Natural Leave-in-Conditioner

conditioner

It’s really important to have a “protector” on your hair if you are using heat to dry and style. Leave-in-conditioner will do the trick. However, stay away from chemical-filled leave-in-conditioner, because that’s just going to do more damage to your hair. The chemicals in these products are BAD for your hair! Check out this natural recipe for leave-in-conditioner that will not only provide protein and softness to your hair, but it is completely chemical-free.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons 100% pure aloe vera
  • 1/2 teaspoon argan oil (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)

Add all the ingredients in a squirt bottle. Evenly apply to hair when damp or dry. (If you have naturally oily hair, you may want to add more water to dilute the oils).

Especially if you are using chemical-free shampoo and conditioner, it’s really important that you protect your hair when you are using heat. Why? Because shampoos and conditioners that have chemicals contain silicones (which are chemicals that are not healthy for you or your hair!) However, these silicones wrap around and cover your hair strands, which also creates a shield from heat. Therefore, when you are using shampoo and conditioner that do not contain these chemicals, you need an extra covering (aka: leave-in-conditioner).

I absolutely love this recipe. It makes my hair so soft and gives it more volume as well. Try it and let me know what you think!

Deep Hair Cleanse

ridofchemicals

Do you want to cleanse your hair of all the chemicals that are in your shampoos, conditioners, hairspray, and hair gel? Want to give your hair a fresh start?

Two simple ingredients:

bakingsodaandacv

Use Baking Soda as Shampoo

Step 1) Use a plastic bottle with a squirt-end.

Step 2) Fill the bottle 1-part baking soda to 5-parts water.

Step 3) Shake the bottle.

Step 4) Apply to all parts of hair (scalp, bangs, ends) while in the shower.

Step 5) Rinse.

You will notice that the baking soda thins-out and becomes soft in water. Rinse until all baking soda is out of hair.

 

Use Apple Cider Vinegar as Conditioner

Step 1) Use a plastic bottle with a squirt-end.

Step 2) Fill the bottle 1-part apple cider vinegar to 5-parts water.

Step 3) Shake the bottle.

Step 4) Apply to all parts of the hair (scalp, bangs, ends) in the shower.

Step 5) Rinse.

Apple Cider Vinegar makes the hair shiny and soft! Baking Soda and ACV are both natural disinfectants and will take away all gunk and residue in your hair.

dhc

My Comments:

In my beauty routine, I use organic, chemical-free shampoo and conditioner. But every week or so, I love to give my hair a deep cleanse with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. My hair always feels incredibly soft and is always shiny after the treatment. Just keep a box of baking soda, a bottle of ACV, and two squirt bottles in your beauty cabinet. It’s very easy to prepare for your cleanse before your shower (takes less than three minutes!). I would suggest doing the cleanse once a week. But you can do it more or less depending on how your hair responds.

Eventually, if you want, you can stop using shampoo and conditioner completely and switch to the no-‘ poo method with the baking soda and ACV hair cleanse. If you want more info on that, check out this cool girl’s blog, who is very detailed about going no-‘ poo.

Has anyone else tried this? What do you think?

PLASTIC is toxic: 10 Creative Ways to Cut Back

Photo Credit: Homedit

Let’s be educated about PLASTIC. Why is it harmful?

Plastic materials leak toxic chemicals into our products that we consume into our bodies. Plastic packaging on food penetrates toxic chemicals into the food itself, which is then digested into our bodies. Plastic packaging of our beauty and shower products leak toxic chemicals into the products, which then go onto our skin and are absorbed into the body. Plastics are toxic and unhealthy to consume and without even realizing it, we consume hundreds plastic toxins each day.

The Science:

According to Mother Earth Living, “plastics contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that interfere with the balance of hormones in the body, and researchers have found that most plastics–even those labeled BPA-free–can leach these chemicals into food. A study by the Endocrine Society found that even low exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can cause significant adverse health effects, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and infertility.”

Challenge Yourself to Cut Back

Here are 10 creative ideas to cut back on your plastic use and improve your personal health and lower your risk for cancer, allergies, and infertility. Start simply and slowly by picking three of these strategies; you don’t have to do it all at once!

1. Buy bed linens made of organic cotton and wool. Avoid fabrics made of polyester, nylon, and vinyl (because they are engineered and made from plastics).

2. Buy a natural shower curtain that doesn’t contain plastic material. When the heat and steam of the shower collide with the plastic fibers, chemicals will be emitted into the air. This is called “offgassing.” Organic hemp or flax-based are good alternatives. (www.rawganique.com has great organic hemp shower curtains! I can’t wait to get one).

3. Store your beauty products in glass or tin containers. (Especially if you are keeping your beauty products in the hot and steamy bathroom, the heat will make the toxins leak into the product, which is then put on your skin or hair).

