Monday, January 30, 2012

Some natural moisturizers, and an attempt to find my natural hair color...

I have a little confession to make, although some of you already know this about me...

I like to dye my hair.  : )  It's fun, it can be cheap, and I've been doing it on and off for the past 10 or so years.

But in an effort to switch to natural alternatives this year, I need to stop this little hobby of mine.  The only problem I have is that I don't really know what my natural color is anymore.  Is it light brown?  With a little red?  No red?  I've been adding red to it for a little while, but I think it's actually a light brown, now that I've had four children.  So...this weekend I dyed it light brown.  And I really like it.  It's not much different than what I had, but I've always leaned towards reds and blondes, so this is kind of fun.  I'm sure it will lighten up as I wash it, and my Burt's Bee's shampoo I bought will have to wait for a little while before I'm comfortable using it again.  I'm afraid it would leave my hair a funky color for some reason...

On a side note, I asked my girls if they noticed a difference in my hair color when they were getting ready for bed last night.  The younger two said it looked the same, but Aimee said she noticed a slight difference.  When Amerie heard this, she said, "Come here.  Let me smell it."

sniff sniff

"Yep," she said.  "It's smells darker to me!"

My kids are weirdos.  : )

This weekend I also filled a jar with coconut oil to try as a moisturizer.  The kids and I used it before and i liked it, but Michigan winters are hard on skin, and ours tends to be dry already.  I have a slight memory of it not being enough.  We'll see.  I used it last night as a face moisturizer.  It's not greasy, and we buy virgin coconut oil, so it smells just like coconuts.  : )  My only problem is that I've been addicted to the Mary Kay Timewise collection since they debuted it almost 10 years ago.  It's going to be really, really hard for me to find a replacement.  : (  Plus, I have finicky skin that's dry and breaks out easily.  So switching skincare is frustrating and scary.  Here's what I've tried so far, and my opinions...

Unprocessed (extra virgin) coconut oil - Makes a good moisturizer, and doesn't upset my skin.  Might not be moisturizing enough for winter, but it would definitely be perfect for summer.  I've been using it as is, but this week I'll be adding beeswax and making it into an actual lotion.  It might be more moisturizing with the beeswax.

Grapeseed oil - I believe what I have is processed, because it doesn't say other wise.  I used this on myself and the kids and it was perfect for the younger two, who don't suffer from eczema.  Aimee refuses to use anything until she has a rash from her dry skin (will she ever learn??), so she won't agree to be a guinea pig.  Andrew didn't mind it, but still had itchy skin.  Me too, and it wasn't enough to keep my face from drying out.  Would be good for the summer, though.  Or for normal skin.  And it's an oil, so give it time to absorb.  : )

Raw shea butter - I LOVED this, because it is so moisturizing.  It goes on thick, and you have to melt it in your hand before applying.  But it's amazing.  I had two problems with it, though.  One, my face broke out BAD.  So it's a no-go for that.  And two, it has an interesting smell, since it's completely unprocessed.  I didn't mind it, but my girls hated it.  They don't even like it on my hands.  So I'm at a loss with what to do with my giant tub of it.  I might try using it on my hands during the day, and see if the smell dissipates, because this is some serious moisturizing and I really don't want to give it up.  I've come to accept that winter means my hands are cracked and in pain, but I would be a very happy girl if that could change.  More on this later.  : )

I also purchased Burt's Bee's shampoo and conditioner a few weeks ago.  Like I said before, I won't be using it on my hair just yet.  I'll be finishing up my Tresseme.  But my opinion of their Super Shiny Shampoo and conditioner...I liked it.  Once I got passed the fact that it's the stuff that's bad for you that makes shampoo so wonderful.  It's hard to lather at first, since it doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate.  At first, I just used more.  But then I realized you just have to give it more effort to suds, and then it works just fine.  I'm not crazy about the smell as it lathers, but once my hair is drying, it has a nice citrus-y smell that I liked.

(Sidenote - About sodium lauryl sulfate.  It's one item I'm doing my best to eliminate from our lives.  Looking into the claims about it's safety, there are just as many saying it's okay, as there are that it's unsafe. But here's my opinion on the subject, and this goes with all of the chemicals and compounds I'm eliminating this year...if there is a reasonable alternative to a product that may or may not be unsafe, why not choose the alternative?  Maybe my shampoo won't suds as nicely or my clothes won't be quite as fluffy and soft as Downy gets them.  But if I can prevent even one cancer diagnosis in my family someday down the road, these little changes I'm making right now are 100 % worth it.  And that is my motivation.)

I also made some homemade deodorant yesterday, using this recipe.  I'm using it at home, around the house, until I know how well it works.  : )  But from what I read, if your body and your gut are healthy, you shouldn't need strong deodorants because it's the toxins in your body that cause you stink to begin with.  Interesting theory, that makes sense to me.  We'll see how it goes.  It was easy to make, with one part arrowroot powder (you can also use cornstarch, but I had arrowroot in the fridge) and one part baking soda.  After you combine the two, add enough coconut oil to make it the consistency of conventional deodorant.  You can store in an old deodorant container, but I put mine in a jelly jar for now.  I've used this formula before and it worked fine, but I was eating a lot of junk foods at the time.  It might work better this time around.

That's all the changes I've made so far.  I'm still trying them out and seeing how they work long term, and how well my kids like them.  In the end, I won't make a change my kids will hate unless I feel it's completely necessary.  My long-term hope is that they will make these same decisions when they are adults, and if they grow up hating the products I made them use, they will be completely turned off to the idea of using natural alternatives themselves.  So I'm prepared for much trial and error!

That's all I've got for now.  : )  Have a super Monday!

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