Guest Post: Back to Basics

by Whitney Harrod

Whitney is a talented photographer and writer living in Louisville, Kentucky. She’s on a new mission for 2013 to use natural products for her beauty routine.

A few days ago, I gave into temptation. I broke the rules I had adhered to for the last six weeks. Because I was in a rush to shower, eat breakfast and get to work in time (all within 20 minutes), I opted not to retrieve my refill of baking soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV) from the kitchen. Instead, like an recovering alcoholic, I turned to the products I had exiled to the hall closet. Of course, I vowed to soon donate these pricey liquids to my “unhealthier” friends.

I squeezed a few drops of body wash into my loofah and plopped a generous amount of scalp-treatment shampoo onto my head. And boy, did I enjoy the ease of not putting much effort into the cleaning process. The opposite is true when using baking soda as a wash. I must meticulously pay attention to where the soda is landing because there is no bread crumbs (a.k.a. lather) to follow.

I miss lather. I miss knowing I hadn’t missed a spot. When I made the switch to a baking soda and ACV body and hair diet, I assumed the process would be easy and self-fulfilling. Heck, I could brag to my friends and they’d be envious. But I would soon receive comments, including “ew, “that’s gross,” “how do you know you are really clean?” or “you smell like a pickle.” And, no, I really don’t smell like a pickle. Well, maybe for just a few minutes after the shower a faint vinegar smell comes and goes.
DSC_8915
Out with the old…

I made the switch to a completely natural hair, face and body regime when I realized how much crap so-called “natural” products — even many of those sold at Whole Foods — contain. Check out some of these naughty (and not-so-naughty) ingredients in the Burt’s Bee’s lotion I have used for years. And just because something is labeled paraben-free, sulfate-free or harsh-chemical free, so many ingredients are not necessary to create one product. One-ingredient options sound much more appealing. Hello, grape seed oil and coconut oil!

Fragrance Free Shea Butter & Vitamin E Body Lotion
Ingredients: aqua (water, eau), glycerin, decyl cocoate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abeille), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, polyglyceryl-3 stearate, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetyl alcohol, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, butyris lac (buttermilk powder, babeurre en poudre), chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, centaurea cyanus flower extract, tilia cordata flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, anthemis nobilis flower extract, hypericum perforatum extract, tocopherol, sucrose stearate, xanthan gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, canola oil (huile de colza), lactic acid, citric acid, glucose, sodium chloride, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium benzoate, magnesium aluminum silicate, phenoxyethanol, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase.

DSC_8938

…and in with the new!
Here’s my new regimen:
Baking soda — body wash, face wash, scrub (with sugar), “shampoo”
Apple Cider Vinegar — hair conditioner, smoothie supplement
For medium length hair (to your shoulders), combine half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of water in a squirt bottle and shake well. Half of it’s used as a body wash and the other as a hair wash. After massaging in your scalp and rinsing well, it’s time for just a few squirts on ACV. Of course, every person’s PH levels are different, so experiment with your ratios. You don’t want too greasy or too dry hair. And don’t fret if your strands haven’t developed a nice, clean texture after a few washes. The breaking in period can last up to four weeks.
Coconut oil — Use as a lotion, face moisturizer at night or hair conditioner. A little goes a long way. No need to melt the oil first. It will melt as it touches your skin or hair. If using as a hair conditioner, leave in overnight and wash thoroughly in the morning.Grape Seed Oil — Use as shaving lotion, eye makeup remover, face moisturizer or straightening balm.

Lactose-free milk, honey & sugar — Use as leave-on mask, scrub or scar treatment. Combine equal parts ingredients and bring to a simmer over the stove. Apply warm and be sure to taste!

Don’t forget, like indulging in bread pudding once a week, you still can break the rules once in a while.

Psst–Wanna write for Get Clean, Girls? Write to us!

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