A step towards natural

This year I made some big decisions when it came to skincare. There has been a lot of chatter out there about the products we use and the chemicals in them and how they affect our bodies and our overall health.

I want to believe that science has reached a point where we can create things that are useful and harmless to our bodies, but with the growing number of cases out there that show the long term effect of certain chemicals – and because I was just generally curious about a what it would take to use less chemicals and make my own things – I decided to take a step towards the natural, starting with the products I use for my body.

Now, before you go any further there are a few things you should know:

  1. This is not a post to convince you to stop using chemical products. Do what you think is best for you.
  2. I came to this decision because I wanted to be more informed about the things I put in and on my body. It’s a slow process.
  3. Every body is different and products react differently to those bodies. So what I might be doing might work for me, but might have to be tweaked to work for you.

Dealing with all this hair

This was the biggest one. Over a period of five years I have been slowly learning to appreciate the curly, frizzy, messy locks that grow on my head. I got tired of spending many hours a week straightening it, or buying the expensive no-frizz products that are supposed to leave your hair silky and smooth. No shampoo worked for me, no amount of leave in conditioner fixed the issue and if I did use a styling product it left my hair feeling messy the next day and I do not wash my hair every day.

So, the first step was to straighten my hair less. The next step was to cut out all the extra products that I was buying for the sake of taming my messy tresses and to let my hair be.

The next step was to move towards a more natural shampoo/conditioner combo, and this year I decided to join the “no poo” movement and do the whole baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse. For me, finding the right ratio of baking soda to water for my hair was a pretty harrowing experience, and I spent months trying to figure it out. So now I use a shampoo bar that’s all natural (and vegan). It’s been working out great and I still use the ACV rinse with it from time to time.

Then, because the ends of my hair tend to be dry and since I’m not using a fancy smelly shampoo, I use essential oils (with a carrier oil) to add some moisture to my ends and roots.

I’ve also recently started using Henna, once a month. I though about the henna+indigo process, but I really do not want to spend a lot of hours dying my hair so I use a premixed version from Whole Foods.

I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my hair. It’s still a curly, frizzy, mess but it doesn’t feel brittle, it doesn’t fall out as much (just the usual when brushing) and it doesn’t break as much either. Overall if feels healthier.

Interestingly enough, there was a time during my baking soda phase where my hair felt really oily and I caved in and used shampoo. As soon as I put the shampoo in and rinsed it out my hair felt dry and brittle. That little episode reminded me of why I left shampoo in the first place.

I don’t think I’m 100% at the point I want to be with my hair, but so far I’m happy with the way things are going.

Making my own deodorant

Earlier this year I got a deodorant recipe from a friend, who saw very good results. I wanted to move away from regular deodorant so I decided to try it out. I’m still using it today and I absolutely love it!

I put in too much of the coconut oil so in the summer it was almost liquid, but not to a point where it made my skin feel oily. Of course, it’s now hard in the winter, so I let it sit in a warm bath while I’m taking my shower so I can use it. Perhaps I’ll try make it more stick-like next time around so that I can put it in an old deodorant tube.

Making my own body wash

This recipe I also got from my friend, when I visited her this past October I noticed that my hands were not as dry when I washed them using her hand soap. Usually my hands get really dry after washing them. The hand soap used part of the ingredients for the body wash so I decided I’d try it – since my skin is so very dry.

I tired it for the first time this week and it was divine. I loved it. The smell is amazing, and I loved that when I hopped out of the shower my skin wasn’t as dry as it usually is. I will give it some time before tweaking it, but right now it’s perfect for me.

Moving off of Proactiv

First let me say, Proactiv was wonderful for me. I was having some serious problems with acne in my late twenties and I couldn’t get rid of it, no matter what I tried. I stepped up to the advance formula for Proactiv and in a few months I was acne free.

I started stepping down from the advance formula to the regular this year and now, at the end of the year, I’m finally going to make the leap to come off of it altogether. It does help that lately I feel my face getting itchy whenever I use the product, so I am guessing it’s about time.

This is going to be the scariest part for me because I know I will probably break out again until my face gets accustomed to this new regiment, but hopefully I’ll be able to make a smooth transition. I’m also worried because my skin leans towards dryness, and I’m trying to do a baking soda scrub with almond oil as a moisturizer. We’ll see how that turns out!

The next step would be coming up with a lotion that I can use for my dry skin, that’s completely natural.

One month later …

Last month I got my very first subscription box! It was a box of handpicked, homemade, delights and as a person who likes supporting artists and their works I thought that I might enjoy the monthly goodies.

Now it’s one month after my first box, one month to use the products and form my opinions and I have to say, surprisingly, I still love pretty much everything!

20141016_211120I’m still using my Voodoo Colour Balm from Black Widow Balm. I did notice that, since the weather got colder, it’s a little harder – most likely due to the ingredients in the lip balm, but a few rubs and it’s back to a nice consistency. I love the colour and I love that it seems to stay on – something other colour lip balms haven’t been doing for me. I have really dry skin and when the weather turns it gets worse, however, I have found that if I am consistent with using this balm that it soothes the cracks.

Surprisingly I’m still using the Lip Balm Holder from Gabriel’s Good Tidings. This isn’t something I’d purchase for myself – I still don’t feel like I would if I ever lost it or had to replace it, but time will tell. However, having received it in the box along with lip balm I find that I’m using it more that I would have thought. Often it’s easy to clip onto my bag strap for easy access and because mine is so bright if I leave it in my bag it’s easy to spot it between the other things I carry around all day. I can see this and the lip balm making really cute stocking stuffers this year.

One thing that I wasn’t sure I’d use but I am absolutely loving is, Not A Dirty Hippie’s Chamomile and Lemongrass Shampoo Bar. First of all, the smell of this bar makes me think of carefree summer days and beautiful blue skies. It’s super easy to use and leaves my hair feeling clean. I use an apple cider vinegar rinse afterwards and I absolutely love the way it makes my curls look. I’m glad I used this, I will be frequenting this store a lot in the future.

Finally, Plain J Body and Home’s Soy Candle, I rarely use candles, but when I do I like them to leave the air with a lasting, but not overwhelming, scent. I used this for the first time a few days ago and I love it! Definitely a great gift for any candle loving friend of yours.