may day + some help on beauty products

may day & cosmetics- what a combination! two completely different topics but topics worth talking about. so lets get started.

may day was exceptionally wonderful. my friend, {vivian}, & i exchanged little surprises of life. i potted some herb starts from the cold frame, harvested some radishes & gathered some spring bulbs for next year's planting. she gifted me some yellow potted daisies in a pretty little daffodil teapot. we attended the {really, really free market} & finished off our day with ice cream. i believe in may & all of its wonderful goodness- the beginning of spring's harvest & consistently warm temperatures {well, usually}.

may also tends to spring on new ideas for me & this may is no different.
in the midst of all of life's craziness, i spent an hour on sunday standing in the isles of target picking up bottles of beauty products & scanning through the list of confusing & unfriendly ingredients. finally, i settled for some tom's toothpaste, a generic shampoo & floss.

after watching {this} & hearing about {this}, i have become fully aware of the toxins i intentionally put on & inside of my body & the ignorance of the government to avoid regulations on these products. i have attempted to purchase the earth-friendly & healthy products, but right now we just cannot afford a $10 bottle of shampoo.

i am realizing that the best option for us would be to make our own beauty care products. unfortunately, i haven't had much luck with this. last year i attempted to make our own toothpaste & by the middle of the winter i was using a knife to saw off bits of the toothpaste from the jar because the coconut oil had hardened.

so here is where you come in. i need your advice, your wisdom, your recipes!
are there any affordable products on the market that are safe?
do you have any recipes that are user-friendly & relatively easy to make?

thanks so much & i really look forward to reading your thoughts on this topic.



megan/mason said...

I know that it's not groundbreaking, but I've found that vinegar is really a very good rinse. I use it about once per week and it works well as a clarifying treatment. I still haven't found a shampoo recipe that my long hair can handle. Everything that I have tried has left it either much too dry or with a heavy or sticky residue. I would LOVE to find something that works, so I'll be watching for tips here from others.

Kelsey said...

For your hair, you can try the "No 'Poo" method. For your face, try the oil cleansing method. (I'd post links for those but I'm at work and trying to post this comment quick before I get caught haha! Google them and you'll find plenty of info.) For your body and pretty much everything else you can think of, try Dr. Bronner's soap. You can wash yourself, your laundry, your floors, your shower/sinks, your dishes...everything. It seems a little pricey in the store but trust me, a little dab goes a looooong way with that stuff.

Lil said...

I found that Trader Joes (not sure if you have one in your area) has some nice organic cheap shampoos and conditioners. I use their organic tea tree shampoo and conditioner. I don't wear much make-up, but I do use face lotion daily. I use Alba brand (it's organic & you can buy it in your grocery store) it's a bit pricey ($17 or so) - but it lasts quite a long time!

Megon and Julie said...

oh dear!!! you should have come to me!!! i can help you out and if you wanna talk about this on thursday night at craft night, i would love to tell you some things. pure body care products are easier than you think--and there are lots of things (like olive oil) that you can use on your body. we'll talk.

katrina said...

i would also suggest dr. bronner's!
and making deodorant is not very hard, some of my friends have used this recipe:

Jess said...

LOL about the toothpaste. my homemade toothpaste has been pushed to the back of the bathroom cabinet as well. I usually find sales on Tom's and stock up. I alternate b/t a cheap shampoo and using baking soda and water to wash my hair. I agree with Kelsey - I use coconut oil to clean my face. I rub it in at night and then use a damp, warm washcloth to "steam" my face (lay it on top of my face) and then wipe away the oil. In the morning just a splash of cold water is all you need. Feels great! I exfoliate my face every now and then w baking soda and water. I use coconut oil as after-shower moisturizer everywhere, and if my hair feels dry I even rub some in the ends of it.
I hear you on this issue though. It drives me crazy, too.

bright lights, big cities said...

yes, I would say dr. bronner's is probably the best way to go! And A LOT does go a long way. You can even save more $$ by bringing your own bottle and buying it from the bulk area (which most health food stores have). This is also a great way to save on some organic beauty products because you're not buying the package and you can reuse a bottle many times and just pay buy the ounce!!

Also, the whole foods market (I'm not sure how you feel about whole foods: shopping here, you still have to look at the labels to make sure there isn't any nasty things) the Organic 365 brand offers a lot of products at a really great price. I live by their mint shampoo (when I live in the US anyway). I'm more into natural remedies rather than making natural products for personal use, sorry i'm not too much help in this area!

Tori said...

Nat-i have not had the opportunity to do it yet, but i've been thinking a lot about attempting to make beet blush. I've read a few articles about make lip and cheek tint with beet roots! So cheap & i can imagine the color is beautiful.

