Friday, March 26, 2010

Follow up: Laundry and Deodorant

Busy out in the workshop today...restocking 'Pacific Blue', 'Garden Mint' and 'Lemon Bouquet'.

I also whipped up a batch of 100% coconut oil soap. While this might make great soap for sailors (it's the only soap that will lather well in cold, salty water), I actually made this batch for my laundry. Once its ready, I'll grate it fine, add some washing soda and borax, then give it a spin (literally!). We're planning to use our laundry greywater for the garden this summer, so I'm looking for something without artificial fragrances, sulfates, or preservatives.

I'm on to formula #3 for my version of body deodorant, and I think I've found a keeper. The first two versions were to "wet" feeling, batch #3 feels just about right. It will go into testing mode (on us, friends, and family) and if I get thumbs up, then it will be added to our summer product line. So far, I've been loving it. The ingredients are all food grade items and the essential oils were chosen for their anti bacterial properties. Here are the ingredients:
Mango butter, coconut oil, arrowroot power, tapioca starch, kaolin clay, essential oils of sage, lavender and cedar.

I plan to make one other scent, tea tree/lemongrass. And, I have this awesome idea to save on packaging waste! I'll share that another time...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Green Living - Laundry

As long as I can remember, I have always had what I like to call 'a pioneer spirit'. I love having a vegetable garden, tending fruit trees, putting up the harvest, sewing, baking my own bread, and living as frugal as possible. So I'm always on the look out for articles on how I can go even further in my effort to live simply.

Here's my latest find: dryer balls. In the summer, I line dry all our clothes. But on the wet and cool days, I've got to use the electric clothes dryer. It takes at least an hour for my clothes to dry...just think of the energy that's being used there!

I ran across an article in the paper today about dryer balls. Basically, they are felted balls of wool that you throw in the dryer with your wet clothes. They supposedly help reduce drying time, reduce static cling and soften clothes naturally! Sounds good! You can buy them online at places like etsy, or if you're like me, try your hand at making some. You can use 100% wool yarn from old sweaters and socks. I just happen to have a small stash of wool scraps from a previous felting project that I think will work great.

I can't vouch that these dryer balls will work, but I'm willing to give it a try of it will help reduce my energy bill! For those who use commercial dryer sheets, you really ought to give these a try. Those dryer sheets are made from petroleum, plus they're loaded with artificial fragrances and have been linked to headaches, rashes, nausea and other health concerns. Try a more natural alternative for your health and that of your pocketbook.

Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Great Deodorant Debate

To antiperspirant or to deodorant? That is the age old question. Do you buy into the marketing hype of the big commercial companies and the tag line "never let them see you sweat"? Or do you prefer a more natural product? What choices do you have today and are they really safe? Good questions!

Since I am a big proponent of using real soap with essential oils for scent and products that don't need a preservative, I've always got my mind on the big picture. If it's important to make healthy life style choices, why am I using potentially dangerous after shower products on my body?

Hence our antiperspirant boycott! My husband and I have shelved our previously preferred antiperspirants (those big brand named ones, I won't mention them but it's no Secret and I'm Sure you know which ones I speak of). My husband has chosen to go au naturel. Me? I'm a bit of a chicken, so I have picked up a fairly well known brand of deodorant from our local natural food store. Here are the ingredients:

Propylene Glycol, Water (Aqua), Stearic Acid, Cyclomethicone, Talc, Silica, Sodium Hydroxide, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed OiI, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Zingiber Officinal (Ginger) Root Extract.

Hmm...most of these ingredients I can identify, but there are a few which concerned me and I felt they really didn't belong in a supposedly "natural" product. Here are a few:

Propylene Glycol

A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In the skin and hair, propylene glycol works as a humescent, which causes retention of moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.


Talc is a mineral, produced by the mining of talc rocks and then processed by crushing, drying and milling. Processing eliminates a number of trace minerals from the talc, but does not separate minute fibers which are very similar to asbestos.

I think this product will soon be shelved as I don't care to have antifreeze ingredients in my arm pits! So why do I mention all of this? Mostly to help educate and encourage others to question the ingredients in their personal care products. Don't take any one's word for it, do your own research.

I didn't mention much about antiperspirants...for me, it's a no brainer. Never forget the link between aluminium chlorohydrate (the active ingredient in commercial antiperspirants) and Alzheimer's disease. Pretty scary. I've even read about a possible link to breast cancer.

So what's next in our natural deodorant quest? Something made in my workshop, most likely. I'll share more as I continue with my research and testing. In the meantime, what are you using and have you ever read the ingredient label?