Tag: diy

beauty is skin deep

green living December 4, 2013

In my quest to reduce both my dependance on the commercial world and my family’s exposure to the plethora of chemicals out there whose effects are still unknown, I have run into mostly dead end in the area of beauty products. Most just don’t seem to work as well without all those wonderful parabens and sulfates and what have you. There are books and blogs and articles a plenty who beg to differ, but they get my hopes up only to be crushed by empirical observation.

I have found two exceptions. Facial cleansers/moisterizers and deoderant. I can’t believe it either. These seemed like the least likely candidates to me for a simple cheap solution. I have been using anti wrinkle creams since I was in my early twenties- an ounce of prevention? Astringents, exfoliators, pore reducers, acne clearers etc. The amount of money that I have pent on hope in this area has to be gargantuan. Some time ago, I ran out of my preferred, expensive, Le Occitane facial cleanser as well as my favorite Aveda tourmaline lotion. I may be a stay at home mother in a small town, but I still want to maintain some sort of attention to my appearance. (The bar is low, trust). I had some sweet almond oil in my medicine cabinet, and out of desperation, decided to try out oil cleansing. Much to my surprise, it works. Well. My skin looks and feels better than it has in ages. I still use an exfoliator once a week, but guess what works well for that? Baking soda! Necessity is the mother of trying something new that you previously disregarded as hairy armpit hippy bull. I have since tried out other oils (castor and grapeseed) as recommended on various websites, but for my skin, sweet almond oil is the only one that seems to adequately replace the look and feel of my old favorites. All you do is wet your face with warm water, rub in the oil, let it sit for a while, then rinse it off. Bango, you are cleansed and moisterized. I use a little witch hazel now and then as a refreshing astringent, and as I said baking soda to exfoliate. Skin care regime complete.

Now for deoderant. What a disaster. I live in a town populated with not a few hippy types, my parents moved here as said types. It gives the town a careless, alternative vibe (and a vocabulary replete with words like ‘vibe’ and references to astrology as if discussing the weather). This is great and I love it, but I still don’t want to smell. Ever since I was pregnant with my son, I have been trying to find an aluminum free deoderant that works. He is over a year old and I was failing miserably until Thanksgiving, when I was desperate once again. We were going to my father’s house where the guests included some folks not from our hippy haven, and others who probably just wanted to smell the food cooking rather than me. In the midst of bundling up the toddler, and grabbing pumpkin pies, I also grabbed some baking soda and water and rubbed it under my arm. Bango. Smell gone. For hours. Amazing. I have an expensive deoderant waiting for me at the post office that I ordered after reading a review swearing that it was finally the answer. I’ll use it, but when I’m done I will be using one of the baking soda, coconut oil recipes that google coughs up in great numbers.

Now for shampoo and conditioner, the search continues.


Coconut oil is the new black

green living March 1, 2013

I have changed in ways I never would have imagined since my child was born. If writing a parenting blog is not cliche enough for a stay at home mother, I have considered making candles and my own beauty products. It all began with coconut oil… and it may well end with coconut oil, as I haven’t actually made any progress in the above mentioned ambitions.

It started months ago. Coconut oil began popping up everywhere. First, I noticed it on my bag of popcorn. Then it showed up on online boards pertaining to stretch marks. I finally started using it as a cloth diaper friendly moisture barrier for my son’s pampered bottom. Now it is in the New York Times and all of my friends’ houses. A friend of mine who was visiting all the way from Alaska noticed a jar in my bathroom and said, “I see you’ve discovered it too.”

I put it on the baby’s bottom. It smelled nice and I knew what was in it, or more accurately what isn’t in it. Then I put it on the baby’s face when it got dry in the New Mexico winter. My friend rubbed it all over her baby when she got a rash and was prescribed moisturizer by the pediatrician. The rash was gone the next day. I started using it on my stretch marks and chapped nipples. Then my whole body. I figured, the baby is with me all the time, might as well stay away from chemicals too. We were a little stretched for cash for Christmas. I bought pretty jars at Anthropologie and whipped up a jar of coconut oil with a few drops of lavender in my kitchen aid and gave the ladies in my family some home-made moisturizer. Finally, I ran out of my pre-child expensive face creme. I couldn’t justify spending the money on a tiny new jar when I wasn’t working and my husband was working hard to bring home the bacon without me working too. I put it on my face. I have a 30 year old freckled face that has weathered high desert sun for most of those 30 years. It is a sometimes oily, sometimes dry, and though 30, sometimes pimpled face. It is a face that smoked for 10 years and didn’t drink enough water. The coconut oil worked on this challenging face. That was it. I was sold and still am. Have I mentioned the fact that it is delightful to cook with? My son has a milk allergy, so I am off the dairy. We use it in place of butter in many recipes now. It is delicious in mashed sweet potatoes. Try sauteing with it with brussels sprouts, salted cashews and dates. I believe that I read in the Times that it is a miracle oil and that we should all be cooking with it to stay thin and beautiful forever. Or maybe I made that up. In any event, it can apparently be used for everything and I love it.

So shoot me, I write a blog about cloth diapers and coconut oil. It may not be original, but then again neither is the little black dress.

Next up: tea tree oil, to cure all ills.