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10 Healthy Changes To Make To Your Personal Care Routine

Written by contributor Emily Clements of Live Renewed.

As we”ve been talking about green goal setting for the upcoming year, one big area that gives us lots of opportunities for change is our personal care routines.  I have been making changes to my personal care products little by little, over time, sometimes having to try a few different options before I”ve found what works best for me and for my routine.

Making changes to your personal care products may seem overwhelming when you think about all of the different products that you use throughout the day, especially when you have favorite products that you”ve been using for a long time.  What”s more overwhelming, at least to me, is thinking about the thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to each day from our personal care products, most of which have not even been tested for their safety.

You can revamp your personal care routine by choosing safer and more natural products, and by taking baby steps – changing one product at a time until it becomes a normal part of your routine. Here are some changes you can make to green your personal care throughout your day, from your morning routine, “til you”re ready to hit the sack at night.

10 Healthy Changes to Make to Your Personal Care Routine This Year

1. Switch to the no “poo method.

You can wash your hair without using conventional shampoos and conditioners, and your hair might actually look better in the long run!  I shared a pretty in depth post about the no “poo method on my blog if you need a place to start.  There are also great posts at Simple Mom, Keeper of the Home, and Kitchen Stewardship for more information and motivation to give it a try.

2. Start making your own deodorant.

Katie gave us the deodorant challenge last summer and found that for her, homemade deodorant worked just as well as the store-bought stuff.  It”s easy to make, and a batch will last you a really long time.  I”ve been using homemade deodorant myself for over a year and would never go back to antiperspirant.

Photo by kkinjo

3.  Switch to a natural toothpaste and floss daily.

Did you know that many brands of toothpaste contain triclosan, the antibacterial agent found in hand soaps and cleaners?  Seek out a natural toothpaste that does not contain triclosan and in order to fight further against cavities, make sure to floss every day, choosing a eco-friendly dental floss.

I”ve heard of dentists saying that flossing does more to prevent cavities than actually brushing your teeth does, and I believe it.  My dad has been flossing every day and brushing his teeth with just water, no toothpaste at all, and hasn”t had a cavity in years, and it also helped with bad breath he was struggling with. So I guess you could stop using toothpaste all together if you wanted to (but you might want to check with your spouse before you make that decision.)

4. Use safe and more natural makeup.

Whether switching to mineral makeup, or just finding a safe brand of makeup that you like, this can be a tricky change to make because there are not a lot of options at your local drugstore.  One of my own personal green goals this year is to find natural and safe makeup to use.  Changing your foundation and lipstick is a good place to start, and then you can switch the rest of your products as you are able.

5. Drink more water.

Water helps to hydrate our skin and flush our bodies of toxins.  It”s important to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.  If you add lemon to your water, it has even more health benefits.

Photo by the Italian voice

6. Change your hand soap.

We”ve talked about triclosan and the harmful effects of this antibacterial agent on the environment before, and this is an important change to make for our health, and the health of our families, and our earth.  Make the switch to regular hand soap without triclosan, or try making your own foaming hand soap.

7. Use shea butter on your hands.

After washing your hands over and over, especially in the winter, they can easily become dry and cracked.  Pure shea butter is a great moisturizer and helps to keep hands soft and smooth. I make sure to put some on my hands every night before bed (it”s great for feet too!), and definitely notice a different if I forget to put it on even for one night.

8. Wash Your Face Naturally with the Oil Cleansing Method.

It my seem counter intuitive to some to wash their face with oil, but I”ve been using the oil cleansing method for over a month now and it really does work great.  I also love how inexpensive it is, and that it has replaced my need for lots of different face products.

9.  Use Jojoba Oil for Your Eye Makeup Remover.

Natural oils, such as jojoba or even olive oil, work great for removing mascara and other eye makeup before bed. Used together with the oil cleansing method, my makeup comes off easily at night without scrubbing, and my skin is left feeling soft and smooth.

10.  Use Pure Lanolin for Your Lips Before Bed.

I actually got this tip from Tsh at Simple Mom over a year ago.  I used to use petroleum jelly on my lips before bed every night to keep them soft and from getting chapped. Nothing like putting a little byproduct of oil drilling onto your mouth every night.  I have since changed my ways, and now use pure lanolin to help protect and heal my lips, especially in the dry winter months.

Although some of these changes are as easy as switching out one product for a safer and more natural alternative, others may require a little more adjustment to your routine, but I”m willing to bet that within a month or so, you won”t even notice the difference, and you”ll wonder what took you so long to make the change in the first place.

What are your goals for greening your personal care routine this year?

