Natural From Head to Toe, Part 2

January 24, 2011

Last week I made a case for using cheap, natural, simple beauty products instead of the super expensive, harsh chemical-filled ones we’re all use to.  (Click here to read Part 1 of Natural From Head to Toe).  This week I want to give you ideas of products to use or recipes to make so that your shower (or bath) experience is relatively cheap, super healthy, and chemical free!  So here are some ideas for use in the shower:

Body Wash

Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid Soap– We’ve started using this all-natural soap to clean our bodies and it feels great!  I love the smell and I love how clean I feel after a shower.  We use the Baby Mild because we can use the same formula on us as we do on Luke–saving money!  I’ve heard that you can dilute it and make it last longer, but it’s already so liquid-y, I’m not sure how that would work out.  Also, we use loofahs to make it more sudsy.

Coconut Oil mixture- This is a recipe that I used to use for body wash, but don’t anymore because, well, it was just too much work, quite frankly.  I did love the results, though!

1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup baking soda

I put this mixture in an old body wash bottle.  The problem that I encountered was that each ingredient would separate.  Also coconut oil is a difficult monster–it becomes a solid quite easily and so I would stand in the shower for like 5 minutes holding the container under hot water to thaw the coconut oil so that I could shake the bottle up and quickly pour it out and use it.  In the winter I would have to do this for longer than 5 minutes and more than just once a shower.  Something that would have helped,  I think, but I never tried, is to make the mixture over heat.  Maybe on the stove, or maybe in a water bath type of situation.  I’m not sure.  If anyone tries this and has better luck than me, please let me know what you did, because I really did love the way it left my skin–very smooth!


I’m not gonna lie–I haven’t had fabulous results with the natural shampoo options I’ve tried.  The Dr. Bronner’s and the Baking Soda recipes leave my hair much greasier than I’d like.  I know that it’s healthier because standard shampoos actually strip your hair of the natural oils it needs, but I just hated that 5 o’clock grease-head look!  And it got to the point where I really wasn’t a fan of the smell of the Young Living shampoo–that may have been because I was pregnant, though. :) These might work for you, though!  PLEASE share with me if you have a great shampoo alternative!

Dr. Bronner’s Recipe- Here’s another way to use Dr. Bronner’s!

1 c. Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild liquid soap
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3/4 Tbs. tea tree & Vit. E oil (or just one oil only)
1/4 c. water
1 (16 oz) spray bottle or other container for application

Combine & store in a spray bottle.  You could also add essential oils for fragrance!  Just spray on your hair and rub it in to suds it up and wash it out like normal.  The apple cider vinegar is a conditioner, so this recipe is really a two-in-one!

Baking Soda– I tried for so long to make this work for me.  I heard that it takes about two weeks for your natural chemicals to balance themselves out after taking yourself off of shampoo and so I think I tried this for about three months.  Finally, I just couldn’t stand the way my hair was so limp and frizzy and life-less.  (I’m a great sales person, huh!?)  I’m still including this recipe because I know it’s worked for many other people and it’s SUPER cheap!  The following is taken directly off of one of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking (I couldn’t say it better than she did):

approximately 1 Tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water

Make use of your old dispensers! Combine these two ingredients for an excellent shampoo. I make a mixture with baking soda and really hot water, massage this into my scalp and rinse well. It will look just like water with bubbles.  It definitely does not have the soapy feel of your regular shampoo, but it actually feels like it is cleaning your scalp more thoroughly. This is called the no-poo method.  After rinsing, use the Apple Cider Vinegar conditioner recipe.

Long Hair:
Comb your hair from scalp to tips before you go into the shower to loosen dirt and detangle. You may need to use a bit more baking soda in your mix (one tablespoon per 250mls/1 cup of water. If you need more, use two tablespoons and two cups, or three tablespoons and three cups. Don’t overuse your baking soda, or you will end up with dry hair! Less is more.)

Frizzy Hair:
You’re probably using too much baking soda, or leaving it in your hair too long. Try adding honey, or rubbing a little bit of moisturizing oil onto your hair (coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, extra virgin olive oil…).

Greasy Hair:
Some people experience an adjustment, or “de-tox” period of greasiness as they transition to no-poo. Do not over-wash, it will pass soon! If you’ve been using your routine faithfully and experience greasy hair, try using less ACV in your rinse, cut out honey if you’ve been using it, try switching to a citrus rinse, or use a comb instead of a brush to style your hair.
If you have greasy hair and need a quick fix on a day when you’re not washing your hair, try applying a tiny bit of cornstarch to your scalp and combing through to the ends. Remember, greasy hair does not mean dirty hair, it probably doesn’t need to be washed!

Dry hair:
If your hair is very dry, you may have used too much baking soda and should lesson the amount. You may also need to use more ACV in your rinse. Also, try smoothing a tiny bit of oil into your hair either after you shower, or in the morning. A tiny bit is all you need. Coconut oil works well, and smells great!

If you find your hair is chronically dry, and you like the idea of a hot oil treatment every so often, you can follow one of these recipes, the latter is best for dry hair and the former is a hot oil treatment for occasional use :
— 1 teaspoon soybean oil
— 2 teaspoons castor oil
Combine ingredients then warm on low heat. Massage mixture into the scalp and hair. Wrap hair in a hot towel for 15 minutes. Shampoo & rinse out.

— 1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaves
— 1/2 cup olive oil
Combine ingredients then heat up until warm. Strain. Coat the entire scalp and ends of hair with the oil mixture. Wrap hair in saran wrap and a towel over that, leave on for 15 minutes. Wash hair twice to remove the oil. Use this treatment twice a month or when your needs a deep conditioning. Leaves your hair shiny and rehydrated.

