The most popular post on Simple Mom continues to be one I wrote back in 2009, when I revealed that I don’t wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner. To this day, people continually ask me if it’s true, as though I wrote that post just to come across all “simple living” and green, when really, I stockpile Suave in the garage and sneak it in when the paparazzi’s not around.
So to continue with a “back to the basics” sort-of theme we’ve got on the blog this month, I thought we could talk about beauty routines and products. We started with handbags, but I promise it’s not going to all be girly stuff.
I’ll tell you below whether I really do go no-poo, how I wash my skin with oil, and what I go ahead and splurge on, guilt-free.
Yep… I really do use baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clean my hair. There’ve been a few hiati (plural of hiatus? Not sure there…) when I’ve switched to a chemical-free shampoo for a few months, but I always go back to the simple baking soda-vinegar route.
(If you’re curious, my breaks are mostly for travel, when I’ve forgotten to bring my baking soda and ACV, or when I was pregnant with my last and even baking soda couldn’t control the oil created by my hormonal wackiness.)
You can read the how in my original post (and the update); it remains the same for me, though plenty of people do it differently—you’ve just got to experiment with the ratios to get it right for your hair.
Yes, it takes time for your hair to adjust back to producing healthy oils, so if you want to start, pick a time when you don’t have any regatta galas for a month (namethatTVshow). You may need to wear a hat for a month, but once your hair gets back to producing the oils it’s supposed to for shiny, healthy hair, you’ll be glad you suffered.
And nope, the vinegar doesn’t make your hair smell—you wash it out. But some readers have found alternatives to the vinegar.
After my hair dries, I rub some Hair Butter into the ends (avoiding my scalp) to make my hair behave and lay smoothly. I need to stock up on this stuff in case Renee decides to stop making it—it’s my absolute favorite product.
Every night, I wash my face by dipping my fingers into a mason jar filled with three parts olive oil to one part castor oil. I massage it in to my face, then rinse it off with a hot washcloth. My skin and my wallet thank me for it.
I wrote about the hows and whys several years ago (and also wrote an update), and I remain a huge, huge fan of the oil cleansing method. It washes off makeup without a trace, it leaves my skin clean and soft, and it’s cheap.
I moisturize my skin with coconut oil, both on my face and the rest of my body. I scoop a bit out, rub it in my palms to soften it a bit, and massage it all over. I let it sink in to my skin for a minute or two before getting dressed, because it’s a bit oily at first. But it’s also a little slice of heaven on earth.
To avoid coconut oil leaks on the go, I use a travel-sized tin of Hair Butter to soften my skin. It smells divine, too.
Chapstick, Carmex, Burt’s Beeswax, even homemade lip balms—they all eventually dry out my lips. The only thing that doesn’t is lanolin. Yep, the stuff you use for cracked nipples when you’re nursing.
A tiny bit goes a long way, so I just ran out of my recent tube of lanolin back from Finn’s baby days, almost three years ago. I couldn’t find any local shops that carried any, so I bought some off Amazon. Hopefully this tube will last me years, too.
Lanolin also helps heal my kids’ minor skin woes as well, from rashes to chapped skin.
This is the one area with which I straddle the fence. Obviously, the purest, most eco-friendly thing I could do is swear off makeup. But I’m not going to right now because, well, I like makeup and not looking like a cavewoman (update: I’m sure those of you who’ve chosen to not wear makeup look lovely and uncavewomanish. I’m referring to me here). I don’t wear much, but I do wear some daily.
Because I save so much money with everything else, I’m okay with spending more money on eco-friendly, better-for-my-skin products, mineral makeup in particular. My favorite brand is Mineral Fusion, which you can buy online, Wegmans, or Whole Foods (and probably other places, too), and they often have coupons for $3 off.
They’ve also got good information on the benefits of mineral makeup over conventional.
Okay, so this isn’t a beauty product, per se, but it belongs in the bathroom cabinet right along with my olive oil cleaner and baking soda, so I thought I’d bring it up. I’ve used the same Diva Cup for almost seven years, and I don’t even want to calculate how much money I’ve saved not buying disposable products. I won’t go in to details, but let’s just say it works great and it makes travel a million times easier.
It adds up
It might sound like the antithesis of “back to the basics” to make your own hair-cleansing formula or face wash, but I’ve found these items keep my care routine simple for these reasons:
1. I use these products for other things, too. Hello, baking soda and vinegar as house cleaners and recipe ingredients. Coconut oil? Use the stuff in my daily cooking. In other words, I’m buying most of this anyway.
2. A little goes a long way with every one of these. These products last ages.
3. These things are so much cheaper than conventional beauty products. Sometimes, ridiculously cheaper.
4. They’re good for my body. No unpronounceable ingredients concocted in a lab, and I know every single bit that’s going on me.
5. They’re better for the earth. Conventional shampoos include petroleum, to name one example, and I’m all about using less fossil fuel.
Overwhelmed? Try one thing.
If reading this makes you feel like you’re already behind, don’t let it. Like I say in my e-book, just do one thing at a time. There’s no hurry, so long as you’re moving forward. Give olive oil cleansing a try, or maybe order a small tube of lanolin and see what you think.
So yep… I keep my beauty routine—and my bathroom cabinet—nice and simple with these products. I can’t imagine ever going back to “normal” products.
Your turn—what’s your favorite go-to beauty tip or product?