Natural shaving gel

I purchased my juicer (finally) and will soon be dedicating a post or two to the raw food diet I am planning on taking. But for now, I want to give a little time to some natural body care tips that I think are important.

Anyone reading this may think that I am a person who falls under the category of ‘hippie’. Anyone talking to me may also think the same thing. I talk incessantly about all natural lifestyles, the benefits of coconut oil, embracing nature, recycling, and so on. I’m not a hippie though. I work for a corporation, drive a relatively nice car, own a house in the suburbs, go to a gym, my dogs are chihuahuas, I eat out at nice restaurants, and order the soufflĂ© for dessert. I would probably fall under the category of a granola, someone who embraces natural living and is open minded, but doesn’t embrace the anti government, anti establishment values that hippies have. This is not really important to my post other than specifying that I represent middle America, so following any of the ideas I have laid out or will lay out does not make qualify you as taking an extreme measure.

On to the natural shaving gel. I enjoy clean shaven legs. That being said, I realize that shaving is typically very bad for skin. Daily exfoliation taken to the extreme, shaving can cause a lot of irritation that dries out our epidermal layer very quickly. I would actually recommend waxing or using the Middle Eastern form of hair removal known as threading. If you don’t know what that is, here is basic description of how it works. It’s popular for eyebrows (because no one wants hot wax near your eyes…ouch) but if you can figure out how to use it yourself, it works really well for body hair removal. I have tried and tried to do it, but I don’t have the patience or time necessary to devote to learning how to use this technique. I have also tried to use waxing, since that is something I could do myself, but with little success. So it was back to shaving.

Now the title of this piece is a little misleading, as the natural shaving gel/cream I use is water. I just thought that if I am going to be dedicating time to explaining the natural methods of self and home care, I should include as much as I can. I use water for a couple of reasons. Mass market shaving gel is not a good way of shaving. The products contain a large amount of alcohol, alcohol derivatives, and other products that are put into your tiny opened pores while shaving. One thing to note however, is that using a shaving gel or cream, can help keep your razors lasting a little longer. Water is quick and inexpensive. I can cut out the whole lathering portion of shaving and just get it over with while in the shower. When I get out of the shower, I use coconut oil or aloe vera to help restore my precious skin. Voila!

Now there are some individuals who prefer using shaving cream/gel and if you are looking for a good recipe check out here. I enjoy her blog and she seems to share many of the values I am trying to dedicate this blog to.

So there you have it. This was a quick entry, but one I wanted to go ahead and get out of the way as I get into more exciting ways of living naturally.

All Natural hair gel

Here I go again. I apologize for being awful at blogging but to be fair, I am just figuring it out. I promise to try and be more dedicated in the future.

Along with washing my hair with natural ingredients, I have been searching (mostly in vain) to find an all natural method of styling my hair. I have searched through hair care aisles, talked to hair care experts, and discussed the issue with family and friends. Then, it happened. I googled ‘best products for curly hair’ and I discovered NapturallyCurly.com. I watched her video and immediately ran to my kitchen. Whole flaxseeds? Check. Water? Check. Essential oils? Check. Ten minutes later, I had it. My all natural answer to hair styling.

Before I get into the “how-to” portion of this, let me share some of the benefits of flaxseed hair gel.
– Promotes hair growth. I haven’t been using this long enough to be able to say this from first hand experience, but flaxseeds tend to help with metabolic functions which is related to hair and nail growth, so it is scientifically valid. Read more about health benefits of flaxseeds.
-Budget friendly. You can reuse the flaxseeds for either more gel, or in foods after making the gel.
-Leaves hair soft, shiny, and moisturized.
-Gives hold with no annoying crunch. Doesn’t cause breakage.
-Fast drying.
-Great for all hair types.
-Gives great curl definition.

Along with all of these reasons, it’s all natural! So you know exactly what is in your hair product and you do not need to worry about a ‘secret’ ingredient being included that actually destroys your hair.

How To Make It
Gather your ingredients. You will need about 1/4 cup of whole flaxseeds (get them in the cereal or bulk foods section at the supermarket), 2 cups of water, and an essential oil of your choice. The golden or the small dark brown ones both work as long as they are labeled organic. Flaxseeds are ridiculously inexpensive so if you don’t already have some, you do not have to worry about going broke buying them.

1. Pour water and flaxseeds into medium saucepan over medium-high.

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2. Stir frequently.
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3. When water turns cloudy and is about the consistency of egg whites, turn off heat.

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4. Place strainer over container and gently strain water through.

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5. Put aside used flaxseeds for use later or discard.
6. Add a few drops of essential oil (if desired). Cover gel and place in refrigerator to cool.

