I think of myself as an environmentally aware person. I really believe that we all need to do as much as we can to preserve our environment’s health. So I try to buy green products whenever I can, especially since I think they are probably healthier for my family and me as well.
But if these products don’t do the job they’re supposed to, I’m just throwing my money away. And I don’t like to feel like I’m getting ripped off, even if it is better for the environment.
For instance, lately our dishes haven’t been getting very clean. I thought it was the dishwasher; my husband wanted to try a different soap. We switched back to Cascade, and sure enough, all the dishes were sparkling again. (Did I mention how much I hate it when my husband is right?) I guess that environmentally friendly soap wasn’t very environmentally friendly when you consider how many times I had to rewash the dishes. I’m looking at you, Seventh Generation. (I still like your diapers and wipes, though.)
And no, I don’t think my butt’s too good for toilet paper made from recycled paper. I’m even willing to spend a little more, if it’s good for the environment. But when I take out a new roll and see how little paper is on it, I feel like I’m getting ripped off. How does that advance a green cause?
Toiletries are another area where I can’t seem to find good green products. The mouthwash I bought leaks all over the bathroom counter. The face moisturizer isn’t as effective as my old non-green brand from Target. The very expensive new brands of lotion and shampoo I’ve been trying just aren’t worth the money.
I am a loyal shopper, and when I do find a good brand, I will stick with it. Here are some green brands that I really love:
As the costs of everything go up, I have been looking for some ways to save money. Toiletries are a big expense. I won’t buy the cheap drugstore stuff because I am concerned about the chemicals they contain, as well as their impact on the environment. But the all-natural organic products are often three or four times’ as expensive. The definition of sticker shock is paying $20 for a bottle of shampoo.
It occurred to me that I might be able to save some money by making some of my own toiletries. I have been having a lot of success with making my own cleaning products. A little Internet research led me to the conclusion that some of the same ingredients I use for cleaning my house could be used on myself with good results.
I’ve been trying out these recipes for a few weeks now, with good results. The ingredients list is short and economical. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and facial toner:
- castile soap — I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild formula in the large bottle, which you can now get at Target. Castile soap has dozens of uses around the house. Besides shampoo and soap, I also use it to clean my baby, my dishes, my floors and my tubs.
- vinegar — I use apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar will also work.
- essential oils — I use tea tree oil for the antibacterial properties and lavender oil for the scent. Although they are expensive, a small vial will last you a long time.
- Vitamin E liquid capsules — For moisturizing, as well as to help heal damaged skin.
- witch hazel — Astringent for the face; a big bottle will cost you $3, about one-third of the cost of Burt’s Bees or similar facial toner.
Here are the recipes.
Combine in a squeeze bottle:
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup castile soap
- 10 drops essential oil for scent (use tea tree oil as well if you have dandruff)
With this shampoo, you don’t need to wash your hair as often. I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week now.
You don’t need a conditioner if you’re washing your hair with castile soap, because it doesn’t strip out your hair’s natural oils like shampoo does, but the soap can leave your hair feeling a little greasy. The antidote is an acid, such as vinegar. Just mix ¼ cup vinegar with warm water in the shower and pour it slowly over your head. I do this pretty much every day, and it leaves my hair smooth, sleek and without tangles.
I use apple cider vinegar, which also has dandruff-fighting properties, but any vinegar or even lemon juice would work. Lemon juice will probably lighten your hair as well. However, it’s easier and more economical to keep a large bottle of vinegar in the bathroom rather than freshly squeezing lemons every morning.
Combine in a pump bottle:
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup castile soap
- 10 drops tea tree oil for the antibacterial properties
- the liquid from 4 vitamin E capsules for moisturizing and healing properties
- 10 drops another essential oil for scent, if desired
- 2/3 cup witch hazel
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 10 drops tea tree oil, if needed, to treat acne
- 10 drops other essential oil for the scent, if desired
Here are some more recipes from Green Daily for other beauty products that I haven’t tried yet, including foot deodorizer, lip balm and facial scrub.