I am with everyone on the Dr. Bronner's. Totally affordable because it lasts forever! Also, a great product for when you go camping or to festivals that have a river to wash in near by because it does not pollute the water! i wanna say it's even safe for pets, though i am not 100% sure.

For moisturizing my face i used almond oil. I bought a 16 oz bottle of the "NOW" brand for probably $10. i've had it for about 7 months & still have HALF of it left..and that's with using it on my face once a day & on my body probably twice a week. It is awesome too because it absorbs REALLY well & doesn't make you look or feel greasy like some other oils can.

You could even try looking on Amazon for deals on products...i haven't really done that myself for these types of things but it seems like everything else can be found for a good deal on there.

Love you girl!

honey and salt said...

I don't know if someone else already said this, but here is a link to a post I made regarding personal care products. I also list what I use now which can be a good starting point. I'm also working on making my own stuff. I used to make my own shampoo, but havent for a while, and I would use vinegar as a conditioning rinse. Witch hazel is a great cleansing astringent. But all my other products are mentioned in this post:

Luke Freeman said...

What lovely radishes!

onelonelyapricot said...

I have been dealing with these issues for the past few years also and it can be hard to find suitable replacements on a budget! The worst is when, like in your toothpaste example, you spend time and money trying something out that just doesn't seem to work in the end. I have a few things to report from methods I have tried.

I second everyone on Dr. Bronner's. Personally I use it for body wash, hand soap, laundry detergent, and as a household cleaner. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have the best prices on it by far. I usually buy the unscented liquid type (but I use the bars, grated, for laundry--citrus is the best scent!) and add a few drops of essential oil to scent it. The lavender was the best liquid scented type, I found, but it is pretty strong and that is why I started making my own scents. I do not recommend the peppermint. It was very harsh on my skin and dried it out. For laundry, I grate 1 bar of Dr. Bronner's with a cheese grater, and add in 1 c. borax and 1 c. washing soda. I use a few Tbsp. of vinegar in the wash for fabric softener.

Like Tori, I have also been thinking of making beet blush. I found a recipe for it and some other makeup products in an issue of Ready Made last year. I will try to see if I can find it on my bookshelf and scan it in for you this weekend! If you want to buy make-up, I found a really wonderful Etsy shop that sells vegan, chemical free, handmade make-up, that is actually very affordable! They have a great deal also where you can order 4 samples from them for $2. I would recommend this because the colors were different than what I expected and having the samples helped me figure out what would be best. They make lip gloss, mineral powder and foundation, eyeshadow, and blush. My favorites are the powder and lip gloss.

I have also been using the oil cleansing method for my face for a few months now. I sometimes use Dr. Bronner's if I feel my face is getting too oily, but that is rare. All of my fears about this method of washing my face were unfounded! I use 1/2 castor oil, 1/2 olive oil. It goes a long way, so even though the castor oil was around $10, it will last a very long time, and the olive oil I just have in the kitchen already. I mix up about 1/4 cup at a time and keep it in a small jar in the shower, and it lasts about 2 weeks. I would like to replace the olive oil with something else, maybe almond oil, because the scent of it is a little too strong for me and makes me think of cooking, which is not too pleasant while showering! However, that aside, I like the process of cleansing with the oil and it actually does an awesome job of removing make-up.

I haven't found anything suitable to replace shampoo, however. I tried the natural shampoo from Whole Foods because it was affordable at only $3 per bottle, but it wasn't sudsy enough for me. It felt like a battle to get it to spread around my hair to get it all clean. It also dried my hair out a little, even with conditioner. So I'm still looking for something to replace my shampoo. I've considered the no-shampoo method but it is hard to find a free month when I don't need to look professional to get through the detox stage.

morgandkim said...

Thanks so much for sharing this story of stuff video. Fascinating stuff. Ive been trying to make my own body products and cleaning products but im new to this game. I had a go at making my own toothpaste. You can read about it here.

please share some stuff you try make on your blog, I would love to see the results.

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

I just heart you.

Chelsea said...

Hi Natalie, came your way via tend, and it is very lovely here. I grew up in KS, so you are in somewhat familiar territory...:) I started this journey with "products" a few years ago when I was pregnant with my older son, and this is what I've learned...

The best "natural" toothpaste is plain liquid castille soap (like Dr. Bronners) with therapeutic grade (youngliving or doterra) peppermint or wintergreen essential oil. It only takes a couple of drops per brush.

For hair, we love J.R. Liggett's Old Fashioned Bar Shampoo, which is less than $4, lasts forever, feels a little weird to rub a bar of soap on your head at first, but actually works into a great lather and isn't too drying.

