Homemade Shampoo With Rye Flour: Natural Pro-V for Thick, Shiny, Healthy Hair!


In our day and age shampoo is a necessity.  Everyone has it, and everyone uses it frequently.  Most commercial shampoos are made of a number of ingredients, almost all of them being chemicals, and almost none of them being natural.  Shampoo is actually a detergent, rather than a soap.  If you read the ingredients, you won’t find soap in there at all.  Many of the ingredients are questionable as far as our health goes, including potential carcinogens and developmental and reproductive toxicity such as glycol, diethanolamine DEA and cocamide DEA, methylparabens, propylparabens and formaldehyde.  Shampoos contain many thickeners, artificial fragrances and colors, and known skin irritants such as sodium laureth sulphate and alcohol.  If you can’t pronounce the words on the ingredient list, chances are you shouldn’t be pouring it on your scalp at regular intervals.

The good news is that there ARE alternatives.  Many of you have probably heard about washing your hair with baking soda.  This works in that it cleans the oil out of your hair, but it is also a strong base on the pH scale, and can dry out your hair if you use it long enough.  Some people also complain that it changes your hair color.  I used baking soda for 2 and a half years.  I liked using a 1-ingredient product that I was familiar with, but eventually I started noticing it was drying out my hair, and I started using conditioner to help with that.

Then I came across an article from another green blogger. Sonya from Kanelstrand shared her experience using rye flour. This article has inspired me to write this post.  In fact, it has brought me to great levels of excitement and I can’t help but tell everyone I see…

Rye flour.

Yes!  3 heaping tbsp. of organic, finely ground rye flour mixed with water so that it resembles a runny paste.  Rub it evenly onto your scalp and let it sit a few minutes while you finish your shower.  Then rinse off very well with warm water.

It is as easy and as cheap as that.

Does it work?
Yes!  Check out my pictures!  It leaves my hair squeaky clean, and adds a shine and softness incomparable to baking soda, or anything else.  No greasy roots, no dry ends.  No stripped hair.

Why does it leave your hair shiny and healthy?
Rye flour is loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals.  You remember all those Pantene ads on TV where they talk about the Pro-V they add to their shampoo?  Well, the pantothenic acid they add in synthetic form is actually present in rye flour, in its natural form.  You can actually buy synthetic pantothenic acid vitamins to add to your hair to increase the strength, shine and overall health.  While those versions are man-made these occur naturally in rye flour, helping restructure dry and damaged hair, boost shine and improve manageability. Click here for more information on how pantothenic acid benefits hair.

Rye flour also contains all the vitamin Bs, vitamin E, and phytonutrients such as lignans, phenolic acids, phytic acid, plant sterols and saponins which are also used to help with hair re-growth and even skin regeneration.

Rye flour is naturally perfectly pH balanced.  This is a huge reason why you should use it over baking soda.  Rye flour tests 5.5 on the pH scale which is the same as our hair, and so will not dry it out or strip it of its natural oils.

What kind of rye flour to buy?
I use certified organic dark rye flour that is finely ground.  (ie. you can’t see bits of husk in it).  I have a flour mill so will likely try grinding my own soon…

Who shouldn’t use it?
Those with Celiac disease should not use it since rye flour contains gluten.

Is it easy to switch to using rye flour?
As with the baking soda method, you may experience a period of time when your scalp and hair adjust to the change.  If you have been shampooing every day with a regular commercial shampoo you may notice a few weeks where your hair gets greasier faster, but you may not experience it at all.

Can I use a conditioner with it?
Yes you can.  Or you can use apple cider vinegar (with a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tbsp. vinegar) as a rinse.  Pour it on your hair, let it sit a moment, then rinse well.  Once your hair dries, it no longer smells like vinegar.  Apple Cider Vinegar works as a detangler.

Tips:

  • After washing with rye flour, rinse VERY WELL to make sure there is no flour left in your hair.  It will itch… I have done it.
  • Do not use if you have Celiac Disease.
  • Make sure the flour you use is finely ground and doesn’t contain bits of husk or you’ll be brushing that out of your hair forever.

For more information on washing your hair with rye flour read:
Kanelstrand: Homemade Shampoo Review: Rye Flour
Washing Hair Without Shampoo: Rye Flour

This post has been shared on From The Farm Blog Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #112, and Heritage Homesteaders Blog Hop #4.

 

Go Greener: Clean Your House With Just Baking Soda, Vinegar and Lemons.

