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Green and Natural Body Products

Green Natural Body Products

I often find it overwhelming to “go green” in so many areas of life, especially personal care products. If you’re a green rookie, you may feel like there are so many changes you want to make and simply don’t know where to start. This comprehensive list of green and natural body care products that I’ve personally tried and love will help you green up your personal care routine, one baby step at a time.

I have to tell you, I think it’s funny when people say, “I’m not as “crunchy” as you…” because I barely think of myself as exceedingly crunchy at all. Then when I finally start listing all the places I’ve “gone green,” I do start looking rather seriously eco-conscious:

It’s head to toe and ceiling to floor! I really didn’t work that hard to get almost 100% switched over to eco-friendly products in our house. I often just used up what I had before and had a pretty good idea in my head of what I would choose to replace an item. I tackled one thing at a time, and after about two years, our house is nearly non-toxic.

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to find one new natural product to use in your home.

Back in college when I researched soap, I understood what the sulfates in soap did, but I didn’t realize they were an environmental problem. I was too focused on triclosan, the FDA banned ingredient in antibacterial soap and how nasty it was, and much of the information didn’t pinpoint sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). I just logged it away as “an ingredient in all soaps.”

Since then, I’ve seen murmurs of SLS being on the “no” list for green personal care products, and just recently I came across this article at Natural News that kind of put it all into perspective:

“Sodium lauryl sulfate did not start off as a detergent that was meant for use in consumer products. It was initially sold as an industrial strength detergent primarily used for heavy duty cleaners and degreasers. It is now found in products which are in close and frequent contact with human skin.

The reason it is used in so many products today is that consumers have come to expect abundant lather in products that are supposed to cleanse in some way. It is one of the most largely manufactured chemicals in the United States since many companies use it as a cheap lathering agent.”

The other reasons listed for sodium lauryl sulfate’s transgressions include:

  1. irritates and dries out skin
  2. allows toxins to penetrate
  3. is toxic
  4. erodes eyes, gums, and hair follicles (yep, gum disease from toothpaste and hair loss from shampoo…makes sense, right?)

As far as I know, sodium laureth sulfate should have the same problems, unless someone can set me straight. Read the whole article here.

My goal today will be to share with you some resources for natural changes in personal products. You can see some of the options I’ve chosen for natural products, plus a few that other friends recommend. Remember: just choose one at a time, and before you know it, your friends will be accusing you of being crunchy, too!

Natural Personal Products from Head to Toe

Green Natural Body Products

Hair

My NaturOli Shampoo Review

Although I’ve continued to use the shampoo-free method of washing hair, using baking soda and apple cider vinegar, there are a few reasons I was pretty excited to try NaturOli‘s soap nut based shampoo:

  1. My hair gets kind of dried out over time with no ‘poo.
  2. I like to have a regular shampoo on hand for about once or twimageice every two weeks when I’m doing no ‘poo.
  3. I hear from readers who say that either shampoo-free just didn’t work for them OR they simply want something that lathers up and smells good in the shower.

So for me and those self-described “girly girls,” I’m pleased to report that I like NaturOli’s shampoo.

I’m glad they sent both the “oily to normal” and “dry to normal” versions, because when I started with “oily to normal,” I was initially disappointed that my hair seemed to get greasy after just a day. With no ‘poo, I was used to going 3 or more days without washing my hair and not experiencing such greasiness.

Luckily, the second version “dry to normal” has done much better. Although it doesn’t lather up with a ton of suds, I do like the way my hair looks. It still gets greasy faster than no ‘poo, but I think anything is going to do that. Also keep in mind that I have weird postpartum hair, so anything I say about shampoo can be taken with a grain of salt!

Bottom line: NaturOli shampoo is an awesome SLS-free option. The only disadvantage is that it’s pretty pricey.

  • MadeOn sells hair butter, perfect for African hair or as a replacement for gel.
  • Keys Soap makes a castille soap based formula that my kids like. You can also just use castille soap, only a few drops, or dilute it in some water and use a bit more than a few drops.
  • The ultimate baby step: just cut down on hair spray and gel products by loosening up a little and seeking less than perfection on your hair. (I know, easy for a stay-at-home mom to say.) You could also use less product by washing your hair every other day instead of daily.

Did you know that essential oils have a shelf life?

Katie here, popping in to tell you that those essential oils that have been sitting in your cabinet for a couple years and are still half full may have expired. Read more about what I learned when researching this topic, and you can even have the handy printable I made to help me remember how long which oils last.

