As promised, here’s the recipe for the homemade shampoo I made last week. I’m still loving this stuff, although I don’t use it every day. I still have regular shampoo to use up, so I’m rotating regular with homemade every other time. I’ll be glad when the store-bought stuff is gone, and I probably won’t bother to finish the bottle all the way (but it’s pretty full, and I hate waste.)
Things are getting CRUNCHY around here, you guys. I swear, I’m one hemp t-shirt away from true hippy-dom. And I couldn’t be happier about that. You see, I’m turning 40 next week. Midlife crisis? Maybe. I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of natural, chemical-free options, and I just love it. I can’t pinpoint the moment I decided to move my lifestyle in this direction, but suddenly, there it was. I haven’t gone completely off the deep end, but I’m changing a few small things here and there, and feeling good about these decisions. Some examples:
This was one of the first changes I made. I have been on a quest for laundry staples that don’t make The Hubs and I itchy. At first it was him and his allergies. I’m telling you, the man is allergic to just about everything that breathes or grows. Then I found a patch of eczema on my own skin during this horrible, dry winter, and started reading about over the counter treatment options. Somewhere, I read that laundry detergents and dryer sheets can exacerbate eczema. Good God, the itching will make you crazy and then it starts to hurt, so I definitely didn’t want to do anything to make it worse! Enter: wool dryer balls. Six of these all-natural, chemical-free balls of felted wool decrease your drying time (saving time and energy) and last years and years (so they’re cheap). I bought them on Amazon, though you could certainly make them yourself. Score one for Crunchy Holly.
You know what’s a great treatment for eczema? Coconut oil. I bought a jar at Meijer and started slathering it on. There is really no odor, and it goes on a bit wet so you have to wait to get dressed afterward, but the stuff works. I’ve started adding tea tree essential oil to the coconut oil (about 1 drop per 2-3 tsp of coconut oil). Tea tree oil is great for your skin. Coconut oil is solid below about 76 degrees, so you just take a pea-sized amount of the coconut oil/tea tree oil combo and rub it into your skin. It melts on contact since your body temperature is much higher than 76 degrees. Score two for Crunchy Holly.
Here’s where I really got into it. Ca-run-chy! As I was researching essential oils and coconut oil and natural remedies for eczema (because really, you can only put so much steroid cream on your skin…), I started seeing all kinds of posts about all the chemicals we encounter on a daily basis. They’re everywhere. In our shampoo, soap, lotion, cleaning supplies, plastic things…we are surrounded by chemicals. Do they cause cancer? Maybe. You know what, though? I’m cheap. I mean, it’s more than just frugality. I’m CHEAP. So anything that might prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease AND saves me a lot of money? That’s for me. Enter homemade shampoo. There’s a million recipes online (Pinterest is awesome for this!), and I read a bunch of them (and pinned a bunch of them) and finally decided which one looked like a reasonable choice. I didn’t want to go with straight-up baking soda. I wanted something a little more moisturizing, and didn’t want to smell like vinegar. I’m sure an apple cider vinegar rinse is wonderful, but…no. I used this recipe. It’s frothy and sudsy and moisturizes, but leaves my hair really light (as in, not heavy…it doesn’t change the color!). I tend to have oily hair – probably because commercial shampoos have been stripping my scalp of all oil for years, causing it to overproduce oil to make up for what is stripped away every morning in the shower. Maybe I’ll do a separate post on how to make homemade shampoo. Stay tuned. Oh, and score three for Crunchy Holly.
As long as I’m ridding my body of chemicals, let’s add aluminum to that list. I don’t need that in me either. I bought some Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant and hated it. Natural deodorants are just that – deodorants, not antiperspirants – but the idea is that even if you do sweat, it won’t smell. I’m about to turn 40, in case I didn’t mention that. Hot flashes are a thing these days. I sweat. I don’t want aluminum clogging up my pores so that I won’t sweat (sweating does serve a purpose to your body), but I don’t need to smell like the gym, either. I had coconut oil on hand and saw a million recipes for homemade deodorant, so I decided to try it. I used this recipe. I’ll post how to make this separately too, with pictures. It takes approximately two minutes to make. This picture shows my homemade deodorant stuffed inside the Tom’s of Maine container. I just pitched the Tom’s deodorant and filled the container up with my recipe. Score four for Crunchy Holly.
I have basically gotten rid of all chemical cleaning supplies. I still have some bleach spray for my shower left, and I’ll probably use it up, but I no longer buy commercial cleaning supplies. Because I’m cheap, mostly, but also because The Hubs already has enough trouble breathing. Why add to its distress every time I mop the floor or wipe down the kitchen counters or clean the toilet? Clean does not require harsh chemicals. I now use baking soda and vinegar for just about everything, and hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for just about everything else. A few drops of lemon essential oil and it doesn’t even smell like vinegar! (Although, distilled vinegar evaporates really quickly and the smell goes away shortly after you apply it.) I also stopped using paper towels to clean with. I bought some microfiber cloths and sponges made of recycled material and use those instead. It is unreal how much paper toweling I was going through just in cleaning the bathroom. What a waste. I love the microfiber cloths – they do a great job, and you can even use them on mirrors with vinegar. Aaaaand score five for Crunchy Holly.
There are five small things I have changed in my life in order to live a healthier, cheaper lifestyle. Cheaper always wins – if healthier is a byproduct too then that’s great!
Over the last few years I’ve gotten better and better about making things at home instead of buying them pre-made. Don’t get me wrong, pre- made things can be huge time-savers and are perfectly fine sometimes. Other times it’s just silly because the thing is so ridiculously easy to make. Bread crumbs are a great example of this. It makes sense for me to make them because:
A) We rarely finish a loaf of bread before it goes bad. I like having something useful to do with half a loaf of bread before it molds.
B) I use a lot of breadcrumbs in cooking, so we go through a lot of them. It gets expensive to keep enough on hand.
C) The store-bought breadcrumbs currently in my pantry have an ingredients list that is pretty long. There are lots of things I can’t pronounce – and even the ones I can figure out I don’t know what they are. Let’s simplify our breadcrumbs and make them out of…bread.