Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cheap, Non-Chemically, DIY Body Care (aka, Baking Soda is Magic)

There are many reasons I don't like store-bought shampoos, deodorants, soaps, creams, and other bodycare products.  Even the "natural" ones, though mostly better than your average pharmacy brands, have chemicals I'd really rather not use, and also tend to be really pricey!  I decided a while ago that there must be better options, and I'm slowly but surely going DIY for all of the products I used to buy from the store.

Recently, I've been discovering more and more things that baking soda (only about $1 a box) can be used for.  And used very effectively, no less!  So I wanted to share a few of them that I've tried so far:

Shampoo (or, Going No 'Poo, as people often say)

I used to use Kiss My Face shampoos, which worked just like your general shampoos, minus *most* of the more harmful chemicals.  The downside?  High cost (about $10 a bottle), and it left my hair dry, so I needed to use their conditioner regularly as well.  So when I started hearing (reading, really) about this no 'poo thing online, I became interested.  Could this be the answer I was looking for?  So I decided to try it out.  I mean really, what was there to lose?  If it worked, great, and if it didn't, I could just go back to regular shampoo!  Usising various online place as guides, I stopped using shampoo late last September (2009), and have been no 'poo since then! 

After a bit of trial-and-error, I discovered that around 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in a spritzy bottle with 1 cup of water works perfectly.  Most people talk about how there's a "transitioning period" when you first make the switch, but I didn't even find that the case with me!  The baking soda method, right from the start, worked just as well as conventional shampoo.  I pour small quantities of this mixture on to each part of my scalp, massaging my scalp with fingertips and nails as I go, let it sit for about a minute, then rinse it out.  I know that many people like to use a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse afterward as a conditioner, but I've personally found that it just makes my hair get greasy faster.

As for how frequently I wash my hair: when I first switched to baking soda I used the same schedule as I had with shampoo, which means I was washing every other day.  But I quickly started stretching the time between washes, knowing that it was healthier for my hair, and have been washing my hair about every five days for a while now.

Toothpaste

Now traditional toothpaste has a LOT of not-so-pleasant ingredients!  I always feel uncomfortable using it.  So I've tried making my own toothpaste using baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract (for flavoring.  I feel like peppermint would be better, but I didn't have that extract in the house!).  My feelings on it have been mixed.  It works reasonably well, but my mouth just doesn't feel as clean as when I use regular toothpaste.  Maybe I just need to make a homemade mouthwash as well?  My experimentation with healthier tooth care is definitely not over, but lately I'm afraid to say that I have been using normal toothpaste most of the time...

Deodorant

My most recent experiment: homemade deodorant!  I used chemically deodorant for years, then for the past several years I've used mainly the health food store alternatives.  But I've never found any of them to work particularly well (not that it's usually much of a problem, since I don't tend to be a very stinky gal at all [note that I'm not even going to go into the whole why-is-it-a-bad-thing-that-people-smell-like-people thing, though I definitely have a lot of feelings on that]), especially the natural brands, which sort of work for a couple of weeks before they stop working entirely.  So when I found this recipe, I decidely immediately to try it!  I've only used it a couple of times, but I can happily say that so far it works better than any "natural" OR chemically deodorant I've ever used!  And I've seriously put it to test with lots of exercise and long hours of wear.  Seriously impressive!  Just rub a little bit of oil (I use olive oil with a drop of tea trea oil) on armpits after showering, then dab on a bit of baking soda.  Couldn't be simpler!

I know that baking soda is healthy for your body.  However, I haven't been able to find out whether its production is harmful to the environment or not, so if you know anything about that, I'd love to hear it! 

I'd also love to hear what you use for body care.  Do you buy regular stuff?  Maybe get your products from the local health food store?  Do you make your own?  Don't use any?  It always seems that in the comment sections on posts about homemade stuff people have plenty of interesting tips, tricks, and experiences to share, so I'd love to hear yours!

26 comments:

  1. Baking soda is a great facial (or any body part really) exfoliant. Just add a little to your regular facial cleanser (or you could just use it with water), GENTLY exfoliate your skin & rinse!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have used the baking soda method for hair and teeth for a while now, and both have been working.

    My hair routine consisters of a baking soda rinse followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse. I have curly hair, so the ACV really works, as long as I don't pour it on my scalp. Normally I put a tblsp. or so of each in seperate cups, fill it with water. Pour, massage, rinse, repeat.

    All I do with the baking soda is wet my tooth brush and dab it in a pile of baking soda, so there's a good amount of it on the brush. Scrub away, using a soft bristled brush. I haven't used salt, though I am tempted to try a hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse, but I have yet to look into that, though they say it helps prevent cavities and bad breath.

    Once I run out of my deoderant, I will definitely try the deoderant. I have attempted in the past, but it was never consistent.

