*blows the dust off this thing*
It's been a while! Six months, if we're counting, since I posted. While it's true I only have four official readers, I blog more for my own sanity than anything else, with a large dose of "I hope I can help improve lives and the health of the planet" mixed in. The two are largely related. But I thank those of you who follow, and hope that you enjoy the blog. As always, I welcome green tips and hints and know-how from you too! :)
Someday, if I'm ever fortunate enough to build my own home, it will be modest in size, and laid out in a way that makes sense. I love a common area that includes kitchen, dining, and living. I love views of the outdoors, and even bringing the outdoors inside via "french" doors.
But more specifically, I want two things directly off the kitchen: a bathroom, and an herb garden. To make it even better, that bathroom could be outdoors alongside the garden! Before you think hick or outhouse, please see exhibit A.
I want to be able to take my herbs into the kitchen for cooking, and into the bathroom for beauty. I also want my bathroom to have easy access to my kitchen because truth be told, 90% of my beauty products now come directly from the kitchen. The rest come from kind people, for a small price, who make what I am too lazy to make myself, such as jojoba oil and Castille soap (directly from olive and other oils plus an alkali which disappears when the saponification process is complete).
None of what I now use is harmful to either myself nor to the environment. This makes me happy :)
Why do I do this? It was really made clear to me why when last week, feeling down and looking for a boost, decided to treat myself to some good ol' fashioned conditioner. As a concession to greenness, I went to my local co-op. I perused the bottles. Each boasted ingredients on their front labels like coconut oil, honey, jojoba oil, essential oil. The back labels showed that, trumping these natural ingredients, were some of the usual chemicals we are familiar with, mostly preservatives and agents that make the product look and feel the way we've come to expect our beauty products to look and feel.
That moment reaffirmed for me the conclusion I'd already come to, both in beauty and in food. Skip the extra, unnecessary, often harmful ingredients and get back to the source.
The list is simple:
"Products" for my skin, depending on mood, time and needs, are the following:
- citrus essential oil or a squeeze of lemon or other citrus juice in steaming water. Dip a cloth in and, when cool enough to not burn, lay over face for 5-10 minutes to open pores.
- Oatmeal, either rolled or ground, a bit of water mixed in, and rubbed over the face or body as a cleanser. Rinse.
- Sugar, turbinado or "in the raw," a few drops of water mixed in, and gently rubbed on the face or body in a circular motion. Can also add a few drops of unrefined coconut oil (or other nut oils) and honey. This is an excellent exfoliant. The oil helps to moisturize and the honey helps keep moisture in.
- Yogurt, plain and whole milk, at room temperature and applied in a thin layer on the face or body. Leave on for 15 minutes. The lactic acid in yogurt is an excellent exfoliant and facial smoother, otherwise known in the beauty world as an Alpha-Hyrdroxy Acid (AHA).
- Honey, if used with the sugar or not, is excellent as a finisher because of its moisture retaining abilities, and its ph, which is similar to apple cider vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar, a little bit (a teaspoon for face) mixed in a cup of water and splashed on face, is an excellent toner. No need to rinse afterward; the smell will dissipate.
- Coconut Oil, unrefined (my personal favorite), or other oil such as jojoba, olive, etc. (not mineral, baby, vegetable, or petroleum jelly!), rubbed on the face. Excellent moisturizer. A little goes a long way!
"Products" for my hair are the following:
- For an extra special hair treatment, mash a banana (and when I say mash, I mean puree that sucker in a food processor until it's a liquid. Trust me...) and add a few drops of coconut or other nut oil. Pack onto your hair, cover with a towel, and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse. I like to shampoo afterward, but I'm sure that thicker, coarser hair could handle this with just a rinse. This is a great treatment for your hair, leaving it smooth and strong. Add an egg for extra protein.
- Coconut oil, unrefined, added to the ends of my hair (I usually get everything below the ears). A very little goes a long way here. If I am planning on washing my hair the following day (my locks get washed twice a week on average), I put this on the night before. I rub it in well, brush it, and sleep on it. If the strands of your hair are thick and/or coarse, you can apply the oil after you shampoo instead.
- Castile soap with apple cider vinegar and hemp oil (jojoba would work as well), and essential oils. I take the easy route here and buy it already made. A little goes a long way here. It's very watery. I just apply it to my roots, a drop here, a drop there, and wash the roots. I leave the ends alone (unless I put on too much coconut oil, then I give the ends a few drops). It may or may not suds up. Don't worry! You don't need bubbles to clean your hair. It rinses very easily and quickly. A note: if this is the first time you've used Castille soap, be aware that it won't strip your hair and scalp like shampoos do. Your hair, and you, will take a few weeks to adjust.
- Honey, about 1/4 cup, rubbed between palms and then distributed through hair. Don't worry; it will not stick and will rinse very easily. As with your skin, this will help retain moisture in your hair. Leave on a few minutes and then rinse with--
- Apple Cider Vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons mixed with a cup of water. Dip the ends of your hair in the cup, and then pour the rest over your hair, rubbing into the scalp and evenly distributing. Let sit for a minute or two and then rinse briefly with cool water. The ph of the ACV will shut down the cuticle of the hair, leaving it smooth and shiny. Between the oil treatment, the honey and the ACV, you will no longer need "conditioner."
- I don't use styling product, but they are indeed available in a manner that won't harm you or the planet. You can buy them or make them.
And that's it! My family is no longer surprised to see me carting food from kitchen down the hall to the bathroom. In fact, I now keep some of it in the bathroom like honey, oats, and sugar infused with lavender.
This has been a updated version of a previous post of mine on skin care. Hope you found it useful! :)