Natural alternatives

This is meant to be a list of inspiration for natural, low/no waste and ethical solutions to every day necessities for home, body, health and travel. My list focuses on India when it comes to buying options, but most should be available worldwide.

Personal Care

When I started shifting to more natural options, my personal care was the first place I looked for more natural alternatives. Very fast I realized how many misconceptions I myself have had about what is natural and what isn’t. Many things that are advertised as natural are actually full of toxins. My solution was to make all my product myself, to fully control what I put on or in my body. This is what I use today:

  • Teeth – I brush my teeth with a Bamboo toothbrush from Brush with Bamboo, and make my own tooth powder from bentonite clay & baking soda. You can get the recipe in my post: Trashy toothbrushes & better alternatives.
  • Hair – I have developed a very simple hair routine that works for me. I oil my hair with a mix of oils once a week as a natural conditioner, and wash either a natural shampoo bar or a mix of powders. You can read more about it in my post How to oil your hair (natural conditioner) and Chāmpo चाँपो / Shampoo.
  • Body wash – Personally I make my own body soap, but in general a good substitute for commercial body washes is just pure natural handmade soap. Preferably made by cold pressed carrier oils and essential oils. If you want to try out making your own soap you can read my posts How to make natural soapHow to form a soap recipe and Coloring soap naturally or for liquid soap making How to form a liquid soap recipe and How to make natural liquid soap.
  • Face wash – For cleaning my face I use my own handmade soap, like I do on my body. Another great method I use occasionally is the oil cleansing method, where all you need is oil, water and a wash cloth. You can read more on the method here: 5 ways to use oil for health and beauty.
  • Face and Body moisturizer – I used to use whipped body butter I made myself, which you can read more on here: Whipped Body Butter (with 2 to 4 ingredients). Today I mostly just use oil straight on the skin. I’ve heard some say it clogs the pores and makes the skin oily, but I have no such experiences. Actually my skin is perfectly balanced since I started using oil. You can read more on using oil on face and body in this post: 5 ways to use oil for health and beauty.
  • Body scrub – I make coconut/coffee ground scrub cubes, that I use in the shower. You can find the recipe in the post Reusing your coffee grounds.
  • Face masks/packs – I mostly use clay masks, because I find it comfortable to walk around with at home. I mostly use Bentonite clay, but lots of other clays can be used as face masks such as Kaolin Clay and French Clays. You can read how I use Bentonite clay as a Face masks in Uses of Indian Healing Clay.
  • Periods/menstruation – I use what is known as a menstrual cup, and absolutely love it. They’re economic, safe, leak proof, easy to use, no mess, comfortable and just great. I use the brand Silky cup that you can get online, and have been very happy with it. You can read more on how to use it here.
  • Shaving – A while back I started using a stainless steel safety shaver, and I love it. I used to cut myself on commercial razors, and found them very irritating for my skin. This one works beautifully – blades are cheap and last long and it runs smoothly along the skin. I got mine from Life Without Plastic.
  • Makeup remover – To remove makeup I simply use a little bit of coconut oil on a cotton ball. Safe for eyes too.

Cleaning clothes and home:

Commercial cleaning products are full of chemicals, and while we might feel like to think we are washing it away with water, the chemical still stays on counter tops and utensils. Right after I started making my own personal products, I very fast moved on to making my own cleaning products. This is what I use:

  • Washing clothes – I use two ways. One is using soap nuts, which is a natural cleanser. They are available in many countries, and can be bought online here in India. The method is simple: take a few nuts and put them in a cotton string bag, and throw it in the machine with your clothes. You can reuse the nuts until they turn soft, and then compost them or throw them in your garden. The other way is to make my own coconut soap/washing soda washing powder. You can read more about this method in my post: 3 Coconut Soaps – for hair, body and clothes.
  • Scrubbing powder – I make scrubbing powder out of 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup washing soda and few drops of essential oil. This can be used to clean toilets, sinks and bathroom walls.
  • All-around cleaner – I make my own all around cleaner in a spray bottle to use on counter tops and other surfaces. I either mix Apple Cider vinegar or natural liquid soap with water and essential oils. If I only have solid soap, I collect my scrap soaps and put them inside the bottle to dissolve. If you don’t make soap yourself you can buy liquid Castile or Coconut soap. They both work great.
  • Dishes – I use liquid coconut soap, which is an amazing cleaner. Alternatively Castile soap can be used for the dishes too. For scrubbers I’ve used loofahs, before I got my hands on some natural dish scrubbers. Truth is lots of companies make natural dish washing brushes out of bamboo and other natural fibers, but I’ve not been able to find it in India, without being packed in plastic.

 

To be continued….

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