Perhaps the title of this post doesn’t entice the reader when waste and hair care are juxtaposed so closely. Hair can be glamorous, make one feel beautiful, but it’s also necessary to care for it in some way. This is the way I do it, while being environmentally conscientious.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: I’m not proclaiming I have fabulous hair. It’s quite regular and sometimes on the wild side due to my lazy habits. My hair is long. In fact one of my friends referred to it as “religious long,” which I thought was hilarious. I haven’t dyed my hair in at least 8 years, and the most recent time was because I had friends in cosmetology school and they liked experimenting on my hair. My hair is straight and doesn’t hold curls very well, and while most of my strands are fine, it’s about medium thickness. My favorite way to wear my hair is the slept in braid situation. I’ll wear a side braid all day after washing, sleep in it, and then take it out, brush the tangled bits, then have waves for a few days.
I experimented with water-only hair washing because I have found success with just water for facial washing. I liked it, but I got lazy and the length of my hair seemed to hinder the process.
Meanwhile, a bar of J. R. Liggett’s shampoo soap was sitting, unused, in my soap drain. So, I decided to use that up until I felt confident enough to continue water-only washing. While in the shower or bath I rub the soap down the center of my wet hair then just rub around the scalp a bit. The bar still looks nearly unused and I’ve been using it regularly for about 8 months. Also, I only wash my hair about once a week. When I remember, I pour a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse onto my scalp and just sort of pull it down to the ends of my hair. I rinse some more with water after the vinegar rinse.
I towel dry with a Turkish towel and let air dry for a few minutes, then I squirt a couple pumps of this Dr. Alkaitis oil into my hands and disperse amongst the bottom half of my hair. I live in an extremely dry high desert climate so I need extra help with moisture.
The oil was purchased before I was pursuing zero waste, and I’m really trying to use it up, but it’s not suitable for my skin for some unknown reason. It has wonderful ingredients, but was too much for my sensitive skin. When I run out, I’ll most likely use avocado or olive oil.
I took these photos while hanging out in my backyard, enjoying the crisp autumn air and sunshine a few weeks ago. Since then I have trimmed my hair using hair cutting scissors. I just take my ends and snip about an inch off and trim as many split ends as I can while sitting in the bright sun. I haven’t been to a salon in nearly four years and that was because of a bangs experiment gone awry. Before that it had been probably about three years. I just enjoy not spending money on a simple task I can do myself because I have an easy hairstyle.
Some things I’ve learned:
Keeping hair brushes clean can make a huge difference in keeping your hair clean. I learned this through the process of learning about how to water only hair wash. I learned via this page.
Natural bristle brushes are important. I use a wood bristle brush because it feels amazing on my scalp and is good for detangling, and a boar bristle brush for dispersing oils through my hair; from my scalp and also what I add in.
Shampoo bars are economical and make traveling easy. I haven’t tried any other shampoo bars, and I really don’t care to. I like this one, and it comes in a clean paper package. There is RSPO palm oil in it, which is aiding in a sustainable palm oil process. Also, I can find it at my favorite nearby grocery store. I have visited a Lush store, but the ingredients they use are not at all what I am after.
This weekend I realized I had run out of many of my essential products for hygiene and cleaning. I truly enjoy making things myself because I am sensitive to many scents and, as my husband would say, I have “touch issues” where many textures leave me with the heebie jeebies. I do my best to not buy into all the daily propaganda we’re bombarded with (mostly advertisements) and scare tactics of companies and people trying to make money. Trusting my instincts, reading up on research, and avoiding dangerous chemicals led me to many do-it-yourself products that I now love and wouldn’t want to be without.
A list of what I made then followed by general recipes and pictures: perfume, lip balm (chapstick), body lotion, deodorant, tooth powder / toothpaste, mouth rinse, and general purpose disinfectant spray.
This is a roll-on perfume diluted with jojoba as a carrier oil. I really just had a small amount of bergamot left and decided to make a grounding, sensual perfume. So I added one of my favorite scents, sandalwood, and only a couple drops of patchouli as a base note. Due to the sandalwood being already diluted, I filled a little less than half of the roller bottle with that, then about 1/5 was bergamot, 2 drops of patchouli, then filled it up the rest of the way with jojoba. Mmmmm! I can still smell it on my wrists and neck.
I use a Salton warming tray and re-purposed glass jars to melt the waxes, butters, and oils together first. Then once the beeswax is melted, I add in the essential oils. The majority of the recipe is a mixture of the oils. These are both skin healing, nourishing oils with added help from the herbs. I love using red raspberry oil as well because of the possibility of sun protection. My favorite brand of lip balm is badger and it has mostly peppermint and a little orange, so I added quite a bit of peppermint essential oil, then a little orange. I always test my recipe by dropping a few drops into the container, wait for it to cool, then test the consistency. Too hard? Add more liquid oil. Too soft? Add more beeswax. This one somehow ended up perfectly hard, yet melts as soon as I touch my lips or finger to it. It’s extra pepperminty and I love it!