Face – Cleaning

  • The oil cleansing method has made its way around the blogosphere. Megan at Sorta Crunchy (Sorta? Really?) made it famous and Tsh at Simple Mom explains it well. I finally tried the oil cleansing method once and for all. It was fine, but it admittedly takes a few minutes longer than a quick scrub with a bottled cleanser. I also struggled to determine whether I should change the ratio of castor oil to olive oil, and I just didn’t want to have to *think* that much about cleaning my face.
  • To remove eye makeup effectively, no matter how I choose to wash my face, I use regular coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP to get 10% off) . Straight coconut oil also does wonders for no-tears, natural Halloween makeup removal!
  • Super fun homemade masks and treatments – I bookmarked this thinking I’ll have a pamper party someday with my girlfriends from around here. Avocado on your face, anyone?
  • Try Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin by Crunchy Betty – she’s hilarious and brilliant when it comes to natural facial care.
  • See my 2011 reviews for more HERE.

Face – Makeup

  • I admit this is one area I haven’t ventured very far into. I’ll tend toward mineral makeup, and I bought some Physician’s Formula organic mascara last year. I did see a post on homemade mascara just last week which looked pretty cool. Another idea is to use coconut oil and a lash curler. I guess my strategy on makeup is to just…
  • Wear less of it. It’s not of consequence quite so much if I’m not using it often.
  • I finally did review a number of brands of natural makeup.

Face – Blemishes

  • My new solution is Redmond Clay‘s Facial Mask (or you could mix your own clay with water). I leave a thick dab on blemishes overnight, and as the clay dries, it pulls out toxins and redness from the spots. You just have to remember to wash it off in the morning, or you’ll look awfully funny:Mime...or natural facial treatment?(Here’s the article that goes with the photo, by the way…)
Crunchy Betty
Attention foodies with acne and oily skin! Crunchy Betty’s Food on Your Face offers 35+ recipes especially designed for those with special skin types including 18 on-the-spot treatment ideas like dabbing tea tree oil on the pimple. The best part? Most recipes can be made using ingredients from your own kitchen! (Be sure to buy quality essential oils like the ones from Plant Therapy.)

Teeth

A year ago, I was still using standard store toothpaste with fluoride. I was quite excited to go 100% fluoride free for a spell after I got my Berkey water filter, so finding a new toothpaste was imperative.

I started with Tom’s of Maine from a regular pharmacy. That gets rid of the fluoride, but it still contains sodium lauryl sulfate (which is why it foams and feels like a totally normal toothpaste) and “hydrated silica,” which, according to a reader at the oil pulling post, coats the teeth and doesn’t allow our own saliva to do its job.

The next thing I tried was called tooth chips – they’re free of everything listed above, but they’re far from regular toothpaste. Can you see in that photo to the left that they’re actually little shreds of soap?

image

To brush, you take one little shred, about a centimeter long, and press it either into your back tooth or your toothbrush. It foams up pretty well with water, but it takes a few seconds longer and a bit more concentration each brushing, so that you don’t just knock the tooth chip off your tooth and spit it out! My husband hated them – too much of a hassle, too weird – and my kids thought they were a really fun novelty for a while, then stopped asking for them.

Advantages of Tooth Chips:

  • free of nasty chemicals
  • still foams up and makes teeth feel clean
  • small container GREAT for travel
  • flavors are tasty

Disadvantages of Tooth Chips:

  • new routine to learn
  • have to have clean hands to brush teeth
  • easy to spit out or knock down the drain
  • pretty expensive

Armpits

Homemade Deodorant is easy and effective! See my method...

Hands

  • I use a foaming pump and either castille soap or Shaklee Basic H instead of buying hand soap over and over again (See comments for more on Shaklee). See my instructions for how to refill a foaming hand soap pump at the bottom of Is Antibacterial Soap More Effective than Regular Soap?
  • Michele makes homemade liquid hand soap and so does Cara.
  • Graham Gardens’ homemade bar soaps are simply magnificent. They smell delicious (unscented too), keep things moist and always suds up enough to feel like I’m getting clean.
  • My hands never stop being dry in the winter, unless I’m faithful about using my Hard Lotion bar from MadeOn.
  • Garden of Francis has a simple, simple soap that I keep meaning to try. A commenter uses it to make liquid soap, how cool!
  • Check craft shows in your area! Handmade soaps are often featured. I just bought some homemade liquid soap this weekend from a gal who also makes goat’s milk soap from her own goats! The ingredients are right on the bottle…
  • Here’s a discussion of the safety of alcohol-based hand sanitizers vs. soap, plus MadeOn now sells goat’s milk soap.

