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Homemade Deodorant

Get ready for this. Brace yourself. Seriously.

Ok, so you all know I’ve been on an all-natural kick, thus sparking the idea for this blog. I have tried most of the neat tricks that I come across and have willingly shared them with my vast audience (all 5 of you!). Whenever I run out of a traditional, store-brought product, I research how I can make it myself. I’m looking for healthier alternatives, with fewer chemicals and if I can save a buck or two, even better!

I was leery when it came to deodorant, mostly because I can seriously start to stink. Living in Southeast Louisiana in the middle of the summer, the whole city is musty at one point or another. Something about the thick air that you have to eat your way through and the blazing temperatures—the combination does NOT make for pleasant aromas. But, I also know that deodorants and antiperspirants are SO bad for you, so it was worth a shot at possibly stinking a little to prolong my life! (A lot of the mainstream deodorants that are advertised come filled with aluminum and zinc, not to mention they are pumped full of parabens and sulfates galore—all of which are potential carcinogens! How is this stuff still on the market??!!) So, I researched some of my favorite sites and on the first try, found a complete and total winner! (Thanks, as always to Crunchy Betty!)

It really works!

I have to start by saying that y’all should feel blessed that I’m sharing this recipe with you and not patenting it myself to make MILLIONS. But, alas, someone shared it with me, so it’s not really mine to hoard and profit from. I could make a killing off of this stuff because it works better than ANY deodorant I have EVER tried!! For the past few years, I’ve been using natural deodorants, like Tom’s or Crystal, but they’ve always left that faint B.O. smell, if for no one else to smell but myself.  And I’ve also tried going without it completely, which pretty much ends in the same result of using said natural brands. I’d wanted to make my own, but didn’t have an empty deodorant jar to use, so when I finished mine last week, I was ready for the plunge.

Oh my GOSH!! This is BY FAR the BEST kreative koncoction I have experienced! Works amazing!! I put a small amount of it on in the morning, go to work, hit the gym and by the time I get home, sweaty from a crazy workout, there is NO stinky smell AT ALL!! Even my boyfriend was surprised. Bless his heart. He always has to try my koncoctions or suffer through smelling mine. I often have him do a smell test when I’m feeling a little musty myself, with my armpit waving in the air. This usually ends in him crinkling his nose and saying, “You may want to powder that down”. This time was different. There were no words, no funny faces, no moment where he was thinking to himself, “Why do I love this stinky woman?” None of that. When I uttered the words, waiting with bated breath, hoping for the best, “Babe, how do I smell”, he says, “Fine.” “Fine? Like, you don’t smell any odor?” “Nope. Nothing!” I jump up and down and say, “How do you like me now, baby!? How do you like me now?!” It really was more of a victory, more so because he has put up with me going all hippie on him.  But, trust me, he’ll be trying this koncoction as soon as his deodorant runs out, no doubt!

Here’s what you need:

  • An empty deodorant container or jar to store finished product
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 5 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • Essential oils (optional – I used 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil (TTO) and 4 drops of Lavender)

In a small bowl, I mixed all the ingredients together until smooth. If you have never used coconut oil before, it is solid at room temperature and starts to soften when mixed with other ingredients, but still stays pretty solid. I also chose to use arrowroot powder because cornstarch can cause irritation on sensitive skin types. I often have reactions to regular deodorants, so I figured better safe than sorry. Once everything was blended, just spoon it into your deodorant container. Make sure if you’re using an old deodorant container, you clean it out really well and that the dial is turned as low as it will go, so you can fill it up to the maximum capacity. By the time I mixed everything up, the coconut oil was kind of soft, so I just put in the fridge for a few minutes and it hardened right up. Now I just keep it in my medicine cabinet like I did my old deodorant and it works great!!

