18 October 2009

Shopping for Witch Hazel

On Sunday morning I went shopping for the ingredients for my homemade products. Many of the items, which I readily keep in the house were out or down to their last drop. I haven't gone grocery shopping in well over a month. I started the day by making a conscious choice. Instead of renting a Zipcar for a few hours, I decided to take the bus. I thought this might take up more of my time. However, there is an express bus one block from my apartment that jumps onto Lakeshore Drive and drops me off right downtown. Point being...it took me less than 15 minutes and I didn't have to look for parking.

The first part of my trip involved returning all the products I had purchased from the Body Shop. I returned the following..

FaceWash: $12
Shaving Cream: $10
Body Scrub: $20
Face Mask: $16.50
Two Burning Oils: $15

There must have been something else because the total refunded came to almost $85.

When I walked into the store I felt uncomfortable. I knew they'd question me.
"Was there anything wrong with the product," she asked.
"No. I just found alternatives to them," I said.
It had taken me the whole bus ride to come up with what my answer would be.

I was shocked at how much money I received back. $85. That's crazy. I go through the Body Scrub like it's nobody's business. At least one container a month. $240 on body scrub a year?! Yeah, I was going to have to find an alternative for this one. (By the way, I found a recipe for body scrub and will write about that later)

After returning the items, I made my way to Wholefoods. Yes, I acknowledge that Wholefoods rips people off. I've heard stories of people leaving with three items and a $50 bill. I also acknowledge that many of the items I purchased are probably available at cheaper prices in bulk online or through other places. However, since I'm just testing things out, I bought smaller, probably more expensive ingredients at Wholefoods.

I made my way around Wholefoods looking for items. I was tempted to purchase J/A/S/O/N products. But for everything I saw, I thought...I could probably make this product. I'm feeling very empowered!

After finding many of the products easily, I realized I had circled the store three times and still could not locate the Witch Hazel or Vegetable Glycerin. I went up to a sales associate, "Hi, I was wondering if you could direct me to Witch Hazel and Vegetable Glycerin."

He looked down at my cart and looked at me and then looked funny. "The Glycerin might be by the vegetables. And we don't have witch stuff," he said.

I tried to figure out his weird look. Then I looked at my cart. It consisted of honey, coarse sea salt, lemon juice, plain yogurt, almond oil, grapeseed oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil, sandlewood oil, rosemary oil, rose water, rose otto oil, and rosewood oil. And here I was a few weeks from Halloween asking for Witch Hazel and Vegetable Glycerin as well. I might as well had asked for a black cat, a virgin sacrifice, and the blood of a pure spirit.

Photo Credit

A few minutes later I found another sales person and they did in fact have everything I was looking for and not only did she point me in the right direction, but she also took me there and pointed out the different flavors and sizes. (I love great customer service having worked in the industry since I was fourteen years old.)

On the way home, I thought of all my demons or voices of judgment that would hinder me from fully embracing the practice of making my own products. I thought of the people who would think I was some homely girl trying to count pennies, probably a homeschool hanna, tree hugging granola extremist who wanted everyone to milk their own cows.

Then after naming those demons. I dispelled them.

Not only am I environmentally conscious and feel the need to be a responsible respectful steward over everything, but I also love the sense of empowerment. I love the idea of taking full control over my finances and spending money exactly how I want to. Freeing myself from over $200 in body scrub a year is joyful. Creating my own scented body products geared towards my body and not a mass market feels good. Learning what my skin likes and dislikes, what works, what's amazing...I love this exploration of self.

On a side note...I was homeschooled. On a side note...I am a bit of a granola. On a side note...I live by a budget. But I dispell any assumptions of what kind of person you may think I am. Perhaps homeschooling is better for the environment too? I might have to explore that. :)

Point being...some people pay more because they don't have the time to make their own products or they don't want to or they have a million other reasons for doing such. To each their own. I would much rather use my money towards other things. And I love the idea of having a product that is all mine completely catered towards me. I like the idea of knowing exactly what I'm putting on my body. I do that with my hair. Why not with my entire body?

If you are interested, I implore you to take more control of your life. This is one of a million ways to do so.

Or be a complacent wasteful unaware consumer? Its your choice.

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