I am increasingly concerned about the number of chemicals and artificial substances in our environment and the products we use. I read articles (from reputable sources) that tell me a woman, between hair care, personal care, make-up, and grooming, can put hundreds of chemicals on her skin before 10:00 in the morning. Those chemicals don’t just stay on the skin and then go away: they are absorbed into your body’s circulation, and your immune system has to work at getting rid of them or fighting off the effects of them.
Maybe the average person doesn’t think much about ingredients that go on the skin or that clean their hair, but I do. I have serious skin issues stemming from immunity issues, and I am trying to learn about and take care of this body God gave me as best I can.
I rarely buy cleaning or personal care products from the supermarket any more. I make my own. There are lots of sites that offer recipes for DIY-almost-anything. Some of them that I have found trustworthy are Joybilee Farms, Dr. Eric Zelinsky (and his wife Sabrina, aka Mama Z), Wardee Harmon at Traditional Cooking School, and Dr. Josh Axe. If you look up any of them, you will find recipes for deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, hair mousse, and lots of other cleaning and personal care products. If you have a favorite, trustworthy, go-to natural products site, please recommend them in the comments.
I have worn my hair long for most of my life. In recent years, I’ve let my hair grow past its normal length. It’s vanity, I confess. Any more, when my hair is cut off, it is the color more than the length that I miss. As my hair grows more and more gray, the longer, younger parts are all I have left of the color I used to have. It’s hard for me to let it go.
I mention length because it is often the first reason put forth for using industrial hair care – long hair is hard to manage after washing, they say, and the wrestling of tangles isn’t worth it. Well, with the length of my hair, I will say up front that I have no issues with tangles.
This is my plain-and-simple hair-washing routine:
- Shampoo: I use the plainest type of Castile soap I can find. Surprisingly, my latest find was at ShopKo, in the baby section. I always read the ingredients, to make sure there are no harsh chemicals added, and to make sure I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients. (I am allergic to lavender and aloe, very healthy ingredients, but found in almost all products.) I buy the blammo size, and refill my smaller, plastic bottles to use in the bath. I fill the smaller bottle halfway with the Castile, put in a few drops of rosemary essential oil, then fill to the top with water. Shake a bit before each use.
- Rinse: I use apple cider vinegar. I get the cheapie, store-brand vinegar. Again, I buy the blammo size and refill my plastic bottle for the bath (whole bottle, full-strength). In my bath area, I have an old, plastic yogurt container, 16 oz. I fill that ¼ the way with the vinegar, then fill the rest of the way with water from my shower.
My hair is as tangle-ready as any might be. When I wash my hair, I pour just a bit of shampoo into the hair at my hairline (really, it takes much less of the Castile than you might think). I massage the shampoo into the hairline, then keep massaging and scrubbing further and further back, until my whole head is lathered. Then I carefully gather up the rest of my hair and massage it into the suds. As I rinse, I am careful not to mess up my hair – to keep it as straight and untangled as I can.
The vinegar rinse really does a good job of smoothing out my hair. After rinsing from shampooing, I carefully pour the vinegar water through and massage into my hair for a minute or two, then thoroughly rinse. I make sure the vinegar has touched all my hair strands, but I don’t mess up my hair. When I rinse, I finger comb it to the side, gently rinsing/fingering out any tangles.
I towel-dry close to my head, then wrap the rest of my hair tightly into a towel (I don’t rub it or mess it up) to absorb the water.
My hair is mostly dry after a few minutes, and I can comb it out, using a wide-tooth comb. I usually wrap it into a loose bun for the rest of the day. If I shower at night, I just let it go loose.
I realize that everyone doesn’t have my type of hair, and that these products and this routine won’t work for everyone; but it will work for many.
I hope, at the least, that you by now are rethinking your personal care products and the ingredients that are soaking into your body through your skin.