My bathroom looks pretty empty with regards to skin care products and toiletries. I only use 5 products each day: soap, toothpaste, face cream, deodorant, and a toner. Of these only the toothpaste I buy at the supermarket (that’s my sore spot; why, I explain below). About once a week I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair. In winter or when I need it I use some body butter.
How it all began
It all started with making my own creams and body butters about five years ago. I read some posts online about how to mix my own creams. Soon I found a shop that sold bees wax and olive oil (okay, I didn’t have to go far for the olive oil). I cleaned out an old glass jar and made my first ever home made face cream. It didn’t turn out great. I got a bit too excited about seeing the beeswax melt away – I ended up using way too much and it turned into an unusable lump. After that I started being a bit more careful and attentive to my recipes and measurements.
The deodorant I use was a follow-up from the face creams because it requires two additional ingredients: arrowroot powder and some scent. I made my first batch roughly 18 months ago and, honestly, the deodorant works way better than the stuff I used before. I feel fresh even after the sweatiest of days. The only lesson I can share from making my own deodorant is this: think carefully about your scent. I used lemon essential oil last time and, honestly, I feel a bit like using toilet cleaner every time I use it.
Advancing my repertoire
Making my own soap has been a journey of a different kind. I had heard and read that working with lye can be dangerous and I could cause an explosion if I used the ingredients incorrectly. That didn’t really instil much confidence in me. Before I started soaping I wanted to see someone do it with my own eyes. So I took a course. It was an afternoon well spend because I learnt that it’s actually difficult to blow up your house. Don’t get me wrong, you still can, but you’re more likely to get chemical burns than blow your roof up (hurray!). Anyhow, I gave it a go and while I’m still very much a beginner and I’m only figuring stuff out as I go, I have managed to make my own soaps for the past 8 months. And so far, no burns or explosions and the soaps work, too.
Using baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV) for my hair has become very handy. The main reason is that I only have to do the procedure about once a week. I started with baking soda and ACV more than two years ago. After trying my luck with making my own ACV it’s become my much preferred method for washing my hair.
Just recently I started using a toner regularly. I turned to ACV in the beginning which I had used before and knew how awesome it was for my skin. I admit though that it smells. So I’m trying something different now: rice water. Every time we have rice for lunch I save the water, store it in a container in the fridge and dip my pad in it at night. I like the smell of rice on my face and it feels very refreshing. So far it’s been good for my skin but it’ll take some time before I can report back all the awesome things it does to my face.
Work in progress
Now to my sore spot, tooth paste. I tried to make my own tooth paste once with a combination of coconut oil, Xylithol, peppermint essential oil, and baking soda. It turned out all right and I used it for a few weeks but I struggled with using oil. I didn’t even mind the baking soda taste but I just didn’t like the feeling. I soon went back to regular tooth paste. Also, my version wasn’t minty enough (I love mint) and it didn’t foam. I knew about the foam but I didn’t realise how much I was going to miss it. So I decided to leave the tooth paste business for a bit and try again with another recipe. I have yet to do that. But at least I got my entire family bamboo toothbrushes which we put in the compost at the end of their lives. That makes me feel a bit better.
Overall though I’m quite pleased with replacing my bathroom products with mainly homemade products. I’m relieved to know that my money doesn’t go towards expensive skin care products.