Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Squeaky Clean

I was a bit misleading when I mentioned that I had some homemade cleaning products to share - they aren't products for cleaning houses, but rather for cleaning yourself.  Here's the thing: I've given up on shampoo, and soap.

In January, I was home alone and screwing around on the internet, and I followed a few random links and stumbled across some websites discussing the No Shampoo Method, and the Oil Cleanse Method.  I read up on them.  I was intrigued.  I did some research, finding out the best ways to take up these soap-free, super-cheap, and gentle self-care techniques.  I found lots, and lots, and LOTS of websites, blog posts, YouTube videos, and forum discussions.  And I discovered that the only thing that can be concluded is that you have to work out what is best for your skin & hair.  So here's how I do it, using these ingredients...

I haven't used shampoo since January.  Instead, I wash my hair with a bicarb soda (baking soda) paste, and 'condition' with apple cider vinegar.  Some  people seem to use heaps more water than bicarb, and pour it over their hair.  I tried that, but prefer a runny paste.  I fill up a little container with bicarb...

And then add an equal amount of water (give or take a bit).  Then I stir and stir, until it is a smooth paste.

Then, once a week, I take a big scoop of this paste and massage it into my head.  I try to keep it to the roots, because it makes the ends of my hair a bit dry.  I rub it in, and leave it on for about a minute, and then rinse.  Be sure to rinse thoroughly - I've gotten out of the shower a few times and found a super white patch on my scalp.

I also keep a little jar of apple cider vinegar in the shower, next to a small plastic cup.  After all the bicarb paste is rinsed out of my hair, I tip 1 to 2 Tablespoons of vinegar into the little cup, and then fill it up with water.

Then, I dip my hair into the cup, to make sure the ends get their fair share of the vinegar.  After that, I tip the rest of the vinegar water over my hair.  Again, rinse thoroughly.  I like to end with a quick blast of cold water - it may be ineffective, but in my head it makes my hair shinier.

Once I get out of the shower, I towel-dry my hair and dab a bit of coconut oil on the ends.  All of this works best, for me, if I wash my hair in the afternoon or evening.  Then I let it air dry, and sleep on it.  For some reason, this gives me smooth, shiny, and easy to work with hair.  If I wash it in the morning, it goes a bit fuzzy.

As I mentioned above, I only need to do this once a week.  On the other days, I keep my hair dry for my morning shower, and rinse with plain water for my afternoon or evening shower.  My hair only smells like vinegar until it dries on the first day - after that, it's fine.  And it doesn't get sweaty or greasy, even though I ride to and from uni each day.  My hair is still as soft as it was when I was washing with shampoo, so I'm happy to save heaps and heaps of money by using cheap kitchen supplies!

The Oil Cleanse method is based on the notion that "like dissolves like", which may or may not be scientifically true.  In any case, it involves using oil to clean your face, and surprisingly, it works really well.

I mix my oils in a plastic bottle, which lasts for a few months.  About 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottle gets filled with Castor Oil (which is available from the chemist - but behind the counter).  I put a few drops of eucalyptus oil, for its antibacterial qualities.  Then I top up the bottle with olive oil.  The ratio of castor to olive oil depends on your skin type.  If you have very dry skin, you can go up to half-half, but if your skin is on the oily side you should use more olive oil.

So, every evening, I pull back my hair and get maybe a teaspoon, at the most, of oil in my palm.  Then, for 5 or 10 minutes, I rub it all over my face.  It's great for dissolving makeup, and I can literally feel my pores unclogging while I rub.  After a few minutes, I rinse.  With the hottest water I can stand, I rinse and rinse with a cloth, rubbing the oil off.  It takes a few rinses, and it's not finished until your face feels un-oily.  Then I dry my face.  I still use moisturiser after I'm finished - some people on the internet said they don't need to, but my skin gets too dry without it.  I do this at night, and in the mornings I just rinse my face with plain water and then moisturise before putting on makeup.

Why bother?
To be honest, I had no problem with the facial cleanser and shampoos I was using before I started these homemade options in January.  I was buying from Plant Essentials, which makes its products right here in Townsville, using certified organic plant ingredients.  And they're not even that expensive.  In fact, I still use their moisturisers and make up, because I truly love that shop.

But, (and this is an indication of my supreme laziness), I was home alone in January and the thought of going in to the city when I was running low on shampoo was unappealing.  So I decided to try out these methods I had read about.  And it turns out I like them.  Neither method has revolutionised the quality of my skin or hair - some people on the internet seem to suggest it has for them, but for me, I haven't noticed much difference at all compared to soap and shampoo.   Except, of course, for the price difference.  Bicarb soda, apple cider vinegar, and oil are cheap, and since you don't use much, it really is very cost effective. The results look something like this:

So there you have it - my cheaper-than-chips, easy-pants homemade self-cleaning products.  If you're interested and I haven't answered your questions, let me know in the comments - or do some googling, since there is a boatload of information on the interwebs.


urban vegan said...

This is a GREAT post. And your gorgeous skin and hair are a true testament to the phrase "natural beauty," double-entendre intended :)

Lauren said...

very interesting for your hair and skin regime!
i've never thought to do things like that for it, but it is MUCH more cost-effective, i know buying shampoo & conditioner every month definitely adds up! your hair looks great too so it must be working! :)

Millie said...

wow what an interesting post....good job Theresa.

Emma said...

awesome post! I'm particularly excited about trying that shampoo idea.

dreaminitvegan said...

Very cool and if homemade products work for you I think that"s awesome. I've heard how vinegar makes the hair shiny!
Oh and you look great!

London Cleaners said...

Very interesting post. I thought that bicarb and vinegar can be used only for cooking and preparing home-made cleaning solutions, but now I know that they have one more use.


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