A die-hard City Girl reconnects to the natural world… in the city.

Archive for January, 2012

Bonus Post: Homemade Hair Gel

Because it took me so long to post the recipes for the household cleaners for you, Slowvolutionaries, I gift you with another blog post today as an apology.

Now you all have hopefully gotten it by now that I’m trying my hardest to go all natural, chemical-free AND to diminish my consumables. I was running low on my store-bought hair gel and went to my search engine and did a search for homemade hair gel. Now I will admit to you that I wasn’t expecting to find anything but lo and behold, I came across the above video.

You mean to tell me that I can actually make hair gel at home? Holy Canoli! So I finally ran out of the store-bought stuff. I ran to my co-op and got some bulk flaxseed and last night I made the gel. Now I was missing some quality essential oils like she mentions in the video but that will soon be rectified. In the meantime, I did use the tea tree to give it some anti-microbial properties and thus help it last longer and I added a smidge of olive oil to give it some moisturizing qualities. I’m hoping to add vanilla oil to my repertoire soon. But if you don’t have the oils she suggests or one of your own to give it a good odor, there really is no scent to it. Not a bad thing. But I want to smell yummy!

The video made me feel like it would take a bit of time but it doesn’t. The gel starts forming almost immediately and so you have to watch it very closely and keep stirring. I also didn’t have pantyhose and used a regular strainer which was a bad idea because as the mixture cools, it congeals and gets thick and doesn’t strain. So make sure you have all the things she says to save you the headache. I just kept re-heating it to get it out. Took longer, I’m sure.

Now fast forward to this morning when I’m prepping myself for an interview and I go to my fridge and I pull out the gel. It was cold. It was thick and blobby. It worked WONDERFULLY. You don’t need a lot at all, and it does get a little hard but it doesn’t flake and you can moisten and reshape the hair if you’d like. My hair wasn’t weighted down and I used a fraction of the amount I would use if it was the store-bought stuff.

In a nutshell, I loved it and so I’m saying goodbye to the store-bought stuff forever. Hope it works just as well for you! Enjoy!

SIDENOTE: Yes, this recipe is geared toward natural African-American hair. I don’t doubt, however, that all hair types could use this recipe.




Homemade Cleaning Supplies: Recipes and Results

Okay Slowvolutionaries! You’ve taken that shopping list I gave you in the previous post and you’ve gone out and purchased the recommended items. In case it wasn’t clear, here it is again:

  1. The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
  2. Baking Soda (Local Grocery Store)
  3. Borax (20 Mule Team can be found at your local grocery store)
  4. White Vinegar (Local Grocery Store. I get mine in bulk from Sam’s club.)
  5. Castile Soap (Your choice of scent, I use unscented)
  6. Essential Oils (Your choice of scent, I use Lime and Tea Tree for now)
  7. Lemon Juice (Local Grocery Store)

DISCLAIMER: I linked you to the sites where I purchase my items. This is by no means me telling you where to buy. It’s merely me giving you a visual and a good starting point to do your own research and find the places and prices that are right for you.

SIDENOTE: Some people use bleach or ammonia because they just don’t feel like the items above get their home clean enough. Well, the items above clean and DISINFECT your home just as well as bleach and ammonia do and without the harsh chemicals. I’m taking my home chemical-free. As totally as possible. You can still disinfect without chemicals. But if you choose to continue to use bleach or ammonia, I won’t judge you. Oh who are we kidding, I’m totally judging you.

Okay, so while The Naturally Clean Home has tons of recipes, some of you aren’t like me and you don’t have the time, energy and/or patience to read a book about all this crap. I mean, after all, it’s bad enough you have to take time out of your day to make the stuff, right? Okay fine. Here are five of my favorite recipes I use the most:

  1. GLASS CLEANER: One part vinegar to one part water and about ten drops (or to desired scent) of essential oil of choice. Pour into your spray container of choice. You can also put into a regular box-style container with microfiber or reusable cloths of your choice and have ready-to-use wipes also. 😀
  2. DISHWASHING LIQUID: Fill your container of choice with Castile Soap. If unscented, use anywhere from 10-30 drops of Essential Oil of your choice, to your preferred scent. If scented, then you’re already there. I used a 22 oz. dishwashing liquid bottle and 20 drops of lime oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil. This gives my dishwashing liquid some serious anti-microbial properties! Take that germs!
  3. ALL PURPOSE CLEANER: (for a 20 oz spray bottle) 1 teaspoon of castile soap, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon borax, 2 cups water, 10 drops essential oil of choice. I use 5 additional drops of tea tree to add to my disinfecting power. Combine and it’s ready.
  4. SCOURING POWDER: In your container of choice mix 2 parts baking soda to 1 part borax. I also added 1/4 part of coarse sea salt to boost scouring and disinfecting power. 10 drops tea tree essential oil and 20 drops Essential Oil of choice or to desired scent. Stir with a spoon. (Now I know it sounds weird to add oils to a dry recipe. I thought so too until the oils were absorbed into the ingredients and there was no clumping or moisture to be found. I have no idea how that works but I think it’s awesome. My scouring powder makes Pine Sol smell like weak cologne. It’s AWESOME!)
  5. TOILET BOWL CLEANER: In your container of choice mix 2 parts baking soda, 1/2 part borax, 2 parts white vinegar, 1/4 part coarse sea salt, 1/4 part water, 10 drops tea tree oil and 20 drops essential oil of choice or to desired scent. (I found with the lime oil and everything going on with this cleaner, it did emit fumes. Vinegar and baking soda react with one another as we all should remember from elementary science class so just make sure you’re working in a well ventilated space and I suggest mixing it all together in the sink as it will at times overflow.) I used an old gallon vinegar jug for this recipe. The borax doesn’t fully dilute and you don’t want it to. It adds a scouring quality that is great. I use about a cup of this in my toilet, let it sit for about twenty minutes (enough time to start cleaning other parts of my bathroom) and then brush and done.

Now if you’re expecting these recipes to behave in the same way your chemical cleaners do, you will be very disappointed. Recently a friend gave me her all natural laundry soap because “it doesn’t smell like I’m used to so it doesn’t seem clean”. I happily took the free (of CHEMICALS!) laundry soap and shook my head. It’s because there are no chemical detergents (Soap= natural, Detergent =  chemical) and that’s GOOD. But we have all grown accustomed to the TOXCON goods. It’s why I use a lot of essential oils in my recipes. I don’t feel that way about my cleaners. The dishwashing soap doesn’t suds up as much as the Dawn. The All purpose cleaner doesn’t foam like the Formula 409 did. The scouring powder doesn’t have awesome commercials with bubbles that have faces on them. I don’t need to turn on my vent fan when I clean my bathroom. However, when I’m done, my bathroom and kitchen smell great, look great and are definitely cleaned AND disinfected. And the most important part is that I wouldn’t have a problem with a young baby crawling all over the floor and picking up toys and putting them in her mouth. Because she won’t be munching on a toxin covered block.

So there you have it my friends, 5 great, chemical-free and inexpensive recipes to help you get started cleaning your house. Invest in the book mentioned above or any other recipe book of your choice and you’ll learn about Dishwasher soap, laundry soap, dryer sheets, and lots of other things that will help you on your way to a more natural and chemical-free lifestyle. Oh, and you get to unplug from the TOXCON Matrix a little more too.