We Finally Met in Person!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RopqqbbtOEs

To get your own hard lotion click here and take advantage of $5 off orders of $30 or more of MadeOn products using code: kitchenstew5

Legs

Looking for more DIY health and beauty prodcuts? I've made all the mistakes ahead of time and have the perfect hard lotion and lip balms for you.

Men – Shaving

This is more of a question than an answer – anyone have good ideas for a natural option for shaving cream/gel for men? The only thing I could do in the store last week was get the one without synthetic fragrances…and I got the “evil eye” when hubs saw the bottle. “No smells?” *pouty face*

At least he did like the NaturOli shampoo bar for his own hair, so I’ve made some progress…

Sunscreen

My family has tested over 80 natural mineral sunscreens and reviewed them all for you here.

Baby

I know…I Missed a Spot

I have only just stepped into the pool of natural feminine care, but I will tell you about my newest baby step.

Some Other Posts in this Series

What are YOUR favorite natural products for body care?

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

75 thoughts on “Green and Natural Body Products”

  1. Do you have any recommendations for whole body lotion? I need liquid. Cream is too difficult, especially on my back where my eczema flares. I was using Desert Essence fragrance free, but they changed their recipe & it’s terrible now. I have really dry skin. Coconut oil does not work. I’ve gone back to Aveeno (which I haven’t used for many years, but I’m desperate).

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Emily, have you tried other oils? Coconut oil doesn’t work well with my skin, but I use other oils like sweet almond, jojoba, or olive oil and find they are more moisturizing. Plant Therapy makes a clean lotion that is available unscented or lightly scented with essential oils. You can find it here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/PlantTherapy

  2. Great Read:) I am a Organic nut and I just found a line of natural products that I LOVE- Ourlemongrassspa.com/2015a. SO WONDERFUL:)

  3. Hi, I have been trying to “green” my beauty routine as well as household products. The best face wash method I have found ( I tried the oil cleansing method, with no luck, as well as using aztec clay and Bragg ACV, also no luck), is raw organic honey. I just wet my face a bit, rub on some honey, let set a minute then rinse. My skin is clear (i previously ALWAYS had chin acne), it cleans well, and is a natural antibacterial. I am so happy to have found this cheap, green method that I wanted to share.

  4. Pingback: Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Living naturally on a Budget | Landon Gilfillan

  5. I have tried the oil cleansing method (with EVOO and Castor Oil) and thought I liked it, but it was messy and my face didn’t seem completely balanced. I tried cleansing only every 2-3 days, which my face liked better. Then, a friend told me about using Vegetable Glycerin as a moisturizer. Just wet the face/hands, apply a drop or two to your hand and pat/gently rub onto face. It feels like I’m rubbing water around, but once it air dries, my face is a little sticky, so I know it’s there. My previously oily, acne-prone skin has a slightly dewey look and is completely balanced. I started doing this several months ago and my face has felt great. And, no more acne (cysts, whiteheads or blackheads), even during my pregnancy! I stopped the oil cleansing method all together pretty quickly after introducing the vegetable glycerin because that’s all my face needs. I gently rub water on my face in the shower every morning, and then add the vegetable glycerin… that’s it.
    I have given up wearing makeup, however. When I do, I use oil to remove it. As a note, I stopped wearing makeup long before trying the oil cleansing method or vegetable glycerin.
    My face is happy! Go vegetable glycerin!

  6. This is great! I’ve switched from shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and toothpaste to baking soda, vinegar rinse, coconut oil…it all works so well, I wonder why I ever bought anything from the store! I just need green and natural make-up…

  7. Sarah via Facebook

    hmm, i guess I would need to be washing my face on a regular basis in order to change my routine!

  8. Amanda via Facebook

    Baking soda works for me as a face wash! I also love coconut oil as a body lotion and for lips.

  9. Pingback: A Confession and Preparing for GAPS Intro | The Urban Hearth

  10. Does anyone have any suggestions for a natural teething rub? Maybe there is one listed somewhere that I missed…

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Caitlin,
      Try this list from my friend Erin: http://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com/2011/10/first-year-friday-7-alternatives-to.html
      🙂 Katie

  11. I have been using diatomaceous earth as a scrub to exfoliate my face, using it as a paste with a little mild soap. It really seems to work. My skin feels smoother and fresher. Diatomaceous earth has a lot of different uses. Look it up, but make sure you buy the grade for internal use (silica source and parasitic) so you can use it in more ways. Also polishes teeth, use occasionally.

  12. Homemade deodorant: Fill a small spray bottle with apple cider vinegar. Add 5-10 drops each lavender and lemon essential oil. Works well!

