Go take a look at how many bottles of product are in your shower at this moment. Are there more than 2? 3? 5? More!? I used to be terrible about this. I would have empty bottles, mismatched bottles, bottles I used regularly and bottles I used once and decided I didn’t like but still kept in the corner for no good reason. It got a little ridiculous, I will admit.
If you looked at my shower today, you might be confused. Impressed, but confused. You would be confused because instead of the usual bottles of Panteen or Herbal Essences or Dove or my favorite-but-too-expensive-to- purchase-regularly, Lush, you would find a mason jar of baking soda, and an old Lush bottle with duct tape across it with “Apple Cider Vinegar” written on it. You would still see my body wash (Aveno for dry skin – Colorado dryness ain’t no joke!), my razor, and a bottle of seasame oil (I’m not exaggerating about the dryness here!).
When we first moved in and I was out buying supplies, I decided that I finally wanted to give the natural beauty product thing a try instead of stocking up on shampoo and conditioner. I had already swapped out my face wash with a coconut oil and baking soda solution when pregnancy hormones caused me to break out and have really dry skin back in that lovely first trimester, and I absolutely love it and my skin has been awesome ever since. So, I bought a huge box of baking soda and I already had apple cider vinegar and coconut oil for cooking/eating/drinking purposes. Could this save me a bunch of money?? I think so! I’m sold if for that alone!
The first time I washed my hair with a little scoop of baking soda mixed with some water (so strange) and then conditioned with a squirt of my apple cider vinegar and water mixture (also strange, and doesn’t smell great) I had poor expectations but amazing results. There was no lather, no delicious smell, and no silky feeling when you wash the vinegar out. However, when I dried my hair I found the softest, shiniest, smoothest, easiest to manage hair ever. I was impressed! It didn’t smell like vinegar, either, which was a concern of mine because with pregnancy comes a super spidey-sense of smell, and if I had to smell vinegar all day I’d probably shave my head before noon. I had no tangles, and I didn’t even need to use a flat iron because my hair fell so nicely – not too flat, not too poofy. Awesome! I’m never using store bought products again! Woo hoo! No artificial crap getting soaked into my body! And I will save money! This is the best thing ever.
Except for on day 3, when my hair was a greasy, gross mess. Or Days 4 and 5, when it had a weird texture to it, like it was dried out, yet greasy at the same time. Nnoooooooooo!!!!!!!
I gave up. I went back to my Suave. Sad, so sad.
But then I did research. I mean, I had only really looked back at an old pin that said “I’m never going back to using commercial hair products again!” and skipped down to how to make the stuff. If I had READ anything, I would have found that your hair and scalp will typically go through an adjustment period when you nix the chemicals and go au natural. It will over compensate and produce more oil and then try to fix itself again by drying out, and then eventually return to a natural production of “just enough”, like in the story of the three little bears. Our bodies are so amazing, aren’t they?! Mother Nature knows her stuff, and if we just allow her to do her thing without busting in with our fancy new products, we’d be just fine.
***Side note – A similar experience happens when we switch to eating whole foods rather than processed. Sometimes our digestive system will be a little shocked because it’s forgotten how to digest things like fresh, raw produce and we go through a period of feeling sick rather than healthy and that can be frustrating. But, if you hold out, like I did with my greasy strands, you will break through to the other side and eventually the body will find balance within its natural tendencies and will be healthier than ever. Trust Mama Nature!!
I don’t really have great recipes for my natural skin and hair stuff, because I’m not very accurate and exact with my ingredients, nor very creative. I pretty much just dump a small handful of baking soda into my palm and then allow it to mix with a little water from the shower head and then massage it into my scalp as best I can. Sometimes I’ll add a little more if I feel I need it, but I don’t really know how to tell what’s too much and what’s too little. I just go with it. Then, after rinsing, I’ll take the little bottle that has 1c water and 1tbsp apple cider vinegar (it lasts longer than you think it would) and either squeeze it into my hand and then run my hand along my hair or sometimes I’ll squeeze it directly onto my hair. I try to massage the ends the most with it. It’s hard to tell how much you need since it’s just liquid rather than the creamy conditioner we’re all used to, but you get the hang of it. And the vinegar smell DOES go away, I promise. For the face, I do about a penny-size or less amount of baking soda and mix in just enough coconut oil to blend it all together and then apply to my face just like any other wash, then rinse off. I’ve found that more baking soda is nice for exfoliating purposes, and more oil when skin is on the dry side. Usually I don’t even need to moisturize after, because the oil soaks into the skin making it super soft but not too oily. I’ve also heard that apple cider vinegar makes a great toner, and I always mean to soak a cotton ball in the vinegar to put on my face, but I was never a big toner-user before so I haven’t gotten into the habit.
The fun doesn’t stop with these three ingredients, though! One evening I got so sick of having dry feet that I decided to soak my feet in an oatmeal and chamomile foot bath. Who needs to splurge on fancy bath salts and oils when you have tea and oats? I also have big plans to make some of those face or hair masks using avocado, or mushed-up strawberries for natural teeth-whitening! I did make a body scrub using brown sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract, and have seen a lemon sugar scrub made with olive oil that I’m dying to try out. The possibilities are endless and resources to find recipes could not be easier – I <3 Pinterest!
It has been fun trying out new “products”, and a hell of a lot cheaper! I used to think that it looked difficult to make these natural products and that I’d have to be whipping something new up every time I wanted to shower or wash my face, but I can tell you that it doesn’t take much effort at all, depending on what you do. For me, the simpler the better, which is why I stick to my three favorites which are also super versatile – coconut oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. However, I’m up for getting wild and creative, so if you have a favorite natural beauty “product” or regimen, I’d love to hear about it! It feels good to ditch the products and know that what I’m putting on my body is completely safe and free of toxins. And, if you happen to be showering and feel a little hungry, go ahead and dig in, because you can!