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  1. Jackie @ Crest Cottage

    Love it! Right now I am doing no-poo and using coconut oil as deodorant. I recently developed a home made shave oil for my husband, and toothpaste and mouthwash recipes are next up on the list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kara

    Uh oh. I was making my own deodorant (and it worked great) until the Texas heat made me switch back. Problem is, I was only going to use the bad kind for a few months until I moved to a cooler climate (which I have)…and I forgot to switch back! I need to get back to making it right away.

    As for makeup, I don’t wear too much of it, but I am still trying to find a natural alternative to mascara. I’m looking into this company:

  3. Jessica

    Thanks for this post! My family and I are doing all of these items already. I started switching us out about 1yr to 6 months ago, except the no ‘poo thang. I just can’t get it to work. I have a head full of gray hair – so of course I dye it every other month. I tried the baking soda and ACV on my hair for several weeks and all that happened was my hair began to break off and feel & look like some serious scare crow head. 🙁 So now I am working on making some herbal shampoo & conditioner instead. I make our own DO and my husband loves it. My kids and I actually make the toothpaste together. We do add a little cinnamon to it for brightening purposes – found that tidbit in a herb book I got for my daughter. I’ve been using mineral make-up for years. I purchase that from Whole Foods. I always knew that there was a more natural way of life then just something off the store shelf. I would never have been able to do any of these things without your site. I found everything here that I needed to get started. And luckily my husband supported the change in our household. Thanks for the inspiration and the encouragement.

    • 'Becca

      Jessica, have you tried washing your hair with vinegar only–no baking soda? It works wonderfully for me! I don’t dye my hair; I’m in the process of going gray, and the gray hairs are much wirier than the dark ones, but with vinegar washing they lie down much more smoothly than if I use shampoo.

      • Jessica

        Hi ‘Becca:

        Thanks so much for the info. I will most definitely try this out!

  4. SaraR

    I’ve just restarted the oil cleansing method. I don’t remember why I stopped in the first place. I’m glad for the suggestion of oils for removing mascara. Oh, and the shea butter idea, I like that one.

    • Dawn

      I love the oil-cleansing method, but noticed that when I used olive oil to remove eye makeup, my eyes burned and watered. I later read that olive oil can irritate eyes. Any suggestions for alternatives that won’t irritate eyes? Is jojoba oil, suggested in the article along with olive oil, any better?

  5. Elizabeth E.

    Great post! I’ve made some major changes over the past year in this arena. I have three “biggies” that I’m always chomping at the bit to share with people because they have been such great changes.

    1. I ditched shampoo last August and it was a snap. I used baking soda on my hair/scalp to wash and lemon juice to condition the hair. Then, before I blow dry I put a tiny (really tiny) bit of olive oil on my hands and run them through my hair. It gets rid of the frizz without adding any greasiness or stickiness. Best of all my hair stays clean longer and holds it’s style longer. I can get away with washing it about 2 times per week now and it still looks great.

    2. I tried to oil method to cleanse my skin for a while and then just stopped washing it altogether. At night, before going to bed I just wipe my face with a steaming hot face cloth. My skin is clearer than it’s ever been in my adult life.

    3. I’ve always been a “sweater”. Gross, I know, but what can I say, it’s true. I’ve struggled for years to find a deodorant that worked well for me. Now, I make my own: 1 part baking soda to 1 part arrowroot powder, then mix in coconut oil until it’s the consistency you want. I cleaned out an old deodorant container and put it in. I’ve never been drier, smelled nicer, or had fewer problems with sweating and smelling. It’s perfection.

  6. Vicky

    I switch to the oil cleansing method about 6 months ago and my skit is SOOO much better. It used to be a strange combo of oily in places with break outs, really dry in places and it was sensitive. My checks were always spotted red with little breakouts. While my skin is still on the dry side, I have no more break outs and my sking isn’t red at all. I use a moisturizing oil (classic facial oil) from as moisturizer and it has keeps my skin hydrated all day. I may try to mix something similiar myself one day, but I think this little bottle will last me quite a while.

  7. Ashley

    funny you should mention that about flossing – a dentist friend of mine was telling me just this weekend that flossing is what gets rid of what causes bad breath and cavities, not brushing!

    I’ve been trying to find a deodorant recipe that works for me. Corn starch leads to an almost immediate underarm yeast infection, and straight coconut oil won’t hold up all day, I’d have to keep putting it on. Maybe I’ll try the arrowroot mentioned in the comments above.

    • Julie

      I’ve found that the best deodorant for me is lemon juice. Apply it at night (before shaving though….Ouch if you apply it after). Wash off any residue after about 15 – 20 minutes later. If you wish, you can dust with cornstarch in the AM. Even when we lived in Texas, I could go about 2 days before re-applying the lemon juice. Now that we live up north, I can go an entire week with one application of lemon juice in the winter.

