Thursday, March 12, 2015

All-Natural Living - How's it Going?

A month ago, I made the decision to go all-natural and make my own hygiene and cleaning products. There have been a few bumps, a lot of nice surprises and changes, and overall, myself and my husband are loving it. Here are a few things we experiences that I thought would be worth sharing.

Deodorant: this was going well. For three weeks, there weren't any problems. I figured I was safe, but then my underarms turned really red. A couple days after I noticed this, when I was showering, skin came off in clumps. I'm serious. I did more research and read that baking soda can be too irritating for some people. I remembered reading this before, but I've never had sensitive skin, so I didn't think it would be a problem. I changed it up and now am using deodorant made up of equal parts cornstarch and coconut oil, with 2-3 drops of essential oil per 1/2 cup. I'll update this post when I've been using it awhile so you know how that's going.

It's also good to note that you should store your deodorant in a dark, cool place. I forgot to tell my husband this, and his deodorant melted all over our dresser. Despite the fact that we ended up with a nicely polished dresser, it wasn't the ideal situation. Store properly (in your fridge, if you keep your home warm - because coconut oil liquidates at 76 F) and you shouldn't have this problem. Additionally, essential oils can lose their potency in sunlight, so you want to avoid that all well.

Shaving cream: you may have noticed that this recipe was almost the same ingredients as the lotion. The only difference was that you melted the ingredients together, cooled them, and then whipped them. I knew this, but for some reason I thought it would be really different. I was expecting a lather, I guess, which wasn't what I got. Despite this, I really like it. My legs are better moisturized than they have been since I started shaving them, and I cut myself less often.

Liquid dish soap: Although I love the dish soap I chose, it wasn't really what I needed. I was needing something that I could wash a sink full of dishes with, and this was designed with pan washing in mind. I can make it work, but I may look for something different when I've used this one up. I don't mind needing to wash things differently, but my husband doesn't like it, so I'll look for something that makes us both happy.

How do I wash dishes differently? I put about an inch of hot water in the bottom of a large pail or bowl (I use an old ice-cream container) with a teaspoon of the soap (by the way, mine clumped a little, so I used my immersion blender on it, which gave it a fluffy consistency, so it's less concentrated than it was). I wash my dished in there, changing the water as needed. I don't mind this method, but I can see how others would prefer not to make the adjustment.

All-purpose cleaner: I loved this. I used an orange scented castile soap instead of using essential oils, and I enjoy using it. It smells really fresh. I've even used it to give my floor a quick clean, rather than filling a bucket. It worked as well as my previous cleaner; I might do it that way all the time.

Body wash: love it, and my husband loves it. Its consistency is a little rubbery, which can seem weird, but it has great lather and cleaning power. I didn't put essential oils in it, since too much smell bothers me, and I avoided it where I could.

Laundry detergent: I also loved this. Again, I made it completely unscented, so my clothes smell like nothing. Amazing. My clothes are as clean as they were with Tide, and it's so much cheaper.

Hand Soap: This works well and has a nice scent, but I wish it had a more substantial texture. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to look for something different, but I wouldn't mind a thicker consistency.

Lotion: Although I do like the lotion pretty well, the natural smell bothered me somewhat, and I needed to use a lot of essential oil to compensate. These days, I'm whipping virgin coconut oil (which does smell like coconut, so buy refined if you don't want that) and adding about 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Very simple, and a little goes a long way.

I've been enjoying everything. It makes life simple and cheaper. There are a few more things I've added or will be adding to my cupboards: nipple butter (great if you're nursing, to keep your nipples soft and moisturized), lip balm, toothpaste, sugar scrub (I love this), and dishwasher detergent (I don't have a dishwasher in my current apartment, but I might have one someday!). If you want to see more things I'm interested in, you can look at my Pinterest. I put things on there I want to try at some point, and you may find ideas there.

There you go! Those were my good and bad surprises. Let me know if there's anything else you want to hear about.

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