I’ve come to the conclusion that I take blogging way too seriously. I don’t know why, but it may have something to do with being surrounding by severely emotionally repressed, overly ambitious LA types at all times. I am not either of those things, and I DON’T want to be influenced by it. I’ve already gotten a lot more snippy with people, and I listen less and patronize more, which are characteristics I associate primarily with Mass Media executives. And douchenozzles.
That aside I’m going to really try to blog more often, but still retain some kind of quality. I need to remember that the POINT of this is to chronicle all of the silly little day-to-day things, not skip over them to show off my successes (the Fail Quail helps with that). And really, I’m blogging because I have these convictions about my responsibility to my health and to the planet. Even though there are tons and tons of awesome plastic-free, eco, health conscious, veg/foodie bloggers out there who are WAY more interesting than I am, I will persist! Because I know at the very least my mom reads this…sometimes.
So I am coming clean about my personal care regimen.
It may sound weird, but I make my own deodorant, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, face powder (and if I ever get it right, homemade sugar wax). I don’t think this is something most people would be able to guess about me upon first meeting, and I like it that way. I put a lot of effort into being non-judgmental and encouraging re: my views about veg/veganism, the environment, and the toxicity of most products, because I TOTALLY understand how annoying it is to be preached at about them. I believe people change their minds when informed objectively and shown a more effective, practical, and cost-effective way to do something.
I do, however, make a lot of jokes about being a hippie, minus the patchouli. BUT IT’S ONLY OKAY WHEN I DO IT.
I kid. Nobody really makes fun of me, which I think I would prefer to the blank stares. Blank stares leave you no material to work with. I like questions, so that I can explain all of my reasons for doing stuff the way I do.
So, with that, I give you LESS WASTEFUL TOILETRIES! (I need a good label/catchphrase that encompasses the homemade/less packaging/cruelty-free/eco nature of this without sounding as boring as “less wasteful.” I’m falling asleep here). I wish I could say plastic-free, but with plastic bottle caps and floss, it’s a work in progress.
DISCLAIMER: If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find tons of different ways to make all of these things at home. These are the ways I do them. All of the information I provide is based on personal experience, unless stated otherwise. I recommend doing your own research and careful ALLERGY testing BEFORE you use unfamiliar products. As you will read below, some products produce side effects for some people.
I found tea tree oil listed in a number of home remedy/recipes, and was thrilled to find in in a little GLASS bottle at Trader Joe’s (but with a plastic lid, and no dropper :/). One fluid ounce ran me about 5 or 6.99, which is not bad considering I’ve only used a little over half of it in two months, and I put it in EVERYTHING. I use it in a spray bottle (about 3-4 drops with 1 cup of water and a couple drops of Castile soap) for surface cleaning in the kitchen and shower, to kill fungus gnats in my house plants, I add it to the washer to freshen my laundry, and as you’ll see, in my toiletries. It has a clean, astringent smell BUT should ALWAYS be diluted with water. Trust me, your mouth will go numb if it’s too strong, and I’m pretty sure it’s toxic if ingested. It’s a natural anti-fungal/microbial; definitely not good for the inside of the human body. On the outside, though, it’s fantastic!
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is another awesome product that is toxic in large quantities when ingested, but can be used all around the house, as well as in the bathroom. I use it to scour pans (a little baking soda and a pinch of salt on a cloth or sponge and BAM. Clean. Ajax ain’t got nothin’ on me), deodorize carpet, throw it in the washer with my work clothes (coated in restaurant disgustingness, and it gets the smell out of my apron. If you’ve ever worked in food service, you’ll understand the inherent magic here), in addition to the standard open box in the fridge.
1. TOOTH PASTE (/POWDER)
2-4 drops tea tree oil
2-4 drops peppermint oil (both to taste)
4 tablespoons baking soda.
HOW?!: Dip your pre-moistened toothbrush in and go! It’s a lot saltier than conventional toothpaste, and some people recommend adding a pinch of stevia to sweeten it, but I haven’t tried it. The tea tree and peppermint oils help a lot.
WHY?!: I used Tom’s of Maine peppermint toothpaste before I made the switch, but they switched from recyclable aluminum tubes to plastic. It is really hard to find toothpaste packaged without plastic. Beth at My Plastic-free Life has done a pretty good job, but for me it is cheaper and easier to just make it myself.Â Also, I’ve heard that teeth remineralize when you stop using conventional toothpaste filled with glycerin, but I don’t have dental insurance and the opportunity to follow up on that (and everybody’s teeth are different anyway). I have noticed my teeth are less sensitive than they were before, and also a LOT whiter. Baking soda is intense, y’all.
This is a photo of my homemade mouthwash…stored in the empty plastic bottle of The Natural Dentist’s “Peppermint Twist” mouthwash. I know, I know, but since I tend to drop things more often than not a glass bottle seems unwise in the bathroom. This was Justin’s idea! Maybe I will try to sneak a jar in sometime instead… The original contents of the bottle were purchased within the last year or so, when the urge to buy biodegradable products was strong in me. These days I try to make things from scratch first, and buy as a last resort. This brand of mouthwash was okay, but it had a lot of aloe vera in it, which is great on the skin, but weird in the mouth. I didn’t mind it, Justin hated it. So when we ran out, I got creative (which means I googled).
tea tree oil (to taste)
peppermint oil (optional, to taste)
Fill up your reusable mouthwash container with water. Add tea tree oil a few drops at a time, shake, and taste. Be careful not to over-do it, tea tree oil will make your mouth go numb. Add peppermint oil, to taste, a few drops at a time. I’ve found that I like the tea tree oil solution just as well as the tea tree oil & peppermint solution. Both work well, and taste like mouthwash, and leave your mouth feeling clean, something I missed when I was brushing with baking soda only and avoiding our mouthwash (because it had glycerin in it and I was testing out that remineralizing theory, results inconclusive).
