One of the very first things I was introduced to when I started to consider the impact of the chemicals I was using in my home and on myself, was the astounding array of crap that exists in products intended for personal use. Everything from soap, shampoo, hand wash, deodorant, makeup, skin care, the lot, all made up primarily of words I could not say - even after a number of years studying chemistry.
None of this will come as a surprise to any of you, I am sure. As conscious consumers, cleaning and personal care are nearly always the gateway into the world of 'green alternatives'. I've pretty much replaced every chemical-based product in my personal care world with simple and natural alternatives now, and thought that I'd list them out here for you to see. I know I found posts like these super helpful when I was in the process of finding alternatives - as for conventional products, not every alternative will suit every person so I found it helpful to keep researching and trying different things until I found something that was perfect. It's worth noting too, that you only need half what you think you do (modern marketing to teenagers and young adults has been amazingly effective in convincing an entire generation or two otherwise!).
- I use organic Hemp Oil as both a face wash and a moisturiser. It is full of antioxidants, has a high level of anti-inflammatory compound, is a low-impact renewable source of oil and, very importantly for me, has a comedogenic rating of 0 meaning it will not clog your pores. I found that Jojoba Oil, as lovely as it was, clogged my skin a little - using Hemp Oil has meant I avoid this problem all together. Love this stuff, and love that it is a single product with no additives that does a double job.
- I use goats milk soap - my Mum started me on goats milk soap when I was a kid (pardon the pun) because I had really sensitive skin and I just can't stand using anything else now. I purchase it at markets and from Robyn's Soap House.
- I love Robyn's Soap House - I use her Castile Soap for cleaning the bathroom, toilet, the dog, as hand wash, and in my home made shampoo. Such good stuff with a million different uses.
- Hand cream and lip balm also come from Robyn's Soap House - again, products with no nasties in them (my only issue is that I'd love to be able to source these products in glass jars instead of plastic!).
- Shampoo is something that I've just started to make myself - I'm using a recipe of Castile Soap, Water, Bicarb Soda, Hemp Oil and Cedarwood and Peppermint essential oils (recipe from this post). I haven't used Conditioner in a long time, but I am following the shampoo with a rinse of water, apple cider vinegar and lavender essential oil. My hair is looking great after using it over the last couple of weeks, but is still adjusting to the more 'natural' routine - it's getting oily more quickly between washes which I'm told will settle down once everything adjusts to the change!
- For dry ends, I use a hair oil which is a combo of argan oil, camellia oil and others by the brand Biyani Organics. A little goes a long way, I've been using the one bottle for over a year with plenty left.
- I use Bentonite Clay as a spot treatment and occasional face mask, as well as plain, organic, full fat yoghurt as a weekly mask. Both are fantastic - I love using the yoghurt weekly by just whacking it on and letting it dry before wiping off gently with a warm wet washer. It leaves your skin so smooth.
- I haven't gone down the path of making my own deodorant, although I know there are lots of recipes out there...I use one by EcoTan.
- The newest additions to my clean and minimal bathroom cabinet are essential oils. I use them for so many things (you can see this post for a run down), but I especially love using them on my skin and to support my mood. Frankincense oil goes on spots and under/around my eyes, and I use various blends to elevate, ground and calm. There is a wonderful blend that is the bomb for relieving headaches and neck tension that is on high rotation here too. I absolutely love them.
- There are quite a few bamboo toothbrushes out there these days, and I've happily been using a couple of brands for years now. I love that I can compost them once they are done too.
- I've shared before my DIY Toothpaste and Bronzer recipes - I have been using a purchased natural toothpaste over winter, as the last batch of DIY Toothpaste has set rock hard in the cold weather after I over did the proportion of coconut oil.
- Makeup is a combo of powder, mascara, eyebrow pencil and eyeliner from Ere Perez and Inika, both wonderful Australian brands. I plan to venture into the realm of making some of my own (The Rogue Ginger has some great ideas around this) when these start to run out - though I don't think I'll be giving up the powder or mascara in a hurry, I'm sure I could manage the other two.
And that's pretty much it. I have a few not-so-natural products still lurking under the bathroom sink, but once they are gone, they are gone. I'd rather use them up than just turf them out. There are still things I'm planning on trying out too, like using oil as a body moisturiser and a DIY dry shampoo - one handy thing about this being such a blogged about topic is that there are plenty of resources online to try out! I've really loved whittling away the things I need over the last few years, it has saved me so much money and time, not to mention how easy it has become to pack.
How about you? Do you have any fav products or DIY recipes I should try (I'd love to find an alternative for dental floss)? Let me know in the comments!