It’s Earth Month with April 22nd being the day we recognize as Earth Day. I used to feel pressure to come up with amazing one-day projects of how to celebrate Earth Day but as the years pass, I’m aware that how I live my life everyday is more important than my actions on April 22nd. Don’t get me wrong – I think Earth Day is great for learning and being inspired by children this time of year. I love hearing their thoughts on the environment and what we can do to help, but today, we are talking about YOU! And what better way to approach Earth day then to minimize your personal waste, packaging, chemicals, money, and reuse items you already have in your pantry. For Earth Month, Week, or Day – however you choose to celebrate, step out of your comfort zone. Try something that seems totally out there! By trying completely new ideas . . you will realize that making small changes to everyday routines are not that big a deal. And since the concept of Earth Day is NOT to go out buying a bunch of stuff to be ‘green’ – let’s keep things easy and inexpensive.
Here are 3 of the easiest DIY recipes I love because they contain limited ingredients and maximum effect. We are starting with your personal care because a lot of your household chemical exposure that is harmful to your family comes from personal care products and cleaning supplies. We are going to make deodorant, facial wash, and teeth whitener. We can make these three products with only 3 ingredients: coconut oil, lemon or lime, and baking soda. If you have these items at home – let’s go!
Up until a week ago, when I wanted to use deodorant I used this recipe and I’ve always been very happy with it. It’s effective enough for me with scent and moisture reduction but when I saw a post about trying lemon or lime as a deodorant I knew I had to test it out. Why? How easy is a one ingredient deodorant and because I’m addicted to hot water with honey and lemon at the moment, I’ve always got lemons in my fridge. To use lemon or lime for deodorant simply cut a lemon in half and wipe under your arm pit. It doesn’t get easier that this. Obviously don’t use this deodorant if you’ve just shaven under your pit – common sense needs to prevail here. My 1/2 lemon wedge lasted a week at the edge of my bathroom sink, it dried on skin quickly, and is very effective with reducing scent. Reduce your exposure to propylene glycol (neurotoxin), parabens (preservative) and aluminum (effects your brain) just by this one simple DIY deodorant tip.
Next up – an organic and 2 ingredient recipe to create an amazing facial wash or scrub. I’ve always used either Noxzema, bar soap, or just water to wash my face. I’ve never spent a lot of money on skin care so when I ran out of Noxzema a few months back I decided to try making a facial scrub from coconut oil and baking soda. The beautiful part of this DIY is you control the amount of ‘scrub’ with the wash by how much baking soda you add. For every teaspoon of coconut oil, I add a pinch of baking soda. I would say my face is pretty sensitive and I’ve had no problem with the natural abrasive action of baking soda against my skin. My advice would be to start with a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a jar and add small amounts of baking soda until you find the right balance. I just prefer a bit of a scrub when I wash my face. And if the first time you try this your face feels really greasy or oily after you apply the water to remove the coconut oil . . .don’t panic. Once you remove the facial wash with water, pat or lightly rub dry with a towel and feel your face. It will be super soft and perfectly moisturized. So will your lips, neck and hands. I have no desire to go back to store bought facial cleaners that I know include preservatives to keep shelf life and a host of chemicals I’ve discovered my skin simply doesn’t need or miss.
I know, I’ve been talking a lot about oil pulling. And I’ll probably be mentioning it a lot for the next while. I love it. Since the first day I tried oil pulling I’ve been doing it everyday. My mouth misses it by the afternoon if I’ve had a busy morning and haven’t been able to ‘pull’. This act of oil pulling sounds very complicated and involved, but again – here is a DIY that only needs one ingredient. You take a heaping teaspoon of unrefined coconut oil, put it in your mouth, wait for it to melt and then you swish around with your saliva between the teeth for 15-20 minutes. Think you need super expensive and questionable ingredient Crest Strips? Do you go to the dentist for whitening treatments? Do you use mouthwash? Why wouldn’t you save your body and wallet by trying this organic method of reducing plaque, whitening teeth, reducing bacteria, re-mineralization for teeth, and gum strength. Oil pulling has also been documented for improving skin disorders and pulling toxins from not only your teeth but mucus membranes.
These are my favourite DIY recipes for personal care. You can tell I’m not much of a cook since they contain so few ingredients but keeping things simple is key for me. I’ve petered out with any DIY recipe that contain a lot of ingredients. They are always very expensive to make and I’m trying to consolidate my personal care portfolio – not add to it. I keep a jar of coconut oil separate for my hair care. I’ve enjoyed using this as a slicker and protective coating to the ends of my hair after I’ve dried it and have frizzies. Using coconut oil to moisturize hair is another DIY favourite. The list goes on and on once you embrace all the different uses for coconut oil. This is one product that lives up to the hype but make sure you purchase unrefined coconut oil so that chemicals aren’t added during the processing stage of making the oil. Go extreme with DIY personal care – you will love empowering yourself and the look on your family member’s faces when you tell them what you’ve been up to with lemons. Okay…that might just be me. (grin)