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A natural beauty update

I recently updated you on my hair care (not the most important topic in the world, but hey, you’ve been asking). While the baking soda, vinegar routine work well for my family because it’s frugal and non-toxic, I realize it may not be ideal for everyone. That’s okay.

I figured it’s a good time to update you on my other beauty and health care routines.

More than anything, I think it’s important to make an informed choice about what goes on our bodies. Just like what goes in (food), what we slather on our largest organ also affects our health. Plus, quality health and beauty products can really empty the wallet.

So our family sticks with the simple, which also happen to be pretty natural and (usually) frugal.

Several years ago, I listed what we were using for health and beauty. For the most part, this hasn’t changed.


We still use Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap. It lasts forever, so it’s much more cost-effective than what it seems at first glance. We’ve also used Whole Foods’ store brand castile soap, which is even cheaper on sale (though stay away from the almond scent, which smells like Play-doh, in my opinion).

Castile soap is made exclusively from vegetable oils (usually olive) instead of animal fats. I love that it leaves absolutely no reside—I never noticed how filmy traditional body washes and soap left my skin until we switched to castile.


Natural lotion is simply a mixture of water, oil, emulsifier (which blends the water and oil together so that it doesn’t separate), a thickener (the most common is stearic acid, found in cocoa butter), and a natural preservative. There are tons of natural liquid lotions available, both in the health section of grocery stores and online (lots of great Etsy shops make lotion).

Currently, my favorite is hard lotion from Made On. It looks like a bar of soap, but when you rub it on your skin, it gently melts and glides across your skin. I also use straight up coconut oil, though be mindful that it takes a few minutes to seep into your skin (it feels oily at first).

Facial moisturizer

I’m still going strong with only coconut oil (Vitacost is my favorite place for large quantities of coconut oil—their prices are great, and they have free shipping over $49). A little goes a long way, and combined with my oil cleansing method (explained below), keeps my skin supple soft.

Face cleanser

Two years later, and I’m still so glad I discovered the oil cleansing method (OCM) from from my friend Megan at Sorta Crunchy. Who would’ve ever thought you’d use oil to make your skin cleaner? This method has been a godsend.

Lip balm

I still use 100 percent lanolin, the stuff you use when nursing. It lasts forever; I’m actually still using the same tube from when I nursed my second-born back in 2008.

It doesn’t dry out my lips, so I apply it about twice per day. It also makes my lips look fuller and with its subtle sheen, I almost never use lipstick. If I ever want a little color, I use some Burt’s Bees lip shimmer.


For awhile, I made our own toothpaste. This was when we lived overseas and had no access to toothpaste with decent ingredients. Kyle honestly never loved the flavor, so when we returned to the U.S., we switched to Tom’s of Maine. I know the brand isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for us.


Katie Kimball makes her own deodorant, and I applaud her. Sounds like a very doable recipe. I just don’t haven’t devoted the time to make it, so I use Arm & Hammer’s Essentials natural deodorant. Again, it’s not perfect, but I’m very impressed with this stuff.


I’m blown away with the Mineral Fusion brand. I have their concealer, bronzer, blush, mascara, and a few more items, and I hope to replace other items with their stuff as I use them up (I have my eye on their eye pencils and eye shadow. As with most mineral makeup, it’s not super cheap, but the quality ingredients make the expense worth it, in my opinion.They’re at Whole Foods, and you can find a $3 coupon when you like them on Facebook.

Combined with my hair care, this is about all I use in my health and beauty routine. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it—most everything lasts forever, going frugal with most of it means I feel okay about splurging on other things, and nothing is toxic.

What’s your favorite natural beauty tip, product, or brand?

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Sarah Park

    I have to say that I second you in loving the coconut oil! It’s all I use on my face, and I think it has made my skin much healthier!

  2. lucy

    I love that we are low-product too. I like my toms of Maine wild lavender deo, his strawberry toothpaste and yes I “third” the coconut oil for lotion. We have used coconut oil for lubricant in the bedroom too. It’s great! 🙂

  3. lucy

    Oh and I am on week 2 of the baking soda/apple cider vinegar hair care!

  4. Sharla Orren

    Coconut oil also makes a great conditioner if you need something a little extra for your hair. And it is great for the heels of your feet. I use it for everything!!

    • Tsh

      Yes, definitely for the heels! Forgot about that.

      • Living the Balanced Life

        That is what I was thinking when I read the post, to use it for my heels! I just bought to use in the kitchen, but I knew there would be other applications as well!

  5. Katie leonard

    I love shea butter and avocado butter for lotion. I live near Glory Bee Foods and can get them in bulk. I prefer them to coconut oil just because my skin gets really dry and the coconut oil just doesn’t always cut it for me.

  6. Anthony from CharismaticKid

    Hey Tsh! I love that soap tip. I’ll try the … what do you call it.. castle soap? Sounds like it’s fit for a king.