    Attempt #1: Hydrogen Peroxide rinse, followed by a vinegar rinse. This was painstaking. You have to wash your underarms with both, then let it air dry. Not very convenient, though it worked..if done right.
    Attempt #2: Fresh lemon juice. This worked. But I was afraid it would stain my clothing, and it only worked when the lemons were fresh, and it just never worked out for me in the end. Though I do recommend this.
    Attempt #3: My Dad bought Arm and Hammer deoderant that was free of alluminum, and something else, it slips my mind. They use a lot of extract oils in it to give it a lemony-scent. And of course baking soda is in it. So once mine runs out, I will try your method, and if it doesn't work, I'll return to the store-bought.

    Hope it continues to work for you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Careful with the TTO in the armpits. I'm sure a tiny drop won't do anything bad. But I used it for a while and over time developed a reaction (itchy pits). I read somewhere as it's an antiseptic it can kill off all the good bacteria in one's body and create an imbalance. I don't know if that's the case - I know when I switched off of it my itchiness immediately disappeared.

    We make our own laundry soap using baking soda, borax, and fels naptha. It's wonderful and costs 1/10th even a cheap storebought brand (that's right, I did the math).

    Great post! I look forward to reading more tips from readers!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is the homemade toothpaste I use:

    http://www.oldpathsfamilyfarm.net/blog/2008/04/04/yummy-homemade-toothpaste/

    I love it! Yours may not have felt quite as refreshing because of the no mint thing. :)

    By the way I love your blog!! (Yay for unschooling! ^_^)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Point of interest, sodium bicarbonate is, in fact, a chemical.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like to just sort of massage my whole body in champagne and syrup and run through my hair with a ram's horn dipped in whale blood.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I went "no poo" a couple months ago. I wash my hair about two times per week with a baking soda wash and vinegar rinse. On in-between days, I rinse my hair with water only. I also rinse my face and body in water only on most days. Because I am no longer stripping my skin with chemicals, my face is now less oily and my complexion has cleared up. The baking soda hair wash can also be used to wash the skin, so on days that I wash my hair, I also rub the mixture over my body.

    For deodorant, a friend made me a mixture: A small amount of alcohol (vodka, although I've also used rubbing alcohol) kills bacteria that cause smell. Add water and a bit of essential oil. (You can use anything that you like the smell of.) I spray it on, let it dry a little, and top with baking soda. I might try the olive oil method, though. The alcohol can sting right after shaving.

    For toothpaste, I use Tom's, but I will probably try to go more natural at some point.

    I don't smell, look, or feel any less clean than I used to. The best benefit, besides the money saved and chemicals ditched, is probably that I no longer think of my own body as something repulsive that must be harshly treated with chemicals every day. I've learned to appreciate my body's natural ability to keep itself clean.

    Another benefit that my family has noticed in the summer is how chlorine affects them when they swim. Chlorine can stick to the hair and skin for a day or two and be difficult to remove. After going no poo, the natural oils on the skin and in the hair protect the body from the chlorine. My husband and daughter used to have a horrible time every summer with dry, tangly hair and itchy skin. That's much less of a problem now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I know a friend who just touches a wet toothbrush to baking soda as tooth powder

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ive got thinning now-almost-white hair that I perversely decided to grow out long. Break, break, fall out. I've begun to use a silica hair (and nail) strengthener that couldn't be simpler: horsegrass steeped in hot water, poured on my hair and left to dry (overnight under a towel works well in summer). Reduces breakage and looks a lot better. Haven't tried no shampoo yet.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Idzie, I'm an unschooling Mom of two little ones and really enjoy your blog! I have been doing no poo about as long as you have and love it. I only wash about once a week, though a little more frequently in the summer, especially if I go swimming in the pool. I always rinse with ACV, it's a great detangler for me! I haven't tried diluting, though, and am going to try mixing as you say in little bottles and see if that makes it easier.

    I'm planning to try my own toothpaste once my current bottle of a natural brand is gone. Lots of good ideas here!

    I have found a deodorant I LOVE!! Works far better than any natural or chemical brand and feels great. Just mix equal parts coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and baking soda. Rub on. It goes on smooth and gently, leaves absolutely no residue, and WORKS!

    Oh, and I've been doing oil cleansing for my face lately - google it. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I recently switched from baking soda for deodorant to apple cider vinegar. I love it! It seems to work better for me.

    I use coconut oil as a moisturizer and love it! Plus, I don't have to worry when my dog tries to lick it off my legs as I would have with store bought moisturizers.

    I generally EWG's Skin Deep Database http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ before purchasing anything store bought. I have found that many of the items found out health food stores just aren't that great for us.

    Loved the post!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Idzie...

    My parents were from the South...the Ozarks. My mom always had "old fashioned" uses for baking soda. We used it for facials, brushing our teeth and cleaning silver jewelry. My mom even soaked pinto beans overnight in water and baking soda before cooking them!

