For my first step, I have chosen to have a look at the bathroom stuff that I use daily and see whether I could find a home made, package-free and probably better alternative. For starters, I went for shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste.
I have been using ordinary soap as an alternative to shower gel for quite some time, and it works just as fine. It also works great as shaving cream, so I will keep on doing that. I will also have to find a place where they sell plain soap in paper wrap or unpackaged (as my last one was a gift from Greece), but that shouldn’t prove to be too hard.
For shampoo, I have finally tried the ‘no-poo’ option of baking soda and vinegar, and despite this sounding a bit weird, it did work! I browsed the web for a bit to find out how I need to apply it, and started with using 2 teaspoons of baking soda in one cup of warm water. It looked -and felt- like putting plain water onto your head! But, fortunately, as I said, it worked out fine. I actually put the vinegar on non-diluted and only on the tips of my hair, and when applying, it stank so bad of vinegar! But rinsing it off, the smell did not stay.
As many of you know, my hair is incredibly long, but I was very pleased after drying my hair that it looked just like at any other day after having a shower. I have even heard that, since it doesn’t destroy the skin’s natural protective layer, the head will stop producing as much oil to make up for it, and there will be less need to wash your hair every day. It sounds dirty, but it is actually the cleaner option.
I tried the baking soda shampoo three times until now with different results. At my second time, it felt as if it hasn’t been rinsed off (despite me rinsing like mad) and left a weird feeling coating on my hair (as if you put in conditioner and didn’t rinse it off properly). Obviously, I had to wash my hair again right the next day, and this time I could still feel my hair feeling coaty, but after drying it didn’t stay. I wonder whether this is because the natural oil film on your hair is not washed away and stays on your hair until the body adapts to the new circumstances … or whether I really do something wrong…!?
I will experiment with quantities a lot more and see how it works out in the long run, and post it as an update on here.
I also wanted to substitute my toothpaste, and apparently there is more than one option how to do this. Baking soda (the wonder-weapon) is one, but some people are afraid it might be too abrasive, so I didn’t want to go for pure baking soda. Looking online again, I decided I wanted to mix it up with coconut oil (and maybe stevia), as you can use coconut oil as well for facial cream (next on my list). This is easier said than done, as it proved to be quite a challenge to find a place where they sell coconut oil. Looking online, we thought Morrisons should sell it (they do officially stock it in big stores), but in store it wasn’t there. After a heroic telephone marathon of my better half, we found some in Waitrose. It definitely IS expensive for people on our budget, but since I vouched to try, we got ourselves a small jar of raw organic coconut oil.
Looking up online, we found out there is basically two types of coconut oil: unrefined, raw oil that we can easily eat, and refined, slightly cheaper oil which is recommended for external use (as in cream etc.) only. Looking up online, too, we were surprised to find that coconut oil seems to be the number one food to cure anything from rashed to cancer (or so). Look up these links to see what I mean: Here or here
Of course, there are also skeptic people about coconut oil, so I’ll give to the other side of the argument here.
I would like to encourage you to read up on the subject yourselves, but it will all come down to the ones praising and the ones condemning coconut oil. I decided to use it, as I find the claims of the critics are the same claims made for stuff such as fatty foods (like, fries), but that doesn’t keep me from eating fries! If the other benefits are really as described by people (anti-viral/-bacterial/-fungal, boosts your system, etc etc), that should be worth a shot!
Back to topic now. I mixed some coconut oil with baking soda, using only intuition to determine the ratio, and used some as toothpaste yesterday and this morning. I can honestly say, it tastes funny, but not bad. The baking soda had a sour taste, which was greatly absorbed by the coconutty taste though, so it was not disgusting in any way. I was surprised again to find that the baking soda wasn’t abrasive at all in this mixture, but I could not taste the grains whatsoever. To me, it seems like a very good alternative, and if I get hold of some essential oils or stevia or xylitol to give it a even better taste, I would definitely continue to use it.
Both soap, baking soda and coconut oil can right now replace 5 different tubs and bottles in my bathroom (shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, toothpaste, and cream = just pure coconut oil), with less waste (none, if I can), no plastic, no chemicals, and potential great health benefits. I will keep you informed how this works in the long run, but that sounds really good to me.
I will see if I can find some beeswax and vitamin E which, paired with coconut oil, are supposed to make a home made alternative to face cream and generally moisturising creams. Until then, leave me YOUR comments on whatever is on your mind 🙂