The next time I make this, I would probably cut down a little bit on the ingredients. It made more than my old deodorant container would hold, so I had to store some in another container and just massage it in with my fingers. No big deal, but I’d probably use 4 tablespoons of coconut oil and less than a ¼ cup for each baking soda and arrowroot powder. It really just depends on the size of your container. I used TTO with lavender, but TTO can also cause sensitivity, so if you are unfamiliar with how your skin reacts to it, you may want to try something else to start off.

Don’t knock it. Try it.

Seriously, guys, if there’s one kreative koncoction that you try, I hope it’s this one. I was pleasantly surprised that 1) it was so easy and 2) it worked so well!! It kind of infuriates me that I’ve been spending my money on JUNK for so many years and I could have been making a FAR superior product right at home.

I know I definitely won my boyfriend over when he got a whiff of, well, nothing but the faint scent of coconut, TTO and lavender from my armpits. Guess I’ll be smelling mighty fine from here on out! Sweet!

Oil Cleansing Method

Alright, so apparently I’ve become obsessed with oil—mostly from the coconut, but oil in general. I’ve been using a little bit of oil to remove my eye makeup (which also is supposed to make my eyelashes grow lusciously long!), oil pulling, applying it to the ends of my hair for moisture, using it as a moisturizer for my dry feet and now I’ve discovered this Oil Cleansing Method that I’m going to give a try. I’ve been reading about it and at first I was freaked out that washing my face with oil seems somewhat counterintuitive…isn’t OIL going to make my skin more oily? But, everything that I’ve read says NO. Plus, it moisturizes your skin, so no need for chemical-laden lotions and moisturizers.

So here’s the deal:

You wet your face with warm water to open up your pores, massage some oil onto your face and allow it to sit for 30 seconds or so with a warm wash cloth over your face. Then, rinse really well with warm water (as HOT as you can stand it) and voila! Your face is clean!

I can’t tell you the intricacies of WHY it works, but it does. I’ve heard it said that like dissolves like, so maybe that’s the deal with the OCM and getting the oil off your face. One thing to note: OIL does not make your skin break out. It’s the DIRT that makes you break out. So, don’t be thrown off by lathering your face in oil to get rid of oil. I promise, it works! I started doing this last week and I’m loving it. Honestly, I like it because it kinda makes me slow down a bit. I’m always in such a hurry and I don’t know why that is, but it makes me just chill out in the shower and breathe…massage my face…breathe…relax with the warm wash cloth…breathe…rinse…breathe. Seriously. It just helps me feel more Zen. It takes a few minutes to massage the oil in and then let your pores open up with the warm washcloth, so enjoy it. It’s kind of your own mini-spa treatment. You deserve it.

Alright, here are the specs:

There are a few recipes out there depending on your skin type. My skin is more oily, so apparently that means you need to use more castor oil. Try to think in thirds for preparing your koncoction. If your skin is oily, use more castor oil. If it’s on the dry side, use more of your carrier oil. And, if it’s more normal, then use the same amounts of each oil. I used 2 tablespoons of castor oil for every 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil and I am just keeping it in a small glass apothecary jar, but you can mix it up as you need if you want to try it in small amounts first. Castor oil is the necessity here, because this is the oil that acts as the cleanser.

The carrier oils simply dilute the castor oil, making it therapeutic and dreamy. Your carrier oil could be anything from sunflower oil, to olive oil. Different oils are good for different skin types. Some have better anti-aging properties and some are better to treat acne-prone skin. Crunchy Betty has a great list of some oils and what they are good for. Check out her page here for some great details.  One thing to note, even though I’m a huge fan of a million uses for coconut oil, it has the potential to clog your pores, thus having an adverse effect on the OCM, so use something besides coconut oil.

That’s all there is to it. I have been using it in place of my old acne wash and so far, so good. I have only being doing it at night, when I shower and then in the morning, all I do is rinse my face with very warm water. No breakouts. No blemishes. Nada. I was afraid of this because when I’ve tried to change cleansers before, I would always breakout and just go back to my old chemical-cleansers that are bad for my skin even though it makes it look nice. The OCM doesn’t strip the oils, thus making my face clean without overdrying. And, as we’ve learned from no ‘poo, over-cleaning your skin, leads to the over production of sebum, thus leading to vicious cycle of cleaning, overdrying, cleaning, etc.