Going green can be a very expensive transition, or it can be cheaper than you’ve ever thought possible.  Green doesn’t have to mean buying all the “eco-friendly” products that are available for twice the price as the nasty stuff.  In fact, a lot of those “eco-friendly” products, when you read the labels and figure out what is actually in those products, are not very natural at all.  They may not contain phosphates or chlorine bleach etc., but they contain a lot of other ingredients that are not so great.  Especially when you can get a good clean with a few cheap ingredients that are readily available.  And, when your little helper wants to help you clean, you can comfortably and safely hand her a spray bottle of lemon-infused vinegar and a rag.

So lets go greener than green-cleaning products.  Lets make our own out of simple, economical ingredients.

I clean my entire house with a spray bottle of lemon-infused vinegar water, with plain vinegar and with baking soda.

Lemon-infused vinegar, also known as citrus vinegar, is simply a jar of lemon (or other citrus) rinds soaked for 2 weeks in white distilled vinegar. You can check out a DIY tutorial for it here.  Strain, dilute to a 1:1 ratio of citrus vinegar to water, and pour into a clean, empty spray bottle.  Lemons and vinegar both cut grease and grime, break down soap scum, and leave surfaces shiny and clean.  The acidity of both kills germs, making them perfect for a bathroom cleaner, a kitchen counter cleaner, and pretty much any kind of cleaner.

Distilled white vinegar.  Vinegar diluted 1:1 with water in a spray bottle is perfect for cleaning mirrors and windows.

Baking soda.  Baking soda is perfect for lifting grease, soap scum and grime.  Baking soda is also a great deodorizer.

Lemons.  Lemons can be used to clean a lot of surfaces. The acidity naturally kills germs and the fresh smell of lemons is pleasant.

Baking soda and vinegar.  When you add baking soda, a base, to vinegar, an acid, you neutralize the two of them and basically render both useless.  I have read a lot of articles talking about combining the two to clean toilets etc.  While the volcano-like explosion is pretty cool, in most cases it doesn’t actually achieve much since you have effectively created a neutral product.

How to Clean Your Kitchen:

Counter tops: Lemon-infused vinegar spray cuts grease and kills germs.  Simply spray on and wipe down with a clean rag.
Kitchen sinks: Lemon-infused vinegar spray works well, or if it is extra dirtly, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub clean with a scrub brush.  Alternatively, you can use a lemon that has been juiced, to scrub your sink with.  Rinse clean.
Stove tops: Lemon-infused vinegar spray will cut the grease.  To help with burnt bits, make a baking soda paste with a bit of water, smear on, let sit for 30 minutes, then wipe clean.
Floor: Hot water with a splash of vinegar will make laminate, tile and linoleum sparkle, leaving no build-up.
Fridge: Spray down with lemon-infused citrus spray, then wipe clean.  Leave an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb food odors.  Replace the box every few months.
Microwave: Heat up a small bowl of 1 cup vinegar for about 4 minutes.  The vinegar and steam loosen the grime and make it easy to wipe clean with a rag.  You can also use lemon juice the same way, with the same results.
Stove fan filters: Bring water to boil in a large pan.  Add 1/4 c. baking soda and mix well.  Soak fan filters in it for 1 minute, then turn over, soak for 1 more minute, then remove and rinse.
Dishwasher: Add white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher to help prevent buildup on your dishes.
Cutting boards:  Clean stains and germs off of your cutting board by squeezing a lemon on the board and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes.  Scrub clean.

How To Clean Your Bathroom:

Bath tub and shower stall: Scrub bathtub with a baking soda paste and a scrub brush.  The baking soda cuts soap scum and grease off the tub and walls beautifully.  Rinse clean.
Toilet: Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet and scrub clean with toilet brush.  Clean toilet seat, lid, and around base of toilet with lemon-infused vinegar spray.  Wipe dry.
Sink: Scrub sink clean with a baking soda paste and and a scrub brush.  Clean chrome or stainless steel with lemon-infused vinegar spray.
Mirrors: Plain white vinegar in a spray bottle, diluted 1:1 with water does the best job of cleaning mirrors.
Floors: Hot water with a splash of vinegar will keep bathroom floors clean and sparkly.

Cleaning Other Areas:

Floors: Hot water with a splash of vinegar will clean all floor surfaces beautifully.
Walls: Lemon-infused vinegar spray cleans walls beautifully.
Windows: Plain vinegar in a spray bottle diluted 1:1 with water.
Dusting: Spray your duster very lightly with lemon-infused vinegar to replace products like Pledge.
Carpets: to deodorize a carpet, sprinkle generously with baking soda, leave for 30 minutes, then vaccuum up.
Mattresses: To deodorize urine or vomit stains sprinkle with baking soda, leave for 30 minutes, then vaccuum.  For fresh, wet stains, scrub with white vinegar and rinse with clean water.  Test fabric first.
Laundry: lemon juice, placed directly on grease stains on fabric, and left to sit for 30 minutes, can lift the stain.  Vinegar, poured directly on tomato-based fabric stains, can remove the stain.  Test your fabric first.
Tile grout: Lemon juice and an old tooth brush will bleach tile grout clean.
Drains: One case in which baking soda and vinegar combined can work is with a clogged drain.  Since the physical “explosion” can actually move things around, you can unclog a drain with it.  Pour a cup of dry baking soda down the drain.  Add a cup of vinegar.  Immediately plug with a rag and leave for 30 minutes.  Rinse down the concoction with boiling water and you may have success if the conditions are right.

