Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Bathroom Cabinets Look More Like My Kitchen

Following my daughter down the crunchy path has turned out to be way more expensive and interesting than I ever thought it would be when I threw away my body wash two years ago or ditched my shampoo last winter.

At the same time, I realize that once I buy the start up products that I need for some things, I don't have to buy those commercially produced products any more and have ingredients on hand to last a while, so I'm saving a ton of money long run.

And I'm not putting things I cannot pronounce, let alone understand what they are or what their long-term effect on my health may be, on my body.

I was tempted the other night to use a commercial Shea butter I bought a few weeks ago.

After all, it smelled so good and had been kind to my skin through the time since I bought it. Then I started squinting my eyes to read the tiny ingredients included beyond the Shea butter that my skin needed. Why did I want two kinds of alcohol and what was that other stuff? I scooped the contents of the jar out and dumped them into the trash.

I saved the jar for some homemade Shea butter, of course.

The search for already proven recipes has turned me into a Pinterest addict, but that's another blog. I've also discovered the ground already plowed by pioneers and regularly visit a couple of other blogs for tips and recipes (Wellness Mama and Almost Exactly being my favorites right now).

The fact of the matter is that many of the things I need for my new experiments come straight from the kitchen. Olive oil, baking soda, honey and apple cider vinegar are not only kitchen staples, but regular stars in my bathroom. My husband complained about going to the shower for my honey container the other night and had to buy more. Sorry, I use more honey for conditioning my hair or washing my face than I generally need in the kitchen.

Coconut oil has the same problem although no one but me cares. If I can slip some of that extra healthy fat into a recipe, it's a good thing, but I'm way more likely to use it in the bathroom. So far I'm just putting some of it into a smaller container that I store in the bathroom and keeping the huge jug somewhere else. The gallon jug of vinegar likewise stays in the kitchen, and I refill a small bottle in the bath regularly.

Beyond my basic hair wash (1 tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in an old shampoo bottle of water followed by a splash of vinegar diluted in an old coffee cup for a rinse), my first excursion into DIY natural/crunchy products was deodorant.

Yes, we've all become accustomed to not sweating and having armpits that are gloriously dry, but I've read enough questioning of the ingredients and the basic principal to cast doubt on my use of the handy 48-hour stick. Our bodies are designed to sweat and short-circuiting that process because we don't want to smell bad isn't necessarily a good thing. Plus the ingredients used to do so are by no means "natural" and I've even seen things questioning a link between antiperspirant and breast cancer. So all that said and no science to back it up, I decided to make my own natural deodorant on the grounds of it would definitely not hurt.

The ingredients are 3 T coconut oil, 3 T baking soda, 2 T Shea butter and 2 T arrowroot, along with whatever essential oil a person likes for fragrance. I love lemongrass and already had some on hand, but I had to order Shea butter and arrowroot. (Amazon has absolutely everything)

I followed Wellness Mama's recipe and put the oil and butter in a glass jar which I sat in a pan of water on the stove to heat. The ingredients melt and then you stir in the baking soda and arrowroot and add enough essential oils for the fragrance you want.

My results, however, didn't match hers, which were perfectly shaped little cupcakes or repackaged in old deodorant bar tubes.

Nope, mine was closer to the old Tussy deodorant that I used when I first started feeling the need to make my underarms smell better in middle school.

I guess citing Tussy deodorant, which I'm sure hardly anybody uses any more, although I was surprised to find it is still available and has been since 1925, dates me a bit. It was my mother's deodorant, so what came easiest to hand when I needed it myself. I don't remember ever buying it on my own, but I do recall it being a cream in a small jar that you applied by hand.

While Wellness Mama's recipe indicated I would have rather solid bars, my concoction bled through the cupcake liners and I finally wound up putting the whole recipe into a baby food container. It's not quite solid but would probably work in an old deodorant tube if I waited until it began to reform before pouring it in.

The real question is, does it work? Granted it's only March, so sweaty days are mostly a dream, but I've made it through a few back-to-back PiYo and Zumba classes without feeling like I couldn't raise my arms any more for fear of knocking anyone out. I tossed my commercial products in the trash, and I'm trying to remember my daughter's warning to not apply for at least 10 minutes after shaving (baking soda deodorants can cause a rash, who knew?) but otherwise happy with the result. The initial investment is a bit, but the recipe itself is a breeze and will last a good while. Plus, I'm set up to do it again any time -- if I don't use all my Shea in lotions or the arrowroot in cosmetics (pending experiments).

I'll let you know how it goes.

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