Talk Hippy To Me (A year of No Poo)

Last march (2014) I really stepped up my hippy game. Before that I kind of identified with “crunchy granola” parents, more because I attachment parented, and we eat clean. The last year though, was a game changer. I threw out all the shampoo, lotions, conditioners, hand soap, body wash, deodorant and tooth paste. I wrote a whole blog explaining “no poo” and I posted recipes for body butters, hand soap, deodorant and toothpaste. Today I want to give an update. the last year has been a learning experience, and I’m happy I took the year to learn more about my body. What I did not expect was that I would learn so much about communication and compromise.

Jojo, one year NO POO, she's become my little boho babe. Very proud of no poo, and clean eating... with the exception of cupcakes.
Jojo, one year NO POO, she’s become my little boho babe. Very proud of no poo, and clean eating… with the exception of cupcakes.

No Poo/Dandruff/Eczema/Psoriasis: Well, I have to say, I did not know what to expect with my hair. Talk to your hair dresser and he or she will probably be mortified if you even consider quitting shampoo. Turns out, it’s really freeing. I had never just used water on my hair in my life, I was so attached to the suds, and the silky feeling after conditioning. At first that hard wet feeling really bothered me. But I was amazed by how quickly my hair dried, and how light it was. I hardly had any transition. Most people have a greasy week or 4. I had a few weeks where my hair needed extra TLC in terms of brushing sebum through. Even now, a year later, i have no split ends, and my hair is soft and shiny!  But the only problem I had is that I couldn’t get rid of the dandruff. I had never had dandruff until I gave birth to Jo, and have struggled for the last 6 years. I had tried EVERYTHING. The only thing that seemed to keep the flakes away was washing often. So you can imagine how “in your (my) face” this issue was once I stopped washing. I began searching forums and googling “natural” dandruff cures. The one that stood out the most was pouring 50/50 ACV (apple cider vinegar, and they say the smell goes away after your hair dries, maybe if you have less hair, but I have thick wavy hair and the smell DID NOT GO AWAY! It drove me and my husband crazy!) and water onto my scalp and letting it sit for 30 minutes every 3 days. OK, that was quite a commitment. But I was encouraged that it would help. It didn’t. In fact I ruined the pH levels on my head so I ended up with waxy hair. By waxy I mean, if you were to pinch a chunk of my hair it would feel sticky-ish. ALL of my hair. And water couldn’t penetrate it! Water would just roll right off my head like my hair was made of wax paper. I even went in the swimming pool, and it did nothing! So I tried apple sauce to get rid of the wax. Apple sauce helped the wax, but then my hair was filled with apple flakes! So it looked like I had the worst case of dandruff in history! I think it took 3 baking soda scrubs and LONG soaks in the tub to remove the apple flakes. In the end, the dandruff came back. So I tried an egg wash. OMG, that was the most disgusting thing I had ever done. Besides the complete weirdness of massaging snot-like goop into my hair, it smelled AWFUL. It continued to smell until my next ACV rinse. Those were my more amusing stories. But over the year I tried many “cures”. patchouli, lavender, coconut oil, tea tree oil, honey, kombucha, aloe juice, yogurt… Nothing helped. At least nothing helped for more than 3 days. Then the itchiness came back. I read that dandruff might be a type of yeast, so I cut out sugar, and started using probiotics, in fact, I have been brewing kombucha in my kitchen for months now! Still no relief. At the end of the year I tried a “low poo” conditioner from Shea Moisture, it didn’t help. So I finally decided to try the African Black Soap system from Shea Moisture. I kinda wish I had tried this 6 years ago! So far so good! right now I plan to use it once a week, then see how long I can go between washes. If the dandruff stays gone I will go back to no poo. If it comes back I will used this system as needed. I do use coconut on my ends, I think that’s why I don’t have split ends.

A 24 weeks in to no poo, 10 days water only!
A 24 weeks in to no poo, 10 days water only!
February 2015 No Poo allllllmossst one year!
February 2015 No Poo allllllmossst one year!

Lotion/Moisturizer: I’ll be honest. I missed lotion the most. Out of EVERYTHING I changed. I love lotion. And while I used hand made moisturizers, lotion bars etc, I just missed regular old lotion. I thought my skin would adjust so I used nothing for a few months. I hated it! I missed being super smooth!  And the simplicity of a pump. So at the end of the year I bought Shea Moisture’s baby lotion. I love it. (Should I mention that Shea Moisture is not paying me to pimp them out, its just an affordable brand that doesn’t have a whole bunch of added chemicals.)