So forget the bottles of fancy green cleaners.  Ignore the eco-friendly advertising.  Save  your money, save your family’s health, and go greener!  Make your own cleaners with baking soda, vinegar and lemons.  So easy, so cheap and so effective!  Please share any other cleaning methods you might know using baking soda, vinegar and lemons!

You might also enjoy reading about my homemade dish-washing detergent, my homemade laundry detergent, my DIY deodorant recipe and how my entire family’s hair is safely and perfectly cleaned with baking soda (wash) and vinegar (rinse).  All of these recipes use some of the above ingredients as well as a few others.

 

This post has been linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #64Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #16 , Seasonal Celebration Wednesday, Get Real Frugal Friday Blog Hop #5 and Homestead Abundance #8.

 

 

 

 

Top Posts of 2012: DIY Tutorials Rule The Roost!

After reviewing the most viewed, shared and commented on posts from My Healthy Green Family, it is clear that do-it-yourself tutorials and recipes rule the roost!   Here they are, in order.

#1. Washing My Hair With Baking Soda

#2. Homemade All Natural Deodorant with Men and Women’s Fragrances

#3. Homemade Borax-Free Laundry Detergent with Price and Product Comparisons

#4. Homemade Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent

#5. 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread That Rises Like White!

#6. Plastic Wrap Alternative: DIY Beeswax Cotton Wraps

#7. Homemade Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

#8. To Can or Not To Can? BPA Is the Question

#9. Whipped Body Butter with 2 Simple Ingredients

#10. DIY Faux Paper Towels: Upcycled, Eco-friendly and Cheap!

For more eco-friendly and economical tutorials check out My Healthy Green Family’s DIY Recipes page.

Thanks for all your encouragement, ideas and support over the year!  Watch for more tutorials coming soon.  See you in 2013!

 

School Snacks! Healthy, Chewy, Granola Bars.

Granola bars are one of the snacks of choice for many children, and adults too.  They are convenient, they taste good, and they fill you up.  But are they healthy?  Most granola bars are high in sugar and salt and in many cases, contain high fructose corn syrup.  Lots of granola bars contain soy ingredients, and most, unless they specify it or are certified organic, contain genetically modified ingredients.  They are also individually wrapped in plastic or foil which is unsustainable and adds unnecessary waste to the landfills.  Fortunately, they are easy to make, can be made with less sugar and salt than commercial bars, and can contain wholesome, natural ingredients. 

Until recently I haven’t made a granola bar that ALL of my kids enjoy ALL OF THE TIME.  But now I have, and this recipe is so flexible you can change the flavour easily by adding different fruits, nuts, seeds, and more.  These bars hold together nicely, are sweet enough to keep the children coming back for more, and are low enough in sugar to make most moms happy.

For this recipe I have used organic sunflower seed butter.  Sunflower seed butter is higher in protein than peanut butter, has a great flavour, and is generally safe to send to nut-free schools.  It is low in saturated fats, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and high in vitamins, especially vitamin B.  Click here for more information on the health benefits of sunflower seeds.  Rather than adding a highly-processed protein powder to make a protein bar, this bar is naturally and safely high in protein.  With grains from the organic oats, protein from the seeds and seed butter and fruit from the dried fruit, this bar is pretty much a complete meal and a great snack for anyone.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. rolled oats or multigrain cereal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. oat flour
  • 1/2 c. crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 c. demerara cane sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 c. total of assorted nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. I use dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, dried apricots etc.
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seed butter

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl or 2 cup glass measuring cup, combine wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Combine wet with dry and mix well.
  4. Press very firmly into a well-greased 8×12 inch or 8×8 inch baking dish.
  5. Press again with a flat, firm object to compact it even more.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until it is starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.
  8. Press carefully and firmly once more with flat, firm object to compact the bars further.
  9. Cut into pieces before it totally cools.
  10. Do not remove from pan until it is cool to the touch.
  11. Store in an air-tight container.