I’ve made other types of body butters or lotions before, but not quite something that was emulsified. I used these herb infused oils again because of their wonderful properties for skin. There was no real recipe for this, I melted only a small amount of beeswax and cocoa butter, and used more oils. Knowing I needed to eventually add water, I only made about half of what would fill my container. I use an immersion blender to make mayonnaise, which is notoriously difficult to emulsify, and it works beautifully and astonishingly quickly every time. This is what I employed for this project as well. It came together quickly, and I was able to gauge how much water to add by testing the lotion as I was making it. I added approximately an equal volume of water as oils. Then I mixed in the essential oils. I love rose scented everything, but I kind of needed the oils to help mask the strong herbal scent of the yarrow oil. I have been using this all day and am surprised and impressed how much I like it. It made enough to fill my cool vintage Oscar de la Renta jar and then some!
Honestly, I don’t even know where I get all of my items. As I type this, I am realizing how much vintage I own, and how I acquired it all is a mystery. Who owns a vintage deodorant jar? Me, I guess.
This recipe can barely be called that. It’s baking soda and lemon essential oil only. Lemon is antibacterial, which is what causes our armpits to stink. I wouldn’t put lemon on my skin neat, but it hasn’t bothered me in a deodorant before. I have experimented with more cream-based deodorants that are similar to Schmidt’s, but I took a jar of baking soda with me to Mexico and Cuba during the summer time and never caught a bad smell from my armpits. Except that one time when I forgot to pat it on, and it was not pretty. I know some people have bad reactions to baking soda only, but I only pat on a pinch when my armpits are totally dry and haven’t had any problems. I did feel some irritation from the cream-based ones I made in the past. Different strokes for different folks. I’m happy with my simple recipe.
This also is barely a recipe. I call this tooth powder / paste because it essentially forms a paste once wet. I dump some baking soda into my jar, then drip plenty of peppermint essential oil in and mix! It’s nice to have that minty feel in my mouth when I brush so I started adding the oil. I used to brush with just baking soda, but this feels deluxe.
I put the kettle on with enough water to fill this bottle, then waited for it to cool back down to about room temperature. The waiting was the hardest part! When it was ready, I poured almost to the top of the bottle, then put about a tablespoon of baking soda in for good oral health, then about 30 drops of peppermint oil and 15 drops of clove. I don’t know if a mouth rinse is essential, but it feels nice sometimes and is extra healthy because of the clove, which is known to be useful for mouth complaints.
When I went digging around my cupboards to find all my ingredients to make these products, I realized my disinfecting spray was empty and knew it was a quick and simple concoction to make. I filled the bottle up 1/3 with water, 1/2 with vinegar, then 1/6 with witch hazel, then put in 30 drops of eucalyptus and 15 drops each clove and grapefruit. I realize my vinegar isn’t pictured, and it’s because the bottle is too giant to fit in this scene. I buy white vinegar in a big plastic jug that I recycle so it’s not completely zero waste. I luckily can find witch hazel in bulk at my local co-op!
As you can see, I have quite a lot of essential oils and basics that help me make these items. I did not have to make any trips to the store and didn’t spend any money that hadn’t already been spent. For the record, I do not prefer one essential oil brand over another. I buy from my local shops brands that are trusted. I think there has been so much more talk about fraudulent essential oil companies since the start-up of other brands that are worried about not getting enough sales. Don’t buy into this nonsense. Essential oils are clearly labeled and you will not be easily fooled by “bad” brands.
Here’s what I keep them in:
Here is the Salton warming tray:
I use these items very frequently and feel that they are necessary in my home. I am passionate about a clean and healthy home that is breathable. I am passionate about healthy, happy skin, mind, teeth, and body. Now I’m going to keep that perfume with me and breathe in deeply all next week at work with my Kindergartners. 🙂
I enjoy being a voyeur into other people’s private lives (when they are sharing it willingly!) so I thought I would return the favor. I also absolutely love bath time. Yes, that’s right. I am a grown woman who mostly takes baths instead of showers.
This is what I would use just for hygiene. This does not include my after bath routine like oils and other accoutrement.
I have a couple washcloths that I knit which are perfect for my water-only face washing. They are a Purl Bee pattern called the Close Knit Washcloth. I have a couple crocheted facial rounds that I would use for removing eye makeup, which I rarely wear, or mostly for touching up my lipstick. I use a compostable toothbrush and a gum stimulator for my teeth. The small glass jar holds my baking soda mixed with a bit of peppermint essential oil for teeth brushing. The green bottle is diluted apple cider vinegar for a divine hair rinse. I still have a shampoo bar that has lasted me a long time because I rarely wash my hair with soap, instead employing water-only and a boar bristle hair brush.
Next are a few body brushes and a sponge for proper sudsing up on my rough patches. My feet are chronically cracked (from gardening I presume) so I must keep a pumice stone handy. I love that this one has a string attached to it. The brown pump bottle is plastic and once upon a time was filled with a local soap. I covered it in some paper and have the last of my liquid body soap left in there which also has lasted me an unnatural amount of time.
I also have that ubiquitous razor from Merkur as well as a pot I threw that I keep around for mixing clay or honey masks.
So there’s a sneak peek into my hygienic routine and products. Really when I think about it, it’s mostly baking soda and soap that I use nowadays thanks to hours of reading other blogs and suggestions on low waste self care.