Beauty


I’m all about doing the natural thing whenever possible.  I love this post from Simple Mom on doing just that—Natural beauty and how to go about it.  Here are the tips from Simple Mom:

by Tsh on November 16, 2009

in green & frugal living

So we’ve talked about going shampoo-free, and we’ve talked about using oil to clean your face naturally. But a few of you have asked — what about the rest? What about soap, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, and the like?

I’ll be the first to admit that going natural with my toiletries and cosmetics is new to me. This isn’t something I’ve done for years, and am just now dispensing my experiential wisdom. Switching to homemade or natural is something I’ve been doing just over the past six months, so I’m learning as I go.

I do know that the more I learn about what ingredients are in conventional toiletries, the less comfortable I am in spreading them on my largest, most porous organ. But I’m not an alarmist, so we’re doing this gradually, as we run out of the stuff we’re already using.

Here are the remaining product choices we make in our family, tweaking and adjusting as we go.

Soap

Typical ingredients for conventional shower gels are detergents, preservatives, fragrance, and foaming agents. None of these things are toxic in very small quantities, but they do enter the bloodstream from our pores, and they’re technically not necessary to get clean. So I figure — why bother using them if I don’t need them? And they’re extremely dangerous in larger quantities.

 

Many people make their own soap, but I don’t. I just don’t have the time right now. So for us, we use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap. It’s concentrated, so just one bottle will last ages. There’s nothing in it but pure castile soap and essential oils (if it’s scented).

Once you start using pure and simple castile soap, you’ll realize the film that traditional shower gels leave. Dr. Bronner’s is cost-effective, long-lasting, and serves many purposes. My husband actually washes his hair with this instead of the baking soda and water rinse that I use.

Not only can you wash your body and hair with castile soap, you can also use it as a household cleaner, as dish soap, as a produce rinse, as laundry soap, and even as toothpaste.

Toothpaste

Most conventional toothpastes have dyes synthesized from petroleum, sodium fluoride, foaming agents (also used in engine degreasers and strong household cleaners), and a myriad of other toxins.

There’s something about the fact that it’s used in the mouth that makes me squirm when I read about the nitty gritty ingredients in toothpaste. If you’d like to learn more, head here for more information.

I recently started making our own toothpaste, and I’m still tweaking the recipe. My husband isn’t crazy about the baking soda flavor, but I like it. Admittedly, if I had access to natural toothpaste brands like Tom’s of Maine, I’d probably stick to buying that. But since I don’t, here’s the recipe I’ve tried.

 

Basic Homemade Toothpaste

  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Stevia powder
  • a few drops of pure peppermint extract

Mix it all together until it resembles toothpaste.

Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, which means this toothpaste feels more liquidy during warmer weather. It doesn’t change its effectiveness, though.

The Stevia provides a bit of natural sweetness, making the toothpaste palatable, as does the pure peppermint extract. You could try a variety of flavors to your liking.

Right now, I’ve got this toothpaste in a small lidded jar, and I scoop out a tiny bit with a tea spoon onto my toothbrush. But you can also get empty squeeze tubes, often found among camping supplies at stores.

Lotion and Moisturizer

Caramel Pecan Double Vanilla Bean lotion from Verbena Custom Blends on Etsy.

Body Lotion

Right now I’m using a deliciously divine lotion a friend here made from me. I watched her melt the ingredients together in just a few minutes over the stove, then whipped together in the blender to make a rich, creamy lotion. She used lemongrass and lavender essential oils together, and it smells heavenly.

There are a wide variety of homemade lotion recipes; it just requires the ingredients. Most ingredients are easily found in health stores or online, so don’t let finding these things stop you. If you’d like to make your own, Brambleberry is a popular and reliable source for lotion ingredients.

Lotion is simply a mixture of water, oil, emulsifier (which blends the water and oil together so that it doesn’t separate), a thickener (the most common is stearic acid, found in cocoa butter), and a natural preservative.

You could also support homemade and buy from an Etsy shop — there are thousands of options there.

Facial Moisturizer

In warmer months, I don’t need a moisturizer with the oil cleanser I use on my face. But as the weather cools, I find I do need a touch of moisturizer in the morning. I use straight up coconut oil, easily found in major stores. A tiny bit goes a long way, and since it’s also a common ingredient in other natural toiletries, a jar of this stuff really comes in handy.

