Personal care manufacturers have convinced us we need fancy formulated products to look our best. But we don't. It's no secret that chemicals are used widely in household and personal care items. From phthalates and petroleum to detergents and fragrances-what we put on our skin is as important as we put inside it. By making our own personal care products, we decrease the amount of excessive packaging common in household items; we save money; and we can control the ingredients that feed our largest organ. Check out these tips to DIY body care products.
1. Oral hygiene
No one wants bad breath, or worse, a cavity. Bad oral hygiene has been connected to serious health issues including gingivitis and heart disease. You can have an impeccably clean mouth by using all natural chemical-free products. A "toothpaste" can be made with baking soda, a bit of water and an antiviral essential oil like clove, cinnamon or thyme. Rinse your mouth with salt water, a drop or two of essential oils and a splash of vinegar instead of alcohol-based, artificially colored mouthwash.
Can you believe that just 100 years ago, people rarely washed their hair more than once a month?! It's true. But we've been convinced that daily hairwashing is best. It actually causes a lot of damage-stripping the hair of healthy oils. Further, most shampoos, even those marketed as organic or natural, contain harmful chemicals. Try washing your hair instead with a mix of vinegar, lemon and baking soda. (One-part vinegar, 2 parts baking soda, half part lemon juice. It should be thick and pasty. Massage it into your scalp.) You can also mix it into a castile soap like Dr. Bronner's. Or, if you aren't able to give up your shampoo completely, try a 50/50 blend. But most important of all, decrease your hair washing to just once a week or less! It may take some time for your scalp to balance out-excessive washing away of the sebum oils means excessive production. But once you allow those oils to do their thing, your hair will be naturally less oily.
In cultures around the world, oil is used on the hair to condition and nourish. Coconut, avocado, sesame and almond oil are great at moisturizing hair and scalp. You can leave it in or wash it out. Even if you're not ready to give up your favorite conditioner just yet, your hair-especially if chemically treated-will benefit from the healing effects of a good oil treatment.
Commercial lotions are made by 'whipping' oils much in the same way mayonnaise is made. They're stabilized with chemicals and scented with fragrance. You can easily skip all that nonsense by going straight the moisturizing goodness: the oil. Shea butter, cacao butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil are just a few excellent options. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a natural fragrance if you like.
Antiperspirants are made of harmful cancer-causing agents that try to prevent your body from performing an important and natural function. While preventing perspiration is not recommended, you can "deodorize" your armpits, naturally. Baking soda makes a wonderful odor absorber. If you sweat lightly, spraying essential oil-scented water may be all you need. In a 2 oz spray bottle, mix 50-75 drops of your favorite oils with water. Spray.
Read more about reducing your breast cancer risk with armpit cleansing
6. Natural facial care
Women love their facial care products, but many of them are not only ineffective and even damaging-they're hella expensive, too. Regardless of your skin type-oils are cleansing, moisturizing and balancing. Try these three ingredients for glowing skin: wash with apple cider vinegar (or a gentle castile soap), cleanse/moisturize with jojoba or coconut oil, and get a fabulous glow with sea buckthorn oil. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and look better than ever! Really!
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Image: Nina Nelson