WHY?!: Honestly, I wasn’t a regular mouthwash user growing up, and haven’t been for a good portion of my adult life. Maybe this has left my oral hygiene with something to be desired, but no one has ever remarked on my breath being chronically terrible, and I have never had gingivitis or the like, so it wasn’t a big concern. Justin is on the opposite side of the spectrum (down to habitual gum chewing that no amount of reasoning could reduce) so now that there is always mouthwash around (and I’m not spending like, seven dollars on it every three weeks) I am ALL ABOUT IT.
ASIDE RE: OTHER ORAL CARE JUNK ‘N STUFF
I haven’t mastered the craftsmanship of toothbrushes yet, so the best option thus far for me, being veg (so no pig bristles) and not being able to find neem or miswak without plastic in my area (plus an aversion to so much chewing), is Preserve’s responsible recycling set up. They provide you a mailer & you can mail them your toothbrush and know the plastic (which is already recycled, from yogurt cups) is not going into a landfill. Their toothbrushes can be ordered online, or found in a number of retail stores. I think I got mine (the green one, snarf snarf) at Target. It also came in its own travel case. Nifty.
Justin asked me why I couldn’t have washed the toothpaste scum off of the handle of his (he still uses Colgate, notice, I don’t have that problem), and it’s because it’s both factual and honest. I blog with integrity, Justin.
As for floss, I haven’t found a way to get around the plastic floss yet either, but at least Eco-dent uses cardboard containers. In their defense, I’ve had this for over a year, which is why it’s so beat up. Also because I don’t take care of things, or read opening instructions before I rip the closing tab off of the package…whatev. But hey, no beeswax! (Yes, I am beginning to lose faith in my beeganism. I like bees, and can’t always be sure they’re not being starved or subject to genocide).
/aside and inadvertent product placement? Why am I not being PAID for this?
But I digress,
This is another one I don’t have a photo for, but just scroll up and look at the tooth powder pictured with the toothbrushes. They are very similar in terms of aesthetics.
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)
3-4 drops of tea tree oil (optional)
HOW?!: Put the baking soda and cornstarch in an airtight container (I use a small jar), add tea tree oil, shake. To apply, use a powderpuff and dust onto underarms, or do like I do, and pour a small amount into your palm, rub your hands together, and then pat on to apply. Some people also use refillable glass roll-ons (which I may try sometime with a solution) or Parmesan/salt shakers. You don’t even need that much. It doesn’t even need to be visible to work!
WHY?!: Deodorants are crazy, yo! They’ve got weird stuff like aluminum (aluminium, if you’re Britishy) that can poison you, antiperspirants actually mess with your body’s ability to sweat, and they tend to stain your clothes. Since I’ve switched, I’ve smelled much better, because baking soda so DOESN’T STOP WORKING. Not ever. Not even the next morning. It doesn’t stain my clothes, and I’ve noticed that my clothes smell less too, because there isn’t any weird gunk trapping bacteria onto my shirts.
But are there any downfalls? It sounds too good to be true. Well, to be honest, when I first started using straight baking soda, after about a month or two my skin started to get irritated and dry out. This was happening, I think, for a number of reasons, such as humidity changes, how much I was sweating/showering, my sparse moisturizing regimen, that I stopped shaving my underams (because of my razor dilemma, post to come) and the fact that I was using straight baking soda. Rather than sus out exactly what was causing the irritation (which was painful) I stopped using it until the irritation went away and used my roll-on deodorant (Kiss My Face’s Liquid Rock in Lavender, which unfortunately, both comes in plastic and has aluminum salt in it, which is bad blah blah blah). When I was ready to start up using it again, I did a half and half cornstarch & baking soda mixture, and added some tea tree oil. It still tends to be drying if I’m not careful about moisturizing, so this next batch will be 3:1 instead of half and half. I SUPPOSE I could just do cornstarch and tea tree oil, as some bloggers recommend, but I don’t really trust that that will work as well. We shall see.
Ok, this is getting long, so shampooing, conditioning, lotioning, makeup, hair styling products, and so on are going to have to be a separate post. Just looking at that list makes me want to cut down my regimen even more. Trust me, I’m not high maintenance in any sense of the word, and I use so many things every day. And I’ve already cut as much out as I can. I think?
What do you think? Comments, questions, blatant criticism. Hit me. I want to know what you think about this. Is it as crazy as I feel people will think?
Anyway, when I tally it all up, Â I am less a good deal of plastic, toxicity and cost. Which make me happy. Oh dear, that’s twice I’ve used the word “toxicity” in this post. Now I’m going to have to listen to some System Of A Down for the first time in a long time. Rock on, and