16 October 2009

Natural Products versus Homemade Products

My name is SLY and I am a product whore.

Sure I can toot a horn that many of the products, toiletries and cleaning supplies that I buy are Eco-friendly, natural, organic and promote fair trade but if I want to push myself further... perhaps I need to look at the whole consumerism issue.


We are groomed to think we need to keep buying things. You work so that you have money so that you can buy the things you want and need. It's your American right to shop. I remember a radio shack commercial years ago that came out around Christmas time. People were in line buying all the other things they needed to go with all the things they'd already purchased. They bought the toy car but forgot to buy the batteries. They bought the digital camera but needed to buy the media stick. I can't remember the tag line but it mentioned something to the effect to buying more stuff for the stuff you already bought. It sickened me. But I am guilty of it.

It's not just buying more natural products. Maybe we need to realign our thinking. Shift our paradigm. Perhaps it's to stop buying in general. Or to decrease the things you are purchasing. How much money would I save if I made half the things I use at home? Plus every time I buy a product...its just continuing the cycle...even if its an all natural face wash put inside a biodegradable container. It still took energy, resources, money, and more to make that natural product.

I remember my great grandmother, who recently passed telling me the only things they bought while she was growing up were shoes and their Sunday clothes. Everything else they made or planted. She was born in 1925. Things were different then.

Yesterday, I went into body shop to buy some shaving cream. I love their men's line. It's THE BEST!!!! But because it was buy two skin products, get one free...I bought an all natural face wash. I'm almost out at home and an all natural face mask since that container is almost empty too. But then I bought...two more fragrant oils. Even though I have a basket of about 15 and way too many incense that I need to go through. And a couple other things.

This morning I felt a little bad about buying it, since what I NEED is a new pair of jeans and a coat. But as I went through my list I rationalize my spending by thinking, "I need a new mask because it's out. And I need face wash because its almost out. And I need shaving cream because that's almost out. It wasn't a random shopping spree."

True. But what if instead of continually buying things, I made a simple face mask with household products? Then I could return the one I purchased for $15. Honestly, I don't even know what I paid for it. The price wasn't listed and I haven't glanced at the receipt. It could be $5 or $35.

So I'm taking back at least half the things I purchased and I've looked up some simple recipes.

Simple for me means the handmade products.....
  • Contains ingredients that I readily keep in the house such as oatmeal and honey and essential oils.(I know I'll have to buy a few things I don't normally keep such as rosewater or glycerin...but there are many other uses that I'll find for them. And isn't that sustainable...to have 100 ways to use oatmeal?)
  • Is simple to prepare. (Five steps or less. I don't want to spend five hours creating a face wash that has forty ingredients. I don't have time for that. Even if I had time, I don't want to spend time doing that.)
  • It eventually works once I use it. (If after trying the homemade recipe the results are not as effective, it's not gonna work. Some things you will just have to buy. I say that now, but perhaps my rationale will change later)
I've looked up things that will lead to me taking back the products I bought
  • face wash
  • face mask
  • face toner
  • shaving cream
  • face exfoliant
For a simple face mask I found a recipe on About.com.

This face mask is suitable for all skin types and is super simple to prepare. It will cleanse and rejuvenate your skin. Prep time is three minutes
The ingredients are

  • 1 tbsp oatmeal, finely ground (I'll use my blender to grind the oatmeal)
  • 1 tbsp live, organic yogurt (no flavored kind)
  • A few drops of honey
  • Add yogurt to oatmeal in a small bowl and mix together.
  • Warm a few drops of honey (to do this,  warm a spoon under hot water for a minute, then add a few drops of honey to the spoon
  • Stir the honey into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture.
  • Apply the mask to the face. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with several splashes of warm water. Follow with a warm washcloth.
  • Apply moisturizer.
I can do this face mask. My current regime has my washing, toning, exfoliating, masking, and then moisturizing my face once a week. I have the time on Saturdays to prepare this. While the oatmeal will be my all purpose mask, I also found a more luxurious one I'll treat myself to perhaps once a month or every now and then.

