A couple weeks ago I did a post on how I clean my house with only natural products. Today I want to talk about another part of life where chemicals sneak their way in. This one is potentially even more dangerous because these products are rubbed into our skin, our scalp and inhaled daily. Because of this, I have slowly, over the course of a few years, completely eliminated all personal hygiene products and replaced them with all natural components. I find this is really important on many levels. Of course you always hear everyone talk about the dangers of many chemicals but the benefits of a chemical free life are rarely discussed.
What I’ve noticed aside from overall well being is much bigger than I expected.
- improved respiratory function
- ability to detect and enjoy subtle smells (the flipside is that I am easily overwhelmed by the detergent isle!)
- MUCH improved skin
- clearer mind
- more appreciation for creation and all the things provided for our use
- clearer eyes (less gunk and irritation)
- less money wasted
I’m sure there are even residual improvements I haven’t thought about but I’m going to hash those in with the general wellbeing.
Here’s my list plus methods of keeping my personal hygiene without any harmful chemicals.
You may recall a post I did a while back on how amazing baking soda is where I mentioned how I use it in my hair instead of shampoo, well, that is still the case. Pre-shower I dissolve a tablespoon or so of baking soda into a half cup of water and then I work it through my scalp. Then I rinse it off in the shower.
I only started needing conditioner when I went blonde this past summer but now I’m totally addicted. No, not to conventional conditioner! But vinegar! I dilute one part vinegar into three parts water and keep it in a little squirt bottle in my shower.
Before every shower I use a technique called dry brushing. Basically you take a natural bristle brush and brush your entire body in the direction of your heart. Not only does this provide great exfoliation but it also increases good circulation, cleanses the blood (by getting your lymph system going) and is a great way to prevent and even treat cellulite and spider veins. It also helps to fade stretch marks and improve the over all look of your skin. The oil glands are also stimulated to help keep prevent dry skin. I had a noticeable difference on my neck and face when I started this.
Dry brushing is a great method but I also like to do vigorous exfoliation with the loofa once I’m IN the shower. This provide another kind of exfoliation. Dry brushing is beneficial because when your skin is dry it has less elasticity so the dead skin cells come off easily. The loofy helps to cleanse blood as well and then also massage the skin. This helps the reproduction of skin cells while providing a good surface for the absorption of moisturizer.
I only use coconut oil. I use it after loofa in the shower since my skin is warm and has just been exfoliated. I also use this with the boys in their bath in lieu of both soap and lotion. It’s an antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent that moisturizes rather than dries out. Avery loves eating it while in the bath too and that’s just bonus!
Ummmm, water? When I wear make-up I use coconut oil as a wash. Oil dissolves oil and it also removes waterproof mascara. When I don’t wear make up, I don’t wash my face. The skin is an organ that is fed and cleansed from within. If you have skin issues (dryness, oiliness, acne, etc) it isn’t caused or cured by your facewash but your diet.
Well, this one can be as easy or as hard as you like. I have gone through phases of making my own with baking soda, glycerin and peppermint oil, buying natural and flouride free (Trader Joe’s has a very reasonably priced option) and using Shane’s because I’m lazy (Crest). I think I need to just find one that I feel fits into my lifestyle and go with it. I have to do more research and try more recipes before that happens though.
I am a minimalist and therefore don’t use too many things but there are some other great natural personal hygiene options out there both to treat actual issues (like hemorrhoids, hair loss, autoimmune disorders, etc) and to just pamper yourself with.
Use of essential oils is a big one. I keep lavender and peppermint oil around constantly. There is always lavender oil in the boys bath to help them wind down and peppermint oil can be a great pick me up along with coconut oil for a shoulder massage. There are hundreds of natural soap options out there both homemade and to buy. I love using the occasional goats milk soap but don’t really need it on a regular basis. Masks are fun and can be very easily made with things like honey, avocado and oatmeal. Scrubs with oils like olive and coconut combined with coarse sea salt or sugar are great too. Lemon juice can help brighten facial skin, teas can improve the look of pores, and aloe vera can heal. There are so many wonderful and effective ways to take care of yourself that have no down sides and more positives than you might assume. It’s all a matter of finding what you want, what works with your lifestyle and budget.
Important to Note
If you are looking to switch from your conventional methods you should be prepared for a small period of time where your skin/hair detox. So if you switch to baking soda from shampoo, your hair will be a bit gunky for a month or so. Don’t give up though! You don’t want that gunk in your body and you certainly want your system to reregulate to a more natural state. Shampoo will strip your hair of oils and therefore put your body on oil producing hyperdrive. Baking soda just cleans so your scalp needs time to learn it doesn’t need to produce so many oils to rehydrate. If you don’t want to wear a hat for a month I suggest putting some corn starch in a shaker (I actually use a little baby powder bottle) and shake that into your scalp to absorb the extra oils. It works like a charm. Just massage it in and it not only takes care of the greasy look, but it gives you some extra volume as well. Also, it’s cheap.
Question: What does your routine look like? Are there things you would change or do you really love your conventional products?