  13. Katie, your “no ‘poo shampoo experience” link keeps bringing me right back to this page…?

    1. Oh! That’s silly, now, isn’t it? Here’s the proper link, and I edited the post (thank you): http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/11/11/how-to-wash-your-hair-without-shampoo/

      🙂 Katie

  14. Jamie,
    I just use plain (refined) coconut oil for face moisterizer. I’ve used it for a few years and love it. I use the unrefined for deoderant but I like the refined for face so I don’t smell it all day :).

  15. I was wondering what to use for a facial moisturizer? I am still looking for a good, reasonabling priced, maybe tinted, face moisturizer. any suggestions?

  16. I have been no poo several months. My hair is straight and fine w/ little body. I always suspected it is thicker than it looks but because it is so fine it looks thin. Since the no poo it is clean and shinier, but still feels thin when I put it in a pony tail. However, it looks thicker when it is hanging loose (waist length) and it is kind of difficult to comb, even with a wide tooth comb. Any ideas for easier combing?

    Here is my routine: I wash the scalp & the hair on the scalp hair about once a week with approx 1/8:7/8 bs/water solution. Then I rinse and do 1/2 & 1/2 acv solution on the bangs (they get fly away w/o it) and on most of the length. Occasionally if I feel some crustiness on the scalp I will put ACV on the scalp also. I do have hard water. The scalp area isn’t hard to comb, but from around the neck down.

    BTW, my son has a habit of leaving bits of shampoo in a bottle & using the new one. When he gets those used up I have one last bottle for him to use. I am going to use a technique I read on a post somewhere. As he uses a bit of shampoo, he will replace that amount with water, thus gradually reducing the amount of shampoo. When it gets elatively thin I will add a bit of bs or Dr. Bronners in it and not add anymore water. When it is used up I will switch to no poo. I’m hoping this way he won’t have a transition period. I didn’t have an obvious transition period, but I was already only washing my hair once a week.

    1. S,
      My hair hasn’t been that long in a while! A lot of ppl find with no poo that they do use a conditioner once a week – you might scan the comments at the no ‘poo post; I want to say there are some oil or egg rinses or something that act as natural conditioners. 🙂 Katie

  17. Just an FYI. I have used Honeybee Gardens nail polish on myself and my daughter and it is maybe good for a few hours without getting scraped off by just about anything especially in my daughter. Good things: no fumes, easy to take off considering you can just about scrape it right off, price was decent. Bad: Doesn’t last long after two coats. Haven’t tried more than two though. 🙂

  18. In the toothpaste category, I have been using rawlife.com’s Four Thieves Oil instead of toothpaste for a while. I wake up without morning breath.

  19. Hi Katie,
    I saw you mentioned Shaklee…I have seen a lot of blogs lately mentioning this company. Do you know if their cleaning products are truly safe? I am so tempted to buy their stuff but I want to make sure they are completely natural. I haven’t been able to find a list of the ingredients in their cleaning products.
    Also, have you even been to bubbleandbee.com? They sell organic body products…their deodorants are wonderful, and their body butters smell like frosting. Their products are a bit pricey but very nice quality.

    1. Lady Kay,
      My bottle doesn’t list ingredients, but I’ve trusted Shaklee for a few years since going to a presentation with a rep. Bottle does say: ‘biodegradable surfactants’ and ‘no phosphates.’ I’m looking into it! I’ll let you know if I can find out anything… Katie

    2. Lady Kay –
      Here’s a reply from Shaklee via Barb Hoyer, a Shaklee rep:
      “Basic H2 is composed of the following ingredients: Water, Alkyl Polyglucoside (from Corn & Coconut), Ethyoxylated Fatty Alcohol (from
      Coconut), Xanthan Gum (from vegetables) and Methyl Chloro Isothiazolinone (biodegradable preservative).

      Like original Basic-H Concentrated Organic Cleaner, Basic H2 is a readily biodegradable cleaner, and meets the OECD Modified Biodegradability Test requiring surfactant breakdown of 60-70% within 28 days.”

      I’m so glad you asked this question! I searched the ingredients at Skin Deep because H2 isn’t in the database, and they rated at 0, not found, 0, and SIX! Six is “moderate hazard 3-6”. That’s surprising in this product.

      Here is the MSDS safety sheet on Shaklee BAsic H2 if you’re interested, and there’s some interesting discussion of the product at this post.

      Phew. Nothing is easy, is it?
      🙂 Katie

      1. Thanks for looking into that! I think I will stick with vinegar & baking soda just to be on the safe side. Oh well…!

      2. Is it rated a six at the concentrated form or would it be ok diluted? I don’t use Shaklee but I have been researching their products and I know that the G product is considered toxic at full-strength, but you only use like a miniscule amount in a lot of water. Does that make a difference?

