I think it's valid to recognize that our skin is our largest organ, and as such whatever we slather all over it will get absorbed into our body. There's a reason birth control and morphine patches work, after all- the drugs are readily absorbed directly through the skin. With this in mind, in the last year I started thinking that as great as free toiletries from CVS are (I played the coupon game, and got pretty much everything to do with bodily hygiene and makeup for free) the ingredients list isn't that great, plus there is a lot of plastic waste associated with those products. I started my foray into natural replacements for conventional products with deodorant. Mind you, this wasn't something I took lightly, because I really didn't want to be that stinky girl that everyone was too nice to say anything to. I looked into Tom's of Maine, but honestly their products were not that different from Secret or Dove. That's when I found crystal stick deodorant- or, to be more accurate, salt stick deodorant.
basic overview of what that means. When it comes to body odor, our underarms smell because of bacteria that live on our skin. That bacteria interacts with and breaks down our sweat. Traditional deodorant has various aluminum compounds that serve as anti-perspirants. In addition, there is usually a fragrance to cover up any smells that may arise should you sweat in spite of the anti-perspirant. Salt stick deodorant however, is just that- a stick of salt. It works by neutralizing the bacteria that cause bad odors. It doesn't serve as an anti-perspirant, but I've never had a problem with excessive sweating so that's fine by me.
About a year ago, I made a second replacement- I ditched my frou frou, scented Bath and Body works lotion and got myself a jar of coconut oil. 100%, pure, organic oil made from nothing but coconuts.
I made the third replacement around the same time as the second. I had been looking for an all natural replacement for laundry detergent, to avoid the chemicals as well as the problem of the packaging waste. In my search, I came upon soap nuts. After researching them for some while, I decided to give them a try.
I like all three of these replacements because they are frugal, they are truly all natural, and they work just as well as- if not better- than their traditional counterparts. Once the last of my free-thanks-to-the-CVS-coupon-game shampoo and conditioner runs out I will be switching to the no 'poo method. You can google no 'poo and find hundreds of hits, but here's a good overview of the general idea. The best part is that coconut oil is also great- in very, very small amounts- as a hair conditioner with this method. I already have all the ingredients on hand, I just need to wait until my shampoo/conditioner cache runs dry.
If you try any of these alternatives- or if you have any questions!- let me know. When I give the no 'poo method a try I'll do a second part to this post. In the meantime, at the very least, go find some coconut oil- it's fantastic and is far superior to any lotion/chapstick I've ever used.