Ben’s family is into natural products.
When I first started hearing about natural shampoo or Norwex products, I didn’t pay much attention. I thought the whole thing was a bit extreme and unnecessary.
But after awhile, my health issues led me to a state of desperation, and I became willing to try anything. I started seeing a naturopath (the same one my mother- and sister-in-law were seeing), and began using different supplements and natural products for health reasons.
I could not believe the difference they made.
Time and again, I experienced how natural products worked better for me than products containing chemicals. This led to an openness to other options I had previously considered so strange.
Around this time, my friend Julia came waltzing into my life with Norwex products.
After a weekend with her, I was persuaded to try natural cleaning methods. I was amazed by how much easier and faster it was to clean, as well as how good I felt after cleaning. I had become so accustomed to my “post-cleaning headaches” from strong chemical smells, I had accepted it as normal. When I no longer got headaches, it struck me how disturbing it really was to get a headache just from cleaning my bathroom.
By this point, I’d tackled natural health and cleaning products, but then Ben’s mom passed on some books she’d just finished reading: Slow Death by Rubber Duck and There’s Lead in Your Lipstick.
Don’t ever read those books if you’re happy with the products you use in your home! It’s better not to know.
If, however, you are interested in trying some new things, those books are fantastic. I found them fascinating. And disturbing.
I made it my goal to see how many personal care products I could replace with natural ones.
Here’s the catch: Lots of that stuff is crazy expensive to buy in a store, and we didn’t have the money for it.
Fortunately, there are tons of recipes and resources available for you to make your own at home.
I was also able to find some great, reasonably-priced options after much reading, experimenting, and shopping around. And hanging around with my friends Nikki and Julia. Thank goodness for friends who actually want to passionately discuss natural haircare products or chemical-free moisturizers. (Yes. There are normal people in the world who care about those things.)
Here’s my list of products I’ve discovered so far, with some links to recipes and tips:
Homemade Deoderant: The recipe I use can be found here. It contains three ingredients, is incredibly easy to make, and works better than any natural store-bought deoderant I’ve tried. It is not anti-perspirant, of course, so it doesn’t stop me from sweating, but I never notice an odor. It is fantastic.
Homemade Toothpaste: The recipe I’ve used to make my own can be found in this post, along with tons of other great info. I also buy Tom’s of Maine toothpaste for traveling, or for when I don’t have time to mix up toothpaste at home, which is ridiculous, considering it takes five minutes, but you know how it is in summer.
Shampoo and Conditioner: I stopped using shampoo a year ago, and have no plans to start again. This method is far too easy. Plus, it makes my hair dye last much, much longer.
Hair Dye: Yes, I dye my hair all the time. I have a ton of grey hair. I got my first one in high school, and that is the way we do it in my family.
I’m not ready to get so natural that I flaunt my grey hair for all the world to see, but hair dye is a hard one to do naturally.
There are some dyes which claim to be natural, and actually are not. After doing a lot of reading, I came to the conclusion that henna dye was really the only good option for me. I’ve been using this brand for a year, and am happy with it. I don’t love the process of using it, but I love the results, and the fact that it’s completely safe and natural.
It is very different from regular hair dye. It doesn’t cover everything, but rather turns grey hair golden, making interesting highlights in the hair. It also conditions hair and does not damage it in any way.
That all sounds wonderful, but it really is a pain to apply. If it wasn’t for that, I would think everyone should use it instead.
Lotion: I was stumped with this one for awhile, until I read this post, and realized I could just use plain coconut oil. I buy it at Vita Health for baking, as well as making other natural beauty products. It goes on pretty slippery and slimy, but soaks into the skin very quickly. (I’ve also read that it can be used instead of sunscreen, but I can’t test how reliable it would be, seeing as the girls and I are so dark-skinned, we never burn anyway, and I haven’t used Ben as my guinea pig yet.)
Skin Care: I wash my face with a Norwex cloth, and that’s pretty much all I need. I want to find a good moisturizer, as I find coconut oil too much for my face.
Soap: I buy Nature Clean at Superstore or Vita Health for a reasonable price. Anika doesn’t like how it smells, and has been ecstatic about the beautifully scented soap I got from a friend as a birthday gift! We usually have both options available in the bathroom, so she uses the nice stuff, and then walks around smelling her hands!
And that’s my list. I have a few more products I’d like to replace, such as make-up (I had a reaction to Mary Kay, sadly), hairspray or mousse, and facial moisturizer. But I feel good about what I’ve been able to accomplish in the last year, and enjoy these changes very much. I know what’s in the stuff I’m using, it’s easy, cheap, and makes my life feel simpler.
I never used to care what was in the products I was using. And I totally get that many of you might not care either. That’s fine. There was a lot of discomfort in my life motivating me to make the changes I did. I don’t think I would have done it, if I hadn’t been so desperate to feel healthier.
Changing everything at once would be terribly overwhelming, but I made it my goal to try one new thing at a time, until it felt easy and normal, before moving on to the next thing. It’s been a long, strange journey to the point where I’m at today, but it’s been interesting, and I’m so thankful for the ways in which Ben’s family has rubbed of on me!
What about you? Any natural beauty tips you want to share? If you’ve never tried any, what would be the easiest one to start using?