Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Simply Simplifying (Plus some recipes!)

Most of you know, my hubby is a lean systems engineer. He has slowly been brainwashing teaching me how to implement those processes into our daily lives and how it saves us money, minimizes work around the house, and makes everyone happier.

I thought he was absolutely crazy... until it all started to make sense. So we started simplifying.

We started small and have now started tackling the bigger things... like clothes and other junk.

But, the first thing we started with, as silly as it sounds, was our shower and bathroom.

We had bought one of those shower caddys to hold all of our junk... then one day, we realized, why do we have all this junk in our shower? We don't even use 90% of it. So we got rid of it and all the bottles that hadn't been touched in a month. Then we went through and did the same in all of the cabinets in the bathroom..... seriously, there was a lot of junk!!

[From left to right: Shampoo, conditioner, facewash, and castile soap]

Now, we have 4 bottles in our shower. All of them are travel sized bottles too. We make our own shampoo, conditioner, and facewash. Then we buy one bottle of soap a year and refill our little travel sized bottles. This is great for multiple reasons, our shower is less cluttered and when it's time to pack for a trip, we just pack up and go!

All together, our bathing supplies cost us less than $30 a year.
$2.50 for a large box of baking soda
$4 for a large bottle of apple cider vinegar
Not sure on price---Extra virgin olive oil (same as the one we use in the kitchen)
$2.50 for a bottle of castor oil (Maybe two bottles through the year..)
$15 for a large bottle of Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile soap

... A year, folks!!

All this saves us money, in addition to keeping mystery chemicals off our bodies.

We use these things for the whole family. We use castile soap to wash the toddler head to toe, and do a good rinse with the ACV conditioner. We only wash her hair about once a week, or whenever it really needs it, and use ACV the rest of the time. It has worked better than any detangling shampoo! When she was a baby, we just used water on her hair and castile soap. Dr. Bronner's does have a baby-mild version that you could add essential oils to personalize for each family member.

Disclaimer: I don't ever measure things... except for baking. So you'll have to forgive the lack of precise measurements!

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So, the recipes:

Shampoo:
We put this in a squirt bottle similar to those picnic mustard/ketchup bottles.
1 T baking soda
1 cup of water

Mix together.
To use: Squirt on scalp, leave in until hair feels slippery, rinse out. It's not advised to use more than 2-3 times a week, the baking soda can overdry the scalp.

Conditioner:
We put this in a 1 oz travel sized spray bottle
1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Fill the rest of the bottle with water

Spray this over hair after shampoo. If scalp gets too dry from baking soda, spray on scalp. If hair feels too greasy, spray just over the length of hair avoiding the scalp.

Facewash:
We put this mixture in a 1 oz essential oil glass bottle. Those glass syrup bottles from Cracker Barrel also work great!

I eyeball about 40% of the bottle and fill to that point with castor oil
Fill the remainder of the bottle with extra virgin olive oil

The oil cleansing method is as follows, pour a small amount of the oil into your palm and massage into face... take your time, and enjoy the massage! When you're done, wet a washcloth with warm water, lay over face and breathe, leave the towel on until it has cooled. When the towel has cooled, use the towel to wipe of the excess oil. You want to leave a thin film on your face.

To tweak the recipe above (I would give it a week or so for your skin to adjust to the oil cleansing method first): for a more moisturizing blend decrease castor oil and increase olive oil. If your face still feels too greasy, up the castor oil and decrease the olive oil. I wouldn't go past a 60/40 castor/olive blend though, it could get too drying and that is the opposite of what you want. I have started adding about 5 drops of tea tree oil to our oil blend too. I think it has really helped keep breakouts even more at bay!

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So some notes on switching to the above recipes: There is a little bit of an adjustment period with switching to these products, it took my hair about 3 months to stop producing so much oil... I now go a week between washings. My hair is healthier than it has been in years! With the oil cleansing method, my face was really greasy for the first week or so, but oil production has gone down drastically. I now have zero breakouts (a relief from the cystic acne I used to suffer from) but I have also found my body reacts really badly to makeup... still working on finding something that works there!

Also, I have found during different seasons, my body seems to need different things. During the winter, I wash my hair with castile soap and do two rinses with the ACV conditioner. The baking soda seems too rough on my skin in the dry winter air. And during the summer, it seems the oil cleansing method is too much for my skin, so I wash my face about every 3 days with a baking soda paste (just baking soda mixed with water until it forms a paste.) So play around and figure out what works for you and your body!

In the coming weeks, I plan on writing more about our journey to simplifying... including one on my experience with Project 333 (33 items of clothing for 3 months!)

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