Tips:

  • If you want to decrease the sugar, take out the demerarra sugar first.  The honey and seed butter are what holds the bar together.
  • Feel free to substitute the seed butter for nut butter if allergies aren’t an issue.
  • Coconut oil can be replaced with melted butter or another cooking oil of your choice.
  • Heating up the wet ingredients a bit helps them combine.
  • This recipe doubles nicely and can still fit in an 8×12 inch baking dish.
  • To guarantee these to be GMO-free, choose certified organic ingredients or ingredients labelled GMO-free.

This recipe is adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Quaker Style Chewy Granola Bar recipe.

This post has been linked to Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday October 2nd, Turning The Clock Back’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, Fresh Eggs Daily’s Farm Girl Blog Fest #3, Homestead Barn Hop#82 and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days Sustainable Ways #47.

Homemade Borax-Free Laundry Detergent with price and product comparisons.

Laundry detergent plays a very large role in daily life.  With 3 active, free-range kids I am doing laundry daily and I require a good soap that will remove dirt and stains effectively.

Commercial laundry detergent, however, contains many irritating, and potentially toxic ingredients.  One of the best-working, most common detergents available is TIDE and even the “free and clear” variety still contains dangerous chemicals that aren’t labelled.  Lori at Groovy Green Livin is leading a campaign to convince TIDE to remove these toxins from their “safe” products.

…it turns out that Tide Free & Gentle® isn’t so gentle. A report recently released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products?found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the detergent. 1,4-dioxane doesn’t appear on the product label or on the product website, so consumers have no way of knowing it’s even there.

This is especially concerning, because Tide Free & Gentle® is marketed to moms as a healthier choice for their children’s laundry. Infants and children are more vulnerable to chemical exposures, because their immune, neurological, and hormone systems are still developing.

1,4-dioxane is a known cancer-causing chemical, and has been linked in animal studies to increased risk of breast cancer.

These days I feel more and more like I can’t trust ANY company to tell me the truth about the ingredients in their products, and so I have been searching for a safe, homemade laundry soap recipe where I will at least know what is in the product.  I found many recipes that used borax, but am uncomfortable with borax ever since reading that borax, though natural, is toxic in large amounts, can be a skin irritant, and may not be as safe as people originally thought.

My search then changed to a borax-free recipe search.  I came across a few, but while searching I also came across some ingredients that will aid in the cleaning process.  By combining a number of recipes and adding ingredients I came up with my own recipe.

Brand Comparison:
I tested my recipe by badly staining 3 pieces of clean white cotton with ketchup, blueberry jam, olive oil and dirt.

I labelled each one and let the stains set for 24 hours.  Then I washed each piece separately in my front loading HE washing machine on “heavy duty” cycle.  I washed one with original TIDE, with an assortment of clean rags.  I washed the second one with SOAP NUTS, same setting, same rags.  And finally, I washed the third one with my own laundry soap recipe on the same setting and with the same rags.  My results demonstrated that the SOAP NUTS did not clean very well in comparison ot the other 2 cleaners.

TIDE appeared to remove a bit more of the ketchup but my detergent appeared to remove the blueberry jam stain better.  Both appeared to remove the dirt and oil equally well.  While I wasn’t expecting it, I was thrilled to find that my soap was actually competing on a level with TIDE without the dangerous chemicals!  The laundry washed with my soap smelled fresh, clean and fragrance-free.

Cost Comparison
Tide Free and Clear costs $8.99 for 40 loads ($0.22 per load) at my local London Drugs and grocery stores.  My recipe, according to my calculations with prices based on where I purchase my ingredients (some ingredients could likely be cheaper elsewhere) is $2.24 – $4.47 for 25 loads ($0.09 to $0.18 per load). The range is based on whether or not you use 1 or 2 tbsp. per load.

Cost comparison based on the following prices:
5 lb. citric acid $20
5lb. baking soda $11.75
5 lb. coarse salt $15
5 lb. washing soda $5.
Pure glycerin bar soap: $2

Purpose for ingredients:
glycerin soap: cleanser
washing soda: cleanser and water softener
baking soda: stain remover and odor remover
citric acid: water softener and color brightener
coarse salt: color stabilizer (helps prevent fading) and fabric softener.

Citric acid, coarse sea salt and baking soda can be purchased in bulk at Mountain Rose Herbs. Alternatively you can often find citric acid at home brewing stores or health stores.

Recipe for Borax-Free Laundry Detergent:

Ingredients:

1 bar glycerin soap, grated finely
1 c. washing soda
1/2 c. baking soda
1/2 c. citric acid
1/4 c. coarse salt

Directions:

  1. Finely grate 1 bar of pure, unscented glycerine soap
  2. Add last 4 ingredients
  3. Mix thoroughly
  4. Place a desiccant in jar to prevent clumping.
  5. Store in airtight container
  6. Add 1-2 tbsp. detergent to machine for clean, safe, fresh laundry!

