I am always looking for ways to reduce the chemical footprint in our home. A few years ago, I started using white vinegar as a fabric softener, for example. When I started, I feared that our laundry would smell of vinegar, so I added a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar bottle and used a small cup in each wash. After a while, my fears proved unwarranted, so I reduced the amount of drops I used, eventually using just straight vinegar. I find it makes the laundry softer and doesn’t leave any residual smell despite being hung to dry after coming out of the wash. I also use other natural cleaning items around the house which I used to consider strictly as food, such as lemons and baking soda.
The next step came when one of my aunts told me how most deodorants contain an aluminum-based antiperspirant which can have a negative effect on your health. I read about breast cancer and Alzheimer’s – both which run in my family – and their suspected links to the use of antiperspirant. A scary thought. I thought it must be possible to find a “clean” deodorant that I could feel safe using. After a few evenings trolling the internet, instead of finding a safe product I could buy, I found a great recipe for homemade deodorant which I’ve been using for about 5 years and am very happy with. I do like a bit of variety, so I use a different essential oil for each batch ranging from the original grapefruit to orange, cinnamon and my aunt swears by tea tree oil. It’s a little messier to put on, but even my husband – who smirked and shook his head when I first told him I was going to make deodorant – now uses it as well.
When I stumbled across a recipe for beeswax lotion recently, it seemed like another great way to incorporate natural ingredients into our body care products. I haven’t been sorry – it works great for really dry skin and eczema. Since I love the smell of the cocoa butter lotion I used to use, I incorporated some pure cocoa butter into the recipe and enjoy the subtle aroma it leaves behind. I liked it so well that I actually purchased Kendra’s booklet with lots more natural recipes and have already tried the body butter recipe, which is a bit easier to apply at room temperature, and plan to try to the lip balm recipe once the weather turns. Biking around Amsterdam is great and all, but the winter weather can be brutal on your lips!
I’m not sure what the next step will be, but I am always on the lookout and haven’t regretted getting rid of the chemical-rich and store-bought products at all. How about you? Do you use natural body care products? Do you have any favorites?