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That’s it!

For thicker gel, use more seeds and less water. This makes a LOT of gel and it should last you about 3 weeks if stored in the fridge properly.

Final Update of Hair Care

Alright, final update. I officially love the no shampoo movement. My hair is significantly stronger, and the most apparent change I have seen is that I no longer shed. You know how you brush your hair and your brush is full of dead hair that fell out? Apparently that’s not normal. I used to shed ALL the time. My hair was everywhere. Since I have stopped using shampoo, I have noticed that my bathroom is no longer a hair jungle after I get ready in the morning, saving me an additional 5 minutes of cleaning time a day. My hair is also actually curly and no longer just a big frizzy mess. I wore it up today because I was cleaning, but I CAN wear it down and not worry about it making me look like a mad woman.

Now, if you are considering trying this, I highly recommend it. You have to make sure you do it in a fashion that fits your lifestyle though, otherwise you’re not going to understand why people do it. The hardest part for me was getting used to not having the shampoo frothiness everywhere during my showers. That was a huge part of my routine since…well since I started taking showers. Also the creamy conditioning was a huge part of the routine. Now I am used to a simpler washing routine, and I would say I am more careful about the cleaning process since I don’t have the froth to signal the end of a cleaning cycle which makes me think I am a much cleaner person now.

Well, that’s the end of my documenting about my new process of hair care. My next big thing will be juicing. I am saving up to purchase a top of the line juicer so I won’t be starting that for a little while. But when I do, I will certainly make sure I share all of my discoveries! Till then.

One week later…

So I have been doing the all natural hair care for the past week. So far, I like it, but it’s hard to get used to NOT having shampoo and conditioner all over my head for a good portion of my shower. My head does feel cleaner overall. Over the past day, I have noticed a little more oilyiness but that’s normal according to other people’s experiences. In my hair, which is overly frizzy, I have needed to add coconut oil to the vinegar routine. I wish I had thought about using this earlier! It’s kind of like magic. BUT I wouldn’t recommend using it if you have more greasy hair. It’s great for those of us with natural curls and/or frizz, but it is oil, so you will hate it if you have thin straight, or greasy hair types.

This second week of the experiment I am trying a little more baking soda in my shampoo mixture, but keeping the vinegar solution the same. I am only changing the shampoo because I figure I am playing around with it so I may as well experiment 🙂 Until next week…

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Beginning the journey…

Today while cleaning, I realized how much cleaning solution I must be breathing in. Needless to say I did not enjoy the thought of breathing in the same chemicals that warn us to avoid ingesting them at all costs. So I began a little research project on natural cleaning solutions and discovered that apple cider vinegar can clean most things just as well as those OTHER solutions. Armed with my newly mixed 1:3 solution of ACV and water, I began to clean my kitchen, my bathrooms, my washer and dryer, my stove… It was a magical couple of hours for me. With my house now sparkling clean, I sat down with my ipad to discover what else ACV can be used for. Obviously for cooking, and I already use it as a soak to soften my feet; but the one item that made me determined to dive headfirst into an all natural lifestyle was (drum roll please): hair conditioner???

Yes it turns out, apple cider vinegar, mixed with water, and an essential oil of whatever fragrance you like, is a fantastic way to soften frizzy or damaged hair follicles. Some more reading led me to discover that shampoos are, as I have long suspected, but never quite come around to investigate, full of chemicals and ingredients which make it difficult for the scalp and hair to make the natural oils it needs to maintain beautiful hair. This site gives a great non biased overview of what switching to a no shampoo routine can do for you. My day of research has encouraged me to try this out. So I am dedicating the next few months to attempting this no ‘poo thing. Will I stop washing my hair? Hell no. But instead of shampoo I will switch to a baking soda + water mixture.

My reasons for doing this?
First, as I mentioned shampoo is full of chemicals that are harmful to the body. Why on earth would I put something on my hair that has ingredients that end in -alcohol? I want my hair to be less dry, but shampoo AND conditioner both have drying ingredients. Second, I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on hair care products. This provides a significantly cheaper way of addressing hair cleanliness with less work than it takes to get in my car, go to the store, pick out shampoo and conditioner, pay for the items, get back in my car, and come home. So no sacrifice. Third, I have been very, VERY slowly trying to transition to an all natural lifestyle and this for me is the plunge taking step I need to go ahead and get this ball rolling.

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This is something I will be experimenting with, but I’ve got plenty of time to play around with it. The recommended starting mix for the wash is 1 Tbl baking soda to 1 Cup of water. Easy to make. The recommended starting mix for the conditioning serum is 2 Tbl ACV to 1 Cup of water + a few drops essential oil. Also easy to make. So here goes.