So, give it a try. I promise it’s worth at least a try. Folks back in ancient times used oil for so many different uses. We’ve become so commercialized to believe that we have to have sudsy, latherous koncoctions to be clean. That is SO not true. Oil works beautifully.

Below are some of the sights that I found pretty helpful. I’ve tried to sum it up, but if you want the dets, as I did, go ahead, click the links. You’ll find  so much helpful info. Happy cleansing:)

http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/

http://www.crunchybetty.com/nitty-gritty-on-the-oil-cleansing-method

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/05/video-blog-how-to-wash-your-face-using-the-oil-cleansing-method.html

A Fix to No ‘Poo

If you’ve read any of my blogs, you have probably heard me talk about my no ‘poo experiment, which is basically stepping away from all the chemicals in modern shampoos and finding healthy substitutes. (You can find my blogs about it here.) I was using baking soda and water with a few drops of tea tree oil to “wash” my hair, followed by an apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water solution to “condition” my hair. Well, after about a month or so of this, I found that my hair just became too greasy. I couldn’t find the appropriate combination of water to baking soda and my water is super hard, making it even rougher on my hair. I just couldn’t handle it feeling so dirty, so I found an alternative. If you don’t follow Crunchy Betty, you NEED to. And I’m serious. Go over to her page now and follow her on Facebook or pinterest or whatever method you have to in order to find some really kreative koncoctions. Her blog is where I first heard of no ‘poo and where I also found a solution to my overly oily no ‘poo nightmare.

So, needless to say, my hair was oily. I mean, couldn’t run my fingers through it oily. And when I did try to run my fingers through it, my hands felt filmy, as if I was wiping away some of the oil that had accumulated. I had gotten in the routine of no ‘pooing probably every 3 days or so, whenever my scalp started to feel itchy or dirty. I wore it mostly in a pony tail, except for the few days when my hair didn’t look disgusting. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was looking through old photos and saw how long, shiny and pretty my hair was and felt envious. Why was I putting myself through this for the sake of being natural and not really reaping any benefit from it? Well, I still want to be somewhat natural and use organic and healthy things on my skin and hair but I also am somewhat girly and want to look nice. So, something had to give.

That’s when I stumbled upon “sorta ‘poo” as Crunchy Betty calls it, which is a mixture of coconut milk and castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s lavender because I love the smell, but there are a few different makers of castile soap out there). There is the recommendation to make your own coconut milk from pressed coconut and water (you can find the recipe here) but I just used organic coconut milk from Whole Foods and it worked wonderfully. And by wonderfully, I mean, OH MY GOODNESS!! There was so much lather, I didn’t know what to do with  myself. Having gone a month with no suds whatsoever, I felt I was in heaven.

So here’s what I did: I mixed 1 teaspoon organic coconut milk per 1 Tablespoon of castile soap. Some say you shouldn’t mix too much up at a time because it will go bad, but I’m going to keep mine in the refrigerator and hope I can get a week or so out of it. I probably mixed about 10 tsp/tbsp of each because I won’t be the only one in my house to use it. Then, you just sorta swish it around so the two mix together (not too much or it will get super sudsy) and then lather up. I probably used a little too much on my hair this morning just because it felt so gross from the bs/acv mess but you probably only need about a quarter-sized up to a tablespoon.