4. Buy beauty products with little or no packaging (ex: organic bar soap with paper packaging). Or make your own beauty products! Check out some of my DIY Beauty/Hair products here.

5. Store all your food in non-plastic containers. Instead, use metal, tin, or glass. (In my opinion, mason jars are the best for storage!)

6. Use stainless-steal water bottles that are made of food-grade steel. (Klean Kanteen) Avoid plastic water bottles, reusable and disposable.

7. Use metal or bamboo silverware. Avoid plastic utensils because they contain polystyrene which transfer into food.

8. Buy food in bulk and eliminate plastic packaging. (Go crazy in the bulk section at Winco!)

9. Do not microwave leftovers in plastic Tupperware or on a plastic plate. (The best way to re-heat food is on the stove, but if you must use the microwave, put your food on a non-plastic plate!)

10. Always bring your own reusable bags when grocery shopping. If you forgot your reusable bag, always go for PAPER, not plastic.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other creative ways of eliminating plastic? Leave your thoughts; I’d love to hear from you!


Photo Credit: Homedit

Honey Face Wash

honeyfacewash

Why is honey so good for the skin?

Honey contains natural antibiotic properties and naturally cleans and purifies the skin. Honey is easily absorbed by the skin and it contains a high antioxidant content.

Directions:

  1. Wet your face.
  2. Scoop a nickel-size glob of honey onto your hands.
  3. Rubbing in circles, massage the honey into your face.
  4. Let sit as long as you desire. (And maybe lick your lips! Yummm yummm)
  5. Wash your face with warm water.

This is a completely chemical-free, toxic-free face wash alternative. In my experience, using honey as face wash just feels wonderful. My skin feels clean and purified after the cleanse and I really feel like it keeps those zits under control.

You don’t need to buy face washes that are loaded with chemicals from companies that claim their products will take away your acne. Do you know how many chemicals are in those face washes? I can guarantee you, as much as they say their product will help, it’s not good for your skin.

Important notes:

  • Use LOCAL honey. (Using honey from other locations may cause allergies because you are not used it!)
  • Use 100% organic and pure honey. (You can buy it from your local organic store).

Has anyone else tried this? What do you think?!

Making the Change: Jessie’s Story

An amazing story from one of my readers, Jessie Lohse, who went completely chemical-free in her beauty routine! So inspired! Have a read:

My decision to start going chemical free in my hygiene and beauty routine started about a year ago when a friend made an off handed remark to me. I had been talking to her about a documentary I had recently watched that (once again) confirmed my hunch that eating vegan is the best thing a person could do for their bodies if they did not want major illnesses to be a part of their life. She listened to my comments and then remarked, “Yeah, but we are all going to die of cancer anyways, because of all the chemicals and crap that is in our lotions and stuff”. This concept had never even occurred to me, and thus began my slow movement towards poking around at the truth behind her statement.

The second thing that spurred me was another revelation bestowed by my sister-in-law, who has been fascinated with fertility, childbirth and anything related to maternal and infant health for quite some time. She told me that 24 years old is the peak of a woman’s health for bearing children, and after this age, everything slowly slides into complications. The miracles of modern medicine aside, her comment struck me as a call to start taking my health seriously, because despite the ability to have children in my 30’s and 40’s, the statistical chances of my having a child with mental or physical defects increases as I age.
I was suddenly faced with the reality that cancer and birth defects are within my power to counter act, and if I want to have a healthy, cancer-free body that can bear my future beautiful children into gestational perfection, then I should start right now to make changes in my life that will allow this dream to be a reality.

Of course, this journey is one step at a time, and always begins with a lot of digging and research. YouTube and the blogosphere have been my main educators, along with some personal references and tips. My first steps were obvious: shampoo, conditioner, lotions, face scrubs, moisturizers and body washes all had to be exchanged. Several test methods were done, and I finally landed on baking soda scrub with an apple cider vinegar rinse, Moon Root soap (made of all organic materials) and honey have become the soldiers in my shower caddy. I want to gush about the honey for a second. I have never had terrible acne, but there was always the lingering presence of irritations, red spots, pimples and black heads interrupting what was otherwise fairly decent skin. I switched out my Aveeno face wash and moisturizer (which I had sworn by since I was 16) for local honey and lilac water, and my face has never been so clear! I stayed at my parent’s house last weekend, and had to use their face wash, and immediately I broke out in blemishes. It’s uncanny that the secret to a clear face has been going in my tea all these years.

The next phase was switching out my make-up. This is where the well-written and thoroughly helpful All of Everything blog saved my life. Kelsey’s recipes for foundation, eye shadow and lotion ideas (unrefined coconut oil for the face and body) helped me clear out years of make-up hoarding, and now I have four jars that contain the various elements of my beauty routine (plus some holistic and natural mascara and cover up from a local co-op). My counter has never been so pretty and tidy!

