Our bodies follow us all through life. Even when we are fed up with their aching and complaining, we are still stuck with them. Therefore, we may as well take care of them.
Below are tips to keep your bathroom routine simplistic and sustainable.
Please note: This is all what I have found works for me. Feel free to experiment and adjust things to fit your unique body type. We all have different skin types, hair, and other needs. I try to keep these tips as basic and universal as possible, offering options for everyone. Good luck and have fun!
For hair washing, I have found the best option to be a bar soap. There are many different kinds with all natural oils to nourish and clean the hair. I had to do some experimenting to find ones that work for me, and I encourage you to do the same! Lush and Whole Foods, farmers markets or another all-natural grocer are great places to look for handmade and cut shampoo bars.
For extra oily hair and dandruff: If your hair needs an extra somethin-somethin to give it that shine and remove excess oils, look no further than an Apple Cider Vinegar wash. Simple take 1 cup of water to 2 tbsp ACV and dump it onto your head. Massage it into your scalp, let it sit about 10 minutes, then rinse out.
Tips: You may need to adjust the ACV to your hair type. More for extra oily hair, less for frail hair and a sensitive scalp. In cases of dandruff, I recommend adding 3-5 drops Tea Tree oil.
For hair growth, instead of plain water, try adding a 1/2 tsp each of rosemary and sage and boil into a tea. Allow the tea to cool before adding the ACV and using it as a rinse.
Dry Hair: Your hair is washed, now what? Even with my thick and oily mane, I can find shampoo bars to be a bit drying. If you have dry hair or needs to give the tips a bit of an extra shine, skip the expensive products and use a simple oil.
Thick hair: Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Amla Oil
In-Between: Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond, Olive Oil
Thin Hair: Jojoba Oil, Apricot Oil, Grapeseed Oil
For cleaning, bar soap is the way to go. Just as mentioned with the hair, locally handmade bar soaps with all-natural ingredients and oils can be found at health food stores, farmers markets, and chains such as Whole Foods, Lush, and Fresh Thyme.
It is often easier to find a bar soap that will match your skin type, as they are usually labelled for dry, oily, and combination skin. Feel free to try out different ones, and if you’re like me with a soap obsession, hoard all the pretty smelling ones under your sink so you never need to buy bar soap again!
For moisturizing, try natural oils and plant-based butters. If you have dry skin, you may want something thicker such as coconut oil , cocoa butter, or shea butter. For combination skin, I recommend olive oil, sunflower oil, or shea butter. For oily skin, grapeseed oil and apricot seed oil are nice light choices that can help smooth away excess oil and keep the skin healthy.
These can be enhanced and fine-tuned toward your skins type using herbs.
- For oily skin, try rosemary or sage.
- For inflamed skin, try lavender or chamomile.
- For dry skin, use herbs like mullein, marshmallow root, and elderflower.
- For problem skin, white willow and witch hazel are effective remedies. You could also add 3-5 drops of tea tree for every ounce of oil.
Simply choose a combination of herbs, fill a jar halfway with your herbs of choice, and then fill the jar all the way (leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top) and seal off tight. Leave the herbs in a sunny window for a week or two, shaking periodically, before straining the oil.
Experiment with different herbal combinations and remember that you are not limited to the ones I have listed. Ensure first with a dermatologist or doctor that you are not allergic to any herbs you choose to work with.
For exfoliating, there are a few options I recommend that are super simple and effective:
- Dry Brushing: This helps to move the lymph system throughout the body, eliminating waste and preventing skin eruptions. It also helps to remove dead skin.
- Honey + Sugar Scrub: Hydrating and brightening to the skin, this helps remove excess oils and dead skin, as well as moisturize the skin at the same time!
- Coffee Scrub: Ever wonder what to do with those excess coffee grounds? Rub them on your body, of course. This one helps to awaken the skin and remove cellulite. All you have to do is mix 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 cup coffee grounds, and 1/2 cup sugar. You could even use the dry brush to really rub it in and increase circulation.
Note: Do not rinse this one down the drain. It will clog. I recommend getting a wash cloth and bowl of water to gently wipe off the coffee and sugar, then dumping the water outside. In the summer, you could even use a hose!
For cleaning, one could use a bar soap like the one chosen for the body. I personally rarely wash my face and choose to use water and a wash cloth to remove excess oils. I also have smooth and clear skin that rarely breaks out (only does if I eat something I shouldn’t – like too much sugar or gluten). If this doesn’t work for you, I recommend trying local honey or aloe to gently cleanse the skin and remove excess oils.