  7. keylogger

    Coconut oil, Mineral Fusion products are some of the common products that we prefer.

  8. Jessica in Canada

    I have found coconut oil is the best thing for mosquito bites! It makes the swelling go down so quickly and while I haven’t found anything great for itching, it works better for itching than any other product I have tried.

    • Kika

      Try a drop of tea tree oil put on the bite as soon as possible. We’ve found it works.

      • Denise

        Apple cider vinegar works both for repelling mosquitoes as well as for the itch.

    • Jaleen

      Peppermint essential oil actually works really well on bug bites…love it! Someone told me about it when I had some (not knowing what kind they were) that just wouldn’t go away trying all kinds of stuff (natural and not). Put the peppermint oil on they stopped itching right away and they were almost gone by the next morning. I have used it ever since.

  9. Sarah

    My mother-in-law totally converted me to using vegetable glycerin for skin moisturizer (face, neck, arms, etc). My husband loves it for after he shaves, We just get our hands wet, put a drop or two of glycerin, then apply it to our faces/necks. It lasts a long time too. I am interested in trying the coconut oil as well.

  10. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

    Thanks for sharing all these products. I’ll definitely being trying some of them since I’m not real thrilled with what I’m currently using.

  11. Kali Vondra

    I love the products that you shared and your advice. I am trying to slow convert our family from consumers to producers, and I believe that by using simple ingredients and making our own items, and living frugally we will be much more fulfilled.

    I thought I’d add a couple of beauty care items that I’m completely in love with:
    – Pure witch hazel for toner. It’s cleared my face and evened redness over the course of a month. In the past I’ve suffered from very blotchy redness and large pores – I now get all kinds of compliments on my skin. The bottle only costs like $2 and lasts what seems like forever.
    – I make my own facial scrub which I use twice a week – it’s simply lemon juice and granulated organic sugar. I use a homemade scrub pad, but you could use a cotton pad, saturate with lemon juice and then sprinkle on the sugar (I probably use about 3/4 of a tsp – but it depends on how much you like) and then scrub your warm dampended face. It exfoliates and feels amazing. There are all sorts of scientific reasons that lemon is good for skin care (I’m not well versed in it – but you can google it).
    – Body scrub – I use 1/2 cup sunflower oil, 1 cup course sea salt, and 1 cup fine sea salt. Absolutely heavenly. I use it before shaving my legs and it’s the best shave ever. It’s also good for the rest of your body. Sunflower oil naturally has vitamin E which helps in repairing skin and scars – and leaves my skin looking very healthy and moisturized. I’ll never use shaving cream again.

    Love your advice and site. Thanks so much!

    • Mama Luba

      this is an amazing advice about lemon & sugar! Lemon is excellent for making dark spots lighter and also an extreme vitamine C treatments is great for rejuvenation! Going to give it a try! And the shaving advice is priceless…Specially for cold winter months when my skin throws tantrums in dryness

      • Kali Vondra

        For the winter months I generally increase the sunflower oil to 3/4 of a cup or even 1 cup to combat dryness. More oil leaves the skin more moisturized. Although I think I’ll be adding coconut oil to my routine this year. Just play with the ratio for your skin and the time of year! I’m really excited to try the coconut oil – thanks for all your testimonials!

    • Liz

      Thank you for these recipes! Can’t wait to try them!! 🙂

  12. Pammie

    I’ve been using the OCM for my face the last few years – great for the changes your skin goes through at menopause (yes, I’m a grandmother and LOVE your blog). I typically use almond oil, apricot kernal or grapeseed oil. It’s great for the entire body, actually. Thanks for great info – I can’t wait to try coconut oil on my feet.

  13. Brittnie

    Thanks for this post. I love learning about other peoples skin care routines! Great info to ponder and I am encouraged to experiment w/ more natural products!

  14. laura

    what about hair color? has anyone tried henna? other ideas for natural / healthy hair color? thanks in advance!

    • Stephanie

      I have an Indian grocery store near me that sells Henna. Google Henna recipes to get instructions on how to vary the coloring.

      • Laura G.

        I love henna for haircolor, but you have to be careful that you research what kind you use, as there are plenty on the market with questionable ingredients. You can get pretty much any shade (except bleaching) with henna, even a no-color gloss if you just want more shine. I use a brick of henna + moisturizing oils from Lush, and my hair is so much healthier afterwards. The henna also is not so concentrated, so the color slowly fades, minimizing the appearance of “roots”.

  15. Gwen

    Does anybody know what all the writing on the Dr. Bronner’s bottles is all about? It seemed like some kind of interestingly blended religious verbiage and I wasn’t sure if it was just for fun, or if the company is religiously affiliated or has some kind of religious mission…? Just curious.

    • Tsh

      Yeah… It’s kinda weird. You can read more at their website, though it’s rather rambly.