Acne: My acne has been gone for over a year now. I stopped using all the astringents, soaps and spot treatments. Now I oil cleanse, and use a jojoba and coconut oil serum twice a day. Oil Cleansing is super simple. Massage the oil of your choice (I used jojoba) into your skin for a few minutes, then cover your face with a wet hot wash cloth (Don’t burn yourself… common sense, guys.) for 2 minutes, then just wipe the oil off. Only do this at night. I also still use my lemon scrub (sugar, lemon, raw honey) 2x a week.

Body Wash: Turns out water cleans really well on its own. I suggest using a scrub occasionally, or something a little on the rough side to get a good scrub. I do still love my coconut oil and sugar body scrubs, I’m just sure to rinse the shower REALLY well after because coconut oil hardens and traps dirt and it’s slippery and gross looking.

Toothpaste: I enjoyed using my DIY toothpaste, but my husband HATED it. He especially hated that it clogged the sinks… So we’re back to toothpaste, I have been using the Trader Joe’s brand toothpaste with fennel. It tastes like jagger, but it really gives you a whole mouth clean feeling.

Deodorant: Another thing that my husband was not impressed with. I used it occasionally. Like today because it’s going to be 80 degrees, AND I had coffee. That’s what I learned, If I drink coffee, or eat dairy, I should use deodorant. But I’ve maybe used it 15 times in the last year. I made a deo with beeswax and it seems to work better, less drippy. My co worker traded me ***succulent clippings for the deo. It was an awesome trade!

Hand Soap: The hand soap smells nice, and works well, but it’s super watery and was an annoyance for husband, so we are using hand soap again. I’ll have to research what kinds are more environmentally friendly.

My Kombucha! home brewing for 6 months!
My Kombucha! home brewing for 6 months!

 

Kombucha: I started brewing kombucha in our kitchen 6 months ago, and it is going very well! My kids like it, I drink it daily. It think it causes minimal annoyance for my husband. Kombucha is a fermented tea, it’s filled with probiotics and is extremely healthy. I started brewing it to help with the dandruff, it didn’t help, but it was more affordable to make my own then spend $4 a bottle.

Oil Pulling: I still oil pull a few times a week.

IMG_6298.JPG

House Plants and Succulents: My newest obsession is clean air. I started out adding succulents as decoration in our home, which has been fun, and a good test since it’s difficult to kill succulents. I recently added a few air cleaning plants to each room. A Peace Lily, a Parlor Palm, a Snake Plant, a Golden Pathos and Aloe Vera. My husband has reminded me that plants belong outside, however I think he prefers this obsession over no poo.

So the moral of the story is this: I had fun, I feel good about the last year. However, somethings just weren’t worth the effort, or the fight. I’m definitely gonna stay on the crunchy side, just not as strictly. I have a lot on my plate, and unclogging a coconut oil filled sink is just not worth the effort. And as you can tell, my husband just wasn’t impressed by any of this. Since he responded a bit better to eating real food, I think I’ll focus on that. And kudos to him for putting up with it for so long!

Lucky bamboo
Lucky bamboo

 

How I Drove My Husband Crazy By Accident

IMG_6285.GIF

Compromise.

I can’t begin to explain how often that advice is given. It fits with just about any issue… in a perfect world. But what about when there is no compromise? Because those situations are the real issues. The small things, yeah, we can find middle ground, one of us will back down because, we’re just too tired. Too tired of fighting. I am too tired.

Last year I committed to a year of “no-poo”. Well that’s what I called it, but in reality shampoo was only one of the many changes I made. I stopped using shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial hand soaps, body wash, lotion, face wash, acne treatments and sunscreen. I know, now I sound like a dirty hippy. Don’t worry, I’m clean, and not smelly. I started out by making my own hygiene products, and slowly weaned off of many things altogether. Here is what I learned in the last year:

