Friday, November 23, 2012

Cleaning Green Part 3: Moisturizer/Lotion

It's winter, it's dry, and my skin starts to resemble something between fish scales and chicken skin. It's not pretty, and I have to use a moisturizer daily. For the last few years, I've been searching for an enivironmentally friendly moisturizer. I tried shea butter, but I just don't like the smell.  Then, a couple of months ago, I was at the DC Green Festival and I came across the Dr. Bronner's booth....and I think I've now found the solution. (ok, roll your eyes because I'm going to promote yet another Dr. Bronner's product to solve a problem).

Dr. Bronner now makes fair trade organic virgin coconut oil!  It's great as a cooking oil, but it's also a great moisturizer.  The oil absorbs into your skin quickly, so while it smells great as you apply it, you don't go around smelling like a coconut all day.  You really don't!  I bought a jar for about $11 at my local "Yes!". I think you can buy it at Wholefoods as well. To boot, it's sold in glass jars that helps me lower my plastic footprint.....and I'm not slathering a bunch of chemicals on my body everyday...just some natural and good smelling oil!  I really love this stuff...and it leaves my skin feeling very soft.  As it's hard to get my fingers into the jar, I just scooped out a few spoonfuls and packed it into plastic tub with a lid that I had.  I've also got a jar in the kitchen for cooking. Give it a try!....and stay tuned over the next weeks for my eco-friendly present ideas!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cleaning Green Part 2: No Poo!

OK, I've done it! I'm a recent convert to the No Poo Shampoo Movement!  I read Beth Terry's book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too over the summer.  It was a quick and fun read, but it also made me consider how I could further reduce my plastic and chemical footprint. I'd heard of using baking soda and water as a shampoo, but I color my hair a couple of times a year and I was afraid to try it. Then, in the spirit of "nothing ventured, nothing gained, but more because my shampoo bottle was empty, I decided to give the No Poo method a try.  

My Hair Regimen: Baking Soda and Vinegar
You'll find all sorts of No Poo recipes on the web. I decided to keep it simple. I put a tablespoon of baking soda into an empty shampoo bottle, filled it up with water..and voilĂ . ! I squirt a 2 or so tablespoons of the mix on my hair and massage it into my scalp. The mixture doesn't foam up..which takes some getting used to..and honestly, as other folks will tell you, there is a transition phase of 2-3 weeks while your hair remembers how to make its own (natural) oils (since its forgotten how to do this since you've been putting chemical shampoos on it for all these years!)  My hair became very dry.  Once I started using a vinegar and water rinse, things improved quickly (I mix a 3 tablespoons of vinegar to 2 cups of water, but you don't have to be exact and the vinegar smell doesn't stay in your hair). If you miss that "after shampoo" smell, add a couple of drops of jasmine or lavender essence to the vinegar rinse. (No Poo leaves your hair clean, but with no smell).

Now, my hair feels great and looks like it did when I used regular shampoo...but I'm not putting  all those chemicals on my scalp or down the drain. I'm also reducing my plastic footprint by not buying more plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I travel for work, so I pack a small amount of baking soda in my my luggage so I can make a No Poo mix at my destination (and have downsized the liquids I travel with in the process). I'm a fan!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cleaning Green Part 1: Soap!

At the DC GreenFest a couple of weeks ago, I came across the Dr. Bronner's booth. A long time favorite, that is both FairTrade and USDA Certified Organic, Dr. Bronner's is still out there. I buy their soap in a gallon size jug that I store under my sink. The soap is uber-duber concentrated, so I've long diluted it to wash my dishes and for my hand washing needs on the road or at home.  The soaps come in a variety of flavors. Dr. Bronner's soaps are:
  • Completely biodegradable and vegetable-based; 
  • Made with Certified Fair Trade and Organic Oils; 
  • Multi-Purpose: 18-in-1 Uses
  • Use no synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives; and
  • arepackaged in 100% Post-Consume Recycled Bottles and Paper Labels
What's not to love!