      • ~M

        The documentary, ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Box’ is fascinating and definitely worth a watch! Great company to support with their fair-trade and ethical business practices.

  16. carrie

    This post reminded me to pull out the jar I mixed last summer when I thought I’d try OCM. But I didn’t like how it made my washcloths feel greasy even after they’d been laundered. When I opened the jar this morning to add a couple jars of tea tree oil and try using it again, I saw that the oils had molded and there was mold on the jar, too. Yuk! Didn’t realize that could happen.

    • Sally

      Burt’s Bees molds too, when left too long. Maybe it should go in the fridge or just make up in small batches. It is all natural and certainly has no preservatives.

  17. Kendra

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’m currently going through a big “make-over” in the personal products department, and I’ve been reading a ton of stuff about what’s best to use. Some of it is so pricey, so I loved reading your opinion on what’s most cost-effective, and what has worked best for your family.

    One thing I’m curious about – what do you use for shaving cream? And do you use any type of hair products for styling?

    • Tsh

      I actually switched to an electric razor awhile back, mostly because we had a tiny shower stall for the past 4.5 years, making it crazy uncomfortable to try and shave in the shower. I’ve just kept at it even though we’ve moved. It cuts down on expensive disposable razors, it’s a lot quicker, and I don’t have to mess with some sort of cream. The shave isn’t as close or smooth, but I live with it. Kali Vondra’s comment above seemed insightful, so that may help.

      The only hair product I use is Hair Butter, and that’s not daily. Just when it needs a little smoothing.

      • Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

        Kendra and Tsh,
        There’s a consumer advocate guy here on the radio in Atlanta where I live. His name is Clark Howard. He has a website, too. He is alllll about saving money. I think he may have invented the concept. 😉 He’s super wealthy but will park miles aways from a ball field, etc… to save money on parking. 🙂
        Anyway, he gave this tip for making razors last a long, long time and apparently it works because folks are always calling in to his daily radio program and bragging that there razor has lasted 2 years since they started following his advice. He said, whenever you finish shaving, rinse and dry the razor off. Then store it where it will stay dry. Apparently, what makes a razor dull quickly is leaving it wet after using it. His listeners swear by this and say it works. Just passing this along in case it’s helpful.

        • Laundry Lady

          I use coconut oil to shave with too. I shave right after I get out of the shower, while my skin is still warm. I don’t dry my legs, I rub coconut oil over my legs, shave and then dry my legs with a towel. If my skin feels dry I rub a little extra coconut oil over my skin when I’m done. This works especially well in winter when I take hotter showers. Plus I almost never get razor burn.

        • Jennifer

          I heard that Clark Howard segment too. The funny thing was that he didn’t hear about this tip until after he bought a Costco-sized bag of disposable razors, so he has enough razors to last a lifetime.

          Any ideas about natural sunblock? All four of us are very pale and prone to quick sun burns (my husband is a constant shade of red) and we go through the stuff like water. Good thing we live in the Pacific Northwest.

          • Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

            That is too funny about CH finding out after he bought a huge bag of razors. I didn’t know that. Hilarious! He does like to shop at the discount warehouse places. I personally don’t know of any great natural sunblocks. I’m super fair, too…so would love to know of one.

        • Jolie

          My husband does this and it REALLY works. His razor blades stay sharp forever. (BTW -He did hear about it on Clark Howard’s show.) :o)

        • Danielle

          Do you know if you have to use a nice quality razor to get this kind of longevity? I usually buy the cheapest ones I can get, but would invest in a better one if necessary to get it to last that long.

          • Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

            Danielle, I don’t think it has to be a really super quality one because Clark Howard isn’t know for buying expensive stuff. So I can a regular ole razor would be find. Of course, if it’s going to last possible a year or two, you may want to buy one that’s pretty nice. But I think this works for any kind of razor.

          • Michelle

            Nope! He tried it with dollar store razors and one lasted a very, very long time.

  18. Living the Balanced Life

    I currently use a commercial cleanser for now (although I am going to have to check out the OCM!) and once or twice a week I mix a teaspoon of baking soda with it. Makes a great exfoliant and not as harsh.
    Can’t wait to try some of these other ideas!

  19. Angie

    Okay, so Tom’s of Maine with or without flouride??? I’m so torn over what to do about flouride!

    • Tsh

      Ugh… I’m torn, too, mostly because it’s so hard to find trustworthy, non-biased opinions that aren’t full of emotion. The comments from the original beauty post have a good discussion, but I personally still don’t know what I think.

      Currently, our Tom’s toothpaste is with fluoride, because I couldn’t find any at the store without it. And I know Tom’s is a major brand, owned by Colgate, so it’s not the greenest stuff ever. But… it’s some of the better stuff for the money. And I can get it at our normal grocery store—with three kids, I just don’t have time or energy to gallavant all over town.

