Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Organics, Organics, Organics

As I have posted here in the past, I have been on a journey to do things in a more natural, healthy way.  I started on this quest a couple of years ago, maybe a bit longer, and I don't see it stopping anytime soon.  I can't tell you when it started exactly but it was a slow start -- I have made changes in a very slow way.  I have tried commercial products as well as DIY products. In addition to making an effort to be healthier in my lifestyle, I am also trying to be more frugal.  I know that the choices I make in what we use and how much I pay for it will ultimately affect our quality of life.  So, it is a balancing act to do the best I can for us and not break the bank.  So, when I have tried products that don't fill my bill I really have a problem throwing them away.  If they are only marginally bad, I tend to use them up an make a note not to buy them again.  If they are really terrible, I just toss them but I try very hard to use it enough to give it a chance before I pass judgement.  I have found excellent products and not so excellent products in all product lines whether they are natural, organic or just regular stuff.

I like a lot of my DIY products -- mostly my homemade laundry soap.  I much prefer it to commercial laundry detergents.  It doesn't bother my skin and I like the smell of it depending on what soap I use.  I recently bought a new mop -- a Rubbermaid Reveal mopping system.

I bought this because I don't like Swiffers.  I don't like the cleanser, I don't like that you throw everything away and they don't feel very sturdy.  This mop is great -- it comes with a microfiber pad that can be machine washed and a refillable bottle that I can use whatever cleaner I want.  I got a good deal, though, because mine came with two bottles and three pads. 

I was recently looking for an all purpose cleaners to use around the house that didn't use vinegar.  I have a lot of granite and vinegar isn't good for it so I was searching for an alternative.  I found a really easy recipe that calls for water, rubbing alcohol, a couple of drops of dishwashing soap and some essential oil if you desire.  I made up two batches, put it in spray bottles and put one in each bathroom with a roll of paper towels.  It works great to just quickly swish the bathroom in the morning while I am getting ready.  It doesn't smell like alcohol and it doesn't smell like the sweet orange essential oil I used so it works well for me.  Up to now I have just mopped with water in my new mop but I intend to use this same mixture for my floors.  I think it will be just perfect.

My quest for natural products hasn't just involved household products.  I am adamant about not using chemicals on my person.  That is one of the hardest things to change, especially if you have dry skin.  As I have mentioned previously, I have changed almost everything about what I use.  I now use a line of makeup called Rejuva -- available online.  I finally completed my makeup bag with a small size of their new pressed foundation and a lip gloss called Cherry Splash.  It is SCARY red but it is really so pretty on -- not bright and garish and it isn't sticky.  I wish I had bought it first but I also recently bought a tube of NARS dolce vita lipstick and, while I love the color and the feel, I feel like I am putting poison on my body.  Not a good feeling.  I have been really happy with the Rejuva line and haven't really been tempted to try something new.

As my hair is returning from the chemo treatments, my chemo curls are showing up really nicely and I love them!  I know that my hair is still coming in, even though I have quite a bit, because it still itches! Very strange, I know.  I also know that my hair is fragile so I am doing a lot to keep it healthy and undamaged.  What does that mean?  That means I am washing it one day a week with my J.R. Liggett shampoo and with just water in between.  As suggested by my doctor's nurse, I am brushing it with a natural bristle hairbrush.  I am not using product of any sort.  I probably never will.  The texture is completely different and the curls are something I am not used to.  My new routine seems to be working nicely, though, because even though I have had gray hair for a very long time, it has never had the shine that it has now so I am thinking my new routine is very good for my hair. 

Now, this is where we get to the TMI part so, if you are squeamish, you might want to stop reading here.  I have very dry skin and love Dr. Bronner's soap but I have noticed that it is making me drier.  So, I did a little reading and discovered that, unless you have been working under a car, running in a marathon, playing in the dirt, etc. you don't have to use soap to get clean.  I even discussed this with my microbiologist husband and he confirmed what the articles said.  So, I have quit using soap.  I shower every day, sometimes twice, and I don't just let the water wash over me.  I scrub.  I use a washrag and I scrub.  If I really feel the need I will use soap in the strategic areas but for the most part, I am soap free.  My skin is just looking better and better.  And, nobody has complained to me about being stinky.

I also quit using commercial deodorants including the better known "natural" products.  The crystal ones made me itch and the natural varieties smelled funky to me.   So, I concocted my own.  I use a small amount of coconut oil and rub it in very well, completely, and then powder with a mixture of baking soda and cornstarch, heavy on the cornstarch. I am very pleased with the results. 

I was walking through Central Market today and spotted a new product and I am a sucker for new products if they have ingredients that I can pronounce and understand.  As I was talking to one of the ladies that works in the health and wellness department I very quietly explained my hygiene routine and she totally agreed with me and noticed that I picked up this ~

I was assured it was an outstanding product and I could read and understand all the ingredients.  I also picked up this ~

I am anxious to try this because of the ingredients -- the main ingredient is coconut oil and it also contains cornstarch.  It will be much easier to travel with than a tiny jar of coconut oil and a parmesan shaker of my homemade powder.  I haven't tried it yet for efficacy but I hope it works.  If it doesn't, I know that my DIY version works well and makes me feel good that I am not putting chemicals on my body.

So, I think I have done a good job of balancing frugality with healthy with these products.  I have managed to narrow down products, whether DIY or commercially produced, and don't really have the desire to keep trying things out.  Being more minimally minded these days, I like the idea of just having a few products that work well for me, are affordable, easily attainable and simple.  By making a few of my own things, I don't feel bad about buying some of the more expensive products that I can't make myself.  I have also been more open minded about things -- realizing that I can buy Rejuva Minerals cosmetics for a lot less than I can buy mainstream products, they are healthier and just work well.  I realize that by adding some rubbing alcohol to water I can make a perfectly acceptable cleaning product that I feel safe using and safe having around.  I can make it up as I go and not have to store a lot of cleaning products.  I feel very satisfied employing these new ideas in my life.  I just wish I had thought this way when I was younger!!