Monday, August 13

Crazy Hippie Talk

Since the arrival of Baby B almost a year and a half ago, we've been becoming much more conscious of what we put in and on our bodies. We've been slowly condensing how many products we use and switching over to more natural products all around the house. Many of these changes have been made in the bathroom - nearly all of our personal care products have been replaced with healthier alternatives. If you want to check out the safety of the products you're using, the EWG database is a great resource (you can search for your products and see how they are rated). Here is a quick list of important things to look for/avoid in products, and here is a wallet cheat sheet you can print out and take with you during shopping. Of course we're still learning and changing things so we'd be happy for any advice or suggestions along the way!

We started using Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle line of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. The way they fit perfectly on the shelf and look pretty is a bonus. :) They aren't super cheap (about $3.50 per bottle) but we don't use a ton and we think it's worth it for things we're using all over our skin. If you want a cheaper option for body wash, you could try making your own!


I haven't used shampoo since January. There. I said it. And I hope we can still be friends. And I promise my hair is still clean and I don't stink! I found out quite a while ago that you can actually clean your hair without shampoo and it literally costs pennies. There is lots of info about the process on this site, but here is the basic premise:
  1. Mix 1 Tbs. baking soda and 1 C. water (that's in my white bottle). Use this rinse as your "shampoo" working it in around the roots of your hair. Rinse it out.
  2. Mix 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar and 1 C. water (in my green spray bottle). Use this as your "conditioner" focusing on the ends of your hair. Rinse.
So yes, easy and very very cheap! Regular shampoos strip your hair of all the natural oils, which results in your body producing even MORE oils to compensate. If you start this system, there is some transition time where your body relearns its natural balance and your hair will tend to look oily. But once everything evens out your hair will be very healthy all on its own! There is a lot more info about this and other troubleshooting tips here. Once in a while if I feel like my hair is a little dry I'll work in a tiny bit of coconut oil after I towel dry to keep things soft and yummy smelling. The orange bottle is my Trader Joe's shave cream - paraben free, vegetarian formula, and it smells great!


When it comes to Baby B, we actually don't use a lot of soap. Maybe once a week, if that. We don't want to strip or irritate his delicate baby skin, so just wiping him down with water is enough to get off any food or mud that he has picked up. On the occasions we do reach for the soap, we've been using Nourish Organics sweet orange wash, sometimes followed by a little lavender oil to encourage the sleepies. They are a little pricey, but they work great and are super safe for our little guy. And since we don't use it often we're still on our first bottle!

 

On to our toothpaste.... There is so much debate going on around fluoride or no fluoride. Strong teeth vs. it's poisonous. I honestly don't know what to think about all that. So we've been flipping back and forth trying kinds with and without, but they have all been natural toothpastes - either Tom's of Maine or Trader Joe's brand. If you're going the fluoride free route, you can actually make your own toothpaste! I tried out this recipe, but I could NOT handle the taste. Yucky! I do want to try it again and use some different essential oils for flavoring to see if I can save it. I also found this recipe, but have not tried it.


So what's that scary looking stuff in the baby food jar? Well, that's just my homemade deodorant thankyouverymuch. Are you still there? If you made it this far and need to bail out, I understand. :) The really bad thing with traditional deodorants is the antiperspirant (specifically the aluminum), so this is just straight up deodorant. Don't panic yet! Once I stopped using antiperspirant, I was actually surprised at how little I sweat. And it really does keep the stink away! If you want more info about deodorant there are pages with great insight (and recipes) here and here. So far I've been happy with this super simple recipe I got from a friend, though:
  • 4 Tbs Coconut Oil (antibacterial, good consistency)
  • 4 Tbs Cornstarch (odor absorbent)
  • 4 Tbs Baking Soda (for dryness)
  • essential oils
  • jar
Directions:
To make it just melt the coconut oil over low heat (or if you house is as hot as mine it's already melted for you!) then stir in the cornstarch and baking soda. I stir for just a couple minutes, then take it off the heat. If you want you can add 10-20 drops of essential oils to scent it. Last time I used lavender & jasmine and it smelled great! While it's still runny, dump it into your container (I use a baby food jar) and let it set up. Coconut oil has a very low melting point, so it is solid when your house is cooler and liquid when it is warmer. I apply it with my fingers, but I've also heard of putting it into an old deodorant dispenser and storing it in the fridge to keep it solid.


    My face wash is also from Trader Joe's. I honestly don't wash my face that often, even with this sitting right by the sink! So I can't really speak for how well it works. But it is chemical free! I've also thought about trying oil cleansing, which is essentially washing your face with olive oil or sunflower oil. Supposedly it works wonders and, you know, it's food. So it's super safe. :)


     The hand soap in our pump currently is still some left over yucky stuff, but we're about to fix that too. A really cheap & easy way to get a safe soap is to fill your pump with half liquid Dr. Bronner's, and half water. We tried this a couple weeks ago, but personally couldn't get use to how watery it was. So now we're going to try this recipe to turn a bar of natural soap into a thicker soap. I'll keep you posted.