I was thrilled to discover that I can make a safe, borax-free laundry detergent that cleans clothes very well.  Although somewhat cheaper than TIDE, my main satisfaction lies in the ingredients.  I KNOW what the ingredients are and I trust them to be safe to use on my family’s clothing.

Notes:

      • You must use a desiccant with this detergent to prevent clumping.  Learn how to make them yourself here.
      • Can these be used on cloth diapers?  I don’t know.  Some people say that a soap of any kind will cause diapers to eventually repel liquid.  You can try it if you wish, and please let me know what conclusion you arrive at!  So what is in your detergent that is actually cleaning your diapers?  That’s just it!  We don’t know!  With this recipe you know exactly what ingredients are being used.
      • Use 1 tbsp. for small load, and 2 tbsp. for large load.

 

Homemade Borax-Free Dishwasher Detergent

I have tried many different “eco-friendly” dishwasher detergents over the years.  From 7th Generation to Ecos, Method to Ecover, I just couldn’t find one that worked very well.  And with a price as high as those, I certainly wanted something that worked.

Eventually I came across a recipe to make my own dishwasher detergent.  It contained washing soda, borax, salt and citric acid.  It worked… somewhat.  I wasn’t satisfied with the results and neither was I satisfied with the ingredient Borax.  I am not convinced Borax is safe, especially when used on eating utensils etc.  After discussing the homemade recipe with some others, the thought came up “what if we just removed the Borax?”  So when I ran out of my detergent I did just that.  I removed the Borax.   I also added white distilled vinegar as a rinse aid.  The combination provides great results!!

So here is my borax-free dishwasher detergent recipe:

  • 1 cup washing soda (old recipe used  baking soda)
  • 1/4 c. citric acid
  • 1/4 c. coarse salt
  • 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (Optional.  Orange, grapefruit, or lemon essential oils have great cleaning as well as antibacterial properties.)
  • Distilled white vinegar (in the rinse aid compartment)

Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil.  Mix again.  Fill your rinse aid compartment with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Use 1 tsp. detergent for average loads.
Use 1 tbsp. detergent for extra greasy, dirty loads.

UPDATE:  More is not better!  If you are having any build up issues use less! 

Where to find ingredients:
Citric acid is easily purchased in bulk at  U-Brew  stores.  You may find it at grocery stores near the canning supplies, or in the bulk section.  You can also buy it at Mountain Rose Herbs Co.   Some people use plain, uncolored koolaid and get the same effects.  (Make sure you use the colorless koolaid or you will dye your dishwasher!) This is because koolaid is very high in citric acid.  I don’t like the other ingredients in koolaid though so I choose not to use it.  Lemi Shine is also sometimes used to replace citric acid.  I feel the same way about lemi shine as I do about koolaid.
Coarse salt: same as pickling salt.  Found in most grocery stores or purchase coarse sea salt online at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Don’t use regular table salt because of the iodine content.
Baking Soda: We all know where to find it!
Essential Oil: Found in most natural food stores or online at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Tips:

  • I rinse off my dishes reasonably well ever since I switched to chemical-free dishwasher detergents.  Rinsing off grease and baked-on food will help any cleaner, not just a homemade one.
  • Hard water: I don’t know if this would work in hard water or not because my water is soft.  However, my own research indicates that citric acid is often used in addition to regular dishwasher detergents to help prevent mineral deposits on the dishes.  Try it out and let me know!
  • I placed one glass in the dishwasher and left it in for many loads as my tester.  I have done over 30 loads with this recipe to date.

Cost: (based on Mountain Rose Herbs prices)
5 lb. of citric acid is $20.
5 lb. of baking soda is $11.75.
5 lb. of coarse sea salt is $15.
Essential oil (optional) varies in price..

Is it worth it to make your own?
Based on the prices above (not including essential oils), and the fact that there are 36 tbsp. of sugar in a lb. (similar texture and weight to this detergent), I worked this detergent out to cost $0.08 a load. 

7th Generation dishwashing tabs (about 1 tbsp. each) are $6.99 for 20. (based on online price from London Drugs)  So 7th Generation dishwashing tabs cost $0.35 cents a load.   

You’ll be saving a lot of money (not to mention your health and the environment) by making your own eco-friendly detergent.

This post has been linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #25, Simple Living Wednesday, Homestead Helps Wednesday #5, Homestead Revival Barn Hop #61MorrisTribe’s Homesteading Blog Carnival #6, Whole Foods Wednesday #56 and  Fat Tuesday.