After I washed, I rinsed with my same koncoction of vinegar: 1 Tablespoon of ACV to 1 Cup of water. I let the ACV sit on my hair while I wash and hang out in the shower and right before I get out, I rinse it off. I promise, you don’t end up wreaking of ACV−the scent dissipates as your hair dries, but if you must, you can add some essential oils to make it smell all girly. I’m trying to be as simple as possible, so for now, I’m just going to use the basic rinse.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I found this solution to going natural. Castile soap is amazing. I’ve been using it for a while now as a body wash, but when it’s mixed with the coconut milk, it creates a creamy lather that you will die for! It’s supposedly great for shaving too. I have only done this today, so it will obviously take some time to see if it works on my hair long-term but I really hope the results are better than the no ‘poo. I’d been reading about the no ‘poo method and maybe I gave up too soon because some folks say it can take 8 weeks before your hair finally evens out and stops being so oily but I wanted my soft mane back again and so far so good. I can actually run my fingers through my hair. Today, I left the house with my hair slightly damp and it dried naturally on my way to work. It still looks great! I still have this natural wave that appeared when I gave up regular shampoo awhile back, which I really like. My hair used to be so straight, like I flat-ironed it straight, so it’s nice to have some volume and body now. I’m convinced that somehow I’ll find the perfect homemade substitution for shampoo. I hope this is it. I’ll keep you posted!!

Tea tree oil and no ‘poo

Well, I’m well on my way to detoxing my scalp and hair of chemicals and the vicious cycle of over-washing. Today, for the first time, I wore my hair down with confidence that it didn’t look gross and actually looked pretty. Again, I’ve gotten this wave in my locks that I’ve never had before, which I hear is common when going no ‘poo. I have no complaints about it. It’s better than straight, stringy hair that I normally have. I’ve gone a good THREE days with no baking soda/ACV rinse and certain that I’m on the path to recovery–I can feel it!

But, this weekend I felt a hiccup in my routine. I was going to go all weekend without rinsing but on Saturday, my scalp got really itchy. And I mean ITCHY! I have had dry scalp in the past but usually this happens when the air is cold and dry–neither or which happens often in Southeastern Louisiana. So, my only conclusion for the itchies was detoxing from the chemicals my body was used to. I did some research online and after a hunch, I already knew that tea tree oil may be just the thing to cure my itch. Tea tree oil is great for scalp conditions and because it’s a natural anti-fungal, it can be great if you have dandruff or other fungus-related stuff like that going on. (My boyfriend uses it mixed with coconut oil to get rid of athletes foot from time to time and it works great!)

Anyways, I decided to add a few drops of tea tree oil to my baking soda mixture to see if that would do the trick and immediately I felt relief. I can’t tell you why, but the tea tree oil is fantastic and I plan on making it part of my routine from now. It’s a nice, clean scent and feels like it opens my pores up and just feels good! Rather than reinvent the wheel, I found a couple of great sites that list some of the many uses of tea tree oil. It’s pretty amazing how one oil can be used in so many ways! Here’s a list of sites I found with lots of helpful information:

So there you have it…if you are struggling with the no ‘poo method and maybe have itchy, irritated scalp, try a little tea tree oil  and see if that helps. But remember, a little goes a long way–some folks have sensitive skin and the TTO has an adverse affect. Always try it on a small area of skin and see how your body reacts. Good luck!! 🙂

Worms in My Tomatoes

I have been so ecstatic this year with my garden. It’s my very first attempt at gardening on my own. I got a plot with my community garden and found out I had fantastic soil for growing–good rich, dark soil and topped it off with some fresh compost. Up until this weekend, everything was going great! All my plants have vegetables growing on them and from what I could tell, looked full and healthy. This weekend, when I went to clean things up (weed, water, etc.) I noticed that my Roma tomato plant was looking a little “under the weather”. I was kind of in a hurry, so I didn’t pay much attention to it and figured maybe I’d gone too long in between watering with the warmer temperatures, that maybe those yellow leaves were just from it being too dry. WRONG!

