Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Homemade beauty products

Blackboard art from
Free Pretty Things for You
A couple of months ago, I decided to start trying to make my own beauty and hygiene products (it was also part of new year plans), and to stop using store bought products that use synthetic chemicals, scents, and colors. For the most part, my decision was compelled by a need to challenge myself (to see how long I could keep up with making most of my hygiene and beauty products from what I could find in my pantry), and to do my little bit in protecting the environment. The fact that I can avoid harsh chemicals is an added benefit. 

This decision also fits with my overall plan to simplify my life. Must be something to do with turning 30, but lately I have been fascinated by how my grandmothers and mother ran their households - they used fresh ingredients to cook, tried to keep wastage at a minimum, recycled and reused everything they could, and grew what they could - and I want to try and see if I can emulate them. I admit that I say this from a very privileged place. I am really lucky and grateful to have the time, and the resources to even contemplate these things, much less try them. 

This is what I have tried so far, and have more or less succeeded in sticking to it. Let me be clear though, none of these products that I am listing are scientifically tested, and I have no idea if they could be harmful to me or to the environment in the long run or not. My reasoning is: if I can ingest any of the ingredients that I use in making them, and live without any side effects, I should be okay using them in my hygiene and beauty products, and releasing them in the environment. 

No shampoo or conditioner. I have not used any shampoo or conditioner in two months. It is not as disgusting as it sounds. And in fact, my hair seems much cleaner than when I used to use shampoos and conditioner, and I don't have to wash it as often because I have less build-up. I just use a baking soda wash (one teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of water) to first rid my hair of all the build up and then rinse my hair with apple cider mixed in water (one part of cider mixed with two parts of water). And no, my hair doesn't smell vinegary at all! I just make sure I rinse my hair thoroughly with water after I have used the vinegar. I also douse my hair with a little bit rose water before I get out of the shower, just in case. I also sometimes use a honey and olive oil mask (a teaspoon of honey with about 4 tablespoon of olive oil), which makes my hair really shiny and soft.  I have to say though that even though I like that my hair looks shinier now, I  don't really like how my hair has lost any body it had. For the most part, my hair just feels very limp, and I can't leave it down at all - which is fine most days because I just put my hair in a bun. I haven't had to leave my hair down for any reason so far, but I don't know what I'd do if I wanted to.

No store bought moisturizer. I have the most success with this, and I have to thank my hostel roomie for the recipe. After washing my face, unfortunately with a face wash that I haven't found a good replacement for, I just dab my face with a mixture of glycerin and rose water (mix one part each in a glass bottle and shake vigorously) using a cotton ball. I have weird skin - it gets dry in the winter and really oily in the summer - and  I haven't felt the need to use any additional moisturizer since I started using it. I also love that it makes my skin look fresh and it smells really nice.

Face wash. This for me has been a complete failure. I tried using castille soap and baking soda separately, and my face broke out like crazy. So for now, I am sticking to my chemical ridden face wash until I can find something that works for me.

Face mask. Chick pea flour (or any other kind of flour), turmeric and a little bit of milk/ yogurt/ lime or lemon juice to bind it. It works wonders, just make sure you don't over do the turmeric and are not wearing light colored clothes when applying it. Turmeric will stain your clothes and it will dye your skin yellow if you use a lot of it. I also throw in whatever fruit I have at home in the blender with some yogurt and/ or lime juice  and some olive oil, and apply it on my face. Leave it for a bit and then wash it off with just water.

Shaving cream. When I must to shave (shaving is one of my least favorite things to do in the whole world) I just use a few drops of baby oil and apply it on my skin. Not only does it easy to shave, but it also moisturizes your skin as your are shaving. I think olive oil will work as well. 

Do you use any homemade hygiene/ beauty/ cleaning products? Are you happy with them? 

Ms. Sunshine

PS: I have started writing for the expat website here in Stavanger. Find me here.


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