Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Living Simply Isn't Simple Sometimes

As you know, I kinda have a knack for donating things. I've donated probably 40% of my family's belongings within the 2 years. All of it being things we never used, given to us, passed down to us, or was just a compulsive purchase that we later regretted.
I've given my son's clothing away. Bags & Bags. To friends and strangers, anyone that needed some. Otherwise they would be just sitting in my attic right now.

Next week Lupus Foundation will be picking up 2 large bags of things. Some of it is mine, some is my sisters.
When they haul it away, my house feels lighter. Its hard to describe. Its a sense of everything having a place, and that place isnt stuffed in the back of a closet.

But, do you want to know something? I'm not sure if I'd call myself a minimalist anymore.

After buying this house, and painting it, and decorating it, I just cant seem to label myself something as extreme as "minimalist".
If you look around my house, you'll see couches, dvds galore, autumn decorations, lots of toys for my son, and more.

I think lately, you could say I'm just frugal, and realistic.

I know I don't need a closet and a dresser full of clothes. And I know I don't need several bath towels, lotions, hand soaps and perfumes.
I know some handmade soap, a good moisturizer, mascara and concealer is what it takes to make me feel pretty. I know a few rags, vinegar and Bon Ami is all I need to keep a clean house.

Maybe that's not what you would call normal, but that's who I am. And I'm still learning just who I am.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My all natural, simple, frugal hair and skin care methods.

If youre like me, you try to eat healthy and organic where it matters.
Meat, dairy, fruit.
But do you think about your beauty and haircare supplies?

A year ago I researched all natural, homemade ingredients that can be used for skin and hair care.
Thats when I found the 'Oil cleansing method' for your face, and the 'no 'poo' method for your hair.
While theres different variations of the two methods, they are both simple and easy to make.
You can find most of the ingredients in your kitchen!

And to be clear, this isnt some 'avocado and lime facemask' or 'mayo and eggwhites hair deep conditioner'.
This stuff actually replaces skin and hair care products, for good.

OCM face cleanser recipe:

First, you start with an empty bottle.
If you have:
Oily skin, fill it 1/4 of the way with extra virgin olive oil.
Normal skin, 1/2 with extra virgin olive oil.
Dry skin, 3/4 with extra virgin olive oil.
Next, fill the rest with castor oil.

You can tweak these amounts according to your skin type, and how it reacts with the mixture.

To 'wash' your face simply pour a quarter size amount into your palm and rub it onto your face using small circles. It may feel weird at first rubbing oil onto your face, but just wait, your skin will be glowing when youre finished.
Next, take a washcloth and wash it under hot water. Not scorching hot, but hot enough.
Wring it out and place it onto your face. This opens your pores and lets the oil do its job.
Wait 20 seconds, then wipe away the oil. You can wash the washcloth again and wipe some more if needed. Your face will look and BE more moisturized and cleansed immediately.

This works as an AMAZING makeup remover, for eyeliner, mascara... anything!

Do you remember in science class we learned like dissolves like?
The oils in the cleanser remove the excess oils on your face (and all dirt and impurities as well) without stripping your skin which most face washes do. Therefore you wont need to use moisturizer either! The olive oil is a natural moisturizer that is amazing for your skin.

Now, onto our next all natural beauty routine:

The 'no poo' method.

Have you heard about the chemicals in our shampoos, called sulfates, also known as SLS? These are known carcinogens, and used in detergents used to wash our clothes and dishes.
Why are we pouring these harmful chemicals onto our scalps?
There is an easy, natural way to avoid these chemicals, without spending big bucks on "organic" hair care products.

First, I'll start with the 'shampoo'.

Baking soda. Also known as Sodium bicarbonate, is an amazing powder with so many uses. In this case, were using it to clean our hair. (use one that is aluminum free!)

Baking soda has a high PH level, which opens the hair shaft to help clean away dirt and excess oils.
It does not strip the hair of its natural and healthy oils, unlike shampoo.
See, shampoo strips your hair of its healthy oils, thus your hair makes even MORE oil to replace what was taken. Conditioner is then used to coat the hair shaft with superficial oils to replace what the shampoo took. This causes hair to be oily, limp and weighed down, needing styling products to keep it looking nice.

With this new method, your hair will have a balance of how much oil to make, therefore making your scalp and locks very happy and beautiful.

I use about a tablespoon worth (i have short chin length hair, so use a bit more if your hair is longer)of baking soda. I make it into a paste in my hand and rub it directly onto my roots, and above my ears, where the sebum (oil) tends to be most. Scrub your scalp for a minute then thoroughly rinse.
You will notice it didnt suds up like shampoo, and thats OKAY. Dont fret, your hair is clean.

Now for the second part, the 'conditioner'.

Theres a few things you can use. I recommend either apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or green tea. These all have low PH levels which close the hair shaft.
Apple cider vinegar smells like, well, vinegar, but once you rinse it out of your hair, it doesnt smell anymore. This is probably the most popular one used.
Lemon juice is recommended mainly for blondes.
And green tea is my new favorite. It is known to help with hair growth, prevent hair loss, and it smells yummy.

The recipes:

Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice: 1 tbsp per 1 cup water.

Green tea: steep 1 tea bag in 2 cups of water. Make sure you let it cool!

You can pre make these solutions and store them in empty shampoo bottles to make things easier.
And you can also tweak these solutions to suit your hair type. Some people use very little ACV/lemon juice/green tea in the water.
It just takes some experimenting, and youll find what works best for your hair.

If you were using harsh shampoos and heavy conditioners previously, your hair make have whats called a 'transition period'. This can last froma few days to a few months. The more 'green' your haircare routine was, the less of a transition it will be for you.

This is a very frugal and natural way to take care of your skin and hair. Have fun!

If you have any questions, or if youre doing one of these methods, please leave a comment. I love feedback!