Sunday, April 22, 2012

Going Green For Earth Day and Your Budget

In recognition of Earth Day I thought it would be fun to take a quick peek at a few simple ways you can help not only the Earth, but your family and your budget.  I love how those three really do fit together, don't you.

I was hoping to cover simple changes one can make in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.  However as I got going I realized that was just too much to take on for one post.  So today we are going to start in the bathroom.  Then over the next few Sundays we will move to the kitchen and laundry room.  And who knows we may continue on this journey a bit further.  We will just have to wait and see.  For now ~

This is one of those rooms many don't like to talk about, and pray that is it clean when someone drops by expectantly.  No worries, we wont be taking a peak in your or mine for that matter today.  But I did want to point out some places where it is easy to be kinder to the earth, our bodies and our budget.

Let's start with some simple health and beauty products.

Shampoo - Most commercial shampoos have some really nasty stuff in them.  Many contain petroleum derivatives such as isopropyl alcohol (SD-40), propylene glycol (PG), butylene glycol.   Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents that are also use in car washes and as engine cleaners. None of these are items I want on my or my families hair and skin.

There are some good natural/organic brands of shampoo, but most of them are costly.  So the budget friendly solution. . . go no poo.  You read that right.  Give up the shampoo and conditioner and replace them with simple baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  I did this over a year ago and haven't looked back.  Really it is simple, frugal and safe.

Here's how:

Mix baking soda, about 1-2 Tbps, to a cup of water.  This is the ratio you want to start with.  You will find many variations and I think it depends on your water as well as your hair.  I tend to you a little more baking soda.  Shake to dissolve the baking soda.  Pour mixture on your scalp and massage in.  Let sit for a few minutes before you rinse.  That's it.  I mix mine in larger batches and store in a squirt bottle in the shower.  I find it works better if it has set for a least a few days.  Next for the rinse.  This is simply apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp, to one cup of water.  Once again I make this is a large batch and store in a spray bottle in the shower.  I just spray a generous amount and rinse.  I've never had issues with the vinegar smell, but if you don't like it you can add essential oils, herbs or even vanilla to the rinse.

Just some things to remember if you decide to give this a try.  There is an adjustment period for most people that can last 2 weeks to 2 month.  What is happening is that with regular shampoos you are stripping all the natural oil and then replacing it with conditioner.  When you strip the oil your head notices it is gone and produces more oil.  When you stop stripping the oil, it takes a while for your scalp to adjust so you hair may seem oilier for a bit.  This will end, stick it our.  Once you are over this hump your hair wont get dirty/oily as quickly.  I promise.

Conditioner - More of the same here.  And really using regular shampoo is the reason so many of us need conditioner.  It replaces what was just striped.  Can you can great development and marketing on manufacture's part!  If you go the no poo route above you most likely wont need a conditioner, but on those days you do a little, and I mean little, bit of coconut oil does the trick as a leave in conditioner.  Helps reduce frizz and flyaways as well as smooths split ends.

Deodorant - Here again most of what is one the market is full of all kinds of nasty stuff or way to expensive for a frugal budget.  Some of the nasty ingredients in deodorant is the aluminum that is found in the antiperspirant varieties. This stuff has been shown to be just down right nasty.  Many brands also contain propylene glycol, diproplyene glycol, butane, propane and denatured alcohol.  YUCK!

Here again you can make your own.  This is quick and easy and really works.  I have been using this recipe for over two years and haven't looked back. I did have to play with the ratios a bit, and have come up with a blend for summer when it is warm and the coconut oil is liquid and winter when it is cooler.  I also add a few drops of my favorite essential oils.  A quick search on the web and you will find a bunch of variations if this one isn't your cup of tea.

Face Wash - You guessed nasty stuff in most of these as well.  Everything from Sodium laureth sulfate and butylene glycol to cocamidopropyl hydrozy sultaine and hexulene glycol.  Can you even pronounce some of these?  I can't.  Many of them have been linked to skin irritation, eye irritation and are linked to cancer in animals.  So why are ingredients that are known skin and eye irritants in a face wash?  Good question, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Luckily there are a few options that are better for you, your budget and the earth.  Castile soap is a wonderful vegetable soap that is reasonable, safe and easy to find.  Dr Bronners is a popular brand.