Another option is to use oils to remove oils. Oils are naturally hydrophobic. This goes for the oils on our skin, too. I find Olive Oil to be the best for this. Just rub the oil into your skin, and remove it with a washcloth dampened with warm water. Rub the wash cloth in slow circles to ensure you’re getting out any dirt and toxins lingering on the skins surface.
For scrubs, see body scrubs.
For masks, I have 3 options for you.
- Honey or Agave. Both of these have a toning effect on the skin whilst also hydrating deep into the cells.
- Aloe. This one is a friend of people who need a little lift. Smooth some aloe gel onto the skin, preferably straight from the plant, and allow to sit for 20 minutes. This will naturally firm up the skin and offer a cooling, evening effect to the skin tone.
- Bentonite or Green Clay. If you are prone to oily skin, this one is for you. Clay can be mixed with water (less oily) or ACV (more oily) and applied to the skin for 20 minutes, or until dried. It will leave the face reddened afterwards, but it will fade within the hour. I recommend doing this one at night or a day you plan to stay in.
For moisturizing, see the moisturizing section under body.
Even those pearly whites deserve to be sustainably pampered and cared for! Below are some recipes and links to replace the basic plastic tubes and brushes we had come to know, with ethical and eco-friendly options.
For a toothbrush, I have fallen in love with my bamboo one. It lasts longer, decomposes, and is the right amount of firmness in the bristles to remove debris and plaque without harming enamel. I like this pack, as it also is highly economical and comes in recyclable, biodegradable packaging!
For floss, I have seen two different methods on this. One, you could buy a completely zero waste floss such as this one. It offers 66 yards and comes in a cute refillable container made of metal.
The other options is to simply find a piece of silk from the thrift store, give it a really good washing, and pull it apart thread by thread to use as floss. Once done with it, it can be thrown in with compost to decompose.
For mouthwash, I have a super simple recipe from Blue Ollis for you. She also has a toothpaste recipe in the original video, linked below.
- 1 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Baking Soda
- 3-5 drops Food-Grade Essential Oil
and that’s it! Super simple.
For toothpaste, you could make one like the one above in the video. Otherwise, I recommend checking out this incredibly in-depth article on everything you need to know about toothpaste.
Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to the humble tongue scrapper. This handy little tool helps to remove harmful bacteria from the mouth, it stimulates the digestive system and removal of toxins from the body, and it can even help prevent candida overgrowth. This is not necessary to have in your dental regimen, but it is a helpful tool to make a part of your daily routine to prevent harmful bacteria entering the body and eroding teeth.
What kind of Herbalist and Health Coach would I be if I didn’t offer ways to support your bodily health through diet? Here are just a few simple tips to keep your skin, hair, and nails strong and healthy:
- Hydrate. The cells need water to properly function and keep their elasticity. Water also helps to flush toxins out of the body that could otherwise push their way out through the skin in the form of acne, rashes, and other eruptions.
- Fruits and Veggies. Fruits help to hydrate the body on a cellular level, while also aiding fiber to remove wastes from the body, as do veggies. Both fruits and vegetables offer valuable vitamins and minerals that help to strengthen the hair, skin, and nails as well as aid the skin a nice, even glow. Once I went vegan, I swear my hair and nails became stronger and longer while my skin cleared up, became even-toned, and lost any inflammation. My eyes also started to shine brighter and whiter. Eat your veggies!
- Herbs. Lastly, I highly recommend adding some herbs to your diet to help the body receive any vitamins and minerals that may not be fully received through food. Our produce these days isn’t as nutrient dense as it was for our forefathers, so herbs are a great way to fill in some of the gaps without breaking bank on a bunch of supplements. I recommend Nettle, Red Raspberry, Horsetail, and Comfrey taken as teas. Alfalfa and Wheatgrass may be added to smoothies or taken juiced. Sea Vegetables such as Kelp, Wakame, and Dulse are also mineral rich and high in Iodine, an essential nutrient for bone density and thyroid function. These may be simply added to salads, soups, stews, and other food dishes. Note: Be sure to check with a doctor before taking any herbal medicines to ensure they are a good fit for your body and have no drug interactions if you are taking prescriptions.
Anything I missed? Comment below and share your favorite zero waste hair and body care tips, along with any questions.