    Next up is our current summer arsenal. The really obvious one is sunscreen. The safest sunscreen is to stay out of the sun during the middle of the day or stay well covered if you have to be out. But if you need some extra protection, the EWG database says Badger has some of the very best ratings. We ordered ours from Amazon. So far we have been pretty happy with it. It's not really any match to the midday sun, but if we avoid the few peak hours we've been happy with it the rest of the time. It is much thicker to put on than normal sunscreen, but we're getting used to that. The only thing we really don't like about it is the price - $13 for that small tube! But I've heard rumors that I could make some myself, so I'll keep you posted on that. :) We found some spf 15 Burt's Bees sunscreen cheap at Big Lots so we got a couple tubes of that. We haven't really had a lot of opportunities to use it though. We usually go for the 30spf Badger to be safe. We also found Burt's Bees After Sun Soother at Big Lots. It's been great the times we've gotten a little toasted (you can also use pure aloe vera or coconut oil). Last up is the bug spray. No DEET for us, please! All of our bug repellents are essential oil based. We haven't seen too many bugs this summer, but we wanted to be prepared for camping last weekend. We went to the local health food store and picked out a couple different things to try. The first was BugBand. I picked that one because it was also rated for ticks! We used it a tiny bit camping, and it did not keep the flies away. So I don't really know how well it will work against other things. The Badger Bug Balm doesn't say it works for ticks, but it was in the clearance bin (marked down to $3.50 from $9.50) so I got some in case we would want it for mosquitoes in the backyard or something. And finally the red bracelet is a bug repellent for Baby B that we can wrap around his wrist, ankle, or even through a belt loop! I've also heard you can make your own bug spray using peppermint oil, vinegar, or pure vanilla. 


    That's it so far. We still have some other things I'd like to switch out but we've made some good progress. I would like to find a natural/organic makeup - any suggestions?

    Want more? I keep a health & home pinboard full of more ideas for safe products and lots of recipes for making your own.

    So what do think? Do I have it all wrong? Am I on the right track? What is your favorite natural product/recipe?

    15 comments:

    1. wow. Impressive. Just fyi, you might want to take a look into using lavender on your little guy. When I was researching using lavender in the B's butt wash, I found some limited studies on hormonal issues for boys.
      http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20070131/lavender-oil-may-spur-breasts-boys

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      1. Interesting, I will definitely look into this some more! Thanks for the heads up! :)

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    2. I don't have a ton of experience/research on most of the topics you discuss here, but I do have some experience with teeth! :) Most dentists and the ADA still agree that fluoride is very healthy and necessary for healthy teeth. Most people do not understand how much fluoride they would have to consume for fluorosis to be an issue. While it is good to have kids use "training" toothpaste that is fluoride free until they understand how to spit and not swallow it, past that I think that it is the best way to help your kids (and adults too!) have a healthy smile! Most parents often have the misconception that baby teeth are not very important since kids lose them anyway. They often are not aware of the adverse effects from decay on their kids primary teeth or how long some of the baby teeth need to remain in order to allow the permanent teeth time to develop and emerge.

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      1. Thanks so much for the feedback! If you have any specific links about it I would love to see those as well. I try to stay be as informed as possible with decisions like this. Thanks again!

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      2. I have fluorosis on my teeth. I avoid fluoride as much as possible.

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      3. Thanks for the comment Kristina! At this point I'm leaning more towards fluoride doing more harm than good. I'm actually considering getting a water distiller for our drinking water! Any tips on avoiding fluoride?

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      4. I think you're probably already on top of it! I have a filter that filters out fluoride for my drinking water and I avoid fluoride toothpaste.

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    3. I am so happy to read this post! I have been working on replacing all the toxic products in our home, too, but have been a little overwhelmed/stumped when it comes to the personal care items. Thanks for the tips.

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      1. I'm totally with you. It so overwhelming! We've just been slowly doing things one step at a time but there is so much stuff out there that it starts getting confusing. I'm glad I was able to help out a little! :)

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    4. I accidentally stumbled your blog a while back, btw, if you're wondering who the heck I am :) I have thoroughly enjoyed it!

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      1. Ha ha. ;) Thank you! I'm glad you like it!

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    5. Nice job changing over to natural cleaners! I have considered going shampoo free but worry about what my bangs would do. Maybe next summer I will get brave and give it a try :)

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      1. Yeah, I don't know how bangs would do. I do feel like my hair is different now that it's been left to it's own devices. It's more wavy and less curly than it used to be, I think. So maybe your bangs will be different than you expect too? :) Definitely a good summer time experiment. ;)

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    6. Thanks for linking-up all this info on my Healthy Tuesday post.
      My sister used Physician's Formula's organic make-up.

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      1. Thanks for hosting! I love link-ups! And thanks for the makeup tip, I will check it out. I'd like to switch over to something organic soon!

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