Washing My Hair With Baking Soda

*UPDATE!  After 2.5 years of washing my hair with this method, I have since found something I like even better, and is just as easy!  Check it out here!  Homemade Shampoo With Rye Flour: All Natural Pro-V for Thick, Shiny, Healthy Hair!

I wash my hair with baking soda and I rinse it with apple cider vinegar.  I won’t call it No Poo because abbreviations have always annoyed me.  But I thought I would share my experience because every other green blogger and their dog has shared their experience.  Actually, my dog uses it too.

Why, why oh WHY would I do such a crazy thing?  Good question.  And I have good answers.  Do you know what is in your shampoo?  I mean, REALLY know?  Years ago I used Pantene Pro V.  Here is the ingredient list.

Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamide MEA, Glycol Distearate, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-7M, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Whoa whoa whoa!  What?  I am good with water.  Everything else is a chemical.  I am putting THAT on my hair and expecting it to look natural and healthy?   Look ANY of those ingredients up on the safer cosmetics database  and see which ones ARE NOT carcinogenic or at best, an irritant.  Seriously.

OK, so you can use an all natural shampoo.  They are great.  And you know what?  Once I started using a TRULY all natural shampoo my dry, itchy psoriasis on my scalp that I have been plagued with most of my life, disappeared, never to return again.  But those natural shampoos are PRICEY.  And I still am not entirely sure about all those ingredients.

What if you could wash your hair using 1 ingredient?  And actually get better results than these shampoos?  Frizzies disappear.  Dry ends go away.  All are replaced with healthy, shiny, NATURAL hair.  I mean it because I have experienced it.   Now back to where I left off.

I have been tempted to try this method of cleaning my hair for years but was scared off by the horror stories of gross, greasy, smelly hair.  Of course there were lots of success stories too.  But scalp smell is one smell I really dislike.  I also shied away from it because, well, it screams of “hippie” and I have always been concerned about what others think of me.  Funny thing is, I am a self-proclaimed “green” blogger, and all my friends see me as being “crunchy” so I don’t know what the problem is.  Washing my hair with baking soda is certainly a conversation stopper.  But I am good at those.   You should see the effect I have on potty training conversations when I talk about elimination communication ;).

So one day I ran out of shampoo.  I was using Green Beaver shampoo and conditioner, an all-natural brand made from organic, Canadian ingredients.  It worked well but was $10 a bottle.  And you know me… I like to know ALL the ingredients in my products.  This time when I ran out I took the plunge and brought out the baking soda.

1 Tbsp. baking soda dissolved into 1 cup of water.  I scrubbed it into my hair.  I rinsed it well.
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s Organic) into 1 cup water.  I rinsed my hair with this as I would a conditioner and then I rinsed it well.

I smelled like apple cider vinegar.  I towel-dried and brushed my hair, shook out as much water as I could, and let it air dry.  It dried quickly (no oil from a conditioner) and felt smooth, shiny and CLEAN.  Like, really clean.  No greasy hair, no smell, no nothing.  The ACV smell disappeared after my hair dried.  My hair smelled like nothing.  Seriously.  I was thrilled!  I don’t know why I was surprised because I use baking soda to clean everything else, so why wouldn’t it clean my hair?

Things you need to know:

  • It doesn’t feel like shampoo.  It feels like water being poured onto your head.  And there is absolutely no lather because there is no soap.  Nevertheless, rub it  WELL into your scalp, for a few minutes, then let it sit a few minutes before fully and carefully rinsing.
  • ACV rinse does not feel like conditioner.  It feels like water.  So it isn’t thick and creamy, and is more challenging to spread into your hair.  Nevertheless it works well without adding oil to your hair.  Put it on, let it sit a few minutes, then rinse it off.
  • After your hair has been washed and rinsed it doesn’t feel like it does when it has been washed with shampoo and conditioned.  Wait until it is dry to give it a judgement.  My hair feels clean, smooth, shiny and healthy after it dries.
  • Many people take the plunge and decide that, after washing their hair with regular shampoo and stripping the natural oils out of their hair for their whole life, they will go one WEEK without washing.  Don’t do this.  Not only is it gross, but it is setting yourself up for failure.  Your oil glands are so used to producing excess amounts of oil to keep up with all the washing that your hair will get greasy quickly.  Rather than an all out attempt to force your scalp to immediately adjust, wash your hair again when you would normally do it, with baking soda.  Do this for a week or more until you are used to washing your hair with baking soda.  Then, once adjusted, stretch it by a day.  Do that until your hair has adjusted, and then repeat.  Or, just use baking soda to wash your hair whenever you want.  It is cheap, it is healthy, and you know all the ingredients in it, unlike your regular shampoo.
  • Every person is different and so oil production will be different.  Play with the amounts until you find what works for you.  If you find your hair is too oily increase the baking soda a bit.  If it is leaving your hair too dry decrease the baking soda.
  • Some people prefer to use the same amounts of lemon juice and water for a rinse, instead of ACV and water.  Your choice.  I find lemon drying.
  • Hair type will affect how this works too.  MANY people with very curly hair seem to love this method.  My hair isn’t curly.  It is long and straight but it works well for me.
  • I use this method to clean my children’s hair, and my dog’s hair.  My husband uses it too.  If it gets in children’s eyes it doesn’t hurt.  That alone beats regular shampoo!
  • Last of all, again, everyone is different.  This method may not work for you and that is fine.  There are lots of natural alternatives to regular shampoo for cleaning your hair.