    My mom didn't like using store bought remedies for congestion either. I can remember so clearly....when I had a chest cold, my mom would rub Camphorated Oil on my chest to clear my breathing. Also...she would dab a bit of Eucalyptus oil onto a piece of flannel, rub it together and have me breath it to clear my nose. Those were just some of the "southern" remedies that my mom used. My parents were older when they had me, and they grew up during the Great Depression when folks didn't have access to store bought remedies.

    Kim
    Gerushia's New World

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Idzie,

    I am an unschooling mom and a "radical homemaker" to boot ;-) I started making my own personal care products a year ago when I discovered that my favorite brands contained some less than desirable ingredients.

    I now make my own soap, solid shampoo bars, herbal hair rinses (using ACV as the base), facial toners, lotions, deodorant and toothpaste. The toothpaste was tricky since it needed to be tasty enough to please three kids under 8 while working well enough to satisfy me. We came up with the following take on a recipe that was posted online:

    6 tsp baking soda
    1/3 tsp extremely fine grain salt (I use a himalayan pink salt that I bought for use in my neti pot)
    3 tsp vegetable glycerin
    25 drops stevia extract
    10 drops peppermint essential oil

    Zita

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, baking soda also has another fabulous use. If you get stung by a wasp or bee, first immediately remove the stinger, then make a paste of baking soda and cold water and apply to the affected area immediately. It totally stops the pain of the sting within about 5 - 7 minutes. It can be messy so have a towel handy but it works wonders, especially for younger kids who can't handle the pain and tend to freak out. It works super well with the white face wasp stings which are the most painful!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Here's the Material Safety Data Sheet for sodium bicarbonate: http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/s2954.htm and here's what the US EPA says: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_073508.htm

