In this eco-conscious time (and in this tough economy), everybody's trying to go green while saving some green. And the good news is, these two often go hand in hand. Some of the quickest ways to eliminate chemicals – while also eliminating extraneous spending – begin in your very own bathroom.
DIY grooming is easier than you ever imagined, and believe it or not, these simple recipes result in homemade products that actually out-perform that fancy store-bought stuff you've been slathering on for years. Pinky swear!
1. Homemade Deodorant
Believe it: this WILL work better than any product you've ever bought. Just ask the thousands of runners, athletes, dancers, and generally awesome/busy people who use it every day. This stuff is a game-changer!
DIY deodorant is super easy to whip up at home. All you need is coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, vitamin E oil, and some Essential Oil if you like a touch of fragrance. The proportions are actually pretty forgiving, but a general recipe is 1 part coconut oil, 2 parts baking soda, 2 parts corn starch, a dash of vitamin E oil (this can be omitted; add more coconut oil), and a drop or two of Essential Oil. Give this recipe a try, and prepare to have your mind blown!
2. Coconut Oil as Lotion
Coconut oil is making quite a scene in the culinary world right now, and for good reason (that stuff is delicious!), but did you know that it's also an amazing moisturizer? It's true! Just plain, extra virgin coconut oil is one of the greatest things you can do for your thirsty skin. Not only will it clear your complexion and give you that that "glow", but it's also a natural antimicrobial agent. Bonus!
This No-Poo method of hair maintenance is meant to completely replace conventional shampoo and conditioner – hence the no "poo". The No-Poo philosophy is all about allowing your hair to re-learn how to self-regulate in the absence of harsh cleansers. No-Poo works with, not against, your hair's natural oils. Weekly or bi-weekly, you "wash" your hair, but otherwise you simply rinse it with water.
To "wash", mix 1 tbsp of baking soda into 1 cup of warm water, and distribute the solution evenly through your hair. Begin at the scalp and work your way out to the roots, massaging as you go. Rinse thoroughly with water. Next, apply a 1:1 dilution of apple cider vinegar in water. I find a spray bottle works best for this. Rub it in, allow it to site for a minute or two, and then rinse it out completely.
I have been doing this once a week for two years, and my hair has never been healthier. It's sort of amazing.
4. Aloe Vera Gel as Hair Product
I use aloe as a smoothing serum, a fly-away tamer, and a light-hold hair gel. It works like a charm and it's totally natural! You can even dilute it in water, add it to a spray bottle, and use it as a stand-in homemade hairspray.
Aloe vera gel is widely available in drugstores and supermarkets, though you'll have more luck finding an additive-free version at a natural foods store. Look for a product that's 97-100% aloe (it's okay to have a small - up to 3% - portion of alcohol, to preserve freshness.)
5. Homemade Toothpaste
Most toothpaste is full of nasty gunk that I'd never accept in my food – so why would I rub it all over my teeth?! Making your own toothpaste is easy and effective. You only need four ingredients: baking soda (a cleanser and mild abrasive; the abrasive index of baking soda is less than that of any store-bought toothpaste, so don't worry that it's too rough), coconut oil (the carrier, as well as an antimicrobial), peppermint or licorice extract (for flavor!), and xylitol (a natural sweetener that's actually is proven to help prevent cavities).
To make your toothpaste, mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part melted coconut oil, then add xylitol and flavored extract to taste. Combine to form a thick paste, adjusting coconut oil as needed. Store in a sealed jar at room temperature.
These are just the fundamentals of DIY body care, the most basic framework. But once you've got them down, then you've got the foundation. And that's where all the fun begins!