Lip Balm

Photo from Diaper Ware

There are also lots of easy recipes for homemade lip balm and salve, but I use 100 percent lanolin. Yep, it’s the same stuff you use while breast feeding. In fact, I’m still using the tube I used when I was nursing my son a year ago! This stuff lasts forever.

It doesn’t dry out my lips like manufactured wax-based products, and a little lasts me almost the whole day. Lanolin is simply an ointment secreted by wool-bearing animals to protect their coats from water. So yes, it is essentially sheep sweat. But it’s not gross, I promise.

We’ve got a guest post on the way about making your own deodorant, and later, we’ll discuss using natural makeup, so stay tuned.

Natural Beauty: Clean Skin, Teeth, and Lips

I read this review on the new blow dryer, Emi Airwave.

Has anyone used this?  The lady reviewing it has thick, curly hair.  I—unfortunately—-have thin, wavy hair—and it’s the ugly waive (one here, one there, cowlick here, cowlick there…).  So, I’m wondering how it would work for my hopeless hair!  Let me know!

“The Best Thing That Ever Happened to My Hair

This is a post I originally wrote for the Blissful Style Channel of Blissfully Domestic – my other gig. I am re-posting it here because I am very excited that I am going to be on the “Try It Before You Buy It” segment of our local news show 10 Connects at 4 PM today. I will link the video here once it goes live. Link. Let me know what you think, and people, BUY THE BEST DRYER EVER!

blissful style The Best Thing That Ever Happened To My Hair

I recently made peace with my long, wavy hair, and by made peace I mean surrendered long after I had been soundly beaten. Despite the unrelenting nature of my hair’s innately thick and wavy texture, I have been blowing it out and straightening it since junior high, and before that I made my mother do it.

My earliest beauty memory is clutching a bottle of new shampoo as a child and hoping against hope that it was this particular bottle that would finally transform my wild mop into the shiny and sleek tresses of a golden girl. I wanted straight hair, and always have. That shampoo bottle did not contain the magic potion, and I have spent the last three decades being easily seduced by every new appliance and product being peddled by the hair care industry in search of it.

When the flat iron came around, I thought I had finally been given the key to achieving the hair of my dreams. With no small investment of time and amount of hair product du jour I was able to get my hair as straight as a supermodel’s. For about five minutes. I live in Florida, the land of humidity and hurricanes, so good hair days for me are few and far between.

One day about six months ago I just couldn’t fight nature any longer and started letting my hair dry naturally, about a three hour process. My friends and family let me know right away they liked my wavy hair and, oh yeah, I looked ten years younger. Gaaaaaahh!  Still, I wasn’t content and I felt my hair always looked a little homespun.

A week ago my life changed forever. I read about a strange new hair dryer by Remington called the Emi Airwave Anti-Static Style System. Allegedly, this hair dryer would spin and smooth your hair into perfectly styled waves in a fraction of the time without so much as a brush needed. Yeah, right. I raced to Target to get it. See above problem with hair products.

Remington Emi Airwave Hair System

Remington Emi Airwave Anti-Static Style System

After reading the directions, I got started on what I figured would be another shameful chapter in my hair saga. See the attachment tube? I separated a section of hair at a time, turned on the dryer, and dropped the ends of the hair sections into the tube. A vortex of air sucks the hair in and spins it round and round, drying it from the roots to the ends into a perfect curl.

When all of the sections of my hair were dry a mere eight minutes later, it looked like I had smooth dreadlocks, a look I hadn’t really considered at this stage of my life. After letting my curls set for a minute or two, I finger-combed each section apart and checked myself out in the mirror. Holy hairnet! My hair looked amazing. The curls were perfect and I looked like I had just come from the salon. Shower to done in about 10 minutes, with an actual hairstyle. Life changing!

blissful style The Best Thing That Ever Happened To My Hairblissful style The Best Thing That Ever Happened To My Hair

I am in awe of how well this hair dryer works. It’s got the necessary 1875 watts, speed and heat settings, and uses ionic and ceramic technology. Of course, this level of fabulous comes with a steep price. You’re going to need $24.99. Update: It’s on sale at Target right now for only $22.99. Can you even believe it? Get thee to a Target immediately! I’m sure there’s going to be a run on these things once the word gets out.

It is impossible to overstate how amazing this dryer is. Unless I were to tell you this is my “after” picture.

blissful style The Best Thing That Ever Happened To My Hair