      • Sharon W

        This is the first I’ve heard of a debate about fluoride in toothpaste. What’s the major pro/con??

      • Danae

        If you are already ordering from VitaCost, you can get flouride-free Tom’s of Maine toothpaste through them. We go with the flouride free.

        • Laura G.

          I just use a tiny bit of baking soda to brush my teeth, and occaisionally I’ll swish a half water/half peroxide rinse to whiten. I did get a free sample of Auromere Ayurvedic toothpaste a few months ago and I loved it, but no one carries the brand near me (and it would probably be spendy anyway). I’ve also heard of people using coconut oil or coconut oil/baking soda combo to brush their teeth, but I tried it and found the mouthfeel to be pretty gross.

      • Jennifer

        In the past I tried a TOM toothpaste without flouride, but the only “flavor” they had was ginger root. Tasted exactly like biting right into a ginger root. Not worth it.

        • Jessica in Canada

          When we had our kids, I decided to go fluoride-free for our family because we already have fluoride in the water. However, now that my kids are older, their mouths are totally full of cavities. I can’t be having this happen. So I am doing an experiment: we are going to use xylitol toothpaste for a year and see if that decreases the amount of cavities at next year’s dentist appointment.

          We have a great new company in Canada, Green Beaver. I haven’t had a chance to try all of their products, but so far we really like their xylitol toothpaste.

      • Nicole

        The Fluoride Action Network has a ton of information on their site: It mostly addresses fluoride in the water, but has a section on dental care as well. We opt for fluoride free toothpaste. I just discovered Trader Joe’s fluoride free toothpaste and really like it!

        • NicoleO

          My sister really researched the pros and cons of floride, and since she has city water with floride added she gets floride free toothpaste. She also has a filter on her faucet. She tested her water when she was doing her research, and the filter took out some of the floride, but not all.
          I have well water where I live, so we do use floride toothpaste, aside from my son who is only 2 and hasn’t learned to spit the toothpaste out yet. I feel that, since floride is meant to bond with the tooth enamel to help strengethen it, it is better to apply it to the outside of the teeth then to injest it. Plus it is very difficult to ‘overdose’ on floride when it is topically applied to the teeth and then rinsed off.
          A ‘topical’ application of floride does diminish cavities. It is the ingested floride that causes a problem. Only the ‘reccomended’ amount may be put into the water system, but that doesn’t mean that it is distributed evenly. Someone closer to the source may have more floride then someone further away. Too much floride can cause worse issues than no floride.

  20. Jessica

    Thanks for this list! I was just trying to come up with a natural moisturizer and I forgot about using the coconut oil that I already have!

    I wanted to ask you if you use any kind of natural sunscreen. I’ve been starting to look around for some natural options for skin care in the sun! Do you know any? Thanks!

    • Tsh

      Katie at Kitchen Stewardship just gave an update to her stellar natural sunscreen review. Head to the update post and click on all the links.

  21. Kelly Luna

    Great list. It’s nice to read about alternatives to expensive, preservative-filled commercial products. If you ever want to try another great mineral makeup line, I HIGHLY recommend Everyday Minerals. They have free sample kits so you can see if it’s something you like. They’re prices are fantastic and I love their brushes. I do NOT work for them, just love their stuff. 🙂

  22. Mama Luba

    Tsh, thank you so much! I missed the oil cleansing somehow 🙂 There are many expensive brands offering 3-5 step cleansing program that is similar to what you use. I am also in love with raw coconut oil! Its excellent for mascara removal as well. None of those harsh chemicals near eyes. I have been make-up/skin care products free since 2007. No deodorant either. At first my body threw tantrums: skin problems and so on. My skin is much better off than it was ever before. Some people don’t even notice I have no foundation. The only problem is sleepless nights with baby – massive attack on mama’s look. I don’t miss the expenses or chemicals. My fave personal care item: organic olive oil soap brought from fram in Turkey, packed 2kgs with us.

  23. No Drama Momma

    Just started using coconut oil myself, after a desperate search for ANYTHING that would heal my dry skin (a ridiculous problem to be having in August). Works like a dream! I just put it on before I go to sleep, and my skin slurps it up by morning. Question about the soap: Is it drying at all? I stay far away from bars because I have such dry skin.

    • Tsh

      Castile soap can be a bit drying, yes. A little goes a long way, so after I use a few drops in the shower (it’s concentrated), then smear on either hard lotion or coconut oil, my skin isn’t dry at all. But I don’t have too much an issue with dry skin, so it could just be me.

    • Heidi

      I’ve found Dr. Woods castile soap to be a gentler alternative to Dr. Bronner’s – and Dr. Woods makes some with shea butter, too, which I would think would be even better for dry skin (I’ve only tried the non-shea-butter varieties).

      • Jessica

        Does anyone know how EO Soaps measure up on the eco-friendly/non-toxic scale? I like that they have an all purpose soap that is supposed to be good for the body as well as household cleaning…even produce! Anyone out there have any thoughts?