I use Amy's "recipe" for deoderant ( and am quite happy with it. A single batch lasts quite a while (we are at 5 months and have barely put a dent into it), so the original costliness of the ingredients is forgiveable. You have to scrape at the surface a bit with your fingernail to get a bit off, but as soon as you start rubbing it in, it softens up and goes on nicely.

I've been using coconut oil (the kind you can buy in the cooking section) as a moisturizer lately (just after the shower, or whenever I have time to let it soak in), and am quite happy with it -- I tend towards really dry skin / psoriasis, and this works just as well, if not better, than any of the chemical laden lotions out there...

Check out for any organic / natural products you would rather just purchase (they have dr. bronners, weleda, etc) -- you can get them significantly discounted on this site, and they have $5 flat-rate shipping (good for a big stock-up every couple of months or so).

Good luck to you! +Chelsea

ALFIE said...

shampoo is tough-- but i have found that i can brush my teeth with straight baking soda. not too tasty-- but effective. you can spike it with mint oil if you'd like.

cheap as can be-- and safe!!

morgandkim said...

I just found this post and thought you might like it.. enjoy.

Vivian said...

Some others have mentioned some of these, but here is what we do (and you know how cheap we are!):
We have on hand bulk supplies of: vinegar (distilled), apple cider vinegar (raw), dr. bronner's or some other simple natural soap (whatevers on sale - I used to use bronners for everything but even it has become out of our price range), baking soda (baking soda, baking soda, did I mention baking soda?) and raw coconut oil.
BATH SOAP: My friend Lacey's make lye soap and sends me a few pieces until I run out again, so we use that in the shower.
HAIR: We "no-poo", have for years, and only use a heavy dose of baking soda and water to scrub our scalp and then rinse/condition with apple cider vinegar.

FACEWASH: For my face, I wash with baking soda, sometimes leave it on as like a mask to dry. Then I moisturize with raw coconut oil, usually just dab a bit on my t-zone while I'm making smoothies with it :) (Azure has decent prices on raw coconut oil by the gallon).

TOOTHPASTE (best mouth cleaner EVER): sea salt, baking soda, raw coconut oil, and a little essential oil (pepperment, spearmint, etc) and raw stevia if you need easing into it (we just throw the first 3 ingredients in a jar, make a paste, and keep it in the medicine cabinet.)

DEODERANT: raw coconut oil and baking soda (a little essential oil would be find if you have tea tree or lavendar - both kill bacteria and smell good.) you have to apply a couple of times a day if its been hot, but otherwise it works amazingly!

CLEANING: you can do just about everything in your house with distilled vinegar (sinks, mirrors, windows, and as a bleach in your whites), lemons, baking soda (abrasive tub scrub, laundry, etc), etc. Vinegar and baking soda together make a powerful scrub and even unclog drains.

Do you see the trend here? Having these VERY cheap (except maybe the raw coconut oil) ingredients on hand means I'm rarely without hygiene/cleaning, and since all are so multi-purpose I have very little waste with all those little bottles and bottles of stuff that used to be under the sink!

I can't even remember the last time I was in the beauty/hygiene isle! lol

Also- remember bpa-free on toothbrushes.

Oh, and economical and natural makeup: order from Everyday Minerals online. AWESOME company and you get a lot of bang for your buck. I spent about 20 bucks on all my make-up over a year ago and still have yet to run out.


Dmarie said...

I've not had much luck with green products, so I meet green halfway, using the green stuff every other time. I made a thick paste with baking soda and a bit of water & use about 1.5 teaspoons on my hair every other day, alternating with a commercial shampoo. Because I think deodorant works best when layered, I roll on a green "crystal" deodorant at night after my shower and then use my favorite commercial stick deodorant in the morn. This halfway method is working for me until I find better, more affordable green products.

Nicole said...

Hi, I know you posted this entry a long time ago, but I just read it now. I use just plain baking soda for toothpaste. It sounds like it wouldn't taste very good, and at first it is kind of wierd, but I like it and it leaves your mouth as fresh as toothpaste, or even more so. I just keep it in a glass jar, and then dip my toothbrush in. I have heard that some people add herbs to mix it up a little, but I like it plain. You may, however, want each person to have their own jar, so it doesn't get germy.:)Also, at only a few dollars a box it is very affordable.By the way, I love your photos, they have an effortless and ethereal quality to them, and they are very beautiful.

Andrea said...

Hey Natalie... I'm slightly late to your post, but I highly recommend a recent post with recipes I did of some of my most favorites.

For other things... such as deodorant I've switched to just pure baking soda (a little dab with wet fingers) and I have not tried but have heard others use baking soda & vinegar technique ( for hair washing. What others tell me with this method you do not wash your hair everyday but once a week and you must use rain water...

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