If you swim regularly in pools, or have very chlorinated water you may find your hair dries easily. To help prevent chlorine damage after you’ve gone swimming, try mixing one egg, one eggshell’s worth of olive oil with one quarter of a peeled cucumber. Blend together, spread evenly onto hair, leave in ten minutes and then rinse well. See also [I have hard water!]

White Build-up:
You’re probably using too much baking soda! Remember, you only need one tablespoon per cup (250mls) of water, for long hair, you only need a maximum of 2-3 tablespoons. It doesn’t seem like much, but it goes a long way. For easier distribution, keep a little cup with some baking soda in the shower and take a pinch and apply to wet hair, then rub in.

Itchy hair/scalp:
Try infusing your rinse with tea tree, rosemary or lavender essential oils (only a few drops at the most!) Try changing your rinse routine. Add a bit of honey, try a rosemary tea rinse… experiment!

Vinegar- I’ve also heard that simply running diluted vinegar through your hair (and LEAVING IT IN) works as a good shampoo alternative.  Start with a ratio of 1:5 vinegar to water and go from there experimenting with what works best for you.

Young Living Shampoo– I used this shampoo while I was pregnant and at first I loved it.  It’s so concentrated that I diluted it (equal parts shampoo and water).  You only have to use a tiny bit each wash, also, so it would have lasted a long long time.  It also left my hair feeling great–not greasy at all!  The reason I stopped using it was simply because my prego-nose started hating the lavender smell! :) They also have lemon sage & rosewood scents!

Clearly I haven’t had a ton of luck in the natural shampoo department.  I’m about to begin using a new recipe and if I like it I’ll be sure to post about it–pray it works! :)

Another tip: only wash your hair every other day–unless you’re a professional athlete or a construction worker you really don’t sweat enough or get dirty enough each day to warrant daily shampooing–your hair will thank you!  Next week I’ll tell you how to hide the greasy look on that second day!


Apple Cidar Vinegar– This one is so easy and it works so well.  Mix about 2 Tablespoons to each cup of water.  Put in a spray bottle.  After shampooing, spray your hair, and rinse mixture out a few minutes later.  This will detangle your hair and leave it super soft!  I love this conditioner!

So those are the only three items (body wash, shampoo, & conditioner) that we use in the shower.  Do you use more items than that?  What are they?  I’ll try and find you a chemical-free alternative.  Also, do you have some great natural ideas and/or recipes for items used in the shower that I didn’t include in this post?  If so, share them with us!!!

Be sure to check back next Monday when I’ll be giving you alternatives to beauty products used at the sink!


10 Responses to “Natural From Head to Toe, Part 2”

  1. Marybeth said

    Hey Katie,
    I have used the baking soda, aloe vera, coconut oil recipe and still do as my face wash. I became frustrated with the separation too. Then one time I had less of the first two ingredients and so I just made it with what I had…It turned out to stay more solidified…So from that point forward, if I added a little more coconut oil to the mix (you could play with it to get it the texture you want)it would stay solid. I keep it pretty solid bc I use it only as face wash. The extra coconut oil never has made my skin more oily, but actually all the ingredients together seem to be like a face wash and moisturizer in one. I also have super oily skin, and the coconut has actually seemed to balance it all out! I love your blog. Thanks for sharing, I cant wait to try out the conditioning treatment :)

    • Interesting! Thanks for the tip. Right now we’re using Dr. Bronner’s, but I so loved (like you do) the way the coconut oil/aloe vera/baking soda mixture made my skin feel–I didn’t even have to use lotion, I’ll have to try it again! Thanks :)

  2. Marybeth said

    for the record, I store the mixture in canning jars it wouldnt work so great that solid in a pump or anything like that.

  3. Jasmine said

    I have so many questions! Have you tried just the vinager for shampoo? I think we might have to have a training session!

    • I haven’t tried the vinegar for shampoo, but I will sometime when I don’t have to go anywhere & let you know how it worked for me. We can definitely have a training session then!

      I would LOVE to answer any questions you have (if I can, lol)!!!

  4. Cassandra Lasher said

    What do you use to shave with?

  5. Cassandra Lasher said

    Ok, so I’ve made the switch to the baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner for a few weeks now, and I’ve adjusted it to my hair type (long and a tendency to be dry), so I put coconut oil on after I get out of the shower. The problem I’m having is that my hair gets ridiculously tangled! We’re talking rat’s nest here. I even use three tablespoons of ACV in my rinse instead of two, but it doesn’t seem to help. I didn’t have this problem before I switched, so I’m wondering if you have any other resources for cheap natural conditioners. I’ve looked at one website, but it has recipes with eggs in it, and since I’m vegan, I would prefer not to use eggs, but I will if I have to.

    • Hmm. The only thing I can think of involves eggs as well. Let me do some research and I’ll get back to ya!

      For those that are okay using egg products: My sister-in-law and I have always wondered how one of our friends has such beautiful, soft, shiny hair. Finally Claire just asked her and it turns out that once a week (I think) she globs mayonnaise on her head, wraps her head in plastic wrap (I guess a towel would work, too), and leaves it in for two hours. Well. Claire tried this and it worked! Claire’s hair was softer and shinier than ever before. The only draw back: sitting around with gross, gloppy mayo in your hair is not fun. Claire couldn’t last the whole two hours–it just got too annoying. Even so, it still worked!

  6. Cassandra Lasher said

    I found something. Here’s a website that has a bunch of homemade beauty recipes:
    I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking at the tropical conditioner. It also talks about the Oil Cleansing Method on there. It looks like a good site!

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