        1. Jennifer,
          Pardon the delay on my response; your comment got a bit buried…

          I’m not really sure if diluting would change the overall toxicity. I guess we could consider bleach – really harmful to drink a spoonful, but it’s added in small amounts to our drinking water. Of course, I’d rather not have that much, but it must be “safer” at least, even if not “safe.” I’m still using Shaklee Basic H, so I must not be toooo concerned! 😉 Katie

  20. If you’ve never had a problem, that’s great. But in general, oils can easily coat cloth diapers and make them water repellent. That’s one reason that all the makers of hemp diapering products recommend they be washed and rinsed separately from dipes made from other materials several times (the hemp oil can get on cotton and create a bit of repellancy). It also depends on what kind of fabric your dipes are made of.

    1. Hmm. Haven’t tried any hemp ones, yet, ’cause I’m too cheap to buy hemp fabric. I sew, and diapers are easy-peasy to make, so I do, and the inners of mine are mostly stretch terry or flannel. I’ve tried T-shirt fabric and towel fabric, too, and I think I like the stretch terry the best, with the superabsorbent microfiber towels Costco sells for the absorbent layer.

  21. Katie,
    I’ve been doing the “poo-less” thing off and on for a year, it’s great! My hair has more body!

    One more thing…coconut oil is bad for cloth diapers, which some of your readers are probably using. There’s lots of natural and safe diaper rash creams out there that are safe for cloth diapering. I recommend Better Bottom Butter by Northern Essence.

    1. How is coconut oil bad for cloth diapers? I’ve never heard that before. I would think it would wash out just fine in the hot water/Charlie’s Soap/baking soda double wash my diapers get. And I’ve never had a problem with it. The only thing I’ve had a problem with is zinc oxide diaper cream not washing out as well as I’d like…but that was during a time when I had to use coin-op washers, so couldn’t set up the cycle I wanted.

  22. Ok, so my one year old just came over and hit a button on the keyboard and erased the nice LONG response I had just written.
    I am just about out of my Tom’s toothpaste and am going to try using baking soda. I read somewhere else about someone using cinnamon with the baking soda. I may also try adding some xylitol if that isn’t tasty enough! I know my hubby won’t go there so I won’t even ask…
    I need a substitute for comet or bon ami though. I have tried baking soda and vinegar but it just isn’t enough to get the stains out of my cream colored enamel sink, nor my shower. Even with a good brushing. Any suggestions?
    I’m pretty sure I won’t be going “no poo” because I’ve tried something like this in the past and couldn’t get past the “detox” part. Long thick tangled greasy dull hair just isn’t my kind of thing. I’ll just stick with washing every third day and avoiding sulfates and parabens. Maybe I’ll try Dr Bronners. That’s what I used to use for everything when we went camping.
    And I sometimes use a spray on deodorant from Weleda or Origins. Works just as well for me except that with coupons and sales I can usually get deodorant dirt cheap or free. Hard to give that up.
    I’ll keep trying. But coconut oil under my arms just sounds like I’d ruin some of my clothes. Don’t know about that one…:)

    1. I think BonAmi is non-toxic, or at least all-natural. Their website has a list of their ingredients and talks about how it’s both environmentally friendly and good for people with chemical sensitivities.

      1. Thanks! I was at the HFS yesterday and noticed that Mrs Meyers also has one without any toxic stuff in it. And it’s scented, which for some folks would be a reason not to buy it, but it’s motivation for me to clean if it smells really good! I like cleaning stuff with my left over lemons for that reason too!

    2. Elizabeth,
      Baking soda does do wonders for me on counters, but another powerful option is powdered oxygen bleach, straight scrub. Hope that helps!
      🙂 Katie

  23. Hi April! It sounds like you are using a lot more oil than needed. A little goes a long way (flat nickle size) and when you wipe it off on a washcloth, your laundry detergent should dissolve what is left. Check the link above for Simple Mom’s method if you are still having trouble. Hope this helps!

  24. I have really (REALLY) sensitive skin that pretty much forced me to go green. I use a shampoo bar (J.R. Liggett’s) or 365 fragrance-free shampoo, fragrance free castile bar for hands and body, Dr. Bronners Baby-Mild liquid castile for face wash, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for face lotion, and Kiss My Face liquid rock deodorant.
    The deodorant was the hardest thing to find a natural replacement for but I love Kiss My Face’s liquid rock. After it dries, I’m B.O. free for the whole day! The olive oil was a great discovery as well and my skin has never looked better!