  24. Jan

    When you say something isn’t perfect, like your arm and hammer deodorant, what to you mean?

      • Melissa Jones

        Oh good….I’m glad you already knew that. I was reading through the comments to see if someone had already spoken up about the triclosan!

        I make my own (corn starch, baking soda, coconut oil, and usually lavender essential oil), and except for melting on long car trips, it’s worked great. I even put it in an old deodorant container, so the only “weird” thing is when I keep it in the fridge.

        • Jessica

          I currently use Tom’s deodorant, but I’ve been thinking about switching to what my husband uses. He is really allergic to any deodorant (even Tom’s) and for the last year or so he’s been using Natural Crystal Body Deodorant Spray (It comes in a purple bottle, and it is only has mineral salts in it. We can get it at RiteAid here, so I think it is pretty available). I think it is made by the same folks who make the hard crystal, but he says this works better. I used it the other day and it did just as well as my Tom’s.

          Another cool thing about it is that they say you can spray it on your feet too!

          *A note on natural deodorant, I’ve been using Tom’s for the past year and I think it took a while for my body to get used to it, but now I don’t even realize the difference!

      • ModGirlFriday

        I was excited to see the mention of the Arm and Hammer Essentials. I use this as well! Tom’s of Maine has zinc ricinoleate in it, which made my armpits burn and peel. The Arm and Hammer isn’t an anti-persperant which means to pore blocking action. I love both the scents. I find that honestly I barely need to even use it anymore unless wearing synthetic clothing or out in the heat! I know it’s not perfect, but it certainly does the trick! An added bonus is I often find it on sale for $1.00!

  25. Willo@Green Gracious

    My favorite natural beauty tip is to use organic coconut oil (the kind you cook with) as after shower oil/lotion. It’s affordable, all natural, and super effective.

  26. Michele Sirois

    Thanks for this great list, and for the helpful comments from contributors! Two of my faves that fall in the area of “imperfect” for you (& are available on Vitacost):
    Kiss My Face Organic Triple Action Toothpaste No fluoride (tough one…I had a pediatrician who was my neighbor & raised 4 boys who really pushed it and countered every argument I had with another study!). Have been using for about 3 years & dentist is supportive because my kids (9&5) and I have great reports every 6 months even though I do not have great teeth genetically and a history of fillings. Tube goes quick though!

    Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone – it’s simply mineral salts. I used to be so smelly when I wore antipersperant-deodorant. Now I rarely smell (once my body got the other junk out & got used to the mineral salts).

    I’m building me & my family up to do no poo soon!


  27. Katie @ Imperfect People

    I agree the OCM is the best thing to happen to my skin. I love it! When I tell people they think whha!!!???? But it’s so true oil cleans oil!

  28. Jessika Dasse Schroeder

    Tsh, I’ve been meaning to ask about a guideline for shampoo free. I tried for almost two months, but near the end my hair was so oily I couldn’t go out in public! I didn’t know if I was using too much soda, too much vinegar, or what! Something like: “If your hair is oily, use 1 tsp more soda” would be so helpful. Do you know if the others from our old youth group have tried this? Clarisa, Lisa, Lisa H, Jenn…

    I love that you’re doing this blog. I’ve referred many things from it to friends. Also, my book club is reading your book this fall – and planning a garage sale. Those that have read ahead have really enjoyed it. I have yet to get it, procrastinator that I am.

    • Tsh

      So fun, Jessika! Hi!

      Hmm… Well, I’m SO not an expert on the shampoo-free thing. But from what I read/hear, I think if you’re hair is oily, you could try a bit more baking soda. I’ve even heard of some people just making it into a paste in the palm of their hand—as in, just a little water and a tablespoon or so of baking soda. My hair dries out with too much baking soda, though; it feels like straw.

      You know, I don’t know our “old school” friends are doing the shampoo-free thing; at least the ones I still keep up with haven’t told me. I should ask! I don’t want to come across like the Green Police, though. 🙂

      That’s crazy fun you’re doing my book for the book club! Thanks so much. FYI, there’s a question guide on the downloads link in the navbar above (hover over ‘tools’).

      Hope you’re well!

  29. Katie @ Imperfect People

    Oh and FYI i store my OCM in a repurposed contact solution bottle. It is perfect!

  30. Kathryn

    I love these posts. I’m trying (with DH’s support) to transition us from conventional to natural products as we run out of what we’ve got on hand, but I don’t always know where to go to find products or info. These posts are a great resource for me.
    Here are my two tips:
    1. Castile soap is also available in bar form, at a much cheaper price. I buy Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap bars at a regional grocery chain, but they’re also available online at places like Amazon. A 3-pack costs me just $2.99 and lasts about as long as a 32-oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s (the bars cost about $1-1.50 apiece online).
    2. At least according to my dentist, toothpaste is unnecessary. He recommends just plain baking soda. That’s about as green and cheap as you can get!