  8. Mamabear

    I do wish everyone would quit saying “no poo!” It doesn’t help the cause! Ha ha. I prefer a shampoo bar over the baking soda, but other than that, we have made most of these changes (and then some) and I love the simplicity of it.

    • Whitney @ Nesting Season

      Ha ha! The “no ‘poo” business icks me out, too. Maybe “sanspoo,” said fluidly like “shampoo” would conjure fewer disturbing images. — Or maybe it’s just me (and you?) coming from a season of life where “poo” is an all too common topic of discussion. 🙂

  9. Stephanie Lindunda

    Hi, you should check out a company called Arbonne for make-up. They have really high standards and have never tested on animals. They also never use and animal or animal by-products in any of their products. They do not use mineral oil but use botanical oils as a base instead. Their products never contain benzene, petrolatum, phthalates, toluene, or PABA. They are committed to being green. And are also vegan certified! And their make-up is amazing. It is up to par and better than professional make-up. I personally love their lip glosses (which I use as a lip moisturizer at times) and mascara!

  10. Alyssa @ Kingdom First Mom

    Can you recommend a good toothpaste? I am making my own now, but it’s a bit harsh. I prefer fluoride and glycerin free. Thanks so much!

    • Robin

      I like Toms of Maine. You have to read the box, as they make about 20 different types – with fluoride, without fluoride, some are SLS-free triclosan-free, etc. Bonus, the tube is metal instead of plastic!

  11. Hip Mountain Mama

    Great post. I have been doing no poo for a few months and love it. I like the idea of making my own deodorant…am going to give this a try this year!

  12. Ashley

    I already do a lot of these, yay! I can’t seem to get natural deodorants to work for me, though I haven’t tried making my own. The thing I have found that works amazingly is the salt crystal deodorant. No chemicals, just water and a salt crystal. I will be flossing a lot more since I did not know that it, not brushing a ton, helps prevent cavities! Thanks for posting this, I’m going to share it on Facebook 🙂

  13. Alicia

    I loved this post! I do many of them and want to try more, so the links are much appreciated. Thanks!

  14. Diana

    I’m in the process of switching over to the no-poo method on my hair. I still have a bit of shampoo & conditioner I’ve been trying to use up, but being as I am only washing every other day and then going back and forth between shampoo & castile soap, it’s taking a while. I’m hoping that I’ve slowly transitioned my hair to not make so much oil and I won’t be super greasy when I completely cut the shampoo.

    I want to switch to homemade deodorant, but the baking soda made me BURN and just coconut oil was not cutting it for me right now. I bought a much more natural deodorant and I’m hoping I can ease into homemade w/o a month of stinkyness, or my poor husband might kick me out of bed!

    I don’t use any makeup, and I made the switch to foaming castile soap a while back. 😀

  15. Jenn

    I love this info.! I have been making my own deodorant and love it too. It is so easy and feel great that it is better for me and the environment. I have been wanting to try the no-poo method and am now motivate to start immediately. Well, ok tomorrow anyway. Just to make sure I understand…most of you just put baking soda in your hair? Or vinegar? Thanks!

  16. Whitney @ Nesting Season

    I love lanolin! In preparation for breastfeeding my first born, I got multiple tubes of the stuff. Turns out I didn’t need it for that purpose (yay!), but I found many other uses–from lip balm to cuticle cream.

    I’m with you on almost everything else, too–except for washing my face with oil. I haven’t had good skin since second grade, and the concept goes against everything I know to be true. I’ll check out your info, though, and let you know if I convert.

  17. Emily

    Fun!! Thanks for all the great tips. I hope to try some soon. My green goal for now is to go no poo.

  18. Kelly

    We do 1, 2, and 3. I don’t wear makeup hardly ever. I do need to drink more water, but get plenty of hot herbal tea this time of year. We don’t use antibacterial soap and we made hard lotion bars at Christmas time that have shea butter in them. Ready to try 8, don’t need 9 and have a homemade lip balm also, but not from lanolin. This was a great list to assess where we’re at!

  19. Emily @ Random Recycling

    On my list to try: lanolin to replace my cherry chapstick, oil cleansing method. Thanks for the suggestions!

  20. ramona petto

    I want to try the oil face cleaning method. I’m a runner and sweat heavily during workouts. Should I still wash the oil method way after I exercise?

  21. Toronto Real Estate

    Sticking with a new routine is easier if you do it at the same time every day. It requires less mental effort and soon becomes an unconscious positive force.

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