I remember a time when our bathroom was littered with bottles of body washes, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions… and probably some other stuff that I don’t even want to think about. We had different combinations and formulas for each family member… and were spending money like crazy on products designed to strip the body of its natural oils… and then products to replace that natural oils.
We had an endless supply of plastic bottles that were ending up in the recycling bin… and an even longer list of dangerous chemicals that were ending up on and in our bodies. Every single day, we were slathering on chemicals that are known to:
Disrupt brain development, or performance
Create reproductive issues, including lower sperm count in men and damage to boys’ reproductive systems
Cause a number of other problems from migraines to allergies to skin issues
Contrary to popular belief, the rows upon rows of cosmetics lining our grocery store shelves are NOT necessarily safe; the FDA has no authority to require that cosmetics be tested for safety before they are put on the market — or on our bodies.
“Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.”
I say this all the time… and I mean it. Whether it’s sunscreen or shampoo, if it’s not safe to eat, then I don’t want to put it on my skin. Which is not to say that I would eat it; shampoo, even this shampoo, tastes quite disgusting. 😉
Your skin is your largest organ — and it is highly permeable. Just about anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your skin… and from there into your bloodstream. In fact, it may be even more dangerous to put some of these chemicals on your skin than into your mouth! If you were to ingest them, at least the enzymes in your saliva and stomach would help break them down, and flush them out of your system. But when you absorb them through your skin, this natural defense is bypassed, and the chemicals have the chance to accumulate in your body!
Be sure to check out Skin Deep to see how your shampoo measures up, and to find the safest choices. There are a number of companies that provide safer products — but they can be a little pricey, and it doesn’t really solve the problem of dozens of plastic bottles in the recycle bin.
The solution is easy: Make your own!
Our bathroom is now host to exactly one (refillable) plastic bottle that fulfills the shampoo needs of three people (I am strictly no poo, but that is a post for another day!) and the soap/body wash needs of four. We also keep a tiny spray bottle by the sink for hand washing.
The Basic Recipe
1/2 cup castile soap (we like the scent free kind, like this), or buy castile soap here
1 cup water, filtered is best
15-25 drops of essential oils, buy high quality essential oils here, or here; use less if you intend to use this on babies or small pets. We like 10 drops each of tea tree oil and lavender for our basic, all-purpose recipe
12 oz plastic spray bottle (normally I don’t recommend plastic for storing recipes including essential oils, but I also don’t recommend using glass bottles in the shower — especially a shower that might also contain a 10-year-old!)
Your favorite washcloth or “puff,” optional
Add the castile soap to the spray bottle. Slowly add water to fill. Add essential oils. Gently swish to mix.
Give it a gentle shake before each use. The shampoo is runny (hence the spray bottle) so spray it directly onto your hair, work in, and rinse.
If you need a conditioner or detangler, try adding 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water (we keep a plastic measuring cup in the bathroom for this), rinse hair with the vinegar, and then rinse out with plain water. (The vinegar smell will be gone by the time your hair is dry, I promise.)
For a deep conditioner, try a fingernail full of coconut oil worked into the ends. A little goes a looong way, so be careful!
Since we have switched away from “regular” products, we have noticed better, healthier skin (I almost never use lotion anymore!) and hair, a better sense of smell, and fewer headaches. And a lot less waste! 🙂
Other combinations we like…
Good Morning Sunshine
10 drops Peppermint
10 drops Rosemary
5 drops Tea Tree
15 drops Lavender
5 drops Chamomile
Lice Stay Away
5 drops Tea Tree
5 drops Lavender
5 drops Peppermint
5 drops Eucalyptus
5 drops Rosemary
(For more on head lice, be sure to check out Lice Stay Away Spray,and
Please note: Not all essential oils are recommended for all individuals. For example, women who are pregnant are generally told to avoid rosemary oil. For more information, see Essential Oil Safety or follow the cautions and warnings on the individual oils. If you have any concerns, contact an aromatherapy expert.
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