I've sworn off shop-purchased shampoo for a while now, and have been trialing a home-made alternative - simple baking soda. Some people call it Bicarb Soda or Carb Soda - but whatever you want to call it, it works.
I use one tablespoon of baking soda mixed well with one cup of warm water for washing my hair. It's clean afterwards, and no residual smell.
One bonus of this is that I'm not getting any eczema on my scalp any more. I used to get small rashes from time to time (I'm one of those people with sensitive skin), and had to really be careful about which shampoo I used.
As for using my mother's 'Pantene' - forget it!
Pantene brought me out in boils! Ugh! And of course, many of the shampoos touted as being 'more natural' are either a LOT more expensive (bad for my wallet), are imported (bad for the planet), or highly fragranced with 'essential oils a.k.a. perfumes (bad for my skin). Baking Soda has no effect on my skin at all - great! And I buy it in large boxes from the supermarket.
I will admit to missing that nice, fake, fruity smell from the Colgate Palmolive shampoo I was using, but I'm sure it wasn't doing me - or the planet - a whole lot of good.
I'm now using apple cider vinegar, also diluted one tablespoon to a cup of water. I just made this up in advance, and put it in an old, washed-out shampoo bottle.
And this is where I scored. Not only am I someone with sensitive skin, I also have dry hair. And NONE of those expensive, luxury conditioners or detanglers has worked one half as well as apple cider vinegar! I'm really impressed. And pissed off that I've been wasting all these years looking for a great conditioner, when all I had to do was go to my pantry!
I suppose you could use any sort of mild vinegar watered down - I got the tip on apple cider vinegar from the Riot For Austerity 90% reduction egroup (post no. 11230, dated March 24 2007). It made sense to me to use apple cider vinegar, as I'm living in an apple growing area, and that type of vinegar was easy to source locally. If you want to use a different type of vinegar, give it a go - but make it very dilute as a trial run first.
I've been using Red Seal natural herbal and mineral toothpaste for years now - none of that nasty Colgate or Macleans for my mouth, thankyou very much! And I've been pretty happy with it. However, I decided to give making my own toothpaste a go, and followed the recipe posted at Crazy-Mumma's blog.
I found the recipe needed a bit less salt, and a bit less sweetener - in fact, I'd be happy to forego the stevia altogether, especially as it is far and away the most expensive part of the recipe (Crazy-Mumma does state that it is optional, and I'd agree with that). The most expensive part of the recipe was the glycerine which cost me $10 (ouch!) for a big jar at the chemist. I'll have to source a cheaper salesplace. I did use stevia, which is tremendously expensive, but I think it is unnecessary, unless you really can't stand anything that isn't sweetened to the gills.
My version of the recipe therefore runs thus:
Daharja's homemade toothpaste
- 3 tbs baking soda (bi-carb soda)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbs glycerine
- 20 drops peppermint extract or peppermint essence.
Method: Mix the baking soda and salt together, then add the glycerine and form a stiff paste. Finally, when all ingredients are well-mixed, add the peppermint essence and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.
I'll also make a note that you should be careful to buy bicarbonate of soda and not products sold as "baking powder" for the above recipes. Baking powder contains other ingredients (I'd call them 'fillers') and it is not the same ingredient as Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda. If you're not certain, read the ingredients list - the pack should only contain bicarbonate of soda.
And now - the rant...
(Well - you didn't expect to get away with all this info and no waffle, did you?)
That wonderful ingredient - baking soda!
Have you noticed how many expensive new cleaning products now advertise the fact that they contain baking soda? Colgate toothpaste has a species that advertises (with a silver streamed flourish) "Now With Baking Soda!" and household cleaners for everything from cleaning your toilet to your windows advertise that they contain this miracle new ingredient.
I paid about a dollar for my half kilo box of baking soda. It was way cheaper than any of those expensive toothpastes, cleaners or gooks for my loo. I can't help but wonder who is buying these expensive products, and when they're going to cotton on that they're paying mega-bucks for some fancy packaging and stupid, sexist television advertising?
The art of the professional
I think a large part of the reason why we buy this expensive rubbish is that we don't trust ourselves any more.
Something nasty might happen to our teeth if we use our own homemade toothpaste instead of the latest paste (and don't forget to floss and gargle with appropriate products as well!).
Something horrid might grow in our kitchen sinks if we don't buy the most expensive kitchen cleaner (okay - something DID grow in mine last year but that had a whole lot more to do with me not cleaning it at all than what product I did or did not use).
Some woman with a large nose might inspect our toilet and find us lacking if we don't use Harpic flushmatic. Some bum inspector might find us bearing dags on our butts if we don't use moist towelettes on our overly-cossetted arses.
You get the picture? In every part of our lives we're instructed to buy this, wear that, use this, consume that. No wonder we're lacking in the self-confidence to just use a bit of fricking baking soda and give our teeth a darn good scrub! No wonder suckers like me spend hundreds of dollars (possibly thousands) over the course of their lives hunting for a conditioner to detangle their hair, when all they needed was a bit of vinegar.
I guess this part of my post is part rant, part call-to-arms, part begging to my readers to just give it a go, for goodness sakes! I'm so sick of seeing myself and my fellow human beings cowed down by the weight of megacorporations and greedy advertisers, making us worried to even give self-sufficiency on the most base level a go.
I'm learning a lot these days - but the biggest thing I'm learning is that we don't stand a hope in hell of saving our planet if we don't first save our own minds from this slavery of fear.
We need to learn to take control of what we do, what we buy, what we make and use and choose not to use and buy. If we don't, we may as well slap a big sign on our foreheads that says "I'm Colgate-Palmolive's Sucker" and have done with it.