Challenge 1: Mother Nature’s Maid

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The Big Idea:

I’m going natural!  Over the next 29 weeks, which run through October 1, 2012, I will be making all of my own homemade, 100% natural personal care products.  Each week, I will give up one or two of the store-bought beauty products I regularly use, gradually replacing all of my synthetic items with natural, homemade ones.  Hopefully, by October I’ll be one step away from brushing my teeth with a fresh sycamore limb and drying my hair with a small wind turbine.

The Rules:

Now I don’t want you to think this is some fly-by-night operation I’m running here – this is a serious challenge, and I have strict rules.

  1. After I’ve given up a product, there is no going back until October 2.
  2. It is possible to research and attempt multiple homemade/natural alternatives to a single product
  3. Products must be homemade; pre-made natural products designed for personal care uses are off limits. (Exception: The AMAZING Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, which I allow to be used as an ingredient in my recipes)
  4. One or two products must be given up each week (or as close to this schedule as possible), but research/new attempts may continue even after the given week is up
  5. Cost comparisons (homemade vs. store-bought) will be given for each product

*Note: If my health, emotional well-being or hair is too adversely affected by any given homemade/natural product, then all these rules go out the bathroom window faster than Polythene Pam.

The Products:

The Basicshand soap, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, face wash, bar soap, body wash

Skin Careface lotion, sunscreen, chapstick, hand lotion, exfoliator, acne wash

Hair Careshampoo, conditioner, hair spray, leave-in conditioner, mousse

Extrasnail polish, shaving cream, perfume, tooth whitener

How I got started:

Now I may drive a (soon to be “historic” and rather retro, if I do say so myself) 1992 Volvo station wagon, and I may take reusable grocery bags to the supermarket, and I have been known to last months at a time without taking a razor to my legs, but I’m no hippie.  First of all, I need my deodorant, and we all know that non-deodorized pits are the first criterion for being a hippie.  I don’t deal well with sweat.  Second of all, I don’t shop at Trader Joe’s.

But you don’t have to be a hippie to be taken aback by some of the chemicals that are allegedly swimming around in your personal care products.  My challenge started with tomato juice – I’m not kidding.  I got the idea to attempt a 100% natural lifestyle after reading articles on about the hidden dangers of antiperspirants.  I wanted to try natural deo myself, but I sweat a lot, and one thing I know about deodorant is that, for all its freshness, it does not stop sweat.  I needed something more sophisticated – a natural alternative to antiperspirant, not just deodorant.  Turns out tomato juice was the key.  (Read about how I stopped the sweat with tomato juice!)

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