My hair is healthier than it has ever been.  I grow my hair for a year and a half and then chop off 8 inches to be donated through my hair dresser for wigs for children living with cancer.  Waiting a year and a half without a hair trim is asking a lot of my hair, but I am closing in on a year now, and my hair is healthier than it has ever been.  I praise the baking soda/ACV washing, the lack of harsh chemicals and the fact that I am now only washing my hair every 4 days (instead of every day).  The natural oil in my hair is keeping it shiny and healthy instead of being dry and brittle as it used to be without trimming it.

I would love to hear your experience!  Are you a believer?  Are you sceptical?  Are you on the fence like I was?  Or do you think I am stark raving mad?  That’s OK!  Let me know how it works for you.

This post has been linked up to The Morris Tribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival #4, Natural Parenting Group’s Monday Blog Hop, Homestead Helps Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #23.

Home-made All Natural Deodorant with men and women’s fragrances

Deodorants are very important to me.  I DO NOT LIKE body odour.  But neither do I like the chemicals that are in most commercial deodorants/ antiperspirants.  The human body is meant to sweat to cool the body.  The bacteria from our skin and hair cause body odour when we sweat.  Deodorants neutralise and/or kill the bacteria.  Antiperspirants use aluminium that actually blocks the pores and stops the sweat from leaving the body.  Control Your Impact explains that antiperspirants are actually drugs which “change the function of the body” and are thereby regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Both types regularly contain parabens, aluminium, propylene glycol, Triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, fragrance, talc, and many more.  These ingredients have links to Alzheimer’s, cancer and allergic reactions.  After discovering this information it was clear to me that I needed an alternative.

My safe deodorant search began when I was pregnant with my first child.  I tried the commercial all-natural brands from the crystal, to Tom’s of Maine and while these had acceptable ingredients, they didn’t work.   I finally settled on a Kiss My Face liquid rock that still contained ingredients I didn’t like.  I had myself convinced that no totally safe, chemical-free deodorants worked.

Last summer at a farmer’s market I purchased an all natural deodorant made locally.  I bought it with suspicion… and LOVED it!  It worked.  It smelled good.  It felt good.  And did I say, it WORKED!  The best part about it was that I recognised all the ingredients and could find most of them locally.  This was encouraging.  I knew that I could make my own deodorant if I really tried.  I started searching the internet for recipes and came up with several that had some of the same ingredients.  So I tried them.  The baking soda/coconut oil/corn starch deodorant worked well.  But it could only be used as a putty applied with finger tips because the coconut oil would melt in the steamy bathroom during showers.  I wanted something that could be poured into an old deodorant container and applied conveniently.  So I knew it needed something to make it drier and something to make it more solid.

And I found it.  My homemade deodorant contains:

Coconut Oil: naturally antibacterial and a great moisturiser.
Baking Soda: deodorises
Arrowroot Powder: adds extra dryness
Cocoa Butter: moisturiser for shaving and stabiliser (solid at room temperature)
Bees Wax: stabiliser (makes the deodorant more solid)
Essential Oil: antibacterial, antimicrobial, and smells good!

***UPDATE!  I have since changed the recipe to exclude kaolin clay since it does contain aluminum which I was unaware of.  It is a naturally occuring aluminum, and from my research does not absorb into the body but I removed it from the recipe regardless.  The ingredients have been adjusted and the recipe works fine without it.  If you want to include the kaolin clay, use 2 heaping tbsp. clay, and 2 heaping tbsp. arrowroot powder. Thanks!***

All ingredients can be found in natural health food stores.  Alternatively, ingredients can be ordered online from Mountain Rose Herbs: “Exceptional quality certified organic herbs and spices, with a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture.”
By clicking on the links above you can buy directly from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Does it work?  Yes it does!  Both my husband and I have put it to the test.  I have gardened in it, worked out in it, and stressed out in it with no smell!  My husband works a physical job and worked all day in it, and still didn’t smell the next morning.