    • Tsh

      Yeah, I do plain baking soda, too, from time to time. I’ve been meaning to ask Kyle how he feels about that. But yes, I have heard it’s the brushing that matters, not really the toothpaste.

  31. Danielle

    I read your book Organized Simplicity awhile ago and took notes on your homemade household products, but I’ve just recently been getting around to trying them. It’s timely (for me anyway) that you’ve been blogging about it lately. I love the toothpaste (I tried it first because we were running low). I’m pretty simple, so I didn’t even add the peppermint or Stevia, and I still love it. I don’t think my husband has tried it yet though–we’ll see. I hadn’t tried the hair cleansing method until yesterday, but I’m loving it! I have wavy hair that tends to be a bit dry, but the vinegar made my hair so soft and manageable. I still use mousse to style it, but I gotta do something with this mop! I’ve got so many free or nearly free bottles of shampoo/conditioner stock-piled, I’m going to donate them. I also got some castile soap–my children have terrible eczema, so I’m hoping this helps…we’ll see! Next up, I’m going to try the OCM!

    BTW, I had requested the local library to order your book, and they did. When I checked the status, waiting for it to arrive, some 14 people were in line to read it after me!

    • Tsh

      Glad to hear it’s working for you! And thank you for being a reader.

      (Pssst… I checked at my local library, too—you know, for fun, and there’s a long hold there as well. Found it weird. :))

  32. Amy

    Do you make your own laundry soap too? I’ve been doing this for well over a year and it saves money. Plus it helps if your children have sensitive skin. My son used to get hives when he was little.

  33. Melissa Jones

    I use my OCM mix (castor oil, EVOO, a few drops of tea tree oil, and some essential oil for scent – currently peppermint – I love how tingly it makes my skin feel!) for shaving with. Almost no in-grown hairs, skin nicely moisturized, and razor lasts a while too since it’s being oiled! You have to clean it out pretty frequently during the process (and that looks kinda grody), but it works really well and reduces the number of bottles in the shower!

  34. ~M

    I can’t go without hair product 🙁 Suggestions?

  35. maine

    Great list and replacement you got right here. Too bad you didn’t post the recipe itself. I think I have to find it myself..

    • Tsh

      Are you referring to OCM? Just follow the links. Didn’t feel the need to repeat myself when I already posted about it. 🙂

  36. Stephanie

    I use the oil facial cleansing method (a fraction goes a long way), and tea tree based antiseptic lotion as a “moisturiser” afterwards – especially as I have a tendency to break out.

    Also ground coffee is a great body exfoliator and leaves the skin so soft. Don’t use on your face, however.

    Thanks for the other ideas!

  37. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

    I got to participate in Burt Bee’s interactive project with Kashi and fell in love with them. Luckily I’m still reaping the benefits of all the coupons they gave me!

  38. sapir

    i want to ask about the oil cleaner – doesn’t it make your face skin become oily?
    it sounds interesting but i afraid from oily skin….

    • Tsh

      Actually, it can easily dry it out. Read the details by clicking on the link provided in the post.

  39. Greta

    Weird question but does coconut oil go bad?

    • Tsh

      Not sure. I use mine up before it ever has a chance to go bad, I guess. 🙂

    • Nicole

      As far as I know, it’s really hard for coconut oil to go bad. As long as you keep it tightly covered in a dark, cool place it should last a really long time.

  40. Clara Silva


    Now that I ‘m on my summer vacations I’m going to try the OCM but I have a doubt. As here in Portugal I’ve never heard of castor oil, but I can buy jojoba oil, I was wondering if I have to use the jojoba oil with the EVOO or just the jojoba oil.

    Thank you so much for all the great information you give here. Oh, by the way, I’ve read your book and I’ve loved it. In a near futureit will be my guide, as I’am beginning to live in a more natural and frugal way.


    • Tsh

      Castor oil is pretty essential; you could interchange EVOO with jojoba oil. If you click on the link mentioned in the post, there are lots of good comments from people who’ve done different things. If it helps at all, I was living in the Middle East when I wrote that post, and it took me awhile to find castor oil. I did, eventually, in an apothecary-type shop.

      And thanks for reading!

  41. Kristie

    We don’t use Tom’s of Maine because they still use SLS in their products. Their have been claims that SLS has been linked to cancer. It has also been said that such claims are unsubstantiated, but I am of the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” camp, so I avoid it where other options are as easily available. Also, SLS has been proven to irritate the skin and cause cold sores in certain people (ie. my DH!). We really like Burt’s Bees toothpaste.

  42. April

    Any suggestions for containers? Do you just use jars, or do you have a good place to purchase blank bottles? Love your ideas 😉

    • Tsh

      I normally use glass jars for OCM and coconut oil; basic squeeze bottles for my hair stuff (I got them from a nearby hospital). Everything else, I just use the bottle/container it came in.