The next steps are in process right now. I am switching from regular toothpaste (apparently event Toms of Maine has fluoride in it, which unnecessarily strips the enamel from your teeth) to a homemade tooth paste, switching from a pill birth control to the Fertility Awareness Method (which is hormone free, and tracks your fertility cycle naturally) and slowly using up our chemical house-hold cleaner and replacing them with more gentle cleansers that aren’t bad for my lungs to breathe in, and my skin to absorb! And of course, the never-ending challenge of finding the nutritional balance in my life that allows me to soak up all the goodness of fruits, veggies and whole grains while still allowing me to come up with creative ways to have pizza.

It helps me through all of these challenges and frustrations to keep thinking of my skin as what it is: the biggest organ on my body. What I put on my skin, it literally “eats” by absorbing it. So, if I wouldn’t put it in my mouth, why would it go on my skin? Also, through this process I have come to feel an incredible sense of empowerment. By taking health matters into my own hands, I am literally taking myself off the grid for multimillion-dollar company’s marketing ploys. I don’t “need” Dove shampoo and Maybeline in my life to be happy, and I certainly don’t need them to be healthy! Once you start digging and looking for other routes, you will uncover a whole host of other health anarchists who are looking for a better way of living as well. I would urge anyone I know to start making these changes, as they feel comfortable. While we are on this earth, we deserve to have impeccable health; it is just a matter of hunting it down and making it yours. Don’t be surprised to find that most of your answers are standing post in your cupboards right now.

What a beautifully written, empowering story that re-confirms how important it is to be aware of what you are putting in and on your body. Thank you so much, Jessie, for sharing your inspiring story with us! If any of you other readers out there have a story like this, even if it’s just a small story, I would absolutely love to hear it!

DIY Beauty: All-Natural Exfoliating Scrub

Great post from Society Swan about an All-Natural Exfoliating Scrub! I absolutely love using sugar as an exfoliator. Take a look:

Be an Educated Consumer

toxic

We want to live the healthiest lives we can, right? So let’s be educated consumers. What are in the products you’re buying?

Think about how many products you use on your hair and skin every day. My products include:

  1. Shampoo
  2. Conditioner
  3. Body soap
  4. Shaving cream
  5. Body lotion
  6. Face lotion
  7. Deodorant
  8. Tinted moisturizer
  9. Powder foundation
  10. Concealer
  11. Eye shadow
  12. Eye liner
  13. Mascara
  14. Body spray/perfume
  15. Face Wash
  16. Toothpaste

What’s your list?

I use 16 products every single day and some of those products, I use two or three times daily! If each product contains an average of 30 chemicals, I am putting over 480 chemicals on my skin and hair daily. If you do some research, some of the chemicals, like Nano-Particles and Oxybenzone, go straight through the skin into the bloodstream. Eventually, that is going to start affecting your body. (Check the ingredients in your make-up and lotions and make sure there are no nano-particles or Oxybenzone!) If you want a full list of the top 12 chemicals you should avoid in hair and beauty products, click here. Also, you can go to the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep website and you can type in any product. The website will tell you what chemicals the product contains and how hazardous it is, on a scale of 1 to 10.

It’s simple. If we know that these products contain toxic chemicals that could effect our health (now or later), why use them? There are SO many wonderful alternatives. I have been completely chemical-free for almost a year now and my hair and skin has never been healthier. My hair used to get oily after 3 hours of washing it and my skin was covered with acne. Now my skin is completely clear, with exception of the one-random-stress-zit that appears every so often. Now, my hair does not get oily and I can go several days without washing it. (By the way, it’s not good to wash your hair every day!)

Going chemical-free is so easy. All the chemical-free and organic beauty products that I have bought have been equal-to or less-than the chemical products I was buying before. You can find chemical-free, organic alternatives at any local organic market. But better yet, you can make almost anything you need. Interested in DIY? Well, it’s incredibly easy to make chemical-free beauty and hair products. Check out my DIY Beauty and Hair page for some recipes. Also, if you are interested in making your own chemical-free cleaning products, click here.  Not only will you feel better, but you will be healthier, both now and in the long run.

By buying chemical-filled beauty and hair products is only supporting their business and creating a “market” for these products. These companies don’t care about the health of your skin and hair, they just want your money. If all consumers made purchasing choices with our HEALTH in mind, the market would force companies to change. Be educated about what chemicals you are putting on your skin and hair. Buy from companies who are not afraid to disclose the ingredients in their products and who genuinely care about the health and well-being of their consumers.

A few quick facts:

  • We absorb 60% of what we put on our skin. (Natural Healthy Concepts, 2012)
  • Children’s bodies absorb 40%-50% more than adults. (Natural Healthy Concepts, 2012)
  • It is very common for companies to hide ingredient information from consumers. (Environmental Working Group)