I’m getting pretty crunchy in my old age (of 30). I’ve always been green to some degree, more in regard to the world around me than myself. I recycled when I was little (thanks Grandma and Grandpa), I did my best to conserve water and energy. But I can’t say I’ve always cared about what I’ve put in and on my body. I grew up eating processed junk, and still eat too much of it. Eating whole foods, choosing organic and sustainable options, are still a work in progress for me. I make the effort because I want a healthier lifestyle, I want to be good role model for Leia. I really want to be that lady that does all her shopping at Whole Foods and farmers markets, in yoga pants to show off a tight ass earned by lots of Bikram. If I can become that woman half the time I’ll be happy. Because, to be honest, sometimes I just want to eat velveeta shells and cheese, red vines and a diet coke for dinner.
I’ve recently made a conscious effort to expose myself (and Leia) to fewer chemicals, not just with what we eat and drink but what we put on our bodies. I cook often, so I’m changing out our nonstick pots and pans for cast iron and stainless. I made myself familiar with Skin Deep. Most of my parenting practices align me with “hippie mama” resources so the first changes I made were the ones that affected Leia. We switched to Burts Bees (soap and lotion) and Seventh Generation (bubbles). I know there are options than have fewer chemicals, but they aren’t “tear free” obviously, so they won’t work for her just yet.
I change up shampoos like some people change channels (har har). I don’t think I’ve ever bought the same shampoo twice. I mean, look at all those options, I’m constantly in search of “the one” that gives me gorgeous hair with no effort (I know I’m searching in vain). The point being it’s not a big deal to try a something new with the goal of avoiding parabens, phthalates, sulfates. I tried Oraganix. Hated it. I tried Burts Bees. Hated it. I even disliked Purology, which seems to be universally loved. I know that I like Redken products so their Nature Rescue line is next on my list to try. I have dry ends/oily roots/half wavy/fluffy/layered/never ever colored hair. Until a few weeks ago, I shampooed and conditioned every day. This is frowned upon, I know. I love a squeeky clean scalp and I couldn’t get my mind around the concept of washing less to make my hair healthier. Now that I’m a few weeks into to washing every other day, I think I’m starting to adjust. I still use my chemical laden Suave shampoo, but at least it’s not as often. I’m also on the search for a product that gives me soft defined waves that last all day without becoming fluffy and frizzy – but that’s a whole different discussion.
Unlike my search for hair care, my search for face wash has been a big success! I researched the “oil cleansing method” and decided to jump on the bandwagon about a week ago. I’ve always bought face wash that promised one or more of the following: exfoliating, clearing, smoothing, resurfacing. I like to physically scrub my skin. I struggled with acne for most of my teens and 20’s. I still have an occasional breakout, but now my primary skin issues are sun damage, uneven tone, pores and scars.
The concept of using oil to clean my skin was hard to buy into. But the more I read the more it made sense and so far I really love it. I use a mix of grapeseed oil and castor oil, with a a few drops of tea tree oil for antibacterial benefits. In the morning I rub the oil on my face while I’m waiting for the shower to heat up. When I step in I ut a washcloth in hot water and let it sit on my face for about a minute, then wipe it off as I shower. My skin is soft, it looks and feels smooth. Obviously it’s too early to know how my skin will react over time, but so far I’m really pleased. Want to know why? Not just because it’s free of fancy long named chemicals – it’s cheap and easy. Did I mention cheap? I like cheap.
Last time I was shopping at Sephora (which is like once a year, if that), I got a sample of this stuff called ExfoliKate. The sample had about 2 uses in it, and it was amazing! My skin was immediately softer and smoother. I kept touching my face, in awe. But the smallest tube is $20. Two ounces will set me back $85! Maybe when I win the lotto I can be that girl that spends big money on cosmetics. Anyway, I researched the primary ingredient, lactic acid. The always accurate internet pointed me in the direction of yogurt as a source of lactic acid. So I made a little mask with a spoonful of (full fat, not non fat) plain greek yogurt and lemon juice. I left it on my face for about 20 minutes. The mask got tight as it dried and tingled a little – obvious signs of success 😉 My skin tone did seem more even and was noticeably soft – not as dramatic as ExfoliKate, but it cost me about $0.10. I’m going to try it twice a week for a month or two and cross my fingers. There’s a sea of homemade face mask recipes on the internet so I can always keep searching.
Last week I experimented with making my own face cream. There are tons of recipes out there, I chose this Homemade Lotion recipe from MomPhotographer. I followed her suggestion and used 1/2 cup green tea to make it a little thinner. I used store bought aloe juice because I didn’t know anyone with an aloe plant. I bought the ingredients and pretty little blue glass jars through Mountain Rose Herbs, which is a pretty awesome site for delving into the world of homemade cosmetics. It still came out a little thick, but overall I was really impressed. It’s smooth, smells nice, absorbs easily and my skin stays moisturized without being greasy.
I’ve been putting it on my face at night after oil cleansing. I usually use a really nice oil blend on my body after I shower in the morning, so I might keep this cream to use on my hands and feet with gloves and socks when I’m hunkered down on the couch with a book and some
tea wine. It feels really rich, but in a good non-greasy way. Making my own face cream was like a really cool science experiment – melting the wax in the oil, watching it change color when it hit the liquids. It was really watery at first and took a good 20 minutes to thicken as it cooled.