The biggest thing that stands out, to be honest is that I drove my husband bonkers! Seriously. Like I think there was a point where he was ready for one of us to move out. No, not because I smelled bad, but because I didn’t give him the option NOT to jump on my bandwagon. Within a matter of weeks I had thrown out all of the shampoos and soaps in the house. I went DIY crazy and made toothpaste, hand soap,  and shaving cream. He hated it. Not all of it, but most of it. He missed the suds in shampoo, and the wateriness of the body wash. The coconut oil toothpaste was salty, I fixed that, but then it was clogging our sinks. Our showers and sinks were nearly impossible to clean because coconut oil hardens and traps dirt. Still, I stood strong. I felt I was doing my job, I was saving my family from diseases. I still 100% believe in my “cause”… I just may have done it a little differently. I know that I changed everything because I love my family, but I didn’t realize the impact it would have… the negative impact. I had high hopes for the positive! I didn’t expect my husband to be frustrated daily. Missing the simplicity. I didn’t realize it took so much energy for him to try to understand my reasons, and how overwhelming it must be for him. I mean, our first year together I took away all the processed foods, and he started reading food labels. Which annoyed him then, also… now he has to read labels on the hand soap…

I realized that I was insensitive and didn’t truly know my husband. And he didn’t know me. I did not respect him. I didn’t bother to ask him, in my mind I had to save the world. That’s me… I am an activist. I see a problem and have an innate need to fix it. My heart is too big, I inherited this martyr-esque personality from my dad, and seriously I will be uncomfortable and miserable and choose the path of GREAT resistance for the greater good. That’s not my husband. They say opposites attract. Well in this case, it couldn’t be more true. I’ve learned this year that my husband is both a blessing and a lesson. I’ve learned that I am a control freak… and so is he. I’ve learned that compromise is a bitch.

The year mark couldn’t have come soon enough. Not that I wanted to buy regular hand soap, but I was ready to stop fighting. Every day became a fight on some level. Maybe we didn’t actually argue, but he would get frustrated by any number of inconveniences caused by the changes I made. And I took it personally that he hated it. It was those little things that wore on him, and turned into reasons to bicker. He became so frustrated. I felt like he didn’t care about his health, or our kids. It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that it was too much. This isn’t what he signed up for. It was all too much. And let’s be honest… Ignorance is bliss. I stripped away his bliss, I dissected it, and magnified the ugly truths, broadcasting them, forcing them to be acknowledged. This was the third time I turned his life upside-down and inside out. The first time it was the food, switching to organic and banning fast food. Next it was parenting, I brought my crunchy attachment parenting ideals into his home, and changed the rules. I took parenting out of his hands, again without compromise (in his eyes). And now I’ve taken away shampoo. In his mind, I’ve been taking. Taking away his comforts, his jobs, his rules, his ideals, his deodorant… In my mind I was enriching, nourishing, helping and teaching. It’s mind blowing how opposite we see the same situation.

It never occurred to me that I might make him feel stupid. I have such strong feelings, often based on extensive research, and because I trust my intuition. It was never my intention to make him feel less than he is. All I ever wanted was to be better for each other, our kids and the planet. I never thought that maybe he was perfectly happy with the way things were. Who do I think I am, that I can just make these decisions without talking with him? I am not his children’s mother, I do that job, he asked me to… And I wanted to. I assumed it meant I could parent the way I saw fit. I didn’t stop to think that because this is a partnership, he should have a say, more than a say… they are his kids. But I thought it was my job, this parenting thing. I have a daughter of my own, and I do my best. I thought his job was to provide, and back me up, while I did all the nitty gritty mom jobs. I didn’t think he wanted to “parent”. He never expressed interest in it, that is until I was doing it full time.

I learned that compromise doesn’t mean admitting defeat. It means I value my marriage. So last week I bought shampoo. I bought antibacterial hand soap, lysol, and toothpaste, too.  (I’ll write a whole blog on what kind and why!) I am picking my battles, and finding ways to keep my household healthy… and also realizing that all of our emotional health is more important than  physical. I would rather be married.

IMG_6286.JPG

I plan to write all the amazing things (and all the not so great things) I learned in the last year! What worked, and what didn’t… I know this post makes it should like it it was a disaster, it wasn’t. My hair is happy and my skin is smoother than ever! I had to get the therapeutic part out of the way first 😉

 

 

Why would you spend $20 on sunscreen?

Why would you spend $20 on sunscreen???

This is Alexis and me a few months into our "no poo" journey that inspired us to create chemical free sunscreen!
This is Alexis and me a few months into our “no poo” journey that inspired us to create chemical free sunscreen!

I am working with a close friend, Alexis, to develop a simple, natural, healthy and unique skin care line.  Alexis has an amazing business, called Labor of Love (I have blogged about alexis and her business before.) We decided to work together during the last few months and have been creating, using and testing our treatments. It will still be a few months before we can make the big announcement, so stay tuned. I just wanted to give you all a heads up, and answer some questions that Alexis and I have been asked many many times:

“Why would anyone spend $20 on sunscreen?”

