Monday, January 28, 2013

Make It At Home Monday - Health & Beauty Basics

It's time again for Make It At Home Monday. If you missed last Monday's post about kitchen basics, catch up here. Today we'll move away from the kitchen and into the bathroom. I've completely eliminated commercial products from my daily routine, and I'm healthier for it.

This post is woefully devoid of pictures, but I promise I'll fix that as soon as we have a new camera!


1. Toothpaste. I still haven't quite perfected our homemade toothpaste recipe, so I expect I'll revisit this later. I love the performance of this paste, but it's a little too solid for my taste. I'll be adding some vegetable glycerin next time to give it a more pasty texture. Right now, I'm using 2 parts coconut oil, 1 part baking soda, 1/2 part honey, some cinnamon, and about 5 drops each peppermint and clove essential oils. The coconut oil has made a marked improvement in my sensitivity near the gums, and I don't wake up with morning breath anymore. The clove EO will help take care of any tooth pain you may have, and the peppermint EO leaves you feeling minty fresh. Cinnamon is a good antimicrobial agent, and baking soda provides some healthy scrub. The honey sweetens it just a bit, and is also antimicrobial.

2. Mouth Wash. I mix two parts water with one part alcohol (I used rum last time because that's what was in the cabinet). Then I add a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon, 2 or 3 drops of clove essential oil, and about 6 drops of peppermint essential oil. We keep it in a mason jar in the bathroom, shake it up, and use just like store bought wash. It can have a drying effect, so I only use it every other day.

3. Hair Cleanser. I switched to the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method of hair washing before I got pregnant with Eamon, and my hair became much healthier right after the switch. There's a load of information out there about it, so I won't go into too much detail here, other than to say I wash my hair every 3-4 days, but only wash Eamon's about once a month. I'm hoping his skin and hair will never fall victim to the "dehydrate, rehydrate, dehydrate" cycle of commercial products, and he's never had a main stream shampoo in his hair.

4. Detangler. Obviously I don't need to detangle my dreadlocks, but Eamon wakes up every morning with quite the bed head, and his hair needs some serious taming daily. I didn't like the idea of spraying chemicals in his hair (even if they are tear free), so I started mixing apple cider vinegar with water in a one to one mixture, and put it in a spray bottle. It detangles like a dream, and the slight smell of vinegar goes away as soon as it's dry.

5. Face Cleanser. I've never been a big fan of facial cleansers, as I have combination skin and can never find something that will balance my oily nose with my dry as the desert cheeks. A few years ago, I started just wiping my face with witch hazel, and that worked great. However, I still had itchy dry skin on my cheeks, and I often felt like my face wasn't truly clean. Recently, I started using the oil cleansing method to wash my face. It's really easy, and my skin finally feels balanced. I still put a little bit of coconut oil on my cheeks before bed, and I use a warm washcloth to rinse my face in the morning, then add a bit more coconut oil. The pores on my nose are far less noticeable, and I rarely have blemishes.

I can't even imagine the money we save because we don't use commercial products. I keep a fairly well stocked cabinet of basic supplies - coconut oil, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, etc - and add essential oils and other things we need occasionally. One of the best things about such a simple routine is that when we travel, I don't have to pack a whole bag of beauty supplies. I grab a small container of our toothpaste, fill a tiny canister with coconut oil, and once we arrive at our destination, I run to the store and grab what we need - usually just ACV and baking soda.

Next week, let's head back to the kitchen and talk about healthy, toning beverages.

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