For the rose face mask, I found the recipe on About.com as well.

This mask, based on roses, is perfect for balancing out the oily and dry areas of your skin.

The ingredients are

  • Optional: 6 fresh rose petals
  • 2 tbsps rosewater
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt, room temperature (not lowfat or non-fat)
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (to get honey runny, you can warm it in a microwave for a few seconds).

  • Soak rose petals, then crush them in a bowl.
  • Add the rosewater, yogurt and honey.
  • Mix well and apply to the skin. 
  • Leave on for 10 minutes. 
  • Rinse.
Lovely. I'm excited to try both out. I also looked up an exfoliant. The simpleness of the recipe is ridiculous. I found it on multiple websites. It simply says to mix a tiny amount of brown sugar with olive oil in your palm and massage it into your face once it has turned to a paste. I honestly can't believe the simplicity. I always keep brown sugar in the house because I bake as a hobby. I ALWAYS ALWAYS have olive oil because i use it to cook and I use it for my hair. Finding another usage for this makes me happy. Now I don't have to buy it anymore!

For a simple toner I found a recipe on Homemade Beauty Recipes. 
The ingredients are
  • 4 oz of witch hazel
  • 10 to 20 drops of your Essential Oil.

  • Mix ingredients well into the bottle. (you can find a bottle at a beauty supply store. I buy bottles to house my oil concoctions for my hair.)
  • Shake well before each use
  • Apple to face with cotton ball after cleansing.
The recipe is so simple!!!!! I love simplicity. I always keep essential oil in the house...I use it for home fragrance, my hair and sometimes I drop it into the laundry. A new ingredient I will have to purchase is witch hazel. But a simple google search shows that you can purchase it even at Walgreens. I also saw that there are other uses for it. On Wisebread.com they outline 15 uses. Some of which will apply to me directly. Therefore its a wise purchase. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about making my own mask, toner, and exfoliant. Also, I love that I will have something in my house called "Witch Hazel."

While I didn't find a good recipe yet for Shaving Cream, I did come across some other products in the house that could be used instead of shaving cream such as baby oil and hair conditioner. Both of which I have tried with amazing results. Perhaps I'll continue using those alternatives until I find a concoction I can make. Years ago I read an article in the paper about using baby oil in the summer to do a quick shave and what I like is that after you're done shaving, your skin is already moisturized. I used the conditioner once and at first I balked at the idea because I love my conditioner so much and felt like I was wasting it. Is it wasteful to find multiple uses of a particular thing? No. Its innovative, time saving, and cost effective. Two bottles of conditioner comes out cheaper that a bottle of conditioner and a bottle of shaving cream. (At least the kind that I use!)

For the face cleanser, I found the recipe on What Would Ginger Do.

  • 4 ounces of grapeseed oil
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 2 ounces of raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ounce of agave nectar
  • 15 drops of tea tree oil
  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • Mix everything together
  • Store in the refriderator
  • Shake well before each use. (do not get it into your eyes and do not ingest it.)
  • Twice every day, moisten your skin with warm water
  • Squeeze a teaspoon of the cleanser in your hand
  • Massage into your skin on your face and neck for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Rinse off with a clean soft cloth and warm water.

The recipe again seems fairly simple. Actually very simple. Even now the only ingredient I would need to purchase is the agave nectar. But only because I am out of it. I use agave to sweeten my tea. Its hard to believe that I have most of these ingredients in the pantry and yet I keep buying products I could readily make. Its so crazy. I will have to purchase some reusable containers to store them in however...but that's worth it.

I am excited to make these things and to begin altering the recipes to my own liking. I will keep log as I make these recipes with pictures and post as well as attempt to track the money that I am saving.

1 comment:

wfreemole said...

Hi there,

I really enjoyed reading your article. I've been searching online all evening trying to find out if ground oatmeal and honey would make an effective daily face wash. Though, after reading this I see a few other things I should try out later. Thanks. Of course, until then I'll have to see if the basic oatmeal and honey work (crossed fingers).

Oh, and have you ever tried baking soda? I read somewhere that it made a good cleanser.