The short answer, sunscreen without chemicals is healthier and just as effective as the mainstream store bought stuff. I know, my family has been using handmade sunscreen all summer (I live in southern California and my kids and I spend 4-5 days a week at the pool or beach.) and we are all beautifully tanned with sun kissed streaks of gold in our hair.

20140801-135701-50221921.jpg

The ingredients used in quality handmade sunscreen are not cheap, and it shouldn’t be made in large quantities in order to insure the effectiveness. Carrot seed oil alone can range from $20-$40, and in my opinion, carrot seed oil is essential to a good quality sunscreen as it has a natural SPF and healing properties.

“What is wrong with regular store bought sunscreen?”

In a word? Chemicals. There are almost 20 ingredients in the sunscreen you purchase at your local target, grocery store or drug store. 15 of these ingredients are chemicals, man made… and 9 of them are endocrine disrupters. (This means these chemicals interfere with normal hormonal functions which can cause cancer, early puberty, low sperm count, and many other disturbing side effects.) You rub them on before going into the sun, and very quickly they begin breaking down and absorb into your blood stream. These chemicals can be detected in your blood, urine and breast milk for up to 2 days after using the product because they are not filtered by the liver. Because the chemicals are being absorbed so quickly, the sunscreen is losing it’s effectiveness, meaning you have to keep applying, and continue to absorb the poisons. These chemicals also absorb the UV rays and some of them begin to mutate into free-radicals (which lead to cancer).

Hanging by the pool, getting some work done while the kiddos play. Covered in handmade sunscreen!
Hanging by the pool, getting some work done while the kiddos play. Covered in handmade sunscreen!

“But I thought Vitamin D is good for you?”

It is! Vitamin D is great for your immune system, in fact, it’s critical for your health and helps fight depression! Sun exposure is the easiest way to absorb vitamin D. Don’t hide from the sun, just be smart about it. A sun burn is a perfect example of “too much of a good thing”.

“What makes chemical free sunscreen better?”

The active ingredient in handmade sunscreen is zinc oxide. Zinc oxide actually BLOCKS the sun, unlike the chemicals I referred to earlier that absorb the rays. Zinc oxide creates a barrier between you and the sun, and is safe to be applied as much as you need it. There are so many DIY sunscreen recipes out there (try Pinterest!), the ingredients are all similar, coconut oil, shea butter, and zinc oxide. I highly recommend whipping yourself up a batch. The problem I ran into with these thicker DIY sunscreens is they are harder to apply, and turn your skin white. They work beautifully, however, we discovered a way to make a liquid sunscreen that is just as effective and much easier to apply. If this is something you are interested in you can order a bottle from Labor of Love. Alexis markets her sunscreen to expectant mothers and children. I am not a doctor, but I am a mother and this is sunscreen that I use on my own children and myself.

Baby Safe Coconut Oil Sunscreen:

 

Labor of Love Baby Safe Sunscreen
Labor of Love Baby Safe Sunscreen

“This gentle 100% natural sunscreen is safe for all skin types including babies! We’ve carefully selected essential oils that have skin regenerating and protecting properties and blended them with pure Zinc Oxide and Coconut Oil for an SPF 30 lotion formula. Intoxicating floral and earthy scent in a convenient 4oz cobalt blue pump bottle.

Do you ever look at a bottle of sunscreen and wonder what all that stuff is? We did too. That is why every ingredient in our bottle serves a purpose.
-Zinc Oxide is where we get the bulk of the sun protection. Zinc Oxide is one of the few ingredients that can provide protection from UVA and UVB rays.
-Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil contains lots of Vitamin E & plant sterols which are great for improving skin health and appearance.
-Organic Coconut Oil (fractionated) is a light moisturizing oil that doesn’t clog pores and keeps our lotion non-greasy.
-Carrot Oil has a strong natural SPF and a nice, earthy smell. It is also full of antioxidants which can actually help repair skin damange.
-Geranium Essential Oil helps maintain the balance between oily and dry skin, and it smells nice too!
-Ylang Ylang Essential Oil also helps with skin’s balance, and it gives our lotion its exotic, floral scent.”

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, the views expressed on this blog are my opinions and you should always seek the advice of a health care professional.