It’s time for me to come clean about my latest
obsession experiment. I have not used shampoo or any other hair products, moisturizer, face wash, deodorant or toothpaste for more than a month. I have been playing with using natural substitutes instead.
I do generally ascribe to the philosophy that minimizing chemical exposure is a positive thing. I replaced a lot of my cleaning supplies and fluids with steam devices (besides reducing the chemical exposure, it’s fun to play with the steam devices. The first time I used my steam cleaner TMOTH (The Man of the House) thought I was power washing the kitchen cabinets). However I have my girlie side and I like my potions and lotions.
I first heard of the “No Poo” movement on one of the Barefoot Running email lists that I subscribe to. The guys there made the whole idea sound very unappetizing. One day I was surfing around the Cave Girl Eats site and I happened upon her body care section. Liz Wolfe made the No Poo/natural potions options seem like a viable alternative. Besides the reduction in chemical exposure, I was attracted to the opportunity to mix things up and play with them.
At the beginning of October I replaced my shampoo, conditioner and pomade, my facial lotions and potions, my toothpaste and my deodorant with natural alternatives. If you are interested in what I used instead, click the links for details. I did not alert TMOTH, The Offspring , my co-workers or friends to these changes in my hygiene habits. Part of the fun of the experiment was seeing if anyone noticed.
The most dramatic change was caused by my new skin care regimen. About two weeks into it The OO (Oldest Offspring) dropped by the house. She looked at me and asked what I was doing with my skin. She said it looked like my wrinkles had disappeared (they do appear to have receded as the skin around plumped up). The woman who rips out my eyebrows with wax each month also commented on how good my skin was looking. I will not be going back to my expensive Over Fifty skin care products. That change alone will save me about $50 a month.
I feel like my hair is more manageable and easy to work with than it has ever been. It’s curling more with fewer products. I’ll get the expert opinion of my stylist tomorrow when I go in for a haircut. I’ll be requesting No Poo and no other products.
I’ve also been quite happy with switching to using coconut oil as a body lotion. All of my itchy skin issues are gone. My skin looks smooth, with no dry patches.
The toothpaste I mixed up is a lot like the Tom’s brand of natural toothpaste. Since Colgate Palmolive has purchased the Tom’s brand, I think I’ll continue to mix up my own.
The change that is most difficult for me to gauge the efficacy of is the deodorant substitute. TMOTH hasn’t said anything, but he has chronic allergies and his sense of smell is not all that acute. I haven’t noticed people recoiling in horror or veering away from me in public places. I did ride in close quarters carpooling to hikes several times this month. No one leaned away or made any comments wondering if something had died or rotted in the car. I think things are working OK in the underarm arena, but more testing and observational data are needed before I can be certain.
I’m not ready to give up my makeup yet. Wearing it is one of my daily minimum requirements. They’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands when I go. A year or two ago I switched from using chemical free mineral makeup to the hard stuff. It’s a sad fact that when your wrinkles reach a certain depth, mineral makeup just doesn’t cut it anymore. I think the oil cleaning method has moved my skin back into the zone where mineral makeup is again a possibility. I’ll be switching back over to that alternative as things need to be replaced.
If any loyal readers would like to share their strategies for reducing chemical exposure, leave your tips in the comments section.