I went back yesterday to check on it, and now my plant was looking very limp and I noticed that several of my tomatoes had WORMS in them!! Lots of yellow leaves, rotten stems and well, worm-filled-tomatoes. Needless to say I was livid. Here I am working my tail off—watering, feeding, nurturing—my precious seedlings in hopes of a wonderful harvest and BAM! A little, bitty inch worm comes along and nearly devours an entire plant in a DAY! All I could think of when I saw them was my childhood. LOL…I Remember watching “Winnie the Pooh” as a kid and how upset Rabbit got one morning when he found his plants devoured by the same pesky insect? Yeah…that was me in my garden yesterday. And now I understood his frustrations.

(I love me some “Winnie the Pooh” and hope you do too🙂 !)

Needless to say, I plucked off the rotten stuff and made sure my other plants didn’t have any visible signs of worms and then I went and did some research. What I found was that these little boogers are nasty! They can literally kill an entire plant in a day! They eat and eat and eat until it’s all gone and then they move on to the next plant. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Online provides some great detail about the insect and how to watch out for it:

“Tomato hornworms can be up to 5 inches long—which can be quite a shock when you first come across one! They do the most damage in the caterpillar, or larvae, stage. They are pale green with white and black markings, plus a horn-like protrusion. (They are not capable of stinging.) The life cycle is as follows:

  • In late spring, large adult moths lay eggs on the undersides of foliage, which will hatch within a week.
  • Caterpillar larvae will feed from 4–6 weeks before creating a cocoon for overwintering in the soil. If the weather is warm enough, larvae may only burrow for as little as 2–3 weeks.
  • Moths will emerge in the spring, and can be identified by their orange markings. They will then lay eggs once again. More than one generation a year may be possible in warmer climates.”

Now, my community garden, as I’ve mentioned before, is all organic, so I can’t go out and get some lethal sprays to get rid of the pests (nor do I want to ingest that stuff), so I have to find a healthy alternative. Again, I took to the web and found that regular old dish soap mixed with warm water will work. Because we’re all natural, I used some Dr. Bronners Castile Soap in place of dish soap. I also got kreative and mixed in some lemon juice and crushed garlic, because I’ve read that things with strong scents keep the bugs away. I’m gonna spray the plant every couple of days or so and see what happens and I’ll let y’all know if anything helps.

If you have any input or have found anything that works well for you, PLEASE let me know. I really wanna eat some fantastic tomatoes this year and hope the pests don’t enjoy them before I do! Happy gardening!

no ‘poo…no doubt

It’s been a few days since my last post and I promised a follow up to my no ‘poo experience. (You can view my previous post here, which discusses the what, why and how of no ‘poo.) After a brief setback due to a hot oil hair treatment gone wrong, I am back on track and looking forward to the expected results of no longer using harsh chemicals on my locks.

It’s been five days for me now on the no ‘poo treatment. I last washed my hair Thursday morning (4/12/12) with regular shampoo. On Saturday, I “washed” with my baking soda and water/ACV conditioner. My hair was, of course, a little oily after nearly two days of no shampoo, but that’s to be expected. I can’t wait for my head to get out of this routine of over-producing oil!!

Last night, I did my baking soda and ACV wash again after three days of no washing. (In between my days off, I usually just wet my hair in the shower and call it a day.) My hair is still feeling a little filmy but I know on the road to recovery and it’s not that bad.  I wish I had taken a before picture so that I could compare my hair then and now but I don’t think pictures would even do it justice. It’s more about the texture that I’m experiencing. My hair feels so thick!–and it’s crazy for me to say that considering my hair doesn’t normally even hold a curl or any kind of volume whatsoever!

I tried something new last night as well. I decided  I needed a little extra wave, so I tried to braid my hair and sleep on it in hopes of creating something fantabulous, but, that was a no go. When I took the braids out this morning, my hair took me back to 4th grade, when crimping your hair was cool. Yeah, I have no desire to return to my pre-adolescent style, so I had to bring out my straightening iron to the rescue. I didn’t want to use any heating products on my hair, just because I know that stuff dries my hair out and since I’m “detoxing” from shampoo, I figured I’d just go for the gold and opt out of all styling/warming products. Either way, I straightened it and it looks fuller than my hair ever looked when I straightened it in my “shampooing” days. It’s amazing! Now, I think because I just cleaned my hair last night and then used the straightening iron on it, it looks a little frizzy but I’m also in desperate need of a trim, so that could be part of it as well.