Or you can look no further than your pantry and pull out the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).  You read that right.  Clean you face with olive oil.  It is a know fact that oil dissolves oil.  In "the Passionate Olive", author Carol Firenze  points to the first documents uses of olive oil as cosmetic and medicinal.  So how to wash with oil?  First a little bit goes a long way and this helps make it frugal as well.  There are many tips for using olive oil to cleanse your face, but here is what we do.  Take a dime size drop of EVOO and add a bit of water.  Massage in a circular motion all over your face and neck.  Next soak a washcloth with hot (not burning) water and lay over your face for a minute or two.  Rinse the washcloth and use it to gently remove the oil from your face.  You will find your face clean and moisturized.

Moisturizer - Sorry to say the news doesn't get any better with the ingredients in most moisturizers.  Again the list contains many chemicals that are listed as hazardous materials and/or made from petroleum and crude oil.  Common chemicals found in moisturizers are polysorbates, propylene glycol, sodium laurel, and parabens. Why company think we want to put this stuff on our skins is beyond me.

Our solution - coconut oil!  Love this stuff.  It is a great moisturizer that can be used right out of the jar or whipped for a luxuriousness cream.  There are a bunch of oils and butter that can be made easily into moisturizers.  Just a warning it can be quite addictive to play with them.  Some of them you might want to try are shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil and jojoba oil.

Eye Make Up Remover - Ingredients here include parabens, propylparaben, methylparaben, and propylene glycol.  The thought of this stuff on my eyes makes me cringe.  How about you?

A simple solution again - coconut oil.  You got it a little coconut oil on a tissue will remove most eye make up.  It is that simple and pure!

Lip Balm -  petrolatum, phenol, cetyl alcohol, titanium dioxides, parabens and artificial colors and flavors.  And all of this is destine to be ingested as we lick our lips.  Yuck!

Making your own lip balm is quick and easy.  And you can play with recipes to come up with the perfect balm for you.  You can find our stand by recipe here.

The list of ingredients is really getting repetitive.  Makes you wonder when they say exposure in small amount is ok.  Well if we are being exposed to small amounts numerous times, when does that become large enough to be a concern?  I don't know about you but I don't want to find out.  I rather just stay away.

If this list seems over whelming, don't let it.  One of the easiest ways to change is to take it slowly.  You can either pick one items to try get that under your belt for a month and then move on to the next one.  In just six months you will have conquered all the items on this list.  The other way to approach it is to use up what you have and when it runs out try to make your own instead of buying one.  Slow and steady really helps make these chances that last.

I'd love to hear what products you make for yourself or ones you like to but don't know how.  Feel free to leave links to your favorite recipes in the comment section of this post.  I will try to highlight a few of them next week before me move on to the kitchen.

Happy Earth Day!  Hope you are feeling a little greener!

day2day joys


  1. I do a lot of these things. I switched back to shampoo after a homemade deep conditioner gone wrong, but I think that I will go back to backing soda once this bottle is gone!
    This is a great post. It would be awesome for a new blog party I am just starting Mondays at Simply Made Home called “Make Your Move Monday.” I would love to see posts like this from you that would encourage others to live both naturally and simply

    Tara @

  2. This was a great article!!! I already do the No Poo, I found that when adding Lemon essential oil to my routine it cut out a lot of the transition period woes. I love the olive oil face wash idea. I will start using that right away!!!!!

  3. Thank you for this post! I have been wanting to pick your brain on this stuff for a while now :)

    And No Poo, I have wanted to do it, but haven't been brave enough to try!

  4. This is a great post! I've abandoned commercial products and am much happier for it. Thanks for getting the word out there not just on Earth Day, but everyday. Ok to use this post as a reference in the future?

  5. I tried no poo once, but I had a different recipe that didn't work so well. Going to give the baking soda a try soon! Thanks for sharing with Healthy 2Day Wednesday; come back next Wednesday to see if you were featured!

  6. Just a tip for you for the homemade deoderant...I also use that recipe but add Sweet Orange essential oil for a nice scent. I've found that adding some drops of Vegetable Glycerine to the mix makes a HUGE difference. It keeps the deoderant smooth and creamy and feels sooo nice going on the skin!

    1. Thanks for the tip on adding the Vegetable Glycerin. I may give that a try. I found adding it to my liquid soap made all the difference in its consistency.


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