Ok, these past nine weeks of our "mutiny against excess" have been kinda serious and heavy and convicting and stuff. How about a light-hearted little "how-to" post? :) I told you guys I'd still be writing about healthy living!
When we lived in China, I had a hard time buying skin care and home cleaning products because, well, for one, I couldn't even read the front of most of the bottles. I often couldn't tell if I was buying shampoo, conditioner, or body lotion. This really limited my options, as I could only buy the products that had English translations on the labels. Forget about reading the ingredients on the back - which is something that I somewhat obsessively do. I really like to know what my skin is "eating", because I've often heard that we shouldn't put anything on our bodies that we would consider poisonous to eat.
I've learned so much about natural skin care and homemade beauty products since then, and I'd like to share something neat with you that I've discovered along the way -
You can handle all of your basic skin care needs with just four simple ingredients!
I can think of a few reasons someone might want to go this route:
1.) You are trying to simplify your life. - No price comparing, no label reading. These products are all natural and gentle
2.) You have extremely sensitive skin - I doubt that anyone is allergic to any of these ingredients, although it's always possible!
3.) You want to go the natural route, but can't afford to - These are very inexpensive options. I would suggest starting with this basic routine and then adding/switching as you see need and have time to search for other options.
4.) You live in a foreign country and you can't read the writing on anything - See above. If/when we move overseas again, I will be finding a good source of these 4(5) items and keeping them stashed. Vitacost.com ships overseas, so I'd probably order from them every few months. Can you tell I've thought this through a bit? (Don't worry, Mom and Dad, We're not planning any big moves any time soon!)
So, are you ready for the list? Here you go...Coconut oil - to moisturize anything that needs it (hair or skin), also included in my homemade deodorant and homemade toothpaste
Castile soap - to wash anything that needs it, also included in my toothpaste recipe. I use unscented or sometimes peppermint.
Vinegar - use as conditioning/detangling step with the no 'poo method, also a great skin toner. Many people recommend apple cider vinegar, but I don't really like the smell on my skin and hair. I use plain white vinegar that I buy by the gallon.
Baking soda - to exfoliate, brush teeth, rub on as deodorant, and with the no 'poo method
and (optionally) - corn starch or a deodorant crystal - right now I use a deodorant crystal because it doesn't involve me making a recipe and the thing lasts forever. However, I really love my homemade deodorant recipe, too. Not that deodorant is optional...in my opinion, anyway. I've heard you can use straight baking soda, or just a mix of baking soda and corn starch.
You'll note that my recipes do call for some essential oils, but those are optional, and you can most certainly omit them for simplicity/cost/skin sensitivity's sake.
To put it another way, here's a list by skin care item/body part and what you'll replace it with:
Hair: No 'poo method, or castile soap to wash. A small amount of coconut oil on the ends to moisturize if you need it. I use the 'no poo method, except for once or twice a week, when I use traditional shampoo and conditioner. (Dennis hasn't bought into my homemade recipes yet. That's ok with me! Sometimes, I just grab whatever's handy.)
Face: Castile soap to wash, baking soda to scrub, vinegar as an astringent/toner, coconut oil to moisturize. Often, I just use the baking soda without the soap. Or I just use a warm, wet cloth.
Teeth: make homemade toothpaste, or just brush with baking soda. I heard about rinsing with coconut oil before brushing once, and it actually does make my teeth feel cleaner afterwards. I did it almost daily when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, and it really helped with my sensitive gums.
Body: Castile soap to wash, coconut oil to moisturize. You could use baking soda to exfoliate (Sometimes I like to use the coffee grounds left after we make coffee...Dennis says I'm weird, but I already knew that.) I like to use exfoliating gloves like these for daily exfoliation.
Deodorant: homemade deodorant is great, or you could use a deodorant crystal - they last for a couple of years. This is the one I use. Like I said, I've heard you can also rub straight baking soda on your pits, but that seems messy to me, and like it would fall right off...
I use hair conditioner to shave my legs, but that wouldn't go with the whole "4 ingredients whole body" thing, so I shouldn't even tell you that. I've heard that coconut oil works well for this, but I haven't tried it yet.
Coconut oil is good for removing makeup. I also like to massage it into my face for a minute before I wash my face. It feels so much smoother and, oddly, cleaner, if I add that step.
You could use another type of oil, like olive oil, but I find it to be too heavy. Coconut oil absorbs quickly. Jojoba or sweet almond would be good alternatives, I hear, but that would take a special trip or order for me. I like using stuff that's already in my kitchen cabinet.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? I'm sure I forgot some essential hygiene haDo you have any other uses or tips for 4 (or 5) ingredient skin care?