  43. Elizabeth Jones

    I get my favorite products from Commonsensical Spa. Local if you’re in Denver, CO but she also has an etsy shop
    The deodorant is a must have but I also really like the facial cleanser (oil method), every lotion, lib balm and scrub that is lemon scented… and just about everything she makes! Prices are reasonable, especially for the deodorant and lip balm which I go through fairly quickly.

    And baking soda and water for shampoo!

  44. Judy

    I also use pure coconut oil as a body moisturizer and to nourish my hair once every couple of weeks. The smell gives me cravings for sweets sometime though! Burts bees is my favorite lip balm and I’m looking into their day creams, but I prefer something with an spf 15 or higher. Any ideas?

  45. Nicole

    I’ve been using coconut oil too and love it. I tried mixing it into a paste with baking soda to use as a natural deoderant and am amazed at how well it works!! It’s fun to add essential oils as a natural fragrance too.

  46. Nuria

    We LOVE the Thai (& other brands) crystal deodorants. I especially love the chunk o’ rock version. LOL It looks so pretty sitting on my sunny sink, like clear quartz. It really WORKS, though, so much better than conventional deodorants in terms of ODOR. I have sometimes even skipped a day by accident & didn’t realize it because I didn’t smell! AT ALL. LOL My husband, the sweaty skeptic, is even a believer, & even uses it to prevent jock itch/heat rash/odor in “creases”. Seriously, I can’t believe we’ve used stuff like Arrid, etc, for so many years, when this has been available. The only issue is that it isn’t anti-perspirant, so if you really need that aspect, then probably adding one of the above may be helpful to you. Frankly, I’m not willing to change my “rock” for any of the above (no offense, peeps!), only because it’s so awesome. I even used to be neurotic about sweat, but not anymore, ’cause it doesn’t stink. 😀

    I also do my own sunscreen cream (similar recipe as above) & clear “foundation”, using micronized food grade titanium dioxide & hyaluronic acid, both of which have not been shown to cause harm–looked up the studies), & a little mica dust for shimmer. I order from a cosmetic supply online. I use my own organic green tea, rose petal, & milk thistle seed (reverses pre-skin-cancers) infusion & add the above, & I would guess it’s about 70SPF based on the company packaging & my use compared to commercial products. I mix it all outdoors & wearing an N95 respirator–dusts & lungs DON’T mix, especially mica. Love this blog.

    Hair gel is gelatin + a little vegetable glycerin (softens & reduces flaking of gelatin) + water & whatever essential oils I wish to add, & keep in a spray bottle.

    I add a little Everclear or similar 75% ethanol to all but the cream, & they’ll keep for a few months unrefrigerated.

  47. Amber @ Au Coeur

    That’s so funny that you use lansinoh as lip gloss. I use my left over Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter as lip gloss…I sort of imagined that I was the only one re-purposing nibble cream, but now I know I’m not weird. 🙂

  48. Molly

    I have been using the baking soda/vinegar hair thing for over a year and love it! People think I’m nuts and that makes it more fun for some reason. I use the OCM occasionally but still stick with my Alba acne wash for the most part. Hormones-a-crazy, I guess. 🙂 Thanks for all the tips, they’re great!

  49. Leslie

    great post. thanks for sharing and posting!

  50. Hennifer

    Any chang to this routine if you’re pregnant or nursing? 😉
    Thanks for everything Tsh!

  51. Kendra

    Thanks for sharing your products with us. I love hearing what others use especially if it natural and cheap.

    I’ve been using coconut oil as a face moisturizer and loving it!

  52. Catherine

    Hi Tsh, what an awesome post. I’ve been looking for stuff like this. I’m gonna try to ditch the shampoo thing for sure.

    My bigger question, though…. what about ditching the laundry soap? I have heard of this, using only a ‘laundry doughnut’…. but I don’t really get it. Do you know about this? I’d love to know if the laundry soap thing is also kind of harmful as is the shampoo. ??? Anybody have facts on this? [sorry if it’s already mentioned somewhere here, I took a look and didn’t seem to see it]

  53. Courtney

    With the Castile soap – do you dilute it and if so what ratio do you use. I recently discovered this great stuff and use it as our household all-purpose cleaner and I’m intreaged by the many other uses it can have.

    Also, several years later – I’m still totally hooked on Soapnuts thanks to you and this site – I love how it cleans our laundry and have had hardly any issues with it at all! Thanks so much!

  54. Micah

    you can replace deodorant completely with an ‘alum’ stone. It’s completely natural and incredibly effective. Wet it, gently rub your armpits, dry it before replacing in the box (or where ever you keep it). My husband used to have trouble finding an effective deodorant and this works. It’s also great for disinfecting (small) cuts.