  25. I’ve been making little changes for probably 3 to 4 months now? Let’s see…
    –Cloth diapers (been doing that for 9 months)
    –NO deodorant! The reason I loved anti-perspirent before was because it blocked the sweat, so I figured if I have to give that up I might as well go cold turkey. I take a fenugreek supplement for my breastmilk and I find that that’s changed my smell enough that I don’t find it to be gross at all.
    — Aloe vera for my hair gel — giving it up is not an option, as I’m curly haired.
    — Tom’s for toothpaste

    Things I want to change–
    –no ‘poo… intrigued, but still scared.
    –Better baby soap, and soon because I’m squeezing the last drops out of this bottle of Johnson’s.
    –Foaming hand soap — it’s sitting on my counter empty! Gotta fill that thing!
    –Lotion — we opened up the fireplace for the season on Sunday and by the end of the night I felt like I’d been baked to a crisp. Need something that actually works, not just smells nice and feels kinda greasy for a while.

    1. Pick up a quart of Dr. Bronner’s baby soap (any health food store, even some grocery stores, and lots of places online. Put some in your foamy soap thing, and use the rest on baby. Get some coconut oil for cooking–it’s great for your hands, too! My 3.5 year-old wants some for her hands every time I open the jar…but sometimes, she just eats in instead. No worries–it’s good for her!

    2. I LOVE the Avalon Organics lotions. They really last well and the price is great. I get mine at Whole Foods but you can get it online as well.

  26. great post. I am new(ish) to the real food thing. About 5-6 months into it. We love it, and have been working our way into household and personal care too. At first, I wasnt big on worrying about it. But just like the food, the more I learned, the more I figured, I “Have to” do it. So its been a matter of finding the most cost effective way. Finishing up what we have around here and switching when we run out. Been on the “green” toliet paper for awhile, just grabbed the last roll of paper towels. Also 1/2 way through the first bottle of “green” laundry detergent. Been cleaning with more vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide for awhile now too. Its an adjustment, both financially and as far as getting used to the new stuff. But just like the food, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  27. I started the Oil Cleansing Method earlier this summer. It was hard to just ‘take’ five minutes in the middle of nowhere to wash my face, so I do it before I hop in the shower. I don’t think our hot water tap gets too super hot, so I turn the shower on the highest and use a face cloth still to steam my face, and I don’t stand right under the water. That way, its easy and gets done. I still have visible pores, but definitely is improving the condition of my face.

  28. fun post, Katie! I’m pretty into “no poo” and use baking soda and white (cheap) vinegar every other or every third day. Not a beautiful result, tbh, but similar to shampoo. Not willing to spend lots of time on my hair right now. I’m wondering about a greener shaving option. I get cheap disposable razors and really like the close shave but they only last for a while. We get them when cheap/free after rebate from CVS or Rite Aid. Would an electric razor give good, close results? It’d be an investment, though, I’m sure. Love your blog!

    1. Annie,
      There’s one area I haven’t greened up at all. I use the replaceable razor heads, so at least I’m throwing out less, I guess. Probably my tendency to use them about 4x too long helps the earth, too, but not my smooth factor! 😉 Katie

  29. april kitchell

    i have used the oil cleansing method for a while now, the problem is the oil in the ocm clogs the drains in the house! urgh! any suggestions?

    1. I had the same thing happen! I switched to steaming my face with the washcloth using only water and then using coconut oil as a moisturizer. That’s probably not the official “oil cleansing method” anymore, but it gives the same desired result with no clogged drain. 🙂

    2. April,
      Oooo, that’s not a good thing. Do you have to wash your face in the kitchen? I don’t know if hot, hot water running for a minute would flush it out or what, but at some point you become not so eco-friendly then! Anyone else have thoughts? 🙂 Katie

    3. send some dish soap and hot water down the drain after the oil. And remember, it’s a good thing to make baking soda & vinegar “volcanos” in your drains every so often, to clean and freshen

  30. I haven’t gotten around to making homemade deodorant, yet, but have found a totally “lazy woman” version that works so well I may never get around to it. You know that bottle of vinegar and bottle of peroxide you have around to sanitize your countertops with? Do the same thing to your pits! I tried it ’cause I figured that it’s bacteria causing the BO, so, if the vinegar and peroxide will kill the countertop bacteria, they might work on the armpits, too. And they do! Cider vinegar works even better than white, I think, but white works vinegar just fine. Even in a St. Louis summer, which is about the toughest test I can think of for a deodorant.

