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.
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...
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!