    We just stick our toothbrush in some and it works fine. Flossing is important at my age and stage, so I wish I could find chemical-free floss. Bad breath is usually a health issue - digestion or gum disease.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Baking Soda couldn't be more harmful than some of that other chemically-filled crap. So don't worry.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So I've only just heard of people washing their heads with baking soda, this is the second time. It is interesting but I am at least a little unsure of it. I recently saw a couple of videos of girls with locks talking about how they take care of them using natural non-toxic methods, as you might expect.:
    1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIS3YIfiqFU
    2)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-xeZZn7jGQ (hair washing info starts at about 2:50 on the second one)
    But I like this d.i.y. natural way a Rasta washes his dreads:
    3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDYGhwtodZI
    Vitamin D is an extremely important hormone that we get by exposing our skin to sunlight, dependent on the time of day, season and latitude, but bathing, including swimming in pools or other bodies of water, can wash off the Vitamin D which is in oil form. Clothing and sunblock/screen block the sunlight and contain carcinogens. The old scientific idea and reference to vitamin D doesn't take into account the new scientific data showing how vitamin D is essential to the immune system, among other functions, and therefore also to preventing cancer, including skin cancer, and preventing infections like influenza. So wearing clothing, and being inside all day and bathing too often CAN be very bad for one's health. Vitamin D info:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1sTYuL-QsU
    (cont.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. (cont)
    I use aluminum-free baking soda from a health food store with a little water under my arms after showering. One of the reasons, as you probably know, some people avoid antiperspirants, which by definition and by law are different from deodorants, is that they contain aluminum/aluminium. So supposedly commercial baking soda also contains substantial amounts of aluminum, but certain brands or kinds have a source without that particular element. I think the baking soda works as both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. I also use it to brush my teeth, but I'm searching for something better to use because I've read that baking soda for example in baked goods or processed foods can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals as can other salts. I've read that table salt can also scratch your teeth if you use it to brush, but baking soda won't. I'm looking into using an herbal tooth powder. The best way I've heard of is the traditonal Indian use of the neem datum. They basically break off a twig from the neem tree and bite it to make bristles and brush with it. You probably also know it's really important to floss! I haven't used any shampoo for years because of all the crap in them and because it comes in plastic bottles. You'll find that "personal care products" especially can be labeled "organic" yet have all sorts of synthetic petrochemicals and known carcinogens in them because they aren't regulated by law, in the U.S.A. at least, the way that food is. I use a veggie organic bar of soap to wash my hair and scalp and use the same bar to wash the rest of my body with a washcloth. The soap says it has the "natural retained glycerin" which I find helps a bit in not drying out either my skin or hair too much but it nonetheless will wash off natural protective oils. I sometimes use organic unrefined coconut oil on my hair and skin which is also one of the best cooking oils and has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. I know that since I'm in the U.S. coconut oil is shipped from very far away, so I'm looking into sustainable alternatives, perhaps sesame oil? I love the way coconut oil smells though!! I also want to learn how to make soap. A nice rule of thumb is that one ought to never put something on their skin, or in their mouth, that they wouldn't also eat/ingest since our skin will absorb things. for how much vitamin D we need If you use treated municipal water to bathe or shower that is another whole complicated issue... You may have also heard that talc/talcum powder is similar to asbestos in its carcinogenicity and it's marketed and used for babies! Also synthetic fluoride is very toxic and found in such things as Teflon e.g. non-stick cookware, treated municipal water, Prozac, and commercial toothpastes. Naturally occurring fluorine, which is also extremely toxic, is found sometimes in untreated water, goat's milk, and tea (Camellia sinensis). However i think drinking organic green tea and perhaps even goat's milk can be very healthy if not drunk excessively.
    I'd say two of the best authors on such subjects are 1)Debra Lynn Dadd and 2)Dr. Samuel Epstein who won the Right Livelihood Award and whom I found out about from The Corporation.
    p.s. Sorry for writing so much, but this stuff is kind of important to me since many if not most people are unaware or don't care!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. (cont)
    I use aluminum-free baking soda from a health food store with a little water under my arms after showering. One of the reasons, as you probably know, some people avoid antiperspirants, which by definition and by law are different from deodorants, is that they contain aluminum/aluminium. So supposedly commercial baking soda also contains substantial amounts of aluminum, but certain brands or kinds have a source without that particular element. I think the baking soda works as both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. I also use it to brush my teeth, but I'm searching for something better to use because I've read that baking soda for example in baked goods or processed foods can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals as can other salts. I've read that table salt can also scratch your teeth if you use it to brush, but baking soda won't. I'm looking into using an herbal tooth powder. The best way I've heard of is the traditonal Indian use of the neem datum. They basically break off a twig from the neem tree and bite it to make bristles and brush with it. You probably also know it's really important to floss!
    I haven't used any shampoo for years because of all the crap in them and because it comes in plastic bottles. You'll find that "personal care products" especially can be labeled "organic" yet have all sorts of synthetic petrochemicals and known carcinogens in them because they aren't regulated by law, in the U.S.A. at least, the way that food is. I use a veggie organic bar of soap to wash my hair and scalp and use the same bar to wash the rest of my body with a washcloth. The soap says it has the "natural retained glycerin" which I find helps a bit in not drying out either my skin or hair too much but it nonetheless will wash off natural protective oils. I sometimes use organic unrefined coconut oil on my hair and skin which is also one of the best cooking oils and has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. I know that since I'm in the U.S. coconut oil is shipped from very far away, so I'm looking into sustainable alternatives, perhaps sesame oil? I love the way coconut oil smells though!! I also want to learn how to make soap. (cont)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I tried the oil-and-baking soda deodorant today and it worked much better than any regular or clinical-strength deodorant I've tried. Dry all day and no smell, and I usually sweat a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've been shampoo free for about seven years and love it. I do things a bit differently than you and I can see why you might be able to skip a rinse. BS strips the oils from the scalp which is why you don't have to transition. You're still washing away oil from your hair, just not with chemical product. The only problem is if you strip it too much without putting something back like the ac rinse then your scalp could get oiler as a result. It's like using soap on an oily face. It just makes your skin freak out about the lack of oil and increase production. It sounds like diluting the bs like you are is making it less of a worry though for over stripping.

    ReplyDelete
  22. These ideas are brilliant, Idzie! Same to everyone else.

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good morning,

    I have never heard of 'unschooling' until I stumbled upon your blog this morning.

    I went through conventional schooling and loved every minute of it. But that is not to say I wouldn't have enjoyed the 'unschooled' experience. I think you are lucky to have had the experience but I think that it's not something that would work for everyone.

    That being said I have done a lot of research on finding all natural shampoos/conditioners/soap/deodorant and I have discovered a family run business in New Brunswick that sells fantastic home-made, chemical-free products that work just as good as any store bought product I have tried:

    https://www.oliviersoaps.com/olivier/

    I enjoy your blog and hope you give Olivier Soap a try.

    Colleen

    ReplyDelete
  24. Awesome, I'll have to try that deodorant recipe. I still haven't reached a good place with toothpaste or deodorant. But it has been quite a while since I used shampoo, I don't even remember when I stopped. I just scrub my head when I'm in the shower, and once or twice a month I wash my hair with honey. Nothing has worked better for me, but I don't know how universal this is, because I have the type of hair that doesn't get greasy even if it doesn't get wet for a month.
    -rissa

    ReplyDelete
  25. For more information on Facelift Surgery Delhi, please visit http://www.skindelhi.com/facelift.html

    ReplyDelete
  26. I purchased skin care products online from Awesome bazar. Awesome Bazar provides best competitive prices product and fast delivery process . Really very nice service of awesome bazar, Awesome bazaar best Shopping destination. Find At https://awesomebazar.com/skin-care.html

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...