  31. Amanda Brookens

    I have been waiting for you to do a shampoo review since you did the spf challenge… So because I was antsy and needed a new shampoo, I tried three EWG (rated 0) shampoos and here’s what I found: Shampoo bars are no good for me – results are too waxy even after using a vinegar rinse. I personally used Coastal Classic Creations and Soap For Goodness Sake shampoo bars. I’m still using up the bars on the little ones in order to be frugal 🙂 So I decided to try one more shampoo on the list and LOVE it – Salon Naturals. The results are honestly Sleek and Shiny – my hair bounces and looks great. As far as cleaners, I do use Shaklee and what I love is that a little goes a LONG way.
    I cannot wait to try the MadeOn lotion and see if it will help mine and my husband’s everdry hands.

    1. I have two daughters, one with fine hair with tight curls & the other with coarse hair with not-so-tight curls. I use Salon Naturals/Simplifica Curl shampoo and conditioner – work wonders on my fine/curly girl – the comb just zips through to spread the conditioner. For my other daughter, we’re still looking for hair Hair Mask.

  32. I have already been working on this, probably because I have been reading your posts for awhile. I use homemade deoderant with coconut oil and it works great. I use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. I think all the ingredients are ok? I’m doing the no poo also. Not too thrilled with baking soda & water for shampoo. My hair doesn’t look great, but it didn’t before either. I just had a haircut and the stylist asked me what I’m using. You should have seen her eyes bug out when I told her. She said my hair is oily and I need a clarifying shampoo. I told her I don’t want to use chemicals. She said it’s not that bad. Don’t they always say that? And I didn’t know my hair is oily! It actually feels dry to me. I am the curly frizzy hair type. Anyway I think I’ll try the homemade with Dr Bronner’s, see how that works.

    I also am using vinegar and baking soda for general housecleaning. So you can see I have been working on it, and I think I got it mostly from you, Katie.

    1. Oh–and we use the Jason Powersmile for toothpaste–it’s got a wonderful clean mint flavor, without being too sweet. The kids have a Kiss My Face toothpaste right now, and I will probably switch us to homemade toothpaste over the winter.

      Not on board with the no ‘poo thing. I wash my hair every other day, and use the Tea Tree Tingle shampoo & conditioner from Trader Joe’s There are certainly “better” ones out there, but these lack the “worst” ingredients, get the job done nicely, including taking care of hubby’s dandruff, and don’t break the budget. I’ve made homemade bar shampoo before–hubs liked it, but it wasn’t the right thing for my long hair.
      For soap, I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s for probably 25 years, and I use their unscented/baby soap for soap and shampoo both on babies, and soap on my preschoolers, who don’t want to be “minty fresh” yet (we like the peppermint for us). I have some episencials shampoo for the kids right now, that was on clearance at Target. It seems to be pretty good.

    2. Linda,
      I am cracking up at the thought of your poor hairstylist! Of course they always want you to use some product, and I’m sure people are so used to the feel of treated hair that they don’t even know what “real” hair feels like, you know? I hope something works for you! I’ll tell more Thursday, but it’s definitely not one of the easier “green” tasks.
      🙂 Katie

  33. Katie,

    Love the challenge! Thanks for motivating me.

    I’ve been scouting lip stick. I’ve gone from dollar store lipstick to Burt’s Bees but then I saw on BBee’s “may contain titanium dioxide.” (sigh). I guess I’ll have to go online and guess at colors, eh?

    Someone asked about deoderant. If coconut oil and baking soda are giving you a rash, then cut back on the baking soda. Mine is mostly virgin coconut oil with some baking soda mixed in. Other people can use the opposite ratio. It is the ONLY deoderant that works for me, natural or conventional. I just keep it in a tiny container and dip out about 1/4 teaspoon with my finger to apply for each underarm.

    For my face “cream” I use plain refined coconut oil because I don’t like the smell of coconut all day :).

    I spent weeks finding even a ‘natural’ shampoo that I felt okay for our dc to use. Shampoos at the health food store are just about as bad! I finally found one at each HFS.

    For tooth cleaners I’ve made the mix following saveyourteeth and put one drop of peppermint in the mixture. I’m also using a propolis tooth cleaner from Bee Rescued and when I’m in a hurry and want minty breath I grab some from dc’s tube of Coral White. All of those are flouride and glycerin free.

    I’ve been making our liquid hand soap refills using bar soaps from gardenoffrancis.com – they only have water, lye, and fat (if I remember right).