Recipe (by weight, or use the measurments in brackets if you don’t have a scale):
1.1 oz. cocoa butter (1/8 c.)
2.0 oz. beeswax   (3 Tbsp. melted)
1.5 oz. coconut oil (3 Tbsp.)
1.5 oz. baking soda (1/8 c.)
1.0 oz. arrowroot powder (3 1/2 heaping Tbsp.)
15 drops clary sage essential oil (for men) or other
10+10 drops of vanilla essential oil and cinnamon essential oil (for women) or other

Directions:

Wash and roll down your empty deodorant container.
Melt cocoa butter on low heat in pan.  Stir constantly.
Add coconut oil and beeswax and stir until melted.  Turn off heat.
Add baking soda and arrowroot powder, stirring vigorously.
Add essential oils.
Pour quickly into empty deodorant container.  Make sure it has been rolled down all the way.
Allow to cool.
 And you are done!

Hints:

  • Use OLD dishes!  Bees wax is hard to get out of your bowls and spoons!
  • Make sure your deodorant container doesn’t have holes in the bottom of it.  If it does, cut out parchment paper to the size of the container, and seal the edges inside the container with melted beeswax before you get started.  You don’t want your product leaking all over the counter before it hardens.
  • Keep heat low to prevent burning.  MELT.  DO NOT BOIL.
  • If mixture hardens before you have put it in the container just reheat and stir to melt again.
  • If final product is too hard, roll it up, take it off the deodorant container, reheat and add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or cocoa butter.
  • If final product is too soft re-melt it and add 1/2 Tbsp melted bees wax.
  • If final product is too greasy re-melt and add 1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder.
  • Be careful when rolling up the deodorant for the first time.  It may be a bit stuck at first and you can easily break the turner if you force it.
  • Other essential oils will work fine with the recipe.  Lavender and Tea Tree oil have great antibacterial properties.  Just be cautious with essential oils: some are not supposed to be put directly on the skin.  Always read your labels first.
  • If you would like to make the recipe without a plastic container, simply do not add bees wax, pour into a glass jar and use your finger tips to apply.

Making your own body care products is fun and satisfying.  Keep in mind that you may have to play with recipes to get them perfect for your own body type.

For a link to more essential oils that have masculine fragrances click here.  You can make your own combinations of essential oils too.   For a link to mixing your own essential oil fragrances click here.

Some people’s skin is very sensitive to baking soda.  You can make the recipe without the baking soda but I find it less effective.

I would love to hear your experience with the product!  If you make changes to the recipe that make it work better for you, please share!

This post has been linked to The Prairie Homestead Blog Hop #56, Farmer’s Daughter’s Homsteading Link Up, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #21, From The Farm Blog Hop #42Simple Living Wednesday Link Up, Little Farm in the Big City: Homestead Helps Wednesday, Frugal Living: A Natural Parents Network Blog Hop and Natural Parenting Group Link Up.

Pumpkin flax pancakes from scratch.

Canadian thanksgiving has come and gone.  The turkey is eaten, the pies are done, but the remaining pureed pumpkin sat in the fridge waiting for me to make something with it.  I made pumpkin loaves last week, and so this week I pulled out the pumpkin and made pumpkin flax pancakes.  Easy, quick, fall-flavoured pancakes make everyone happy!  For once, all of my kids ate their lunch.  All of it.  I served it with homemade blueberry syrup, homemade apple sauce and locally-grown apple-pork sausage.  The left over pancakes are great frozen and popped in a toaster for a quick, healthy breakfast, or eaten as snacks with peanut butter and jam on top. 

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. organic white flour
  • 4 tbsp. ground flax
  • 4 tbsp. cane sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix (ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 beaten free range eggs
  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 1 1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. organic canola oil

Directions

  • In a large bowl combine flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda spices and salt.  Whisk well. Set bowl aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, pumpkin, vanilla and oil.  Whisk well. 
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold to combine.  Do not over-mix.  
  • Ladle onto greased griddle or frying pan.  Cook on medium heat until bubbles have popped. 
  • Flip carefully and cook for another minute or until lightly browned. 
  • Remove from pan and serve hot!
 Notes
  • Add a few tbsp of water to the batter if you like thinner pancakes. 
  • Obviously, substitute any organic ingredients with non organic, and goat milk with regular or almond/rice/soy milk.
  • This makes a large batch.  Recipe can easily be halved. 
Simple, healthy, delicious food NOT from a package!!  Taste the difference, feel good about the ingredients, and celebrate whole food!

This post has been linked up to Fat Tuesday: Real Food Forager.  Check out the links for great, REAL food!