Hang in there through the rough days when it feels like you can’t stand it anymore. After getting used to the idea of not having to wash my hair the “traditional” way, I’m enjoying the extra time I have in the shower to just relax and let my day wash away! And, there have been a lot of days when I just said, “To heck with it” and just tossed my hair in a bun or ponytail because the oil is overwhelming. I’m getting past that stage now and today is the first day I’ve worn my hair down since I started no ‘poo. I know it will all be worth it, when I can save boat loads of cash on hair products and just visit my local grocery for all my hair care needs. Until then, I have no doubt this no ‘poo thing is doing something great for my head, hair, scalp, etc. I’ll let you know how it all turns out!

The Beginning of Kreative Koncoctions

Over the last few weeks, I’ve discovered Pinterest and I feel that it has awakened within me a desire I’ve had for years–to be naturally healthy–and sometimes lose sight of. It is sometimes so much easier to stop at a fast food joint or buy detergent from the grocery store instead of making my own. I hope that starting this blog will hold me accountable to how I really want to live my life. I also hope that at some point I can go further than this blog with my quest for naturally made products and make and sell enough to be self-supporting. Alas, I have big dreams!

But, that’s all in the distant future. For now, I want to take baby steps in the right direction and find my own recipes. It’s easy to Google a recipe for “homemade body butter” but it’s another to create one on your own. I may find stuff online (and will give credit where credit is due) but I also want to create my own recipes and concoctions using different scents and oils and oy…just thinking about it makes me want to go home and start experimenting! Regrettably, I must earn a living, so I blog at work when things are slow. (I’m very grateful for a wonderful work environment!)

These hours I’ve spent on Pinterest over the last few weeks have led me to discover some really cool natural remedies and creations. The first thing I have really started experimenting with was this “no ‘poo” concept—where you sustain from using harsh chemical laden shampoos and conditioners on your hair and realize that those chemicals are creating a vicious cycle of your sebaceous glands over-producing oil that the shampoos strip it of. After only one day, I would have to wash my hair because these glands would try to overcompensate for my daily washes, thus overproducing oil. The result leaves the ends of my hair so dry and the roots, well, clean for about 24 hours and then gross all over again. I’m tired of it! So, I felt like this was the answer I was looking for. I would just have to suffer through a few weeks of leaving my hair in a pony tail while I get my head back to “normal”.

I went a week with no ‘poo and instead “washed” with a baking soda and water concoction and “conditioned” with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water mixture. I mix 2 tbsp of baking soda to 2 cups of hot water for the wash. I generally like to massage my scalp with it a little and kinda work it around. It doesn’t get soapy or anything–just helps me feel like my head’s getting cleaned. Then I rinse with about 2-4 tbsp of ACV in about 2 cups of water. This I usally just keep on the ends of my hair because I’ve heard that ACV can cause the scalp to generate more oil, thus defeating the purpose of my no ‘poo experiment.

This has been a PHENOMENAL experience!! I have always had very straight, fine hair with very little body or movement. But, after just a few days of no ‘pooing, my locks looked healthier than ever!! I got incredible compliments about how great my hair looked. I’m NOW a believer in the no ‘poo method.

However, yesterday, I found another recipe for a homemade hot oil treatment that I just had to try because it sounded so divine and luxurious! Unfortunately, it left my hair too oily for my baking soda and ACV tonics, so I have to start my no ‘poo routine over again. My next post will talk about my first few days of my no ‘poo detox. I look forward to sharing this journey with whoever stumbles across this blog and finds it somewhat interesting! Here’s to a natural health and beauty endeavor that will make us much happier and less chemically inclined!