    I have such a long way to go – thanks again. I look forward to going through your links with more time to soak it in.
    Beth

    1. Beth,
      Great ideas! I don’t know if I’d worry about titanium dioxide, as that’s a really safe substance used in natural sunblocks. It’s probably there either for SPF or a red coloring. Thanks for the reminder about Garden of Francis – I’ve been meaning to try their soaps!
      🙂 Katie

  34. My favorite facial cleanser that I’ve been using for some time is Dessert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash – all natural, doesn’t cost a lot and can be purchased in the natural food section at stores that have such a section (Fred Meyer here in the NW). List of ingredients: Castile Soap, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia), Extracts of Matricaria, Goldenseal, Awapuhi (Hawaiian white ginger), Bladderwrack Essential Oil. Does not contain: Animal Ingredients or Testing, Alcohol, Animal Fat, Artificial Color Or Synthetic Perfumes.

  35. Recently started the OCM and am pleased with the results so far. I have used Jason’s deodorant for 4 or 5 months now and it seems to work well now that my body has adjusted to not using the antiperspirant any longer. I didn’t know about coconut oil for diaper rash. So glad to know that! Another use for the miracle oil! Regarding the feminine products, I have a Keeper that has been patiently sitting in my bathroom for months now waiting to be used. However, between nursing and pregnancies, I have yet to get a chance to try it out! My downfall: all that free-after-rebate toothpaste from Rite Aid. I vacillate between that and straight baking powder. I need to just donate it all, make my own, and be done with it. Okay, my baby step for the week is to make a batch of toothpaste- will probably try Tammy’s recipe and see how it turns out.

    1. Sarah,
      I JUST ran out of the free after rebate stuff! So toothpaste is a new “natural” area I’m exploring too! 😉 Katie

  36. Another great post! I’m so happy I’ve discovered this blog.

    I have been green with cleaning products for a long time. I only use vinegar and baking soda in various applications and it is amazingly effective. I also only use a natural make up remover and a natural body soap and so one. However, going shampoo and regular deodorant free has been a challenge for me.

    None of the natural deodorants have worked for me, ever. (Ugh….). Hair: I lighten my hair and this is probably the one thing I do that isn’t truly healthy, but my heart is a light headed gal and that has never changed. There, I’m imperfect….:) So, I’m wondering if baking soda and vinegar are a smart thing for me. I’ve always had dry hair. As it is, I only use shampoo every four days (I am so lucky this way) and I’ve been using a natural one for several years, but it is still shampoo. Occasionally I use a rosemary oil treatment on my scalp. I don’t think the scalp’s response to over produce oil when first switching over would be an issue for me but I am wondering how the vinegar would effect my color…….any suggestions here? Nothing worse than a green blonde. Oh, and Tom’s of Maine – fantastic toothpaste.

    Thanks!

    1. Jackie – try lightening your hair with lemon juice instead of dye – it works like a CHARM and is much more “green” and healthy. Then you could try the no ‘poo thing without worrying about color as much.

  37. I am trying to avoid Parabens, Pthalates and SLS- I like Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face and Noah’s Naturals

  38. I just started using the OCM on Friday! I LOVE it. It seems to be helping my acne prone skin, I’ve got my fingers crossed!

  39. Woo Hoo! What an awesome challenge. I just became a stay at home mom a few weeks ago and have been obsessed with making more and more from scratch.
    I plan to make our first batch of soap this week and am excited for your links on the toothpaste and liquid handsoap. Any tips on a dispenser for the toothpaste though? Dipping my toothbrush in the same container my husband uses kind of grosses me out! I know that’s weird…

  40. I’ve been doing this a while, so we have been largely “non-toxic” for about 4 years now.

    I make my own deodorant. Like it very much.

    I use a small amount of Miessence toothpaste (it is expensive, but it lasts a long time) with home made tooth powder to “stretch” it.

    My tooth powder is roughly 60% Xylitol & 40% baking soda. (Miessence is a bit too much baking soda flavor for me, the Xylitol cuts it.) Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, but is suppose to be good for the teeth.

    I tried the tooth powder alone for a while, but i missed the mint flavor. I tried adding mint flavor, and tried making “paste” by adding a little glycerin, too, but it never seemed right. A tiny amount of Miessence with the tooth powder seems to be a good compromise for me.

    I’ve tried the no ‘poo thing, but it didn’t seem to work all that well for me. I’ll be interested in reading your experience.

  41. I have tried and tried to love homemade deodorant. And I do love it as a product for how it works. However, after about 4 days, my pits become red and raw! Any suggestions?

    1. Try taking one ingredient out at a time and see what the culprit is. For me it was baking soda. ANY baking soda and I get raw and red, so I just skip that ingredient. Works fine without!

      1. Thanks. I’m pretty sure it is the baking soda. It makes me afraid to try the no poo method too! I wasn’t sure if the deodorant would work without it. But I’ll try, thanks!

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