogged. Washing your face with oil dissolves the grease and grime and replaces it with clean, healthy oils. Also, it's apparently a great makeup remover.
When I stopped by the co-op today, I picked up a bottle of castor oil. I already had a bottle of grapeseed oil from some beauty products I made my mom and sister for christmas, however, I've heard extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, and several other types work well also. When I got home I mixed the two in a bottle I used for icing cookies last year (75% grapeseed, 25% castor). I plan on using it tonight for the first time. Here's what you do: put a small amount of oil in your hand. massage it onto your DRY face for about a minute. Get your tap water as hot as you can, and wet a washcloth with it. Put the washcloth over your face and just wait until the cloth reaches room temperature. Doesn't that sound like a great way to start/finish the day? Like a mini spa. Anyways, then rinse the washcloth and wipe the oil off your face. And that's it! Soft, smooth, radiant skin. Or so I hear. I'm super stoked to try this. Supposedly you only need to do it once a day (tops) for results. For more information, look here

Do you guys have any diy beauty products that you swear by? I'm pretty sure the next thing to go is going to be my deodorant, and then probably my volumizing mousse and hairspray. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!


  1. Everything about this post freaks me out, haha, but I can totally understand where you're coming from. With my husband working at New Frontiers, I get told about this kind of thing aaaall the time from the people there. I just can't bring myself to do it. :)

  2. I love this post! I've been meaning to look for some alternatives for shampoo and conditioner (currently I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap) and this is exactly what I've benn needing! I'm all for cutting out excess chemicals and expenses in my life and your ideas here are definitely going to be some of my first steps! Thank you :]