    We buy ours at our organic supermarket, they’re boxed and marketed by a company in France ( I have no idea where you might find Alum in the US.

    Thank you for the great tips on natural beauty – have been wondering about that ever since I read your post on using baking soda for hair care (works great for me btw!).

    Kind regards

  55. Kimberly

    Hi there,

    I just recently found your site and have found it to be a great inspiration and resource! We’re trying to switch over to living our lives more naturally and not chemically, so this post and the comments actually answered several questions I had!

    I’m wondering what kinds of products to use for my kids. I have a 20 month old and a baby due in January. I just heard about so many baby care products containing formaldehyde and carcinogens, which makes me cringe to think of using them for one more day! Has anyone had success with soaps/shampoos/toothpastes that are safe and effective for such little guys? And that are budget friendly?

  56. jeri

    In a prior blog post, sept. 2009, i googled onto you say you
    use baking soda as hair cleanser with great results. Have you
    given up (this post is later and appears you have never tried this

    thank you

  57. Corrine

    What about baking soda/peroxide for brushing teeth, or Arm & Hammer also has toothpaste?
    Also, I use Kirk’s Original Coco Castile soap to bathe & wash my hair & then just a touch of store bought conditioner. I really want to try the OCM method.

  58. Peter

    Which one can you recommend to be the best face cleaner

  59. Hilary

    I have been following your blog for about a year now. In the last month I have been coming to your blog more frequently b/c I am moving my family toward a more chemical-free and healthy home. Your blog has been one of the sources that has brought me here. Thank you for your articles on natural and clean living. I am now reading your articles and using them instead of reading them and thinking, “oh, how nice for her.” 🙂

    Thank you. Merry Christmas.

  60. Brenda

    I love you website!!! I am now trying the no shampoo and loving it. Tried the OCM today and lovin the feel it leaves on my face.

  61. Luz

    My mom has always used lime juice as a under arm deodorant. She is 76 years old and swears by this. She has been using it for years and works well for her. I have recently started using it and it works. I use the other half of the lime and squeeze it in my morning glass of water.

  62. Isabelle

    For deodorant your could use Alum stone deodorant, this stone is made out of potassium salt and it works great! I usually don’t transpire very much but a while ago I had to wear a very uncomfortable uniform at work and it was making me sweat like never before. A friend of mine who worked there told me about that stone and I never switch back! I paid like $10 for 1 stick and more than a year later and it is down maybe 60% so it is very cheap!!!

  63. Alex

    What do you not like about Toms of Maine? I have to use natural toothpaste because i have allergic reactions to the chemicals in “normal” toothpaste. I’ve been using Tom’s, since the issue came up, I am curious about what you said about them.

  64. Melanie Lilliendahl

    would the OCM work for the whole body? I’ve been buying homemade soaps, and like them better than walmart stuff, but still find myself w/ dry skin. i love how my face feels w/ the OCM, and I’m wondering if that same thing wouldn’t work all over, eliminating the need for lotions…

  65. ~M

    Hi Tsh, What do you & Kyle use for shaving cream?

  66. Erin

    I use a sugar scrub every day on my face, I use 3/4 cups sugar and 1/4 c olive oil, and mix it in a jar. It has the texture of wet sand, and wherever I learned of this method from (that is since forgotten!) said that the oil/sugar combination makes an excellent exfoliator. I used to get a major oil problem on my face before the day was half over, and rough dry “scaly” patches on my lower jaw near my ears – both are gone! All I need to do is make sure I leave it on my skin for at least 2 minutes before rinsing, and then rinse well until I don’t feel slick. A washcloth helps with the rinsing.

    Other than that, I LOVE the baking soda/vinegar method, although I’ve gotten to the point of not needing any vinegar rinse. And in fact, on occasion that I have to use commercial shampoo in a pinch (forgot my stuff when staying over somewhere, etc.) I feel like my hair has been coated in something and it lays down and plays dead!

    If I have ever had trouble with these methods working, I’ve typically found that it has to do with my timing. BS needs to stay in for 30 seconds, sugar scrub stays on for 2 mins. Still working on what to experiment with next, body wash or lotion…

  67. Em

    I remember reading a few months ago about making your own deodorant. i have no idea what site it was on, but now I’m trying to find it. I noticed the link you have to Kate’s deodorant in this post is broken. Is that something you can fix?

  68. Stevie

    Okay. I found these products through Eco Emi, and I absolutely LOVE them for my eyeliner. eyeshadow, and blush. And they are soooo inexpensive. The sample sizes $0.35 last me 4 months. But the eyeliner has lasted 6 months and is still going strong. The colors are beautiful and it feels sooooo good knowing that I am putting clean healthy products on myself!

  69. Julie

    I have been using the following as facial moisturizer. I get soo many comments on my face even without makeup.
    2/3 of total jojoba oil
    1/3 emu oil
    A few drops of lavender or pararose oil
    It’s awesome

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